May 5, 2022
We are highlighting the unique relationships we share in our global community of seasoned professionals. The strength of Epstein lies in the wealth of experience shared with each other to better equip our workforce with knowledge and confidence.
From building great professional relationships to long lasting friendships, these stories speak for themselves. This month the spotlight is Tamie Williams and Brooklyn Colbert from our Chicago DesignBuild department.
Tamie Williams currently holds the position of Construction Specialist, and has been with Epstein for almost 35 years. Tamie joined Epstein at an entry-level position within our DesignBuild department. Her experience is a culmination of a wide assortment of projects, both in the office and on-site. She has worked on dozens of projects, managed a staff of up to six administrative assistants and spent four years on a jobsite at an operating facility; an experience that gave her new insight and perspective. Drawing on her experience in the field, her role today entails setting up, maintaining jobsites, and acting as a liaison for site personnel. In addition, she oversees administrative processes for the group, and handles licensing, manages the administrative team and supports, trains, mentors staff. Tamie’s vast knowledge and experience over, allow her, to not only keep up, but also resonate with the fast pace, collaborative environment of the construction industry. Tamie has also spent 6 years on the Staffing Initiative Committee and has sat on several quality committees thru the years.
Brooklyn Colbert joined Epstein as a Project Coordinator in the DesignBuild department last April. She currently has over four years of experience as a Project Coordinator. Prior to Epstein, Brooklyn’s career took place at the interior design firm KTGY/Simeone Deary Design Group. Her experience there comprised of hospitality and restaurant projects across the country. She was excited for the opportunity to learn the DesignBuild process with a focus on construction/build of projects here at Epstein. “The construction of industrial facilities is quite different from hospitality design and I have enjoyed learning a completely new industry,” she said.
Brooklyn has been working on all industrial cannabis construction projects for the Design Build department. She has expressed excitement with her part of a burgeoning industry, and seeing how the DesignBuild group take their industrial design and construction experience to a new type of client. Brooklyn has also recently taken the initiative to join the Staffing Initiative Committee at Epstein.
What is your favorite part about being a mentor?
Tamie: “Being a mentor is a rewarding experience. I enjoy teaching and mentoring the young staff, watching them grow and blossom into valuable team members. It is a privilege to take part in their development professionally and, I hope in some ways, personally. My mentors were seasoned veterans who left a lifelong impression on me, taught me the business and many lessons along the way. I feel good knowing, or at least hoping, that I can make that same impression on a mentee. I also appreciate learning from my mentees. A new, fresh perspective and way of doing things is helpful and allows me to continue to grow.”
What did you gain from being a mentee to Tamie?
Brooklyn: “Tamie has a long history working for Epstein and has always been open to sharing both the practical and colorful stories of her time here. Tamie has seen the creation of the DesignBuild group and was an integral part in developing the project coordinator role within this group. Having spent many years working on many different projects, Tamie took her administrator experience to become the first Construction Specialist at Epstein. It is very encouraging to see how hard work and loyalty can allow someone to create and pursue their own niche within a workplace. I have gained a lot of inspiration from learning about Tamie’s career path here at Epstein.”
How would you best describe your mentoring style?
Tamie: “My role as a mentor, first and foremost, is to develop a positive relationship with my mentee. I strive to make my mentees feel comfortable and try to create an environment that is open and collaborative. I really get to know my mentee and open myself up to them, we can then play off each other’s strengths and anticipate each other’s needs. I also try to find humor in things we encounter during the day and share that with my mentee. The laughter helps ease tension and stress, and strengthens the relationship as you find common ground and learn things about one another. It’s important to like each other, respect each other, and want to make each other better.”
In your opinion, how can mentees build a strong relationship with their mentor?
Brooklyn: “Respect – As a mentee, I respect the time, feedback and experience shared by my mentor. Being a mentor isn’t written in a job description or listed as an expected duty, a person volunteers to be a mentor. It takes a person with a generous spirit and a desire to share while shaping their colleagues professional experience. As a mentee, I respect any amount of time or effort spent answering questions, giving advice or collaborating. Respect is reciprocal and that is the best foundation for a strong relationship with a mentor.”
What describes Brooklyn?
Tamie: ”She is determined, committed, and downright tenacious. Brooklyn attacks every task, big or small, with a fierce determination to do it right and do it well. Her excellent organizational skills and attention to detail are a perfect fit for her position. She cares about her own success but also that of the team and the project and puts that care into everything she does. It’s been fun teaching Brooklyn and watching her enthusiasm. She approaches every day with vigor, she’s always ready and willing to take on a new task and does so with a pleasant and positive attitude.”
Something I appreciate about my mentor…
Brooklyn: “Honesty – Call her a straight shooter, a frank talker or just plain direct, Tamie is the most honest person I know. Not only does this quality make her an invaluable mentor, but it truly benefits the whole team. Honesty breeds authenticity and shows that you care. It creates a transparent environment and builds trust. Whether it is sharing a hard truth, or a generous compliment – I never doubt Tamie’s sincerity.”
Something I appreciate about my mentee -
Tamie: “Her commitment and work ethic. I know her projects are being managed effectively and efficiently and can count on her to take care of her team. When she commits to something, she follows it through to the end, allowing me to focus on my own role. Recently, while one of our Project Coordinators was on leave and another still training, Brooklyn was tasked with carrying out PC responsibilities – preparing/tracking contracts and change orders and maintaining insurance for all subcontractors on 12 projects, coordinating travel for a group of 15+ weekly, responding to requests from team members and many other tasks too numerous to name. It was stressful at times but Brooklyn handled it all with grace, showing up early each and every day to go at it again. I appreciate that she has, in just a year’s time, become an invaluable, independent team member.”
One word -- verb, noun, adjective, adverb -- that describes a Mentee's role.
Brooklyn: “Engagement –I stay engaged by setting up meetings, outlining ideas, collaborating with teammates, and seeking feedback from my mentor. By jumping in and doing this type of work, I have been able to learn and develop so much more than if I sat back and waited for someone to come to me. A mentee must take responsibility of their professional development – no one is going to do it for you.”
What are your secrets for a successful mentor/mentee relationship?
Brooklyn: “Ask Questions – The old adage of “there are no dumb questions” really does hold up. It is okay to be curious and express that curiosity without feeling embarrassed. We can always make assumptions about the why’s and how’s of a process…but that calls to mind another, more indelicate adage. Asking questions is one of the most important skills a person can develop, especially in a mentee role.“