Women with Cool Jobs

General Contractor/Designer & Inventor/Roboticist/Engineer Innovating Creative Solutions That Make Houses Home, with Ati Williams & Jessica Banks

November 01, 2023
Women with Cool Jobs
General Contractor/Designer & Inventor/Roboticist/Engineer Innovating Creative Solutions That Make Houses Home, with Ati Williams & Jessica Banks
Show Notes Transcript

Ati Williams and Jessica Banks are multi-talented and multi-passionate women in the trades and STEM...and also 2 of 4 cohosts of "Hack My Home" on Netflix.. They show us why it's important to NOT be defined by the "lower third," which in TV terms means the lower part of the screen where they include your title or job description. We can be multi-faceted and multi-talented women, which is exactly what they are.
 

Ati Williams is a licensed general contractor and  renowned design-builder, owner of  Honeycomb – a renovation and design business, real estate developer, TV personality, speaker, and philanthropist. 

 

Jessica Banks is an inventor, roboticist,  systems engineer, designer, entrepreneur, owner of kinetic furniture company RockPaperRobot (RPR), and TV personality.  

 

In this episode, we talk about: 

  • their winding career paths (dream jobs were astronaut & nonprofit hero)
  • the importance of creating more opportunities for women by transparently sharing your experiences, salary, and more 
  • why approaching new situations with curiosity can lead to opportunities 
  •  why being a woman in male-dominated field gives you an advantage


 With over two decades in real estate and construction, Ati has revitalized numerous spaces, tackling everything from subtle makeovers to extensive rehabs. As one of the few black women in the construction realm, she's passionate about inspiring the next generation of female builders and entrepreneurs.  Ati was born and raised in Kenya and later ventured to Canada, attending York University in Toronto, followed by pursuing her MBA at McGill University. She now resides in the United States.

Jess also consults as a strategic and technical advisor to agencies, corporations, and designers and as a space optimizer to individual clients. Jess is a vocal proponent of female representation in STEM. She speaks publicly on topics ranging from science to entrepreneurship to manufacturing  and has degrees in both Engineering (MIT) and Physics (UofM).

Contact Info:
Ati Williams - Guest


Jessica Banks - Guest


Julie Berman - Host
www.womenwithcooljobs.com
@womencooljobs (Instagram)
Julie Berman's LinkedIn Profile 

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I absolutely LOVE being the host and producer of "Women with Cool Jobs", where I interview women who have unique, trailblazing, and innovative careers. It has been such a blessing to share stories of incredible, inspiring women since I started in 2020.

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Ati Williams & Jessica Banks:

A lot of the process is like asking questions that really like the client hasn't even thought about, like, they're there. They're just like, Yeah, you know, you guys like kind of make things like, really optimal, but it's not just about, like making a pretty space. It's like about like, for all intents and purposes, hacking time and hacking the space and hacking like just like figuring out like, what is the best way to live? And what is the best way for your space to support you like to support? You know, like, is your is your home making space for you? And so, yeah, so that's kind of like our approach with a lot.

Unknown:

And functionality looks different for everybody. Right? And so it's not just that like, this thing works. Well. It's not a one size fits, right? Yeah. So it's like, Well, are you trying to be more productive? Are you trying to be more relaxed? Are you trying to be in this space? Are you what your needs? And also, there's sometimes the interesting, the irony is that, like, people often will design and build for their ideal selves, but when they but they're not their ideal, right? So then you actually have your life that you live, and so you don't want there to be that conflict. So you want to like kind of ease the person into that understanding? Yeah, you know, like you're you and we can make your ideal space. But like, let's make it your ideal space for you and not for your ideal self.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, I'm Julie, and welcome to Women with cool jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique trailblazing and innovative careers. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now, and actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path, or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big, and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields, and hopefully some that you've never heard of before. Women who filled robots and roadways, firefighters, see sweet professional surrounded by men, social media, mavens, entrepreneurs, and more. I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello, everybody, this is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of women with cool jobs. So I am so excited because I not only have one woman on the show today, I have two women with two cool jobs. And they're actually quite different jobs. But they work together and they met not that long ago. But you would think that they have been friends for at least half a decade, like at least five years. Because they just like vibe so much. And they they work, you know so well together. It's like so incredible. So I want to ask you a question before we start. And before I introduce them, which is if I say what do you think about? Or who do you picture when you hear about someone who's an inventor or systems engineer? Also, who do you picture or think about when I say that this person is a licensed general contractor? Like do you, you probably don't think of women, you probably definitely don't think of a blonde woman as an inventor and a systems engineer. And you probably don't think of a black woman as a licensed general contractor and designer. But I'm pointing these out, because I was just literally so excited to introduce you to these incredible women who are doing very, like very big work in paving pathways for women in these fields that don't have a lot of women. And so these women met not that long ago, like a year and a half to two years ago, Max, because they were on a really great show together, which you can watch now called hack my home on Netflix, they met on this show. And they also have two other hosts co hosts that are gentlemen on there. And this show is really neat. Like it's such a fun show to watch, because it's not this typical sort of home transformation before and after. They really focus on finding innovative design solutions for families who need help. They create like staircases that fold up flat on the wall, and then pop out and you can walk up them. They have like things that come down from the ceiling and hold toys for kids. And I mean things that pop up from the counter and hold a small appliances. So I mean, it was so fun to watch. But also, this show really is an example of the power of collaboration, the power of creativity, the power of people coming together to use their skills in such a beautiful way. And I love that these women in particular have so much to give the world and share the world and they're doing that not only in showing how a strong female All friendship and collaborations can be so powerful for your career, but also like it's enhanced their life. It's allowed them to do things to after the show to continue to do things that are supporting each one of them, and building their businesses and following their dreams. So, Addy Williams is a licensed general contractor and designer with her own business called Honeycomb, which does renovation and design. She's also a real estate developer. She's a TV personality, she's a speaker. And Jessica vagues is an inventor and system systems engineer with degrees in both engineering from MIT and physics from U of M. She's a designer, she's an entrepreneur, she's also a TV personality. And so she has her business called Rock Paper robot, where she builds kinetic furniture. And it's, it looks like it's floating, it's really magical. So I just really want to encourage you, when you're listening to this podcast, to really pay attention to like, their vibe, and how they really bounce off one another. And you can tell that they just have so much fun together. And I mean, wouldn't it be amazing if we could all find like a business bestie. And like a friendship, who someone who actually has has a different skill set than us, but someone who allows us to like show up and be our best self and who can like help amplify it and those beautiful way, I feel like that's what these ladies do for one another. And they truly, like honor each other's gifts, which is so cool to see. The other thing that I love about them is that they are really working hard at not only sharing their experiences collaborating together, but they're sharing what they've learned how they've gone about having like difficult tough conversations on their journey, because they do work in male dominated fields, and how they supported each other and how they're looking to support other women and empower other women who are looking to get into these fields, and, you know, grow in this industry and build a career out of it. So I love this conversation for so many reasons, I think that they are doing such incredible work in the world. And, you know, I just I mean, there's just so much that I could talk about here, but I really want you to listen. So I just really encourage you, as you're going through this episode to not only think about like the relationship that they formed and how powerful female relationships can be at helping us row in our own careers. Also think about like their, their career journey, because each one of them had a very different career journey that's led them to these cool jobs that they have individually. But they also you know, they kind of lead sometimes with like curiosity or they lead with like this learner's mindset of, they're just going to try something out, they're going to see where it takes them. And then one thing led to another. And, you know, here they are years later doing these cool things. So that goes to show that like sometimes when we start out, we also we can have these big, this big goals and these big dreams and like these ideas of like maybe what I should do or could do, or what I think my my skill set aligns with. But we also want to think bigger than that. We also want to like give ourselves permission to try and to explore, I think that's so important, especially in today's world, where like things are changing so incredibly quickly, like quicker than we can anticipate. Now, especially with with AI and all in the economy and all these other things like it's just so beneficial for us to really give ourselves permission to explore and try new things and see what's out there. And, and yeah, we can learn from these incredible women. So go check out the show hack my home on Netflix, if you haven't seen it yet. It is so fun. Go check out what they do on their, in their businesses. They both are so different, but yet so cool and what they do. It's such a pleasure to be able to bring you two women with two cool jobs at one time. Also, please if you have not done so yet. Please share this with one friend. That is how more people know more women know about the cool jobs that exist about the work that women are doing in the world right now. Like isn't just like, oh, maybe this is happening like these are examples of real women every day doing these cool jobs and showing what is possible. And it's just like mind blowing to me. So please make sure you share this with at least one woman that is my request of you today. Hope you are having an amazing, amazing holiday season. I'm so excited. I'm a huge fan of Halloween. So if you love Halloween to woo I hope you get to see all the cute kiddos wearing all their cute costumes. I hope you're out eating all the candy and doing so many fun things like and we're all that is just there's a lot going on. Sometimes I think it's it's wonderful to be able to take a moment to just like appreciate what like the little things in our life that are going right that are going well. And for me I love Halloween I love seeing my No three kids dress up in their costumes like, it's going to be so much fun. As a complete side note, I'll actually wrap up, like my kids this year are going to be my little sis astronaut. My middle one is PJ Masks, and my older one is creeper from Minecraft. So for what it's worth, and then my husband, I were gonna do group group costume with my little, my little little, and I'm gonna dress up as planets and my husband to the moon. So like, I get so excited for Halloween, and I decorate and all the things and we did pumpkin carving. So it's just yeah, like taking a minute. For me to appreciate the really fun things are like the things that I enjoy the most, like doing this podcast like celebrating Halloween with my kids and carving pumpkins and doing silly costumes with my family. It just really makes me happy. So I hope you have some things that really make you happy right now as well. And I'm just, I'm just sending out so much appreciation and light and love your way. All right, well, hello, I am so excited to have you both on. So I am here with Adi Williams and Jessica thanks. And I couldn't be happier because you guys have cool jobs individually. But then you also have really cool jobs like you've combined together to work together and to like build this new friendship that you have. And then now you're going out into the world and sharing about what you're doing and just collaborating and all these new cool ways. So without further ado, thank you both for being here. Thank you for having us. Thanks for having us. So we're gonna do this a little bit different than maybe I've done it in the past, because there are two of you. So I'm going to talk probably to both of you individually first, like and just have you each explain in your own words. What it is that you do, like, how would you describe your job? And then we'll, we'll take it from there. So Adi, maybe if you could go first, like how do you describe your job? What is your current job?

