Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
Life has not been easy for me, I was born into a family that thought girls, were less than. However, that motivated me to build the muscles that serve me today.
I believe we are always being set up for greatness! And I do not have a normal, ideal career path. I was immersed in the idea of working for myself at a very young age, business was the only topic my family was able to discuss. At age 11, I was the point of contact for my parents’ businesses, Sundays were my busiest days. Church and then home to a yellow piece of paper. On the top were directions to our driveway dealership and information on my mother’s open house. I set up a “desk” at the kitchen table and excitedly answered the phone, every weekend assisting in selling all the cars, and my mom would have great results. I also became the family editor for their newspaper postings.
At the age of 25, my (ex) husband said, HE was smarter than me and left me with 3 children. At the hospital, he told me to get a ride home. It was at that moment that I decided my life would be a great movie and took action to make sure if someone was watching me on the big screen, they would be amazed. I was served the opportunity of a lifetime, the CEO of my own life.
16 years ago, my husband Dominick and I suffered firsthand, in the construction industry. Dominick was a 45-year contractor, and he was wildly successful even in a world of corrupt projects. His company had to be shut down due to the contractor’s mishandling of important project data. Impacted, I rose from the ashes and bootstrapped a construction technology company of 15 years. I am a problem solver, a DOER, I raise my hand every day asking GOD to pick me to do his work, his hands, and feet, that has taught me that everything is possible!
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I have stopped corruption in the construction industry, streamlined, and fast-tracked the process! MySmartPlans allows for transparency, fair bid, and stopping long drawn-out litigation. We have challenged the norm in the industry to require higher expectations and better communication.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I made so many mistakes, most were realizations that are not funny. The first one was believing that everyone wanted to do better, I was alarmed at the amount of corruption, the amount of divorce, etc. Standing in the midst of chaos has opened my eyes.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
My mentors are TD Jakes, Jim Cymbala, Tony Robbins, just to name a few.
In 1995, I had a nervous breakdown, Tony Robbins had an infomercial, and I bought all these tapes and started down of road of possibility. He showed me the ability to soar like an Eagle. I learn from many people, but I am also amazed at the great length people go to be a victim of their circumstances.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
DISRUPTION IS A MUST! Disrupt your thoughts also. I have always been curious about possibilities, I have found that when I understand my thoughts lead to my actions, I am a master at transforming my thoughts!
FEAR has been a negative disruptor that causes positive outcomes. Fear has been the disruptor that made me face everything and rise. I recall sitting in the ICU with my third baby, my life was crazy. I had found YET another man to treat me like my family had taught me. And I could not imagine how I could raise my children in this environment, how could I allow my children to believe that is what LOVE looked like? FEAR was real, and False Evidence Appearing Real. I cried and cried until my tears dried, then it was just sorrow. That was the moment I decided to rise up. I would soar, I could raise my children alone, I could show them what is possible. I went on to transform my life, and today I am a disruptor in the construction industry, however, it started with disrupting my own FEARS!
Sometimes we must follow the crowd to see where it will take us, but if we continue to follow the crowd…we will get where the crowd is going. I am a disruptor in the construction industry, and I often get pushback. People don’t want to be held accountable for their mistakes; they would rather cover them up. Also, that has been almost an accepted norm in the construction industry. In creating transparency, we often make those, who don’t do what is right, upset. I have always had the opinion of doing what is best for everyone, not just a few!
Can you share the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?
We are sure you aren’t done.
It gives me so much motivation. I am always working on making an impact and I am not done. I won’t stop until there are systems in place to protect the project, bottom line, schedule, safety, and lives of those working in construction.
How are you going to shake things up next?
I started with a reprographics (construction printing) company, and soon after launched the MySmartPlans software. We added the human element to our software, which isn’t incorporated with any other third-party software in the industry! I love coming up with the next thing to shake the industry up and make it better.
Also, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not always liked and that is okay! Getting rid of the chaos and manipulation in the industry is my one goal, no matter whose feelings I might hurt. I care about the livelihood of innocent people before they get taken advantage of by the industry.
My next venture is “TRASH.” Trash talk, trash dumps, how can we clean it up?
We have a mantra that plays inside their head. From a young age I was told I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t a boy, and wasn’t worth anything and I decided that trash needed to go. I feed my mind with positive thoughts and ideas that will motivate me daily instead of bringing me down.
Trash, as in dumps, is the same problem, they build up, impact our world, water, and pollution. The two go together.
Catching yourself trash-talking is hard, our trash becomes our familiar friend, our go-to. We can count on those thoughts showing up and impacting our lives. My life was one big dump, my father and brother were the holders of my dreams, what they said was “true”, what they meant for my harm has been turned to my majesty! Living a life on someone else’s terms will never lead to happiness. Choose your thoughts wisely!
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Women are not unique in the idea of being a disrupter. Standing in the face of adversity is not always fun, however, it is what has been us the greatest country in the world, the world of tall white men being right is the way of life, when you stand steadfast, the obstacle will not be so big.
I had to learn this at a young age, my family believed I was less than, less than male children. So, I believe that I have been in training all my life to stand up to the male-dominated industry of construction, and say, there is a better way!
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I read a lot of motivational and life-changing books and that transfers into my own Podcast Rebuilding with Shelley Armato. Know that you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger! Being inspirational can be something as small as deciding to put your grocery cart back. Showing kindness by letting the car merge on the highway in front of you and by saying Thank you!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Life happens Struggle Optional! I realized every struggle I have been through could break me or motivate me more. By choosing to learn from my struggles, I have created a company that is changing the industry, a life that I am proud of, and family relationships I treasure.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!