WM A/E/C (Architectural, Engineering,Construction) Affinity Group
United States of America
Welcome to the AEC Affinity Group’s inaugural event! Click here to view the trailer for our AEC Affinity group!
In these challenging times, it becomes even more apparent that we are all in different places mentally and emotionally, and in different spots on the pendulum that swings between success and failure. What’s working and not working? How do you navigate through your day when your personal and professional lives collide? Who can you lean on to grow and succeed?
Join our virtual panel discussion and networking event to learn from a group of female leaders in AEC. Hear pieces of their journey, discover lessons learned, and be inspired to take steps to get to a place where you can thrive. Breakout sessions will give you an opportunity to meet other attendees in our industry and tell your own story.
In the words of Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO), “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder”.
Jana Cooper, Registered Architect
Jana Cooper, RA, LEED AP has 20 years of combined experience as an architect, project manager and construction manager. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York City where she worked on several large corporate projects. Some of her clients included MTV, Nokia and the New York Police Academy. Her specialties involve detailing and coordinating design and construction documents along with construction administration. She has also worked within the marketing sector of the industry, formulating several contacts for new business development.
Carol Helsel, General Manager, Third Coast Test and Balance
Carol’s 25+ years of experience in executive leadership, including work as a professional speaker, consultant, and member of governing and association boards has helped her grow an extensive portfolio of skills, which she now uses to lead Third Coast Test and Balance. When Carol transitioned into the construction industry almost 2 years ago, she brought with her experience in a variety of roles including Chief Operations Officer, VP of Human Resources, and Senior Consultant. Carol has also helped her employers receive awards for being best places to work and for helping women advance in leadership. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Western Michigan University.
Aileen Leipprandt, Shareholder/Attorney, Hilger Hammond
Aileen Leipprandt is a partner with the law firm of Hilger Hammond in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Aileen, focuses her legal practice in the area of construction law and complex real estate and commercial litigation. She lectures and writes on topics including Construction Contract Drafting, Construction Disputes (Delays, Change Orders, Defective Work), the Michigan Construction Lien Act, the Michigan Builders Trust Fund Act and MIOSHA Compliance. Working in her family’s hardware business taught Aileen from an early age the value of hard work, honest business dealings and creative problem solving. With that backdrop, Aileen brings more than 29 years of legal counseling and litigation experience to the table. A critical thinker and problem solver, Aileen’s passion is in developing, sharpening, and implementing strategies that efficiently meet client’s legal, financial and relational goals. If litigation becomes necessary, Aileen brings her intensity to the courtroom and will mix it up with the best of them. She is an exercise and outdoor enthusiast, embracing the challenge of an uphill run, a downhill ski slope, or a tiny green guarded by menacing bunkers.
Jen Schottke, VP of Operations, Associated Builders and Contractors
Jen Schottke is the Vice President of Operations with the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Western Michigan Chapter, a commercial construction industry trade association located in Grand Rapids. Jen is passionate about inspiring young people to choose careers in construction. An advocate for the craft professions, Jen dedicates her time at ABC Western Michigan to leading her team in developing exceptional craft and leadership training programs, providing student outreach opportunities in the K-12 and post-secondary educational systems, and serving the commercial construction industry as a whole. Jen is an advisory council member at the Grand Rapids Public Schools Academy for Design and Construction, she is a board member on the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, and in November 2016 she was elected to serve on the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education where she serves as the Vice President. Jen is deeply committed to striving toward equity in education and the commercial construction industry.
Jenny Waugh, Marketing Operations Director, Fishbeck
As Marketing Operations Director for Fishbeck, Jenny oversees business development, sales and marketing, and public relations for the firm. She is responsible for brand development and management, along with strategic planning, community relations, and charitable giving. Jenny’s experience is shared with her clients and community, too, as she often leads capital campaign efforts, media relations, and event planning for others. She is passionate about sharing her talents with non-profit and academic institutions within the community, especially in support of workforce development or housing initiatives.
Barbara Welch, Managing Director, Inheritance Development
Barbara Welch, an entrepreneur and community leader has over 30 years of finance and business experience, including banking, personal financial advisory consulting, and entrepreneurship training and coaching. She is also a generous community leader serving on several boards and committees. Barbara has harnessed her skill set to lead in her current role as Managing Director of Inheritance Development L.L.C., a real estate development company she and her husband established in 2014. Her prior experience as a Bank Branch Manager with Old Kent Bank, Michigan’s top performing bank and 11th in the nation (acquired by Fifth Third Bank in 2001), has served her and her company well as they develop residential projects in both west and southeast Michigan. Barbara received her Bachelors of Business Administration Degree (B.B.A.) from Howard University, Washington D.C. and her Masters (M.S.) from The College for Financial Planning, Greenwood CO.
Affinity Group Chairs
The AEC Affinity Group
Focused on creating opportunities for transformational professional growth through developing leadership competencies and making strategic connections all within a spirit of inclusion and support.
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400 Renaissance Center, Suite 2155
Detroit, Michigan 48243
Thank you to General Motors Co. for the generous gift of office space.
940 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite G-158
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503