Unknown:

Are we Shepherd? Like go through something like that? No. So I am the CEO of a design build companies called honeycomb. And what we do is everything from design permitting, and then the actual construction of a lot of residential and hospitality spaces. And yeah, so that's kind of my main job. That's my, my real job, if you could say so. Yeah, thank you. And within that, you know, I know why I contacted you is because I saw you were a general contractor. And like, and you're a woman, and you're black, and I just was like I've I've never met anyone who looks like you and especially like even who's a woman, right? Who is a general contractor. Like if I think in my mind, some of the jobs like general contractor landscaper, fire person, we think of fire man, right? All these things we think of in our head as men. So like when I saw you, I was like, This is so cool. So I was just so excited to be able to talk to you about what you do and your job. And I'm so grateful to have you on the show first. So thanks for that, like really great overview. And then just, we're excited. A lot of times when people when I walk into a person, they're like, Wait, you're the GC or your work moods. I actually that can be a little bit of a superpower if no one expects you to thing, you know, like sometimes even just being blonde people are like, she's, she's a ditz, you know, like, like, I'm just like, I'm gonna let that ride for a while.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, like, I wouldn't even thought of that, because I'm off. I'm not playing. So I've never had that, you know? Yeah, but but that's such a good point about the things that people think right off the bat, like, Oh, here's a GC, you know, or like for you, Jessica, because you are applying, you know, like, oh, like you're coming in here? Or do you have the brainpower to to do this job. So with that, well, you explain also what you do, Jessica, like, what? What is your cool job? And you guys, I should say probably jobs, you guys have so many things under your umbrella. So how would you describe what you do?

Unknown:

So I think but on paper one or the real job is that I have a company called Rock Paper robot that does kinetic furniture. And so we sell things from levitating tables to what we would be selling these things if we weren't out of inventory at the moment are selling and limiting tables and chairs that fold up we quickly and in different kinds of tables and, and things like that. And I also do a bunch of consulting for small and large companies around inventions and strategy and go to market ideas like that. And then I do other inventions that we're we're working on to put out into the world as products as well. And then they can either do Have consulting together and building a whole empire around home optimum and space optimization. Yeah, I love that. Yeah. And so I want to like in the introduction, I'm gonna go into so much more detail about like, all the things that you guys do and what you're involved with. But I know together like how you guys even became friends is you're on this awesome show on Netflix. And it's called hack my home. And basically, like, it's not just the ordinary, like, let's go into a space and redo it. So you know, it looks beautiful, but it also functions better. Like you guys take it to a whole nother level. And it's just like, I mean, really fascinating to watch you guys have you two are on the show. And then you guys have two other colleagues who you work with on the show. But can you explain like, what is hack my home? And how do you use your skills together specifically, for the purposes of that show? Because I think the way you work together, and then me, like, I watched all, you know, I binge watched all the episodes with my husband. So like, just getting to see the process, like start to finish like you guys create the most. I don't know, like the most innovative things and right, like things that you just that don't exist before you create them. Like they're so cool. So can you explain like, what is that collaboration process like to be on this show? And you know, like, what are your skill sets, maybe that you're using within that from your, your past that you kind of put into this new experience? Yeah, so I think, you know, starting with this show, what the show is, it's really some people call it a home Rando show. But we like to think of it more of space transformation show that has a pretty high degree of very technical hacks and solutions to optimizing the space. And we think about it, the optimization of the space in terms of how it functions for the families that live in there. But it's also you know, like how they'll grow into the space. And we think you know, and not just in 3d and 4d, right, so like how this space will evolve over time with them, and how they can feel better in the space and optimize it for their engagements and for their interactions and for their daily behaviors. So that's the show, I think, in a nutshell, yeah. And I think it was the timing for the show coming out was really good. Because right now, obviously, there's a lot more people who are having to use their home as multiple different spaces right as their home office or as their classroom or wellness room, because you can't go to especially when we were filming this shows, like smack in the middle of COVID. So your home, became your gym, became your office became your kids classroom became all things right? And so how do you then use this very limited amount of space and maximize it so that it could fit all the different functions that support your life, right. And that's basically hack my home. In a nutshell, a lot of the families like maybe had initially purchased their house with a very specific thing in mind, you know, there was the family that was a family of three and had anticipated that they were going to end up being a family of four, and then turns out those quads, the quadruplets showed up and now there were a family of seven, right? And so how do you then get your home to meet you where you're at, in a situation like that? Right. And it's really based in collaboration, right, so there are 414 members, CO CO hosts, and so construction and engineering design and, and innovation. And so, really, the show was the ultimate goal of the show is to show how all those different parts can come together to come up with solutions.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, thank you. And yeah, it was amazing. Like, I just thought there were so many different things that you guys did specific to each family and their needs. And I think what you said like the functions that support your life is so beautifully put, because I, I love that there was that thought like, especially me being a mom. Now I have three kids. And I swear every time I've had a child, I feel like we need to move, because there's just like, more things that I'm like, Oh, I wish I had this or I wish this space could function differently in this way. So I love that you guys actually thought about that. And like not only where the families were at and their needs, but then also like, how could they really utilize that space going forward? And given like that you had so many people with all these expert sort of skill sets, and then combining them together like so. It was just I've never seen anything like it. It was so cool. So I want to like kind of now that we have that really great overview. You guys presented such a good picture of like, what you're doing your skills and like what you're doing on this show. Can we go back like a little bit because I want to know about like little audio and like little Jessica and kind of get a picture of like, who you were We're at the beginning of either like, if you want to take it from your childhood, or if you want to take it from kind of a certain point when you started your career, depending on like, where you want to start your story, but like, how did you guys get into these fields? And was it obvious to you knew that you were going to be doing this in the future someday? Like, was it your goal to be in these careers? I would just love to hear about that.

