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Women in Design & Construction

RODE's Caroline Jones recently gave the below speech on site at 1515 Commonwealth Ave alongside our teammates Davis, Tocci, and more in celebration of Women in Construction Week. Pictured above, left to right: Caroline Jones, Amanda Sanders, Amanda Dexter.

Hi everyone, my name is Caroline Jones. I am an Interior Designer at RODE Architects and have been working on the 1515 project over the last two and a half years.

The first person to introduce me to the world of architecture and design was my father, a self-proclaimed architecture school dropout who had his own contracting business when I was a kid. He went on to have an entirely different second career, but much of his free time was spent working on our rambling old house. I would get pulled into helping, though not with design - my duties were largely limited to sweeping, peeling wallpaper, and (if I was lucky!) some painting. So before I was a woman in design and construction, I was a kid in construction.

I very much prefer to be outdoors, but growing up in New England it's unavoidable that we spend much of the winter months indoors. In part that's what drew me to interior design – if I have to spend so much time indoors, then it should feel good to be there! While I was in grad school I learned that the average person spends about 86% of their day indoors. Interior design certainly has a reputation of being somewhat frivolous, but this statistic helped me reframe the importance of the work I do. I want the space I am designing to be a comfortable, safe, and healthy environment for people to live, work, or simply have their lunch break. I want the end user’s experience to be as pleasant as it possibly can - and I feel grateful to work in an industry that involves so much cross-discipline collaboration with other women to make that happen.

As a designer I spend only a small amount of my time on job sites. Over the years I have relied heavily on subcontractors and installers to help educate me on how to improve as a designer: how to better communicate my designs and how to design more realistically and more economically. Since I'm not in the field building and installing what I have drawn, learning from those who are is important for my professional growth. To know that some of those doing that work are women is humbling.

Just as I have gained so much through collaborating with all of you, I also take my role as a mentor seriously. The interior design industry is majority female, making us the outliers in the building industry - but giving me the ability to provide an encouraging space for other women to explore the variety of opportunities that historically might not have been available to them.

I want to thank everyone in this room for being a part of today’s event and for supporting women in construction, both the ones in this room and those yet to come. And big thank you to Tocci and Davis for organizing today’s event!


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