The Networking Guru

Anya Boguslavsky : Project Manager at Greystar Development & Construction

Founding member of STEM’ed

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I originally wanted to be a doctor, an eye surgeon to be more specific because I had a crazy fascination with eyes.  I never thought I'd be a civil engineer but I certainly knew I was destined for some sort of STEM career. Both of my parents were in STEM and the Russian educational system also supports stem education and I was told by my parents that STEM careers = successful stable careers (very soviet mentality I know).  My parents also always encourage "work-life balance" and so I became very social and attended all the parties in college. I knew I couldn't be a doctor after I spent a whole quarter in college studying for my genetics and biochemistry class and missed all the parties and social events etc and still managed to barely get a B. However, my physics classes always went smoothly and allowed me to do whatever I wanted on the side and still get good grades because it just made sense.

When it came to my actual career, I never thought I'd ever bump into sexism and lo and behold my first job was in mining and energy and in Utah!  In Utah, most men were used to women getting married early and not sticking to their careers so they were never taken seriously. I had an awful office manager that used to tell me women should not partake in engineering roles and even the women's group in my office told me that if I smile more, I will get further with the men.  

I even went to speak at a conference where one of the women, told me my just above knee length skirt and sleeveless professional shirt (in the summer) was inappropriate. I

I've always been one to like a challenge so I pursued the career. When I switched my career into construction, it was even tougher for me as being a blonde AND young woman in the field was not a common sight.  I would get talked over all the time and recognized only for my looks and not to mention harassed at times verbally. I set out to change that and prove I have more value that they gave me credit for. My next job was a bigger step in the right direction and my current job is really the job that allowed me to blossom most.

I'm a project manager for the largest real estate developer in the US and the third largest construction branch in the US but we have offices all over the world.  I never thought I would be working in a massive company again however my team is new and I feel like I'm in a startup within a large company. My role is also very unique in that it did not exist before.  I am a project manager working on the brink of the development side, the pre-construction side, and the actual construction in the field of a $250 Million mixed-use project in Silicon Valley. I started my career originally in consulting engineering and was bored and strained because the recession hit hard when I got out of school.  I was tired of having to record every hour I worked and trying to find work to do when the companies couldn't get work so I switched my career into construction.

I got every job through a connection I had, even if the connection was totally random. When I was switching my career out of engineering, I literally read over 500 articles online in the bay area of successful women/men in companies and cold called and reached out to 90% of them (I researched them and picked the ones I could connect with most - sent 10 personalized emails every day for several months).

 I had no shame, I even hit up presidents and CEO's of very well known companies in the bay (in the tech field too because all tech companies have construction and real estate branches these days too) and sometimes tried multiple times to get an in-person 15 min info session with them. Finally, I got an interview and then another. Once I had a job, it was all about connections so I started making those as soon as possible. I got my current job through a friend as well that used to work at my last company.