She's WILD

5 Things I've Learned About Leadership, with Sally Riker, Partner Lowe Engineers

Episode Summary

Welcome back to the She’s Wild Podcast hosted by Nancy Surak! Today’s guest is Sally Riker, partner at Lowe’s Engineers. Sally has 25 years of experience in the A/E/C industry and was named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2020 to their List of Women Who Mean Business. Sally was recognized as one of the most influential women in A/E/C in Georgia 2018-2022. She was named to the “40 under 40” list of leading professionals by Georgia Trend magazine and she was recently appointed to the Urban Land Institute's America’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Committee.

Episode Notes

Welcome back to the She’s Wild Podcast hosted by Nancy Surak! Today’s guest is Sally Riker, partner at Lowe’s Engineers. Sally has 25 years of experience in the A/E/C industry and was named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2020 to their List of Women Who Mean Business. Sally was recognized as one of the most influential women in A/E/C in Georgia 2018-2022. She was named to the “40 under 40” list of leading professionals by Georgia Trend magazine and she was recently appointed to the Urban Land Institute's America’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Committee.

Sally's career journey has been filled with success and she’s long been recognized as a strong leader. She attributes her leadership skills to being involved in team sports in her youth and dives into the lessons she learned being a fast-pitch pitcher on her softball team. She is proud to be a woman in the STEM field and works to lift other women up in traditionally male dominated industries. Today’s episode will leave you feeling empowered and ready to step outside of your comfort zone and into a position or career path you might be thinking about.

Memorable Moments:
4:50- When you're playing team sports, you learn early on how not only to lead but support, how to cheer others on. It's something where every person on the team is a critical component to your success. So it’s the same thing here at work.

7:29- So the biggest thing that I always tell people is to be responsive and communicate. That is one of the biggest things that will help a project or help a client understand where you are with the project. If you don't communicate with them, you're not responsive, or you don't pick up the phone, it lends to a lot of problems that perhaps you could have nipped in the bud, to begin with.

12:18- I feel like it is so important, especially for women, to raise your hand, get involved in those leadership roles, don't just be a member or participate, really get involved. There are not enough women out there that get involved with nonprofit organizations, professional organizations that really raise their hand and say, “Hey, I want the opportunity to lead”.

21:42- One thing that I have to say is women are strong, we're resilient. I feel very, very honored and privileged to be here at Lowe, I'm the only female partner.

27:05- I really never thought I would be in a STEM field growing up; I thought I was going to be on Broadway or a news anchor or something like that, but, you know, it is possible.

36:00- Put yourself in the arena, make yourself bigger, you know, and at the end of the day, it's you that counts. You're your own worst critic, and you're probably the one that holds holding yourself back in the long run.

Connect with Nancy:

Connect with Sally:

Sally’s Book Recommendation:
Daring Greatly Brene Brown via Amazon:

She's WILD Sound production by:
Luke Surak, Surak Productions:

Episode Transcription

Nancy Surak 00:00
Welcome to She's Wild, the podcast for women and land and development. Today's guest is Sally Riker, a partner at Lowe Engineers in Atlanta, Georgia. Sally joins us today with more than 25 years of experience in the AEC Industry. And let me tell you guys, this woman has done it all. She is incredibly decorated with lots of awards. She has been named as the most influential woman in Georgia for the AEC industry. She's received all sorts of accolades, both locally in Georgia, and in the national arena. And we are so happy to have her here today. We're going to get into all things leadership, why it's important to share your experience if you're in land and development with the next generation through stem conversations, and why it's important to support each other and to pull each other into different rooms and opportunities. Sally, welcome to the show. We share a love for a bunch of different things that can't wait to get into our conversation. But before we do, I always like my guests to come on and actually give their own introduction, so they can tell us a little bit more about who you are and what you're doing at low.

