The Women of Wold: Spotlight on Gretta Berens

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we talked with several of our talented female leaders about their careers, sources of inspiration and much more

Women’s History Month is a time to intentionally shine a light on the incredible women who contribute to the success of our work and team at Wold Architects and Engineers, whether they are leading and mentoring colleagues or serving clients and delivering impactful results. This month, we are featuring women across the company who have made a difference in the lives of those around them. These women share personal stories about who has inspired them and how they strive to advocate for others.

In our first installment of the series, Healthcare Leader Gretta Berens discusses the strong female mentors in her life, the importance of being a resource for the next generation and how to invest in others as a mentor. Gretta is an associate, project manager and designer. She is passionate about achieving client, care team, patient and resident goals through durable, cohesive, welcoming, and strategic healthcare and senior living design.

Why is Women’s History Month important to you?

Women’s History Month is a reminder and celebration of the many inspiring and empowering women in our industry, history, and lives. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the mentorship, friendship, and guidance of women before me.

Is there a woman in your life who inspires you? If so, who is she and how has she made you better?

My mom has been one of the most influential women in my life. Growing up, she often worked nights, holidays, and weekends as a nurse while raising four children. She dedicated her time and care to others while working hard to give us our dreams. When I was very sick in college, she gave everything she could to make sure I received the best care and was never alone. When I picked a career in architecture, I knew I wanted to make an impact on the community the way she has my whole life. I am so proud to be her daughter.

Tell us about your current role and how you’re making an impact on other women around you.

I am an Associate healthcare and senior living project manager and designer. Our team has the special opportunity to create and improve environments for women, patients, care teams, and residents in times of their lives that can often be very difficult. It is rewarding working with a team full of strong, supportive females and designing buildings that give back to communities. I am just grateful to be part of the team.

What do you believe is the biggest challenge (and thus, greatest opportunity) for women in the field, and how might you approach the solution?

Starting in the profession can be very overwhelming with the amount of information and technology you learn all at once. It is so important to find a great mentor to help you through the challenges of your career. It can be intimidating to be one of the few females on a job site. Having mentors to support and guide you is invaluable.

Who is a woman in your life that has positively impacted your personal or professional development? What is one lesson she taught you?

I have been fortunate to have strong female mentors throughout my life, including professors, coworkers, coaches, friends, and family members. My two sisters, Nora and Tessa, continue to be personal and professional lifelines for me. They both have dedicated their time to take care of others and pursue their passions. As a doctor, Nora taught me to not give up on dreams and passions even through the difficult times. As a public teacher in Baltimore, Tessa has taught me how to care for others and support friends and coworkers through adversity. I am so grateful to be their sister and friend.

What can all companies/organizations do to create workplaces that support and advance the success of women?

  • Continue to emphasize mentorship and make sure each employee has a support network. It is so important to have coworkers you can lean on and grow with.
  • Continue to have important discussions and training on inclusivity and diversity.
  • Continue to adapt alongside the communities we serve.

What is your proudest accomplishment and why?

Seeing my first building completed and occupied was one of my proudest accomplishments. To go from designing fictitious buildings in college to seeing one get built is a very memorable experience.

Can you share an example of what you or Wold are doing in the workplace to support the growth and development of women?

I am part of Wold’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee. Our group attends different camps and schools to discuss what we do as architects, engineers, and interior designers. Growing up there weren't a lot of discussions about the architecture field in school, so it is great to be a resource for the next generation and see kids excited about the industry.

What’s one action every woman can take to support the advancement or success of women around her?

Continue to invest in each other and be there as a mentor, even if just to answer questions or listen.

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