Unknown:

And is there because it's more obvious for you? Well, it's, well, actually, some days, I'm like, still not sure what career I'm in. But so yeah. So but you know, I mean, I had always wanted to be an astronaut when I was little. And so I think that set me on sort of the at least the stem arena of fields of study, and loved physics, actually, I didn't love it. And that's why I pursued it more so and then came to love it. And so an astrophysics and then after some, like mishaps, where I did thought I was going to the military, and then ended up not going into the military, and then ended up going to MIT for grad school and robotics. And actually, it was there that I really learned how to make things and I feel like then I became really more aware of the world, that was a total rebirth of wonder for me, and understanding how things are made and like the minutiae of, of mechanical systems and, and just even systems that I end the things in my home that I take for granted. And so, and then realized that I wanted to be able to put some of that robotics and mechanical engineering and computer science knowledge to be able to bring it into everyone's homes. And then that led me to think, well, you know, furniture was a really great combination of that. And I could, you know, potentially be giving people these, like, mechanical systems that were really functional and also beautiful. So I started to work on that, and then suddenly started a furniture company and, yeah, so yeah, you know, I the furniture that you make is so I almost feel like it would be in the Jetsons house or something, you know, if we were to, if we were to put it somewhere because it's so futuristic, but it's like, it's I mean, I think you have people have to see it. So they'll have to go to your website, which I'll list in the in the show notes, but they can check it out. But it's like, you know, these chairs that sort of come from out of nowhere, and then they form and then you slide them back up, and they're not there anymore. Like to say like, it would be like things that you would find on like a Jetsons Eames wedding registry kind of thing. So yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

yeah, I could, I could totally see that. It's like, there's just so cool on the table. It's like, got these pieces that look like they're floating. And so for you, like when you were, I guess when cuz you, I mean, like going from wanting to be an astronaut, right? And like dealing with physics, and then astrophysics, to actually making physical items that people use in their everyday life is, I mean, actually a pretty big transition. So what? You had a

Unknown:

medium in between those two things?

Julie Berman - Host:

Yes. So I want to I want to hear what's like, what's the intermediate part? Or like, what made you interested in in that element of like, creating these physical things that affect people on a daily level?

Unknown:

Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, I you know, I did actually do a lot of quantum physics when I was in college. I think I also realized that I didn't know how to make a career out of the theoretical kind of side of things like that. And that's where you know, and then when I didn't go into the military, I felt I did feel a bit lost. And I suddenly I started to do like, actually weird home rentals in my own apartment. So I would do like crazy stencils all over our room and I would like glue pennies to like the entire floor of the bathroom. I did like weird, weird things. Actually. I'm just remembering so when I lived, I lived on the Upper West Side and we had I did this thing to my toilet where I covered it and feathers like a toilet looks like a pelican if you think about it, right? So like it has like this big gullet and like anybody thinks about it that way. So I I actually bought I painted the seat and the and the top, orange. And then I glued feathers, these yellow feathers all over the toilet and then I got these slippers that you would use in a pool. And I put them on the floor, okay, and oh my gosh, made it into a pelican and I did all these like weird things to the apartment actually. Then they came to change all of our toilets to make them water reduce reduction toilets, right? And the woman who came to my door and she's like, we're coming to get your toilet to change it out. And I was like, there was a problem and she's like, What and I'm like, come on in and she just looked at me she goes Oh honey, like, like Hey, what's going on man? I'm like hell kind of response like psycho sad, sad for me and she's like, we'll come back for this one, okay. And then like two weeks later, she's like, we're short a toilet. And so they had to come take it. And then out on the street, there was this line of toilets for the trash people to pick up and one pound. I wish I like that we didn't. I wish I had the I wish I had that picture. So I think, you know, like, I started to get the bug for doing things with my hands, like weird tinkering projects, and then finally realized that I actually had seen a movie about robots and thought I could do that. And I was like, that's like sculpture and, and physics put together and yeah, and then when at MIT that really, I was like, That's what these are for, you know, like, oh, my gosh, I can break and make so many things. So I think one of the things that's like, actually really cool about Jess and like, the work that she does is that she's not just like a science mind. Like, it's not just about like, creating, like, it's not just about making things it's about, like creating things like there's very much of a creative artistic process in her science mind, right? And so, and you can see it everywhere with even just, you know, we're in her apartment right now. And her space feels very practical. Like there's definitely like, she is perpetually thinking, How do I best store my measuring cups, for example, but then she will do it in a way that is very functional, but also very artistic, which is kind of a cool combination to like, be able to think both ways. And that is like, the superpower of her like, where she's just not your regular engineer, inventor or roboticist. Like she's actually like, creating things, but there's a very strong aesthetic design elements to them as well.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I mean, that's

Unknown:

perfectly poised where you should be like that, like the the work that she does is very, it's really like she's created a niche job for herself in that way.

Julie Berman - Host:

And what what would you call that? Like, if you could name it anything? What would you call your job? Like? Do you have a name that you've developed for it?

Unknown:

I just made one up in my head telling me invented one. Bento your Yeah, emergency words. creative adventure. Creative inventor, creative. Inventor creator, like losing. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, it's funny, because like, I actually see it having those same things. I think that's why, on the show, it works so well, right? Because like, you know, if you were just doing, I mean, she's designed and builds, right. And so and that's important, because so many people can't do both. It's two different languages. It's two different languages. Yeah. And like, even putting design and building the same thing. I think some people might not even pay attention to one when they're reading your job description. You do because because their brain won't kind of accommodate the other thing, and the same time, you're the same person, which is what's so cool. And it really helps because like on the show, then it's like everyone comes to the table with some element of that creativity with some element of that, that aesthetic discernment, which is really imperative for making something work and we might differ in our in our like, approaches, or our general tastes, but you know, when something's like gross, yeah. Collectively agreement, we're like, yeah.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, well, and an audio like, I'm curious. So can you tell us a little bit about like, your background and how you got into this as well? Because I think like, you know, we talked a little bit before this, but your story is also just really fascinating. Like how you guys both got to this point, it's really interesting. So can you share a little bit about about your journey to now with your Oops,

Unknown:

