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She Built This City: Demi Knight Clark

She Built This City logo

STEM careers are experiencing low employment due to an industry skills gap. A whitepaper by Alexander Mann Solutions suggests, “While there is overwhelming evidence that women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields, the reasons go beyond traditional stereotyping. Women may ‘shy’ away from these careers for both cultural and educational reasons, while a lack of role models doesn’t help the cause.”

She Built This City founder, Demi Knight Clark

Demi Knight Clark established She Built This City (SBTC) in December 2019 in Charlotte, South Carolina to address the labor shortage by closing the gender equity gap in construction and manufacturing. SBTC does that through scholarship-based trade
workshops, camps & clubs – hitting the “life cycle” of generations: exposing the trades to girls as young as nine, and women at any age.

SBTC is proud to have momentum thanks to donors who saw their passion and mission – such as Lowe’s Home Improvement, Novocure, and private donors – in January. “We’ve seen our “proof of concept” camps – Explorer Girls and Builder Girls Club have wait lists; and Women@Work Trade Circle & Expo events host over 200 women and male allies in Charlotte.”

She Built This City, Explorer Girls class working with representatives from Lowes.

SBTC’s program is built upon three foundational pillars. The Explorer Girls pillar is a weekend workshop for girls ages nine to twelve, providing foundational math skills, an understanding of scientific theory, and basic power tool etiquette with the opportunity to explore. Their Farm to Architecture unit has been a success by combining the necessary skills with technology. The Builder Girls Club is an in- school program for middle school girls. They spend their last period working on bigger concepts and
projects. SBTC is not targeting high school ages due to the saturation of Career Technical Education (CTE) courses available to this age group. The third pillar is the Women@Work Trade Circle that offers the “power of many” for a consortium of professional women in the construction and manufacturing industries. They also offer apprenticeships to women looking to change careers or networking for those looking to continue to climb within the industry.

SBTC is proud to partner with the following organizations: SEED20, Yale SOM, United Rentals, Duncan Parnell, NAHB, Novacure, and National Association of Women in Construction. They also participate in local events, like Women in Trade Expo, Homeowners Association Women in Building Week, and Rail Lines Classroom America.

She Built This City, Explorer Girls class working with representatives from Lowes.

Clark says that her favorite accomplishment with SBTC is giving girls the confidence for these fields. “By far, it’s seeing the ‘light bulb’ moment come on in girls who have never held a power tool or equipment. They go from being semi-terrified or at least intimidated, to saying, ‘GIMME ANOTHER ONE!’ after drilling their first screw with a power driver. It’s empowering, and it’s definitely affecting that we’re creating ideas in their heads of other things they feel confident to build or spearhead.” She states that the biggest challenge SBTC faces is funding: connecting with the right people to support these programs.

SBTC has a three year plan to scale to five major cities with all three pillars of programming, and hit their first $10M in funding by year three. “It’s the kind of impact we have to strive for if we want to change the statistics shorter-term in the industries. That helps us scale to at least 30,000 women and girls!”

Clark wishes more people knew what the construction and manufacturing industries had to offer in leadership potential. “I’ve always loved the fact that if there’s a job to do, anyone can raise their hand, just like that little girl with a power driver – and say, ‘gimme another one!’ You can rise through the ranks very quickly by taking on tasks that are short-handed or short-staffed, or challenges needing to be solved. It’s how I shaped my career in the industry. So those light bulb moments are prevalent – we need to showcase them and onboard the next generation.”

Please visit their website for more information and a full list of future events http://www.SheBuiltThisCity.org.

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Profile – McCann Asset Management

McCann Asset Management

Martin McCann is passionate about retirement. During his 25 years as a financial planner, he has seen clients, friends, and family members experience their golden years in very different ways. The people who plan their retirements in advance tend to enjoy active, fulfilling post-career lives. Those who did not take the time to plan end up struggling financially, and fearing overpriced long term care expenses. Martin realized how important it is to help others successfully invest for their futures, which is why his professional goal is to deliver long term guaranteed streams of retirement income for all of his clients. 

Martin began his financial planning career in Lodi, California in 1994. Only nine months into his career at American Express (previously IDS Financial Services and currently Ameriprise Advisors), he was promoted to Training Manager and relocated to Fresno, California where he continued to excel in the industry. Martin was promoted again only three years into his career, but this time to Field Vice President. Shortly thereafter, Martin transitioned to Prudential, where he was ranked the #1 manager in the world. 

Full disclosure, I have known Martin professionally and personally since his time with Prudential. I have always considered him kind and very knowledgeable about his industry, but I did not realize how accomplished he was until we spoke for this article. I worked with Martin towards the beginning of his 18 year career with One America, where he accumulated most of his certifications: LUTC, Chartered Financial Consultant, and Certified Financial Planner, to name a few. His clients always spoke well of him, and I have entrusted him with some of my own retirement needs. 

In November, 2018 Martin founded McCann Asset Management, where he is currently the president and an acting financial advisor. He attributes his passion for retirement to his personal and professional experiences with the stock market crashes in the first decade of this century. The kind of instability he witnessed made him want to help others find long term financial security for themselves and their loved ones. Martin helps his clients determine how much money they need in order to support their lifestyle and long term care needs for themselves, their relatives, and their dependents after retirement. 

McCann Asset Management specializes in small businesses, ideally between 10 and 300 employees, although they will happily serve businesses of any size. The goal is to help employees plan for their retirement while also protecting the business owner from retirement lawsuits. Martin developed his own retirement software to best assess retirement needs and guarantee them for life. He understands the complexities of providing these services for his clients and your employees, and he has success in defending employer’s rights. Martin was recently an expert witness regarding 401ks and won 21/21 accusations in the class action lawsuit. This success got Martin featured in various law journals throughout the country.