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Member Spotlight

Kerry-ann Archer
Wells Fargo Bank

Current job:  Senior Counsel at Wells Fargo

Summary of your role in the company: I provide legal guidance on bilateral and syndicated loan transactions in the Middle Market Banking line of business serving commercial businesses with annual revenues ranging from $10 million to $2 billion

How I chose my occupation: I don’t feel as though I’ve chosen it.  My career has been a long road with unexpected turns.

Years in the business: 11

My specialization is:   Real estate secured bilateral and syndicated loans in middle market customer segment

A good lead for me is:  Commercial real estate developers (affordable housing)

The most satisfying part of my job is: I really enjoy helping to solve problems large and small that serves to protect my company, ease the burden on my business clients and create a positive customer impact.

Best leadership advice I have been given:  I really like the advice I think is most to familiar to most, which is to lead by example.  It calls for self-reflection and self-awareness and for you to dig deep to inspire others.  These are all necessary qualities of a good leader.

Greatest professional achievement:  Making the transition in-house to represent one of the largest banks in the country.  Even prior to law school, I envisioned myself in this type of role.

Number of years with CREW: 2

Most significant CREW connection: Anna O’Neal & Lisa Vogel

Place of birth/hometown: Portland, Jamaica

Number of years in Charlotte: 10

Family: Hubby, three kids (8, 5, 4) and a dog

My ideal vacation spot: Rustic, semi-secluded beaches in the Caribbean

Hobbies/Interests: Travelling near and far with my family; seasonal decor

Other professional organizations I belong to: Association of Corporate Counsel

I wish I could: Play the piano

Feel free to include any additional information about yourself that you would like! I am passionate about giving back to my community and currently serve on the board of Crisis Assistance Ministry.  I also provide pro bono services through organizations such as Legal Aid, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and the Latin American Coalition.

Molly Harris
Bennett & Pless

Current job:  Project Engineer with Bennett & Pless – Structural Engineering

Summary of your role in the company: I am in what we call a doer/seller role which means that I get to sit at my desk and actually crunch the numbers and work on the building design for our projects but I also get to go out into the community to network and build relationships with both current and prospective clients. I am currently working as a project manager on several projects, helping to facilitate our local intern program, and supporting our Charlotte office’s business development efforts locally.

How I chose my occupation: In my sophomore year of college I had what I call my mid-college crises where I came to the realization that despite having known since I was 2 years old that I would grow up to be a veterinarian, I no longer felt passionate enough about that career to want to go through 4 additional years of school and wake up to do that every day for the rest of my life. I remembered the advice from my favorite high school (physics) teacher who used to tell me if I ever decided not to be a vet I should consider engineering, so I did. I settled into Civil Engineering, then chose a focus in Structures and I have not regretted it for one second!

Years in the business: My career path has been a bit unique. I have been in the “working world” for 11 years, but only in structural engineering directly for the past 5 of those. I spent my first year out of college working on stormwater design. Then spent the next almost 5 years managing the intern program for a non-profit engineering missions organization.

My specialization is:  I wouldn’t say that I really have a specialization within structural engineering the way that some engineers might in terms of a specific market type or material that they have focused on and perfected. Instead of having a technical specialization, my specialty is being an extroverted engineer who loves to meet new people and build relationships. This blend of allows me the chance to engage with current and potential clients on a social and relational level but also have enough of the technical foundation and understanding to be able to help with their structural design problems as well.

A good lead for me is: Anyone who has a structural engineering need. People who are the decision makers for who to engage as the structural engineer component for building design teams.

The most satisfying part of my job is: The most satisfying part of my job is that I get to be a part of the full project process. Go to a networking event and meet a potential new client; develop that relationship; eventually have an opportunity to team up on a project; write the proposal; work with the client/partner and the rest of the design team to pull together the design and drawings for the project and then get to stay involved and answer questions all the way through the construction process.
I love getting to see the whole process through from start to finish and being a part of it each step of the way.

Best leadership advice I have been given: Lots of good advice jumped to mind, I guess one of my favorites is the advice or idea that leadership style is not a stagnant or set thing but rather something that you as an individual can and probably should be constantly developing but also something that may need to be adapted with different people you are working with or leading.

So knowing your own strengths and your style but being flexible enough to adapt that a bit to match various personality types and needs of your team in different seasons as well.

Greatest professional achievement: Passing the PE exam and obtaining my Professional Engineering license is the greatest achievement of my profession so far. This is an intense 8 hr exam and I took it at a time when I was not currently practicing engineering so I basically had to re-teach myself a lot of the engineering principles in order to study and pass.

Number of years with CREW: I just joined CREW last June so I have not yet been a member a full year.

Most significant CREW connection: My current boss, Rob Phillips, may have been my most significant CREW connection so far. I was working at a different structural engineering company but wasn’t completely happy in the role I had there and I’m not even sure that I met Rob through CREW initially but I did get to interact with him at various events during the time when I was considering my career options and making the decision to move. Joining Bennett and Pless has been the BEST decision!

Place of birth/hometown: I was born in Charlotte and grew up right outside in a small town called Unionville but I usually tell people Monroe.

Number of years in Charlotte: I claim to be a Charlotte native since I grew up right outside of the city. I lived there until I went to college in Raleigh. I was in Raleigh for 6 years. Then moved to Colorado for about 4 years (2015-2019). In 2019 we moved back to the Charlotte area and actually live in Fort Mill where my husband teaches 8th grade history. So… I have been in or around Charlotte, whether that was living there or coming home often to visit my parents, for my whole life -34 years; but for 9 of those years I was not a local resident.