my oops, I mean, basically, my life is just a series of like, Oops, me here, okay. But I didn't grow up like being one of those kids who's like going to open houses and fixing things with their parents and stuff like that. Like I never even the design and construction world like just never even factored in my brain like, I grew up knowing that I was going to become a lawyer because it was it's an easy instill them. I'm African and so my African parents are very much like you got a job that pays well that I could be able to brag to my friends about without having to explain too much like my kids, a lawyer Doctor engineer. Options, right? And the just my mother would be proud. I want to hear you say that in the accent and the accent. I love it when she does it. And then I tend to be my mother. But basically, like it was like, like I saw, I went to college and did my undergrad, I actually went to business school. And then because I was going to work in like finance or something like that, I don't know, it was just kind of like general enough like where I could be able to do many different things. And then, and then I went to graduate school, I did my MBA. And after that, even though everybody else was like, going to like Wall Street and Bay Street, I went to college in Canada. So basically, it's kind of the version of Wall Street, then I decided that I wanted to save the world instead. And I wanted to do to work in the international health, international public health field. And so I moved to Washington, DC, started out as an intern at a public health company, and then like kind of worked my way into a job that I absolutely hated, because I had Finance and Budget skills. And so my job was basically to say no to projects, like Sorry, it does not meet the criteria, we cannot fund that. That was my job. And I hated it. And I realized that I was not going to save the world, because there is something called bureaucracy. And so what ended up happening is like, right around the same time, I had just bought my first place which I had no business buying, because I was 22 years old, and I did not have any money. But yet another oops, moment. And I bought the place and I painted it and I put in new carpet. And you flowers in the front. And then because no one would visit me because it was like out in the middle of nowhere in Maryland and all my friends lived in the city and because he had carpet really perfect was very it was Berber. Do you remember when? Oh, yeah, all arrays are funny. But I ended up selling it like six months into me buying the place. And I made some money. And I was like, wait, I like make $30,000 in my regular job. And I just sold this place and made $31,000. And so at that point, it was like ding ding ding. Like this might be something to do. And even then I still needed an extra push. And my entire department got laid off, which was the best thing that ever happened to me. And that kind of then made me start thinking like, okay, so what else am I going to do? But because I was young and foolish, and thank God that I was young and foolish. I was like, why don't we just try this out, nothing to lose. And so that's kind of how I went into, like how I got into the construction and real estate development world. I moved like six times in sorry, eight times in five years, just buying places, fixing them up and kind of got my construction chops that way, and then all the way up to here. And now like 20 years later, that's kind of how I ended up in the construction world. The irony of it all is if I think about what would I be doing instead, I can't really think of, I can't figure out what the alternative would be. I mean, she I have to say this, like when I we do consulting, right jobs where people call and they ask us to do you know, assess their home and give them suggestions about how to optimize their space. And a lot of the times they're often renovation oriented, right? So and I will listen to it talk about this stuff. And like I'm the client, right? And I'm like, I'm getting, I'm getting this for free, right? You know, like, and it's so good. And it comes so naturally to her. Like the way that you assess a space and like the the acumen around the technical acumen that you have around them is so impressive and so easy for you. Yeah, that it seems natural. Like I when you said I could have should have been a lawyer or whatever I'm like I couldn't even imagine. Like, you know? Yeah, it's just like, I think you found it to that exact thing. Yeah, I did find Yeah, so but so it wasn't like intentional. And it wasn't like something like where I grew up. I just grew up tinkering with things like she was like feathering Barbie's hair. Things work all the time. That was not necessarily what my thoughts were around it, but it's like, I kind of feel like for all intensive, like, when people ask me, what do you do? There's many layers of it, right? And so like, the, the straightforward answer is that I am a design builder. Like I can just I do design and I and I build houses, right? But no one knows what the hell that means. Yeah, so as that mean, but in actuality, you know, I'm a licensed general contractor, and I'm a designer and those are two things that don't necessarily always mix even though they are all like needed for in order to get a project from A to Z. is like when it comes down to it.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. And so thank you for that overview like from both of you, it's just so good to have like a little bit of insight and background on kind of like the path that took you here. I know we're missing, obviously, some bigger things because you only have so much time. But I'm curious like, because so you guys sort of just from what I'm hearing, and like even almost how you guys are describing each other is like, it seems like you're just really comfortable in the places you are now like, where you feel like, these jobs really are fun. They use your skill sets, like, it sounds like you're also getting to grow and learn on the job. And so I'm curious like with, with all those things in where you're at now, can you because I know like you guys did this great show together, hack my home. And so I think that's like one part of what you have done. But can you explain, like, if you guys are working on a project now that you're allowed to talk about, or, or like a past project, just kind of like explain how you go about working together. And an example of like, what that would look like so people can understand kind of like, what is some of the day to day or week to week, things that you guys think about or like are responsible for or worry about, you know, to kind of get an idea of like, what is it like to be someone who's in the general contracting design world? So if like, you know, if you have thoughts on like, besides being an inventor or designer and engineer, like, specifically kind of the details behind that, and like how you process things or go about making decisions, like I would love to hear kind of some of those aspects of like how you work through a project? And together if you're allowed to share one?

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah. So, you know, like we said, we bought, we've both got different skill sets, and we both have our individual companies, you know, we're in two different coasts. But occasionally, we'll get hired to do one project together. So just as an example, we are currently working, this is actually kind of cool, because he is in India, so we have no time and India, who is remodeling their family home. And so and they actually, he does have a team of local people who will be doing the construction and that kind of thing. And what we've been hired to do is really come in and optimize the space. Right. And so they're redoing the kitchens and the little bit of the floor plan and they're redoing their the closets and bathrooms and a bunch of different things like that. And so I would say like, the first sense is like, like, it's kind of like I have to put on my construction hat, right, because obviously, construction and how they build houses in India is different from how they build houses in the United States in certain ways, you know, how they built the foundation, what the walls are, like, we're not there's a lot plumbing and the plumbing and the gas lines around, you know, we do a lot of things kind of in between, like framing and, but they actually kind of like frame out stuff a little bit differently, because they'll have like solid concrete blocks or whatever and that kind of thing. So kind of in consultation with their architect, we meet with his team and get a sense for how the construction is done, because then that determines like, are we even able to move walls, right, because the way they build stuff, everything's structural, like, here, certain walls are structural, certain walls are not. And so something structural, then like, it means like, there's less of less movement that should be happening, and we have to work with, like, whatever it is that we have contained. And so we meet with them, we kind of get a do like after getting the best sense for the construction, we kind of do like a needs assessment to figure out like, we will send them like paperwork where they have to, like basically log everything that they use in their kitchen, right, and like, whatever spices that they have, there's a lot of like, you know, like in this appliance, the appliances, right, like, we have to, you know, we would be like, oh, yeah, let's do an induction stove. You know, they're like, blah, blah, blah. But then in this situation, it's like, no, he makes rotis and his family makes rotis. And, and that's the other thing is like, it's actually like kitchen staff, right? And so like they don't, it's not like I'm asking you like so how do you cook? It's like, how does your kit like how does your family cook and stuff like that. And so they need an open flame for certain things. And so we know those are the appliances that we have to like, think about and how we put it all together and there's not as much like say for example, microwave use and pantry space is really important because of a number of spices and grains and like stuff like that. So we kind of do an evaluation of that and then like, then just will then like we will think about like what are the things that we can do to make it easier for them to store stuff to optimize this the stuff like basically how you hack that's phase two. And then behaviors like, yeah, like, it's an audit of the space, but it's also an audit of their, their behaviors and patterns in the space. So we have to, you know, we will we come in and we ask the questions that sometimes they're an architect or a designer or another contractor won't ask. Right? So it's like, how do you? How good? How do you feel about like folding your clothes? Are you a good organizer? Do you categorize things? Do you? Do you find that you have piles of stuff around? Do you find that Greece builds up in X, Y, or Z place? Do you have somebody in your house that is older that might, you know, in a few years need to have some walking? Yeah, yeah. And like, so to think about these questions that are kind of like psychological and behavioral, and then understand how to optimize the space, then we can think about the technology that we want to apply. So yeah, because I think one of the things that usually happens, unfortunately, is like people will build stuff for the sake of building things, right? Like, like, in this kitchen, it would be great if we came in, and we were like, oh, let's like do like little push closets everywhere. And like stuff like that. But then it's like, you know, like, even the, our client was like, hey, look, it's gonna be our home chef who is like, not really wanting to deal with a lot of technology and sort of, can you like, make that that level of technology like minimal, minimalize it as much so we think through those, those different types of things, so that's kind of like, our basic projects. And then there are a system like, another person who needs like, wants to do a whole have a room that is a multifunctional room that can be there like photos room, their work room, my sounds a sound room for you making music and like, doesn't want to have any visual, visible cords or cables. Right? And so like, how do we do that? And how do we, what's the technology that we use to help them to hide that and then some of it is it's structural plus things that are accessory, right? So trying to make combos like that? Yeah. So in like a situation like that, just as able to spec like, the technological side of things, and figuring out what it is that we need, and then I'm able to, like figure out like, construction was alright, now how do we hide all the cord so that you can't even see where exactly like, you would be plugging your guitar line? And like, hides from somewhere under, under the floors? Or like, things like that, but you can be with 10? What's the cool outlet face that we might want, you know, for playing in that maybe wouldn't see, you know, and, and so like, and then we also look at, we go through, and we look for all different kinds of new things, you know, like, how can we apply this crazy hinge? And we just saw this product and, you know, on the internet, like, could we integrate it somehow, like had a cool movement, things like that.