Sally Riker 01:23
Hey, good morning, everybody. Thank you, Nancy, for doing this. It's so important. We share our love of women and how do we promote and advance women's careers. And it's a field that I'm absolutely passionate about. My name is Sally Riker. I am out of Atlanta, Georgia. I'm a equity partner with Lowe Engineers. I have been here almost 20 years, and have been primarily mostly career wise in the AEC field. I was I started off at another full service architecture engineering firm here in Atlanta, and then found my way to low engineers and have been here ever since. When I first started off in the field, I really, you know, just answered an ad, we were at the time in a recession after graduation, answered an ad in the AJC in the paper, believe it or not, that's how you would search for jobs, coming out of school, and applied for a bunch of different things, got a call back, and believe it or not, this got a interview, there were over 300 candidates, so a lot of candidates at the time for this one position of a marketing assistant. And she she called me back and asked me she said, Hey, I saw that you play softball. And it's a time when you know, you don't have a lot of stuff on your resume. So you put everything on your resume. And she said, you know, we're really interested in you. And we'd like to extend you the offer if you promise to play softball for the company on our team. And I said, Absolutely, let's do it. So never really dreamt of being in this field quite this long. My mom was a teacher knew I didn't want to be a teacher, counselor. And my dad was an aerospace engineer and knew I didn't want to go into engineering. And believe it or not, I do both now. So you never want to say that you're not going to do something because you probably will end up doing it in the long run so crazy about the infrastructure fields. So happy I made the jump into the career I did and proud to be with you today.

Nancy Surak 03:43
That's a great story. So I want to take a step back to softball, right, I read that you are a fast pitch pitcher. Yes, yeah. Okay. So in your experience, playing team sports, or in fast pitching, what's something that you can say through that experience that you apply that you learned through being a fast pitcher that you apply to your career now?

Sally Riker 04:13
Well as as a pitcher, you kind of you control your, your space, you're kind of the leader on the team. It really all comes down to to the moment when you're pitching and leading that team through. And it's one thing that you know, you need a good team around you at all times. And you know, it's not it's this is not a solo, you know, sport, you know, you need you need a good team around you and you need to be leading your team and so it's one thing that you know, when you're playing Team sports you learn early on, you know how to how to not only lead but support, how to cheer others on, you know, remember all those old softball All cheers, you know, and it's something where, you know, every, every person on the team is a critical component to your success. So same thing here at that work. You know, we have, we have individual teams working on different projects, you have a company culture, all wheels into one and you know, any little cog in the wheel, if you have an issue. Nowadays, what I do is as, as an owner, I can be doing multiple things throughout the day, not just marketing, not just this development, I could be helping someone with some sort of issue in their office, I could be walking into the break room, and a very interesting conversation where you know, someone needs to someone needs to, you know, some help, you know, in a different in a different aspect of their career. So you just never know what you're going to be walking into. But each, each thing is so important to the component that is your company,

Nancy Surak 06:08
I would imagine that I know, guy played sports at a younger age. But there are a lot of things that have taught me, you know, like teamwork, but also how to lose gracefully. How to recognize that a win or loss doesn't really reflect my own self worth. So I would imagine that you're able to carry all those similar lessons forward, as well. So I'm glad you talked a lot about teamwork. When you go back the space between maybe you were playing softball, and today, I think you mentioned you didn't want to be an engineer, you knew you didn't want to be a teacher. What did you study when you were younger? In college?

Sally Riker 06:46
So I actually studied communications. And so I learned about all the skills needed to negotiate nonverbal skills, you know, anything having to do with verbal and nonverbal actually communication persuasion, it was a really interesting dialects, you know, it was really interesting major to be to be graduating from University of Georgia. It really, I think that nowadays, a lot of what we see in our work is, our clients asked us, you know, because everybody's so busy right now, right? So the biggest thing that I always tell people is be responsive, you know, communicate, that is like one of the biggest things that will help a project or help a client understand where you are with the project, if you don't communicate with them, or you're not responsive, or you don't pick up the phone, it lends to a lot of problems that perhaps you could have nipped in the bud you know, to begin with. So. So it communication is, is a huge, huge, important part of what we do every single day. And I'm really glad that I ended up majoring in it. The other thing that I'll say is, a lot of times, communication is not about always what's spoken, but also listening, really listening to, to needs to your clients to friends, and not always jumping out and saying, you know, I know how to solve your problem, but really listening and seeking to understand so important important part of communication as well.

Nancy Surak 08:33
Yeah, no, I'm glad you said that. Because oftentimes, I think sometimes folks state their problem, and it's really something else. And if you've listened long enough, you can get to the bottom of that. But it is a challenge and a fast moving environment, you know, when people don't want to maybe pause enough. And one of the things that I actually have seen, and I've been telling a lot of younger folks, you know, I'm in my 50s. But, hey, don't be so quick to put everything just in email, like you can pick up the phone and call people because there's a lot that you can gain by making not just a verbal connection. So writing is important. Listening is important. But really being able to speak and ask the right questions, I think is equally it's like the third peg in the stool, right? Can't have the two without the third. So I'm glad that you mentioned all of those. So when you were coming up through the industry, and you look back, you look back today at your childhood. You said I didn't want to be an engineer. But is it a surprise for you to say, to look at where you're at today? I mean, there had to be signs that you would end up in the industry.

