Name: Anna Stern
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Occupation: Vice President, Tri-North Builders, Inc.
Anna Stern is under construction. Well, technically she’s over construction, overseer that is!
Anna is Vice President of Tri-North Builders, Inc., one of the largest construction companies in the country. Based in Wisconsin, the might and muscle of Tri-North doesn’t just build upward, they build outward, too: the company reaches out to the community, even hosting events like Kids Building Wisconsin, which invited local children to come in and partake in construction-related games and activity in order to drum up attention and support for the construction workforce.
Although she’s recognized as being a strong female voice in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and grew up in a family that had ties to the field, working for a commercial and retail construction company wasn’t exactly her original goal.
“Once I graduated law school, I practiced at a large law firm for about five years, specializing in construction law. Tri-North was one of my clients at the firm and they offered me the opportunity to move in-house in the dual role of Vice President and General Counsel. I handle all of our legal matters and also oversee the daily operations for the entire company, which includes our corporate headquarters here in Madison and four satellite offices,” she says.
Anna is a champion not only for the construction workforce recovering after the recession, but for female voices contributing to the industry as a whole. She doesn’t pretend it’s an easily achieved goal, but she has great advice for ladies looking to make waves in stereotypically male-oriented spheres.
“I would say that the best advice would be to find a good mentor. I’ve been blessed to have great mentors throughout my career and have benefited from their guidance, experience, and willingness to stand up for me. There has been research that has shown that women often leave male-dominated industries because they lack a mentor that can help them navigate the waters or just be a sounding board,” she says.
And she takes this quest into her state with an enthusiasm that’s infectious. She continues, “We in the Wisconsin construction industry have been working to find ways to combat that. A female architect that we know recently had the idea to start Women Building Wisconsin and we at Tri-North worked with her to get the first and subsequent events going. The goal of Women Building Wisconsin is to connect women within the construction industry, and the ultimate goal is reach out to women entering the industry so that they can find mentors.”
Women who build while breaking down barriers! Anna’s mission is laudable, and change is on the way. But there’s also a personal slant to this business guru for girls.
“Have a tough skin. It’s simply a fact that women and men approach things differently and handle things differently. Neither is wrong or right; they’re just different. But when you work in a male-dominated industry, you often find yourself being the one who views or approaches a matter differently. You have to be willing to speak up to make your voice heard, have a tough skin because you may not be heard at first, and be persistent,” she insists.
Other than expanding Tri-North to other satellite offices and bringing their productivity and success to even larger horizons, Anna’s goals are simple: to spend time with her family and kids, Alexandra and Edward! “I want to enjoy every moment of them being young, even the moments where they are completely insane, and I want to do whatever I can to nurture the interests that they have so they can continue to pursue those as they grow,” she says.
For shattering barriers while constructing an awesome legacy in construction, we think Anna Stern is one Cool Girl!
For more about Tri-North’s work in the United States and Canada, click over to their website where you can see project information, job site photos, and videos. You can also check out what’s new with Anna and Tri-North on their Facebook page.