~This post was submitted by Kristina Tougas who is now a Project Engineer at Skanska in New York City ~
Making the leap from student to professional is a challenge in a city like New York. Suddenly you shift from being told exactly what to do and when, to complete uncertainty and wide open doors where what happens next is up to you. In that moment, you need people who believe in you and want to help you succeed.
I found that in PWC. In the midst of an internship search frenzy, and with a small push from my dad, I found myself reaching out to Chelsea and Fran at PWC, not even sure what I was looking for, and definitely unaware of exactly where it would take me. I didn’t know what a “network” did, but I knew I was completely terrified of networking. I know now that sending that email might very well be why I’m sitting where I am right now- at my desk in Skanska’s Empire State Building office, looking out over New York City, still so excited to be here every single day.
My journey at PWC went from nervous volunteer following Fran around hoping for introductions, to their intern learning event planning and corporate networking strategy, while gaining first-hand experience at PWC president Barbara Armand’s CM firm Armand, a couple floors above PWC’s office. When it came time to look for a full-time job, I had an arsenal of powerful women contacts and friends across the industry to turn to for advice. Some, like Rebecca Clark at Skanska (who I met at PWC Golf!), took me on tours of their offices and sites. Instead of hiding behind Fran at events, I soon found myself marching up to executives and introducing myself. That confidence came from PWC.
The way that PWC members, especially the women, push each other to succeed is contagious. A couple of months ago I was giving career advice to a few PWC student members wondering, “How am I on this side of things already?” But of course, I know the answer to that. Now a member of the Skanska Women’s Network as well, the value of being a part of such an organization is so clear. I hope that people in all stages of their careers find their way to PWC and engage with all that it offers- I know it is one of the most valuable tools I have.
This Post was written by Kristina Tougas who is now a Project Engineer at Skanska in New York City.