Sally Riker 09:40
You know, I don't know if there were I know that what my signs were as far as leadership, were always there. So whatever I was going to do, like I think back to my childhood I was first born and always bringing my sisters into Do I be in a Jazzercise you know, doing a Jazzercise class or coordinating something on the swing set, like a production from my parents when they got home, I was always in those leadership roles, if you will. And actually those didn't stop. I always was raising my hand, you know, to to participate. But it was really funny. One of the things that really got me indirectly more involved with giving back and volunteering came really early on in my career, when I'm sure you've heard the phrase being voluntold. I went to a meeting, a professional organization meeting. And it was bring a young member to the meeting day. And so we drove all the way down to Savannah, for this meeting, and I really, I liked it, you know, connected with a lot of people at lunch, we came all the way back to Atlanta. And I got a call from this woman at the Army Corps of Engineer, she said, you know, we elected you as our new Treasurer, and hope to see you at the next meeting. And I was like, You're joking, right? So I didn't go to the next meeting, I kind of just forgot about it, it was so far down, like I'm in Atlanta, Savannah is four hours away. So she after the meeting, she calls me back, she's like, we were serious. We elected you, we need you on the board. And so from that moment on, it kind of set my career like I with that organization, they have little chapters called posts. And I ended up being treasurer that year. And I rolled through every single elected position until I was president of that organization. And then that kind of set me up for more leadership at a national level, which was really fun. So I'm involved with this one organization Society of American military engineers at a national level now and love it. But it was one thing that I early on didn't realize was so critically important, but they kind of, you know, at age 21 threw me in. And that is one thing that I want to share with everybody that I feel like is so important is especially for women, raise your hand, get involved in those leadership roles, don't just be a member or participate, really get involved. There's not enough women out there that get involved with nonprofit organizations, professional organizations that really raise their hand and say, hey, I want the opportunity to lead. And had I not been voluntold into that position. I don't know if I would be where I am today with all the organizations that I participate in, and all the boards that I serve on. But I'm so thankful that that kind of accidentally fell into my lap and happen because that really set my path into a lot of different leadership roles that I would have never dreamt that I would be in.

Nancy Surak 13:04
That's a fantastic story. And I love the fact that a woman called you and said, Hey, we've nominated you, we've elected you. So that's also the lesson, right? Not only raise your hand, but if you are a woman in a leadership position on a board, please throw your hand back, like you run track, like throw your hand back and grab somebody and fling them up to like, let's pull each other into the room and up to the table. Because I I get it, you know, like I've been in that position too. And, you know, board obligations can be scary when you're trying to balance everything, your career, your personal life, but they're so important for your overall development, and in your leadership skills. So I want to talk a little bit more about leadership. So you and I are both members of the Urban Land Institute, I talk about the Urban Land Institute, almost on every podcast episode, it is a lot. It's a very meaningful organization. For me as a land broker. I've met some tremendous people, professionals, globally through the organization. But for me, it's really been my involvement with women's leadership initiative on the West Coast of Florida that led to this podcast that led to this idea. I'd like to talk to you about your involvement with you, Ally, because you had a great opportunity. A few years ago, I think it was in 2014 for a leadership role at a national level or an education that you were part of can you tell us a little bit more about what you did through that program and what that was all about?