Julie Berman - Host:

So when you guys do projects, or you cause like, I love, first of all, I should say that, you know, you ask some of those questions that are a bit deeper about the functionality, the usage, like how people think how people actually interact. That seems like definitely a deeper level than maybe a lot of people would think about, or even know to consider when when going through these processes, where they're changing their spaces and looking to upgrade, and like use them more functionally. So in that process, do you guys feel like you have, like equal amounts of questions and then answers or like, how, because it seems like you guys are going into these spaces where people have never maybe done some of these things that you guys are doing? So how do you find that balance? And like, is it you know, Are you consulting with a whole bunch of other experts or like people that you've befriended over the years? Like, how do you go about this process of like, having some knowledge of, of, obviously, the things to ask and the things to do, but then when you are trying to implement an add in all these new, like innovative things, how do you tackle those parts? Because I think like, that's such a cool element of what you guys did, you know, not only on the show, but what I'm hearing from you, and when you're working together, whether individually or alone, like is that is like taking the unknown and like these ideas that don't exist, and then figuring out like, how does this function and how do I make it exist in real life?

Unknown:

Yeah, if we need to consult outside resources, we definitely can we have fabulous networks of people who can really help us with that. If there's anything we haven't so far, I really needed that. But also we're really good researchers. Yeah. I think you know, we're always like, I mean, you should see our like, text chain. Yeah, like Instagram chains and like random stuff. We're always like sending each other and things like, Hey, you see this? This is so dope. Yeah, and stuff like that. But we also just like, you know, we also are constantly learning stuff and are constantly connecting with people who have really cool products, you know, some of what you saw on the show and that kind of thing. So we're a able to like figure out what like, the best is that's out there. But yeah, I mean, a lot of the process is like asking questions that really like the client hasn't even thought about, like they're there. They're just like, Yeah, you know, you guys like kind of make things like, really optimal, but it's not just about, like making a pretty space. It's like about like, for all intents and purposes, hacking time and hacking the space and hacking like just like figuring out like, what is the best way to live? And what is the best way for your space to support you like to support? You know, like, is your? Is your home making space for you? Um, yeah, so that's kind of like our approach with a lot of things. And functionality looks different for everybody. Right? And so it's not just that like, this thing works. Well. It's not a one size fits, right? Yeah. So it's like, Well, are you trying to be more productive? Are you trying to be more relaxed? Or you're trying to be in this space? Are you what your needs? And also, there's sometimes the interesting, the irony is that, like, people often will design and build for their ideal selves, but when they but they're not their ideal, right? So then you actually have your life that you live, so you don't want there to be that conflict. Yeah, so you want to, like, kind of ease the person into that understanding? Yeah, you know, like you're you. And we can make your ideal space. But like, let's make it your ideal space for you and not for your ideal self, like, how many? How old are your kids?

Julie Berman - Host:

So they're eight, five, and almost one and a half. So they're little still,

Unknown:

but they're little right. And there's like a lot of people who will think that they want to design for like a, you know, like a space where maybe your kids are in college, and a lot of times, some of our work is also just being like, look, one and a half year olds not putting things away. But eight year olds not putting away time. And so how do we design the space, it's family room, but you have to make it easy enough for the eight year old to put things away at the end of the day, which means it just something as simple as like, you just don't have baskets with lids, right, you could just have the baskets that are open, that they could throw things on, but they're not having to like, start trying to fit things into like a little cube or trying to cover things up after or whatever. It's just like, it's just, they're just not you try and train the heck out of it. But out of them doing that, but they're just not going to figure that out. So how do you make it such that like, you could meet the fact that you do want order in your space, but you have to make it such that you are allowing for order in your space in a very practical way.

Julie Berman - Host:

I love that example like that is so I mean, just the idea of like people building for their ideal selves. But right, like what we want to be and aspire to be or aspire to live in a certain way is not always, like you said, what happened. So I I love that. I love that distinction. I'm curious around that, like if people sometimes are hesitant, or like people are kind of like I don't know, like because if it's you know, especially, you know, we we see, like these beautiful pictures and we hear like, Oh, our neighbor maybe did this amazing project. And it's like, we want something similar, but then if it doesn't really fit how we live and our lifestyle and where we're at now. How do you kind of like find that balance or walk with people down that path to to, I guess, like accommodate both of those desires, but also their needs.

Unknown:

