Brittany Harris is the CEO and Co-founder of Qualis Flow, a SaaS platform that enables construction teams to get real value from their environmental data and achieve a stress-free environmentally compliant project. We asked her some questions about her routine, motivations and professional advice.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I try to split my week - front loaded with meetings, getting quieter towards the end to do more independently focused tasks. But it doesn’t always work that way, it is often pretty hectic! I do a mixture of things from speaking to clients, listening to the team and identifying the next five big steps we need to take to succeed. I love it, it is exhausting, but exhilarating all the same.
How many things do you have going on at any one given time?
About a million, but I use Trello to organise my life. This is an amazing tool if you like a list but need one that can move with you! Everything starts in a column labelled ‘backlog’. Each morning or evening I sort for the coming day, moving items across into the ‘high priority’, ‘in progress’, ‘awaiting review’ and finally ‘complete’. This way I make sure I keep on top of everything!
What is it like being a startup CEO for a ConTech company? What is the best and toughest part about it?
It is a complete roller coaster. We have weeks where everything is going amazingly, our clients are giving us great feedback, we are closing new deals, the team are happy and productive and we know exactly where we are going.
We will then have other weeks where a contract has been delayed due to an external reason, or someone in the team is unhappy or we are not sure of the right next step between two good options, and it is really tough. But you get used to the ebb and flow and just keep reminding yourself that it was hard before, and it got better, and it will almost certainly be hard again. As long as you keep getting up and getting going, you’ll be ok.
Why do you do what you do? What motivates you?
Honestly, it is really cheesy, but I really do love this industry. I think it is amazing what engineers can do; shaping the world we live in, making the basic things easy so we can get on with the tough stuff! I want to make this industry I love, a more sustainable one. One where I am proud to say I’m a Civil Engineer and we make the world a better place.
What is the best part about working in construction?
The challenge. Never has a day gone by when I have not been challenged and I love it.
Pictured: Brittany Harris (right), with Qualis Flow Co-founder Jade Cohen
What would you say to a woman who is thinking of joining the industry in some capacity but isn’t sure she has what it takes?
As with any challenging job, I think it only really takes on thing; persistence. There are days when it is hard, and there are days when it is amazing. If you can keep pushing through the hard days, finding the best in them, and keep relishing in the good days, you can thrive anywhere. Do what you love, and the rest will be easy.
What are some industry trends you have noticed (in regards to sustainability, women joining the industry, or the adoption of tech)?
Well, it feels like the women that do join the industry tend to be extra badass! And there are proportionally a lot more women in the sustainability side of the industry than other parts. For example; COMIT are hosting “Inspiring a Green Generation” in March and five out of six of the ‘Inspiring Speakers’ are women, and all three organisers are too.
I am deeply optimistic that as the industry focuses more on sustainability and more women join, both these factors will reinforce each other, resulting in an industry we can all be proud of.
Hear from Brittany Harris at the Women in Construction Summit
Brittany will be leading a technical workshop on our TechXConstruction track, that will cover the topic:
Key takeaways include:
- Learn how to automate data capture without overhauling your existing supply chain
- How you can make that data your most valuable asset
- How you can achieve both those things and be more sustainable to boot!
The Women in Construction Summit will be taking place on 9th December, 2020 at the Olympia, London. Join us for a day of enlightening discussions, keynote presentations and a variety of personal development workshops, all from trailblazing figures in the construction industry.
There are limited Super Early Bird Passes available - book now to avoid disappointment!
If you're based in the US, look out for Women in Construction USA, taking place September 22-23, 2020 at the SCCC in Santa Clara.
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