Sally Riker 14:37
Yeah, I love I love to talk about ULI. It's near and dear to my heart and I've given so much back to you ally in ours just because I love the organization. And you know, I feel like you know, it is something where you put in countless hours and you absolutely love every single moment of every opportunity with you ally, I actually fell into you ally through my work. I was doing some work with GE that at the time, and really wanted to know more about all of commercial real estate. And there was this program called Center for Leadership. It started in Atlanta, and back in 2010. And it takes mid level career professionals and kind of, it's a almost a year long, 10 month program. And it talks about you meet one day a month, and it talks about all aspects of real estate from very, very large scale to the nuts and bolts. And so you learn about capital markets, you learn about housing, regionalism, infrastructure, designing, construction, urban plan, there's just so many different aspects that you learn and you hear from the best of the best. And the best land deals, the best speakers, kind of the, it's you do great exercises, you actually get to halfway through the program, you actually work on a technical, they call it a mini technical assistance panel, which is a project that you actually work on, that's about 40 to $50,000 worth of pro bono services to a client. So I entered into this program, I was thankfully accepted, and just fell in love with it. And I and what we do with engineering is so much on the front end of commercial real estate, and you know, you get, you get kind of into just what you do as a professional, that there's this whole other, you know, there's so many other components to think about. And so it kind of you know, widens your view a lot on the whole commercial real estate field. So I went through the program, and I absolutely fell in love with it, and decided the next year that I wanted to be involved. So I was a day chair for the infrastructure regionalism day. And so with that, you have to line up all the speakers and it's kind of your view your lens on what regionalism and infrastructure is. So you, you set up this fantastic day for the next class. And you work with a partner and just you know, you're involved and you put on the day. And then fortunately, I you know, I guess like my enthusiasm really shined through. And so they invited me back to be the co chair for the next year. And then I chaired the following year. So you kind of get, you know, your feet wet with the co chair position, and then you work on cheering. And then after that, after that four year run, they said, hey, you know, who ally? You know, we really need to give WTI some more legs. It was coming out of the ground in Atlanta at the time. And they said, Would you like to co chair WLI rolling off this? And I said 100%? Absolutely, this is this is a great segue. So I ended up doing that, and CO chairing and sharing wo ally here in Atlanta. And now I've been asked to help at a national level, which I'm so excited about. And we're actually working on the 10th anniversary, I'm on the committee, where we're going to have a big celebration at the fall meeting and excited about celebrating what we've been able to do in the last 10 years and where we're headed. So that's kind of my story, you know, I never really thought that I would be so involved with you, Ally and wo ally but just absolutely fell in love with it raised my hand and said I'm here, you know, put me to work.

Nancy Surak 18:58
Yeah, I did the same thing down in the, in the Tampa Bay region. You know, when I, I left a boutique firm that had been with for 10 years where I was the only female broker and then I planted my own flag with a national company. And I was seeking just something really meaningful to do outside of just working on my business practice. And I met with the gentleman from ULI, at the time, who had been a member for decades, and he was like you should do WLI we have an opening you should jump in this is it's got your name written all over it. And I was the chairperson for three years and it was really, really very meaningful to me to recognize that just having a conversation with other professional women in our business was not only so needed, but it became like just really a place where I made like great connections of like friends. And knowing that it was like we created this bond of if I encounter something in a deal, or I encounter something in my career that I can pick up the phone and call one of these women in a very confidential manner. And just say like I need to talk this through, it's been just really remarkable. You know, a woman that I co chaired with right before COVID actually relocated to New York, I just spoke with her last week. And you know, we were kind of just catching each other up. And it's just amazing in terms of what it says for your network. And just your overall like how you're going to tackle your career. So I'm super excited that you ally and who Isaac's, you know, going to be celebrating their 10th anniversary at the fall meeting. You can't wait to be there. I'm excited to see what you guys put on as a program. And I hope that the work continues, you know, because I see that sometimes that those conversations can get lost in other conversations, when there's other bigger issues, or equally as important issues out there that women's leadership sometimes can get lost in the shuffle. And so I'm a huge proponent of continuing to beat that drum that that issue is still needed, especially in the as built and design world and land and development, like there just aren't enough of us. So we need to make sure that we're all supporting each other. So So going back a little bit, when you, you know, basta about kind of like your childhood and coming up through college, as a partner in the firm. Have there been any major obstacles or career challenges or challenges in general, in terms of leadership that you've faced, that you've conquered? Or that you learn from that you'd like to just sort of talk through or share with us here? You know, you mentioned you know, different needs come up with different folks in the office. But, is there anything else maybe leading through a downturn COVID.

