Celebrating International Women’s Day

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3/8/2023 2:53:27 PM

Today is International Women’s Day, a worldwide celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and a call to accelerate gender equity. At Michael Baker International, the talented women in our Wolf Pack are delivering excellence and leading our industry.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we sat down with some of the exceptional women who are Making a Difference each day for our company, clients and communities. Read on to know them better!


Polly Boardman, PMP

CTS PMO Director

Reno, Nevada


Tell us about a woman who has influenced your career. How has she impacted you?

My mom is a retired college professor. Since I was young, she always expected my best work, whether it was in music, sports, school or a job. I admire how she was effective and assertive, yet compassionate, for all of her employees and colleagues. She urged me in school to speak up and to not be scared to have the answer in class, including making me read books about how girls are taught not to speak up in school – a behavior that has been encouraged in American children for many decades. She made me go to school in England and in Lincoln, Nebraska, as a kid, to get exposure to other cultures and then to experience being a new student so I would know what it felt like to be an outsider and to make new connections. Because she did this, I am able to read people very well and to make conversations with people I don't know in order to make them comfortable, both very beneficial talents in our line of work. She also empowered me to be competitive, despite being empathetic, stating, "You don't have to hold yourself back to make sure everyone around you is taken care of; you need to think about what you want in life and then go for it."

What’s something that you’re particularly proud of?

I have four kids (two I adopted when they were young and two who are my biological twins) whom I raised as a single mom while I advanced my career at Michael Baker. Now that all four are grown and out on their own, either in college or recently out of college with jobs, I am proud that I never compromised my commitment to being there for all of them as they grew up and my equal commitment to learning and advancing my capabilities and my team at work. I set an example for my kids to work hard, be competitive yet compassionate, and to maintain a healthy work-life balance as they enter into the challenges of adulting.


Monet Laws

Human Resources Business Partner

Hamilton, New Jersey


What do you love most about your job?

The people. I know this sounds cliché, but I enjoy and like the people I work with. I work in a department and Region where my team members feel not like co-workers, but family. I also love that I am not a number. It means a lot when executive leaders know your name and make you feel valued and a part of the team.

What advice do you have for other women in our industry?

Anything is possible. No one will knock on our door and hand us this fantastic career with a bow on top. However, we can get there if we work hard and remain confident and consistent. Balance is key, and things are changing for women in our industry and the world. Also, remember those behind us. When you make it, pay it forward someday.


Lorna Parkins, FAICP

Office Executive – Richmond

Richmond, Virginia


What’s something that you’re particularly proud of?

I have raised four children while working and advancing my career at my own pace, and my now-grown children's success and choices in life remind me that our family successfully navigated many challenging years, and we are all stronger for it.

What advice do you have for other women in our industry?

Hold true to your values and let them be your guide through work, family and life choices. You hold the throttle on your career, and you can ask for what you need to make it all work – especially here at Michael Baker, where we have family-friendly policies in place.


Ayesha Hassan

Civil Associate – Highway

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


What do you love most about your job?

It's not just number crunching, but also a lot of design and problem-solving with logic since there are so many human factors to consider. The work is never finished, and there are constantly new improvements that could be made to make it better. Also, working alongside professionals from other disciplines gives you the ability to approach a problem from different angles, making it a rewarding and mind-opening profession.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you see for creating greater gender diversity and equity in our industry?

One of the biggest opportunities is growing awareness and commitment to diversity and inclusion by organizations and industry leaders. There is increasing recognition that diversity leads to innovation and better business outcomes.

The biggest challenge I see is stereotypes and cultural norms. Stereotypes about gender and cultural norms can create barriers for women in engineering. For example, the perception that engineering is a male-dominated field can discourage girls and women from pursuing careers in the field. Addressing these stereotypes and cultural norms requires a multi-pronged approach, including education and awareness-raising campaigns, as well as changes to organizational culture and practices.


Laurel DeMattia, SHRM-SCP

Human Resources Business Partner

Tampa, Florida


What’s something that you’re particularly proud of?

I am a lifelong learner with a growth mindset, which makes me more blessed than proud. I mess up a lot. I know less and less the more I know. Recently I heard one of my many mentors say, “Education without application is simply entertainment.” That was a wakeup call for me to be more intentional in my listening to better execute on what I learn.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you see for creating greater gender diversity and equity in our industry?

The greatest opportunity is celebrating how far we’ve come and galvanizing hope to go even further, collaboratively and collectively. Every challenge brings opportunity. As I consider the transformation on each challenge, instead of an either/or, I picture a dimmer light moving progressively out of the challenge (dark) to the desired state (light).

We all must take ownership of creating a healthy, humane workplace one person at a time and one act at a time to positively impact our offices, our community and ultimately our globe.


Kat Frankowski, E.I.T.

Civil Associate – Land Development

Carlsbad, California


What do you love most about your job?

I've always loved traffic and transportation. We all use roads, even if we don't drive, and improving them makes small changes in our community that impact day-to-day life. I love knowing that we are making roads safer for everyone. My grandfather was a bridge engineer in Russia, and even though I never met him, this makes me feel closer to him.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you see for creating greater gender diversity and equity in our industry?

Encouraging young women to go into STEM. While the numbers of women are growing in STEM, they need to grow more!


Kirsten Bowen, P.E.

National Director – Rail & Transit

Cleveland, Ohio


What do you love most about your job?

The people that work at Michael Baker are my favorite part of working here. Having been here over 20 years and given my various roles, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with people nationally and developed really strong relationships that help facilitate workshare and project/pursuit collaboration.

What’s something that you’re particularly proud of?

I am extremely proud of how far I have come in my career and to have been recognized as the WTS Member of the Year in 2016 and with the Michael Baker International's Chairman’s Award in 2018. Just being nominated for these awards was such an honor.


Priscilla Law Aquino, P.H.R.

Human Resources Business Partner

Santa Ana, California


What advice do you have for other women in our industry?

My advice to other women (and myself) is to continue exploring your unique voice and perspective, as well as how your experience can shape and influence the future of the company.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you see for creating greater gender diversity and equity in our industry?

The biggest challenge is creating an industry that is equally attractive to all people. Our industry is broad, exciting and ever-changing, and people in this industry solve real-world problems. If we add more diversity of thought and foster more inclusion, the result is better neighborhoods, cities and places for everyone.


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