Family: Even though we met while both living in Colorado Springs, my husband, Kyle, is also from NC. He grew up in Raleigh. We got married in January of 2017 and moved back to Charlotte area in 2019 to be closer to both of our extended families. We have a 4-year-old son Malachi who is a goofy and high-energy but sensitive little boy; and a 2-year-old daughter Kamber who is head-strong, adventurous, and very smart. They keep us busy and constantly learning along the parenting journey. We also have an almost 11-year-old yellow lab Maverick who was my dog that I got when I graduated from college.

My ideal vacation spot: A beach!! Or maybe just anywhere that I could catch a night away from my kids, a chance to sleep in in the morning, and a few hours of down/me time where I wasn’t needed by anyone for anything.

Hobbies/Interests: I’m sure I’m not the first woman who would say that I pretty much lost my hobbies when I became a mom. However, now that my kids are 2 and 4 I’m finally getting back in touch with some of my own hobbies and beginning to form some new ones. I enjoy reading, both novels and non-fiction growth books (ie: parenting books, spiritual growth books, marriage books, etc.). I love to be active and outdoors – that used to be doing lots of hiking when we lived in CO but now-a-days it is short walks at parks or checking out the local playgrounds. I love sports – played collegiate basketball for 2 years and then all the IM sports but now stick with church league softball in the summers and have recently gotten back into golf a bit.

Other professional organizations I belong to: I am currently a member with NAIOP and SEA of NC (Structural Engineers Association of North Carolina. I also recently joined CRExCLT and I often attend SMPS events as well.

Ayla Homer
Terracon Consultants

Current job: Environmental Group Manager at Terracon Consultants.

Summary of your role in the company: I manage our Environmental Site Assessment practice in the Charlotte office and supervise a team of 5 Field Staff

How I chose my occupation: I majored in geology and began my career working in the oil and gas industry in Texas and Pennsylvania. I wanted a better work-life balance, so I relocated to Charlotte in 2015 and began my career in environmental consulting.

Years in the business: I worked one year in the oil and gas industry and have been an environmental consultant for nine years.

My specialization is: Environmental Due Diligence – Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

A good lead for me is: Commercial, industrial, and multi-family housing developers; regional and national franchise developers; banking and finance investors; industrial and commercial acquisitions; environmental attorneys; and city and county development projects.

The most satisfying part of my job is: Recently, I have really enjoyed mentoring younger staff to help them positively progress through their career goals, but I get the most satisfaction through working with clients to address environmental concerns on their development projects. A lot of clients are intimidated by environmental site issues but knowing the in-and-outs of regulatory guidance and being able to navigate a path to closure doesn’t have to be when you have the right consultant advising you.

Best leadership advice I have been given: Find and use your strengths to understand yourself and lead others.

Greatest professional achievement: Passing the ASBOG Fundamentals of Geology and Professional Geologist exams to attain my North Carolina PG license.

Number of years with CREW: 2 years

Most significant CREW connection: I recently was enrolled in and completed the 2023-2024 Authentic Leadership Program. The women in the program have helped me tremendously and I am so grateful to have made lasting connections with them.

Place of birth/hometown: Amsterdam, NY

Number of years in Charlotte: I moved from Upstate NY (Lake George) to Charlotte in May 2015.

Family: My partner Chris and 5-year-old stepson Oliver, and our three dogs – Brickley, Frankie, and Cooper, and a cat, Margo

My ideal vacation spot: I am traveling with my mom and sister to Italy and Greece in July.

Hobbies/Interests: Boating on Lake Wylie, kayaking, pickleball, and kid crafting

Other professional organizations I belong to: Committee member of CREW Community Outreach, Member of Urban Land Institute, Member of Increasing Women in Leadership (iWIL), a Terracon employee resource group Member of Lead, Explore, and Prosper (LEAP), a Terracon employee resource group.

I wish I could: Own a mini farm with donkeys, highland cows, and goats

Feel free to include any additional information about yourself that you would like! I am enrolled at UNCW and have started my first MBA class. I am also looking for opportunities to volunteer in our community.

 

Krista Karlson
GreenbergFarrow

Current job:  Manager Director for GreenbergFarrow (GF), formerly SGA|NW

Summary of your role in the company: I handle day to day operations of our Charlotte office in addition to serving as supervising architect for many of our projects.

How I chose my occupation: I have always enjoyed creating and building things, from my earliest days in the sandbox. Combined with my love of drawing, architecture was a natural path to pursue.

Years in the business: 28 years

My specialization is:   Multi Family and Adaptive Reuse

A good lead for me is: Anyone looking to build new buildings or adapt an existing one.

The most satisfying part of my job is: Building relationships with the clients and team.

Best leadership advice I have been given: My differences are my strengths, lean into them and be true to yourself.

Greatest professional achievement: Winning the Charlotte Museum of History’s Historic Preservation Award With Distinction for the design of a historic office building

Number of years with CREW: 4 years 

Most significant CREW connection: a whole cohort thanks to the Authentic Leadership Program.

Place of birth/hometown: Saratoga Springs, NY

Number of years in Charlotte: 40 years

Family: Mom and stepdad, Dad and stepmom, one brother, two sisters, two stepsisters, one fuzzy puppy, one inflatable dinosaur

My ideal vacation spot: Any national park

Hobbies/Interests: Tennis, travel, painting, Lego builds

Other professional organizations I belong to: AIA, NCARB

 

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