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Women in Construction: The Sky is the Limit for This Latina Business Owner

October 27, 2022  - Tips for Small Business
Photo of Myriam Sanchez owner of Sky Crane posing with a crane

Approximately 1.2 million women are employed in the male-dominated U.S. construction industry. As their numbers grow, women are trail-blazing their way to various roles in management, including ownership.

Myriam Sanchez, Owner of Sky Crane, shares her journey as a successful Latina businesswoman in the crane industry.

Q. Would you please share about your background and career path?

Photo of Myriam Sanchez in front of blue crane

I was born in Tampico Mexico, and I’ve been in the United States for 32 years. My family couldn’t afford college, so my career began right after high school. It was challenging starting out not having work experience, so I began working with my brother in the sign business driving one of the trucks. That was the beginning to what has become a successful career working with bucket trucks and cranes.

Q. As a female business owner, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

When I started working in the construction field it was very hard to work in an environment traditionally ruled by men. Sometimes I would encounter people who didn’t want to conduct business with me simply because I was a woman. There was a notion that women weren’t as capable of accomplishing the job. I faced gender discrimination, and struggles as a Latina woman, and even dealt with harassment, but that didn’t deter me. Don’t get me wrong--it was hard, but I learned how to make myself heard in the workplace and gained respect from men.

I am proud of what I have accomplished on my own and being able to support my family.

Q. What struggles or challenges have you faced as a woman in business?

There have been many struggles and ups and downs with the company. Sometimes people take advantage of you, even try to pay you less because you’re a woman. There are many crane companies run by men, and they band together to help each other out and watch each other’s backs, the good Old Boys Club. Sadly, my male counterparts didn’t want me to succeed and would even try and take my customers. I had people tell me they wanted to team up to build my business, and I learned some tough lessons when some of my “partners” took advantage of me. I’d teach them about the business and how to succeed, and then they’d be gone.

Q. What advice would you give other women wanting to start a business?

First, be patient, but don’t be shy. Fight for your dreams, anything is possible with hard work and discipline. It’ll be tough at the beginning - there will be times when you just want to give up, but to succeed, you must keep trying. Maybe people will close some doors in our faces, but when some doors close, other great opportunities may open. Have the courage to confront what comes at you in life.

Quote from Myriam Sanchez Fight for your dreams

At times you may wonder if you made the right choices, but along the journey, we learn from our mistakes and must keep pushing forward. Women are capable and powerful and can accomplish the same things as men, and perhaps even more with determination and dedication. Being a Latina woman, I would like to be heard, to be seen, and have people recognize what I’ve accomplished.

Q. Did you have a woman leader as a mentor?

My mom was my mentor. She’s always been a hard-working woman – she raised me, my sister, and two brothers all by herself in Mexico. It wasn’t easy for her. My mom brought us to the U.S. in pursuit of a better life. She’s always been by my side every step of the way, encouraging me to succeed. She inspires me to do my best on every job, to be dedicated and responsible. She is my mentor, my everything, my rock.

Q. What lessons have you learned in your career?

Quote from Myriam Sanchez I can do anything, but not everything and in some situations I need to let it go

I've learned I can do anything, but not everything, and in some situations, I need to let it go. Sometimes I’ll fail, but I keep going and have the courage to try. Even if I make a wrong decision, I own it. I’m confident. I make myself seen and heard. We are all equally important.

Q. Who has been your greatest influence in business?

My brother has been my biggest inspiration. He came to this country with a few dollars in his pocket full of dreams, and he built his company from nothing. He has also been a mentor on this path.

Q. Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top?

I believe women are more sociable and always try to give the best of ourselves. We can provide a higher-quality customer experience. Females tend to be more open-minded and creative, offering up fresh ideas for improvements.

Q. What mistakes have you made along the way and what did you learn from them?

Not knowing how to operate or run a crane when I first started out, I made mistakes. I taught myself everything from how to set up and operate to parts and maintenance. I learned as much as I could about crane equipment. To run my business, I had to be knowledgeable about what I was doing and what was going on around me.

Q. How do you take care of yourself and maintain good mental health and work/life balance?

Owning and running a business is not an easy job--there’s a lot of stress and labor. As life goes on, I have learned to separate my work from my personal life. There might be bad days, but when I get home, I leave work outside the house and forget about it. I had to learn that you can always find a solution to a problem. Tomorrow’s a new day, just keep trying.

Q. How should women support other women in their organizations?

It’s very important that women encourage and support each other—share ideas, have meetings or lunch together, and serve as mentors. I believe we can come together with any type of work and be stronger and more talented as a team. We have different views and unique strengths. We should give the best of ourselves being creative and resourceful.

quote from Myriam Sanchez owner of Sky Crane It's very important that women encourage and support each other

Q. What is most critical for a woman to be successful in business?

Have confidence in your abilities and show others you can do the work. Juggling work and family is extra challenging when you don’t have the money to succeed and grow your company, but a healthy balance should always be a priority.

Women like Myriam are making their mark

Based on a recent study, 14.1% of mobile crane operators are women and 85.9% of mobile crane operators are men. Myriam has certainly made her mark in the industry and proven she can hold her own alongside the men. Ascentium Capital celebrates her ongoing success!

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Celebrating Successful Women

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