The beautiful thing is that there is enough aesthetically pleasing product that does meet the practicality, right? So construction is an easy one with that like as an example like when I my previous home when pre kid I had marble countertops, right and the fabricator came in to put in the marble countertops. And he was like, I need you to sign this document here that says you will never call me again. Right? Because he was like, you've got friends who are like drinking red wine and like orange juice and all sorts of things. And like there's all of this stuff. And so a lot of times like just because I have the little I have my little nine year old roommate like I know how it is living with kids. And there are just certain things that you just it will drive you nuts, right if you still if you put in certain things, but it doesn't mean that you can't have something close enough. So countertops are an easy one, right? Like marble countertops. There's lots of now both natural and manmade stones that mimic marble but they're not going to be marble stones right and so and they don't look tacky, because then you can find like findable fake, like drawn marble that doesn't, that looks kind of lame. So it's just a matter of like specking the right thing. You know, whether it's like some kind of like quartzite, or, you know, if you want it to get like, you want it like beautiful black countertops, and I'm like, Look, the stains are gonna drive you nuts. Because every time you put a coffee cup there, you'll see the line. And so, no, you're just not going to do like the granite, maybe you could do 11 Stone instead, or something like that, that will hide hide stuff. So I think you can still a lot of times, it's just educating the client that they can get something close enough. And it's just a balance of like, how do you get the look that you want without it driving you nuts? Because if you get the look that you want, and it's driving you nuts, and you just like not enjoying it anymore? Yeah, I think those are the examples are what really seals the deal. Because you say to someone you know, okay, so you might not want to drink wine, you know, like spilled wine, or you might not want to put your cups down, you know, or it's gonna be hard to clean that after every meal. Yeah, it will hit home, people under still can understand that right? And then here are the options that we get that are almost close. And then you can do all those. Yeah. And then it's like a huge win. So I think there's the psychology of it is to like describe the scenario and say, you know, here's what you might have to be careful about. But look at, you don't have to be careful about it. Just do this, like tiny tweak. And, and I think there's a way of, I actually think that probably, women are better at this actually, you know, we have a penchant for being able to communicate the reality of something in a way that is convincing. And that is caring, right? And so we're just trying to be we're trying to kind of empathize with the situation, and show that like, we can use empathy in the space to make something that works for everybody. Because design can be about aesthetics, right, the word design itself is not just about aesthetics, right, it's like about just creating, it's about creating solutions for you know, whether it's a space or a brand or like whatever it is. And still it's you know, whether it's fashion or whatever it's like about creating solutions for it, it can't You can't, you can't be all about fashion, and like not factoring the winter, right? I'm gonna just wear cute summer weights and like, linens and not think about the fact that you have to actually, like, get designed that works for right, for the Vermont winter or whatever. Yeah, yeah, that's a great example. Okay, well, thank you for kind of shining some light on that. Because that's so such an interesting point that you guys bring up? And I'm curious, like, you mentioned a little bit about women and, and kind of some of our superpowers. And I'm curious, like, because you guys are both women in spaces that may not have a lot of women. So I'm wondering if you can talk about that like and what your experience has been previously, what your experience is, like now. And we, you know, we mentioned maybe some of those things at the beginning. But I'm just curious, like, how has it been for you guys to be in this space? And like, where do you hope it's going? If you have any thoughts on that, too? Yeah. Well, I mean, both of us are very, you know, we are women in very male dominated fields, we actually feel like we have a competitive advantage for that reason, like not a numbers thing, but just more so like, kind of the soft skills, I guess, for being women in these fields. For me, it's like just like that, being able to communicate better and like just be able to have empathy and having being able to have like the foresight and like the kind of like the project management brain and like the multitasking brain and all of these different things that make me better at my job, actually, even though ironically, there's not that many women and in the construction world, the things that make me really exceptional are frankly, things that I kind of, like lean into as a woman. And, you know, that's one thing that Jeff both Jess and I are doing a lot of speaking as well right now. And part of it is just about like us as women in these very male dominated fields, and how do you then kind of work around that and how do you support each other in those spaces? You know, we had a really great experience filming filming the show, but one of like the biggest takeaways from doing hack my home was just like really like our, our on an off screen, sisterhood or chemistry and we felt like we've learned so much around supporting each other around like this being like workwise and so part of like, we are doing a lot of consulting but we are also doing a lot of speaking around being Basically what we're calling like, sisterhood and, and opportunities, right? Like, how do you how do you leverage those things as women in these fields that are like not necessarily, there's not a lot of women in, right? And how do you provide real tactical support to other women who are who are in these fields? Right? And who might need a little bit of extra, some extra tools, or thought, ways of thinking about that help them when they're negotiating, or that help them when they're sitting in a room, or that might help them when they're in a situation that feels uncomfortable? So trying to think through that and, and also offer ourselves as, as people who can, who are happy to discuss the issues. Yeah. And be there. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And for for you guys, like, are you? Are you going to put that in a home somewhere? Like, are you going to? Are you planning to create a website or like, because I think those things are amazing resources. Like I think whether people are looking to go into a similar field as you guys or any other field, that I think it's so helpful, even when there are a lot of women to have some of those resources or to be able to understand the things that you guys have done. And take, you know, that example and put it into practice instead of trying to basically recreate the wheel. So I'm curious, like, if you have any thoughts as to, right now, we're just out speaking. So we're like totally inviting people to invite us. Up, we just did, we actually just spoke to these incredible women cadets at West Point about this very same topic, because we're in the same situation like 25% of the cadets, which is like supposedly a really good number. Yeah, that that they're cadets are women. But they are very much in this. And a lot of them are in leadership positions and stuff like that. And so, so we've had a chance to talk to them, we had a, we recently spoke to some to a group called Women Who hardware who are also engineering, job builders and stuff like that, and a lot of our messages about is just basically kind of taken our experience working together like on screen and the things that we did and really like advocating for certain things that are messages that like you can do on a on a, like not necessarily, like we're not looking at doing like an institutional change, right. Like we everyone knows, there's a wage gap. Everybody knows that, like, women have to like work twice as hard. A lot of times in whatever fields they're in, and all of these different things, we're just trying to think about things in a very actionable way. So when it came to like, when it comes to like contract negotiation, for example, we are really advocating for openness around around wages, wages, and, and being and at an individual level, kind of encouraging other women to be able to, like, share those resources and give those data points to other people who are in their fields to let them know, Hey, you're going to be working as a construction project manager, and you're interested in knowing what the pay should be. This is how much I got paid, which is like, which requires a very different level of trust and vulnerability. But being able to actually like say that to somebody else, then is going to be the thing that will reduce them. Because little by little, it's like our own smaller actionable way that we could be able to do that. Right. Or with Justin I, when we were negotiating on Netflix contracts, we just pulled resources, we got all our people together. And we were like, we're negotiating as a group, right? And so we want to make sure that everyone's getting paid the same. And so that's, that's kind of how we pushed forward these things. So we talk about these things in our, in our talk, and then yeah, that's like, the good mindset actually, is that like, negotiate together, this will take away you know, and like, we're all kind of doing that we are all Favored Nations exact each other into the thing we're all negotiating together. And so, you know, how do we how do you really implement that as from a bottom up perspective, instead of thinking from the big tattoo on which can feel overwhelming and sometimes, honestly, parallelizing right, like, how am I going to make a difference there? I'm just going to keep pushing for myself there, but you'll do better if that if the whole group is pushing together. Yeah, and we'll get there faster. We'd like to ask the question what the secrecy sir yeah, yeah. And so that's an it's it's interesting because it does, like a lot of times it's just like kind of fear driven and and really like It's like in the messaging we get in a lot of like our discussions are with these different women groups are about like, understanding that there's like an unlearning that needs to happen on our level, like some learning that's been placed there in like the patriarchy and that we cannot rely on the patriarchy to undo that that we have to unlearn whether it's like that fear of sharing Any information or whether it's like the habit of going into a room and always being like, oh, sorry, I'm apologizing. And like, you know, so we talked, we talked a lot about that we talked about, like, making sure that you realize that you are needed in the room and not to apologize for your presence really, and things like that, that really have helped us as women in the fields that we're in and in the jobs that we have. And yeah, I think that, you know, it's, it's also a really interesting thing, you know, I think we met and we were in this we were thrown in, while we stepped into a situation where we were very outside of our, because we did not know each other, right? We don't know each other.

Julie Berman - Host:

It's amazing, because it doesn't look like it seems like you guys have known each other for like 10 years. I mean, you know, for like, an extended time.

Unknown:

I think and that. And that's what's so great, because it was like I it took it takes effort to also do that, to make that happen and and take intention and it took energy. And I think and it also took foresight, right. And so there's some ways where we think that there's their credit is due and that knowing that our off screen chemistry would do better for us on screen, you know that it would make sense. So it would make and that would then turn around and help both of our careers. It would help the success of the show better it would all of these things. And so And actually, I think not just with us, but with others, too, are off screen relationships with other people on the show, people that maybe sometimes weren't always on screen, right? Yeah, like it made the environment better, which made our life and everyone has a screen, right? Like, it's like ours is a little like screen. But it's kind of like we do want that message of there's a tendency for people to have very rigid boundaries around like work versus no work. But like a lot of times, sort of trusting the loosening of the boundaries will make you better at your job, right. And especially as women, especially when you're in a place where there's not a lot of other women in the space, then that needs to be like a consideration, obviously, you know, it's like, person specific. And like the other person, one of the things that's like always been easy for the two of us is that like, we both look at things very much from a place of abundance, like we're not like, oh, there's not enough pie for everybody. And so it makes things a little bit easier for us to like step into doing things together. And like that kind of thing, and allowing each other into our lives on and off screen. But it's definitely been just even in the toughest, toughest work days. That off screen relationship really is what has fueled like being able to survive the regular workday. Yeah. And the notion that inspired just showing up can inspire another young woman, a little girl who sees us to want to go into engineering or to construction or to some kind of building and tangible thing hardware, right. And so that is that really, really kept us going. And now we see the benefits of that because we get a lot of really cool DMS and notes and email photos of like kids who've hacked their own space. Yeah, little girls, or tools and things like that. And it's really, it's really phenomenal. I remember hearing about what was it? Was it the Black Panther movie? Or what was it when like, finally there was a black? Right? Yeah. And like hearing like that, so important for that. And like, even for it for me, too. Like when I saw actually I saw a movie where I saw a woman who was a roboticist before I went to grad school and was like, she can do it. And you somehow, like, feels crazy, that like just seeing somebody else do that. Like because you should be able to think clearly like we're humans, all of us can do and but when you get that feedback, and you get that kind of inspiration, it is really truly impactful. Right? And like, it's, it's, you know, then to remember like, Okay, now I'm going to be that thing I'm going to be though, whatever, however long one second of visual or like the kind of ambiguous thing that they take away from, it might just be like, female engineer. Yeah, right, like, female contractor or black female, or black, you know, and it's like, that's really amazing to be able to, to show up like that. It's why this is a great podcast, Julian. Yeah. Thank

