By Cristin Van Horn
When we first met Christina, we knew she was awesome, but we had no idea just how much of a badass she really was! Janes, we would like to introduce you to this amazing DOer, who is breaking down stereotypes in the male dominated world of building inspection and challenging what it means to be fearless, physical, and fabulous as hell. Listen to what she had to say about her job and what it means to work on an all female team of building inspectors.
Jane: How the hell did you get into building inspection? Was this something you were always interested in?
Christina: I always loved buildings, knew I wanted to work with them when I was a little girl and realized the architect my parents hired was a woman. Funny how I thought only men could do this. So I studied architecture and historic preservation in college. My company asked me if I wanted to rappel and I said 1000% yes.
Jane: What challenges do you face in this industry? Do you feel like being a woman makes a difference?
Christina: Being a woman has its challenges. The industry is male dominated, especially on the contractor side. I've been doing this for a while now, so I'm confident in my position, but you really need to assert yourself, otherwise contractors feel like they can walk all over you.
An all female team is amazing, sure there's some friendly competition, but we all have each other's backs. My company is about 60% women, which used to be rare, but now there are more and more women active in the architecture world. It's great when we forget boots / clothes for inspections and we can share. We're mostly the same age demographic (25 - 38) and wear the same size / have the same interests. We do a girl's night every once in a while and workout / take classes together. I’ve even brought a couple of my coworkers to Jane DO!
Jane: What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Christina: RAPPELLLINGGG! Girl it's amazing. You get a workout (core and arms) plus you get views of Manhattan the average person never gets to see. Plus it's super fun and a great photo opp
Jane: I imagine that you need to be in pretty good shape to repel from buildings, what is the most challenging aspect physically?
Christina: I've always been active, so I work out regularly and so do the other women, but we could all use a little more upper body strength. The ropes get really heavy, and in an emergency situation, I would hope I have enough strength to pull myself back over a parapet if I need to. We are always with someone who could help us, just in case, but it would be nice if I alone had the strength to do it. Jane DO has absolutely helped!