Interviews and Biographies
Visit this page to find bios, information about, and links to interviews with various women in nontraditional fields.
DemoChicks Interview with
Anaya Blade, one of DemoChicks 2021 scholarship recipients, recently interviewed Stephanie Wiggins, Chief Executive Officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). During their conversations, Wiggins spoke on her background, life, and career which are an inspiration to young girls of color pursuing career paths similar to her own.
Meet Talin Espinoza, Structural Engineer
Director of Business Development for Flat Iron Construction Corporation
Talin Espinoza is a structural engineer who graduated from the ArtCenter College of Design. While she began her career in graphic design working for AECOM, currently she is a Director of Business Development for Flat Iron Construction Corporation. Her job deals more with client relations and heavy civil infrastructure projects such as bridges.
Growing up, Espinoza had never seen herself with a career in construction. However, due to her family members’ involvement with the field, she was inspired to pursue a similar career despite men being the dominant gender. Being a woman in construction, she felt she had to work harder in many aspects. She further explains that women must constantly strive for perfection, while men simply have to be “good enough” to reach higher levels. Despite this setback, she stresses the importance of creating and curating close personal relationships with those around you, as they can help you to be successful and reach the levels you strive for.
This has become one of the most beneficial and rewarding parts of her job, as she has been able to connect with those who inspire her for advice, as well as mentor those around her and push them to achieve their goals. Talin mentioned that having mentors can be very beneficial. Alice Lopez is one of Talin’s mentors; she is Vice President, Innovation & Design Management. Another mentor in Talin’s life is Mary Teichert who is President at Teichert Inc. These powerful women have helped shape Talin’s career.
Additionally, she states it is important to treat those close to you with humility, instead of leading with ego. Beyond that, Espinoza finds it important to be disciplined in all aspects of life to be accomplished in whatever you do.
Jacqueline Pruitt was born and raised in Long Beach, California. She attended Long Beach City College and transferred to California State Fullerton to study Psychology and Human Services. She went into her first career as a counselor and soon after found her love for construction. Jacqueline attended the University of Iron and completed a four-year apprenticeship program to become a journeyman.
Her passion for becoming an ironworker happened quickly. Within the first 6 months of hearing about the construction industry, Jacqueline learned all aspects of different construction opportunities and jobs and what it took to become one, which blossomed her passion. Jacqueline always had an entrepreneurial attitude with a mindset of “If you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability.” She learned that there is a need for minority, disadvantaged, and women-owned small businesses in the construction field. That need, coupled with her entrepreneurial mindset, flourished her business, Marvella Steel Placers.
There are many barriers that Jacqueline had to break to get to where she is today. Before she was in the union, she spent 4 months, day in and day out, calling companies to get employed for a minimum of six weeks. Some companies would not pick up her phone call because she was a woman without industry experience and did not want to take the time to sponsor her. Her dedication and passion kept her going and eventually led her to her sponsor and mentor. He was the catalyst who helped her start her company.
When I asked Jacqueline about overcoming barriers, she used an inspiring metaphor. She envisioned a brick wall in front of her. There are many ways to overcome that barrier; however, you have to navigate a solution and have the courage and determination to get over that barrier. Once you are over it, it will be a barrier that is now behind you.
One of Jacqueline’s most powerful lessons is that you do not have to learn on your own, and that experience is your best teacher. She tries to surround herself with people that are doing successful things, and that inspires her. This coincides with the importance of mentors. Jacqueline has had many mentors whom she can rely on and ask for advice. These mentors have helped her in the construction industry and the business industry.
Jacqueline’s advice to the younger generation is to try different things and see what you like; then, once you find your passion, never give up. She gave the importance of not ending something until you have another opportunity to pursue something else.
Her most significant piece of advice is never to forget to give back.
Her motivation comes from her past and God. She has dealt with many barriers in her life and, at one point, reached rock bottom. However, she has a strong faith, and her prayers were answered by giving her opportunities and motivation. That is what has shaped her to become an empowering DemoChick!