Julie Berman - Host:

you. Thank you. Yeah, that's I mean, that's one of the huge reasons I wanted to do this podcast is just to show people what's possible, like what are cool, cool people with cool jobs doing in the world right now and like what exists and yeah, and I think to your point, Jessica, like there is something whether we Whether we realize it or not, like something, so just seeing that this person exists and like hearing part of her story or like seeing, you know, witnessing what someone is doing and be like, oh, like, maybe that is an option for me to I'm not that I'm not that different than her and, and I can, you know, maybe try some of these things and see what happens. So I just like yeah, I love hearing about what your path has been and like what you're up to now. And I want to touch on like something as well, because you guys do have this show, right. And now that you are more in a public, I know it, you've also had a previous show as well, and been in the public eye for for a little bit longer than just the show. But you know, with that said, kind of like coming into a space where you are representing women and the possibilities, like how do you I guess go about that, like, do you feel like there's a responsibility there? Or do you not think about it? And how does that affect? I guess, like your jobs, but for both of you like what you do every day? Do you think about things differently? I'm just curious, because you I imagine there might be some things that are different than before? Oh, yeah,

Unknown:

absolutely. I mean, and maybe even some biasing to like, like, we take, I'll say yes to women who just want mentorship or meeting or call and I I won't like always do that for nice. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like, reaches out and like, they're like, Hey, can I pick your brain about XYZ? I'd be like, here's 15 minutes, you got exactly 15 minutes, right. But there is like certain, but you know, to answer your question also, like, Absolutely, yes, my life has been a series of a lot of hoops moments and a lot of really good luck. And I mean, obviously, like, Yes, I do work hard, and all of that stuff. But I do not like, take for granted that like I am like this young girl from Nairobi, who happens to be on Netflix, like it's such a weird thing, right. And so, so I do know very, very much that this is a lot bigger than just me. And quite frankly, I think that knowing also makes it easier for me to hang in there. Sometimes we had a lot of like filming, kicks your butt, like, five hour days, 1010 hours, like just five days a week for five months. Like it's a lot. And it can be very exhausting. And we were all the way from home, you know, we're filming in Atlanta, and like I have a young child, and so trying to like just juggle the going back and forth and like, being away from my family. And like, all of that was really, really difficult. And the only thing that really like a lot of times will keep us going is knowing that this is a lot bigger than just us. Yeah. So yeah, I mean, that I think that like really defines most of our approach and not necessarily because we're just trying to do like something that's like, do gooder or like altruistic or whatever. It's also because that really is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going when you are super frustrated at work or you know, when you are like dealing with people who do not think you should be where you are or like things like that. It's just realizing, Hey, this is this is not just about me, right? Or even sometimes when, you know, we have cases of imposter syndrome ourselves. And you realize that I'm showing up as an engineer, I'm showing as a female, this and someone who's also accessible and personal and fun. And that that is sometimes you don't even like That's enough. Right? You know, I just thought that represent that, that. And I think what's cool about that, as I think the idea of seeing one person that exists like that expands really quickly, you know, it's like a spill. And so it's like, it means that there's like, there must be more more right? And then all of a sudden you're not alone. And you can do whatever you want. Right? And that's one thing that we also like you said, you found I think he found me on matriarchy build, but like, yeah, what matriarchy builds about right. Like it's like there's these groups where it's like, Hey look, like for me, it's like I got it. No, I Yes, I am a unicorn. But there's a batch of us unicorns. And here are the other unicorns that are like making sure that we also have some visibility, because the more of us are out there, then that will encourage more people to get into trades. And construction is one of those weird industries where women actually make more money than men like like the median or the average or whatever, whatever the number is, but the math actually shows out better for women in the construction world. But that might also just be because most of the women in the construction world are in the managerial side of things as opposed to like actual trades. And so But if there's more of that happening, and if as an industry, we can change things affect other industries, then that would be that would actually be pretty darn cool. Yeah, I, I totally agree. That's really interesting about actually women making more money. I mean, I didn't know that fact. So that's pretty incredible. And I think like, to your point, just the fact that like you setting an example of what could be like that, just getting you through a day is so amazing, like for both of you. So I, I'm curious for both of you, because you are at this point, it seems like for each of you, where you, like, have so many cool things that you're working on so many cool things that you're doing, you're also working together, you know, like, seems like you've known each other for 10 years, and

Julie Berman - Host:

you've known each other for like, a year, maybe a little over.

Unknown:

A little longer than that

Julie Berman - Host:

a little longer. Yeah, but it just so like, it just seems like you guys are in this really cool place. So for for you, and just even given, you know, like your own individual businesses and careers, like, Where do you plan to, like go like, do you guys have plans to expand in some way or like hopes that things that you're working on that are like percolating, and I would love to hear what those are? And then like, if you're, if it's together, that's fine, or if it's separate? Either way? If you're allowed to share, I should say that caveat.

Unknown:

Oh, you know, and also, you know, it's both actually, practically together, and then our own separate companies with but those things also add in, right, everything kind of mixes in some way, right? I mean, the number of times, like I'm doing a project, and I like like, that's like my own thing. And I like send it to Jeff, and I'm like, hey, I need your input on this, like, so that that's we're constantly working together, even when we're working on our own project, right. But to answer your question, you know, right now, we are doing a lot of consulting for both individuals, and like, for companies, and that's, we're really loving that, because it's kind of like our happy space, it's like, you know, are the best of our brains together? Well, with that, and then like we said, we are doing a lot of speaking because we really, it is bigger than us. And we really want to make sure that like this experience, and that we don't waste this platform and make sure that like the messages and the things that we learned are getting out there. Otherwise, then like them, what's the use, right? And then we are doing some product development, we're like creating a bunch of kind of really cool products, really cool tools, but we can't tell you all the details. But like, it's pretty, it's gonna be pretty dope. And then And then, you know, we're still doing our individual projects, even though we kind of do them together as well. So I am actually creating a remodeling curriculum like so a lot of times people asked me if I can come in, like remodel their house, and I can't like the most I could do is like, usually do the consulting just because geography. And so I've created this thing called the renovation playbook that is basically a course and entire guideline with like checklists on, like, how to decide on countertops, and how to like manage your contractors, and how to figure out the design and all of that stuff. And so that should be actually coming out in the next few weeks as well. So Wow. Yeah, that's an it's an amazing, amazing resource.

Julie Berman - Host:

It sounds like it. Yeah, I did when we moved into this house, which we've been here for a while now. But I was attempting to be the GC, which was not not a good idea. It was like, I just had no idea what went into anything. And then of course, I got pregnant at the same time. So trying to be pregnant and manage something that you've never seen or done before. Was needless to say there were things that we did backwards or that like we eventually redid or

Unknown:

lettings. That's really because I have heard that so many times. And the thing about it with remodeling is you don't know what you don't know. Like you just you think you know, you think you've watched enough HD Yeah. And you're like, Oh, I know that this is the look I want but it's like there's so much more to think about and there are so many decisions. Yeah, making those decisions on the fly. That's the reason why like people's construction budgets are always blown like but I think they they're always saying that I think like the National Association of remodelers said that, like the average construction budget goes up by 26%. And that's like average I've seen it all I see. You know, like there's so many different things but it doesn't have to, if it's like planned out properly, right. So, so that's why I decided to create that.

Julie Berman - Host:

I love that that sounds a Amazing. Like, I needed that maybe like six years.

Unknown:

Next remodel, you can get it.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. Oh my gosh, for sure. Yes. And what about you, Jessica? Like, what? What are you working on or dreaming up? Because I'm sure there's so many things percolating in there.

