February 2021 – by Analisa Fraga
From the kitchen table to the boardroom table, the use of natural stone as a building material is an ancient art that continues to amaze us. In a generally male-dominated industry, women play an undeniable role. It is refreshing to see women actively creating space, recognizing and celebrating emerging talent, and finding ways to shine in our profession.
Women in Stone
Women In Stone is a branch of the (NSI) Natural Stone Institute. It is a professional organization that provides resources and opportunities to network, and advance women in the stone industry; helping to build and nurture our skills. They develop topics specific to women's needs, and find ways to bring together ladies who have a similar passion in what they do! Women in Stone gives us a place we can discuss and explore not only our successes in our work—but, also share and learn from our challenges within the roles we find ourselves in.
Women in Stone has a mentorship program in place that promotes partnership for like-minded individuals. It allows women who are new to the industry to be paired up with someone who can help them find ways to upgrade their knowledge base along with giving them the opportunity to connect with many people. Meeting potential clients who may benefit your company, or colleagues that you can tap into for guidance. Having participated as a Mentee in last year’s mentorship program, it allowed me to learn more about the industry, and how I can grow my role in it. My mentor was supportive and always willing to listen and provide guidance. The value alone in knowing that you are not the only one that is still learning, or could use some added encouragement to continue to grow—is worth it. These are just some of the great reasons to join such a program. I would definitely encourage more women in the industry to participate!
Caption: Women in Stone, creating awareness and opportunities for women to consider careers within the stone industry
Promoting the stone industry is a huge part of their mission. Creating awareness of career paths available to women considering careers in the stone industry, and gaining ground on social media in an effort to reach young women (who may not know a lot about the stone industry), is always top of mind. With members all over the globe, the potential reach is vast.
It has been enlightening to meet many women with such prominent positions! It’s also empowering that we have access to all levels and professions within Women in Stone. From marketing, to sales—and even presidents and owners of companies within the stone industry. Some of their journeys started out as little girls watching their fathers work hard to grow a business. Being involved so closely for so long, allowed them to develop an appreciation for this naturally sourced material that brings beauty to so many projects. However, this is not everyone’s experience. It certainly was not mine.
Above: Analisa Fraga—a “Women in Stone”, Mentee; visiting a quarry on site. Forging a Path at PICCO
Although I have grown up around the construction field in general, my appreciation for stone was limited to old buildings in remarkable places around the world. Women in Stone gave me the added (and huge) benefit of gaining confidence in my role and place within my company. I’ve worked in engineering for 20 years—specifically ten within the stone industry with PICCO.
In 2019, I became a Project Manager.
"What I love most is knowing that I am a part of some incredible projects that are seen and appreciated by so many. Taking architectural masterpieces and being a part of making them a reality with stone is amazing."
Caption: Recently completed, Charles Library at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA–a project with Mesabi Black Granite led by Analisa Fraga at PICCO. (Architect: Snøhetta, Image: Dezeen)
Since joining the PICCO team, I have experienced:
The enveloping beauty of natural stone—what it can offer, and how it can elevate the simplest of projects;
Seeing stone in a whole new way—I sometimes ask myself: “Why is stone not used more?” From something as simple as a countertop, to floating stairs that add a unique presence to any space, to innovative cladding on buildings that will be seen by many; and
Recognizing the client’s vision—how they chose a specific raw material that brings the art of their project (or building) to life.
Women in Stone has helped me immensely, finding a place where I can learn, develop my knowledge, and gain the confidence I need to grow in my role. I have also found myself a part of a sisterhood that supports me and provides guidance when I need it. Being a part of this strong group not only benefits me personally; but, also helps me find ways to add value to PICCO—a company I am proud to be a part of!
To learn more about the Natural Stone Institute, visit: www.naturalstoneinstitute.org
Or follow @womeninstone on Instagram!
Interested in learning more? Contact Analisa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Manager at PICCO
Analisa has proudly been with PICCO Engineering since 2011. She has a high level of experience in stone anchor detailing, panelized wall systems, precast concrete, structural framing and structural studs. Analisa is experienced in working closely with engineers, as well as clients and GC’s in an effort to mitigate site concerns and issues that arise throughout the project life cycle.
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