Unknown:

So yeah, there are, you know, there are some new manufacturing approaches or resources we're pursuing right now, so that we can make some of our furniture that we have designed. There's a bunch of new products that are new inventions from toys, jewelry, kitchen gadgets, that are in the works. Cool stuff for kids like, yeah. Yeah, cool. That'll be cool. And so those are in the works, there's another really large effort that right now is, is just beginning, which is around supercomputers, actually, and data centers problem. So that are kind of like an environmental impact, kind of cross section with AI. And yeah, there Yeah. And then our staff, and, you know, like, a lot of times, let's see, my, at the end of the day, I kind of feel so exhausted just from context switching, you know, because it's like, from like one project to the next project. But then it's like, sometimes a whole different idea, right, and a whole different set of skills. And so from brainstorming to then, like really getting execution on something to then to then try to researching X, Y or Z. So, wow, there's a lot going on, but I get really excited about the inventions and then on the, it seems to be like on a constant backburner that gets lit every once in a while, which is some large art projects. Like

Julie Berman - Host:

any more toilets, or in the future, or none of those?

Unknown:

Actually, it wouldn't be a funny idea to do like toilet wrappers like that. Take your toilet into like, into like a little pelican. Yeah, remember? That would be great idea. I

Julie Berman - Host:

like feel like kids. I should say kids, like college students would literally maybe enjoy that. Your Dorm?

Unknown:

Actually pee in the toy? Yeah.

Julie Berman - Host:

Also that too, right? That's so funny. Okay, well, thank you for like, sharing all those fun things with us. It's just kind of fun, because you guys are in this, these really neat creative spaces, where it's fun to hear, like what you guys are up to? And what's in the works. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Um, so Okay, so I, we are almost out of time. But I want to ask like, before we wrap up for for you both, because you guys are doing new things like in new spaces and new places? How do you walk into situations where you haven't done something before? How do you approach those situations like

Unknown:

for, and I asked this for myself, because I'm in this space, where I'm doing like completely new things. And I haven't done them before, but like, I'm really excited about them. And I want to see where they're gonna go and like what they're going to turn out to be. And also for people who are listening who are like, wow, these women are like, so they're so accomplished, they've done all these cool things. They're in these male dominated spaces totally rocking it. So do you have advice that you can share with me and the people who are listening for kind of how you go about or how you think about doing these new cool things as

Julie Berman - Host:

part of your cool jobs?

Unknown:

You know, I think one thing that really is just an underpinning, I think, for both of us, too, is the element of curiosity. Yeah, right. And with curiosity, if you just say like, I'm being curious if that's the way you walk into the room, there's no failing, right? It's just it's it actually assumes that you don't know right? And so like that kind of sense of curiosity can level set the accomplishment achievement scale, right? So it could just come in as that I'm just I'm being the most curious as I can be. Right. Yeah. And then and and then also just like I think a big part of this is like so one of the things I should say like personality wise I think both of us are always driven by that to like like we like you see how we just totally geeked out over like friggin vinyl on like a toilet paper Yeah, we've already on that you guys already Yeah, so like that is that is like it's kind of like a blessing and a curse in that like it is like we are very driven by like vision and Ideas and Brainstorming and like those things, which is the reason why we kind of want to do a lot more stuff around that because it does fuel us. But I will also just put in the disclaimer that we are also perpetually overwhelmed and so like if someone feels like like, Oh, this feels like a lot. This is brand new. It is overwhelming, everyone This feeling that yeah, so whatever anyone is approaching, like when they are approaching something that's a new idea that they've never done before. And if you do feel overwhelmed, like that's normal, that's just like kind of like take it that way. I think one of the things that has helped me and this is like one of the things that we also talk about in our messaging, and when we are talking to other women, it is about like not being perfectionistic, about things. And our personalities are such that we are perfectionistic about everything. We're like total Type A's, who wants to get an A plus plus and everything. But 85% is good enough. Or like just like, yeah, a B plus. Exactly. A B plus is way better than not showing up for class, right? It's like 85% is better than 0%. And so don't overwhelm yourself, because you're not getting 100% Like it's okay, just to try it and fail and fail fast and fail forward and allow room for failure, because you were just being curious. You just trying to you just like, huh, yeah, how would this work out? Right? Humility and tenderness, I think you'd like be be humble about the situation and make tender about where you're how you're going about it.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I love that. Thank you so much. So the last question I asked, and I asked the same question to everyone, I would love to ask both of you. And I would love to hear a sentence that uses verbiage or jargon from your field, and then please translate it so it's understandable to us.

Unknown:

Hmm, so there, there is a there is a TV lingo called the lower third. And the lower third is basically like, like, a title or writing that goes in the, in the, in the, like, safe space of the tv where you can put like, it's a lower portion like that. All the way at the bottom of the screen, right? And usually, so you'd see mine and it would say it Williams construction or like it would say Jessica, banks, engineering. And one of the things that the lower third bend is like it kind of defines your lane, and we are kind of a little bit anti lane, there is no lane. And so we even even with our jobs and everything, we just like don't really let that define us because we are multifaceted people. And yeah, I mean, it's just like, like, like, just don't let the world define don't let the lower third don't let it define you. Yeah, yeah, be proud of it. But you don't have to let it define me. I think, you know, I mean, maybe there's like other things like models or something, you know, like, yeah, that the technical jargon that that we use all the time is not necessarily that person instruction. Yeah, in construction. A lot of times when I would say something like technical and construction, these guys would end up laughing and a lot of people were super dirty. It's very next rate. So maybe we can't be repeated. In construction world. It's not, but I would say it's like engineers and designer and like there would be like,

Julie Berman - Host:

That is so funny. So it doesn't translate well. It's basically what happens.

Unknown:

Yeah, no, I love that. There are simple models, like I mean, one model I have is just use all the tools in the toolbox, which I think could apply to you know, and then it's like, whatever you got on board. Just try and use it means you have to know what you have in your toolbox, but use a model that feels like a pretty appropriate motto. Like that. No. I don't know. I feel like I kept telling everybody I won't know until I open the wall. Yeah.

Julie Berman - Host:

And then see what's inside. Yeah, that's,

Unknown:

I mean, the things that you guys created like I just loved. I mean, one of the things that my my husband actually loved was like when the countertop raised up and you guys had the storage inside that I mean that was so cool, because I feel like you can just never have enough storage but then you have usable counterspace I thought that was magical. And then I also thought the staircase that came down in the one house that allowed for the family with the young man to be able to get up into the that like loft area that you created, but the fact that it like came down magically and then it packs flat against a wall it's I mean, people have to watch because I can't I don't know how to explain it you guys could probably explain it better but like there were just so many magical things that you guys invented that I've never I've never seen before but that that's why you guys are so cool. Like you guys were all so talented you to and you know your colleagues on the show your co hosts. I mean, you guys just made so much magic. It was such a fun, such a fun thing

Julie Berman - Host:

to watch. Oh, thank you. Thank you. So thank you so much for being on. And if people want to learn more about you both, what you're up to what you share how people can find you and where they can find the show.

Unknown:

Oh, but easiest is to find us on Instagram, just as that rock paper robot. And I'm at the RT Williams also, you could find us both on LinkedIn. On hack, my home and Netflix hack my home and Netflix and yeah. And then our website, our websites or paper robot, and hey, honey home.com. You could find this all on those awesome

Julie Berman - Host:

guests. And I will I will put links to those two in the notes so people can find them. All right. Well, thank you guys. Thank you so much, Jessica. And it was so much fun to have this special interview with like, twice, twice the women with cool jobs. It was such a pleasure. And thank you for sharing your stories with us and what you do.

Unknown:

All right. All right. Yeah. Well, wonderful to be here.

Julie Berman - Host:

Thank you. Hey, everybody, thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you love the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it would mean so much if you share this episode with someone you think would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows? Or do you know any Rockstar women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at women with cool jobs.com Or you can find me on Instagram at women cool jobs, again that women will jobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day