Sally Riker 21:40
Um, you know, one thing that, that I have to say is women are strong, we're resilient. You know, I feel very, very honored and privileged to be here at low, I'm the only female partner. So there are challenges, let me tell you every day, I have made it a point in my career and tear with the hats that I wear here at work to personally recruit women. And it has been, it's been a real joy to kind of focus on that. And, you know, we, we have to continue to lift each other and pull each other along. And, you know, I talked about raising my hand, but we sometimes have to remember, like, you know, we do so many things, as women, whether you're married or not married, have kids, we're juggling a million different things all the time. But we have to remember to pull each other along, and to continue to promote each other and push each other up. Sometimes you get that also from men, I've had amazing men mentors, the CEO really was always dragging me into meetings. I was like, why am I in this meeting? Oh, now I get it. You know, I'm in this meeting, because I need to be here, I deserve to be here. You know, I've had another mentor of mine, who said, there's this national position, give me your resume, you're applying something that wasn't even on my radar that I would have never thought of. So we need to continue to push each other and pull each other up. Because we do get so busy in our normal lives, that sometimes it's really being more purposeful, and intentional in what we do, as professionals to make sure that women get a seat at the table and continue to be here because we do have a lot of distractions and other needs going on. There's always something

Nancy Surak 23:53
We definitely do. So talking about women helping each other. I know that there's something that you also do in the Atlanta community where you go into schools, and you talk about careers in STEM. And it's really, really important. I remember before I was a lamb burger, I actually worked for soils engineering company. So I came up but you know, I mentioned the very beginning. We share a love for things I started off my career as a marketing coordinator got into business development for engineers and architects. So I in contractor so I know your world, right? Like I have been there before I get into brokerage. But I used to go into schools when my kids were little into their classrooms and talk about like, it wasn't an engineer had no engineering background. But I would give this whole presentation on what different soils are and why it was important for building and I basically just got help from engineers that I worked with, and I'm like, Hey, give me five samples, like core samples of or containers of soils lie and tell me what I need to know so I can go tell these kindergartners and first graders. I'd love for you to tell us you know, what are some of the things that you're doing when you go into these schools trying to in couraged stem development for for the entire population, but in particular for young girls to see that's kind of amazing for them to be able to see you.

Sally Riker 25:09
Yes, yes. Because you know, when kids, especially at that young age, you know, they, they're all over the place. And you know, their imaginations run wild at that point. There's, there's no barriers really in their mind yet. So I love my favorite is I love talking to the K through second graders, because they just, they come in and they listen, and it's so what I love to do is I love to see the differences between boys and girls, sometimes I'll try to ask a question. The boys are like, I got it. I got it. Even before I can get the question. Now. It's just so funny. But the girls will listen. And then they're like, wait, I think I know what this is. But I go in and I talk about bridges and structures. And because a lot of times, like the kindergarteners through second graders have already seen maybe the Golden Gate Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, we talk about all these different structures. And then we do a little art, I bring in some strips of construction paper, and I say, Okay, now we're gonna make our own structure and what makes a really good structure. And so by the time we're done, I give them a glue stick, and they've made all these really cool structures. And at first, it starts off with, okay, I'm just going to make the circle, you know, with your piece of paper, where they are gluing it together like this, and they put it down. And then by the time we leave their structures, and you know, really cool stuff everywhere, and then they can bring it home and show them and what, what I love, is that, right? You know, when they're in kindergarten through second grade, they're really only seeing their teacher at this point, you know, and I feel like it's so important that, you know, women get out there and talk about this love of STEM and you know, solving some problems and curiosity because I feel like so many people can go into this field, not just a certain gender, not just a certain type. I mean, like I said, I really never thought I would be in a STEM field growing up, I thought I was going to be on Broadway or news anchor or something like that. But, you know, it is possible. So I actually enjoy Nancy talking to all different grades, I've gone into middle schoolers, high schoolers, as well as college and talk to them about their careers, how to get ready, you know, talking about engineering, and just different things that we do, because they don't realize all the things that actually we do do in our careers. And some of those soft skills to like we were talking about early on, talk about those, but, you know, getting them you know, hey, there is a whole career out here that does this. And to see a female do it is I think even a more powerful example. So I love I love going in and talking to all the grades about STEM.

Nancy Surak 28:02
Yeah, so do I. I think it's really important for them to see somebody who, like yourself, is a great communicator, is strong in your convictions is super knowledgeable about the field that you're in. And that you can just use this love of the industry, right? Like that is infectious for them to see really any audience. So it to me, it's no surprise after talking with you, you know, a few weeks ago, and now again today that those in leadership positions, and these national organizations have said we want Sally, you know, you're being so sought out because your your energy is so incredibly clear. So I love that I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to speak today, I love to wrap up every podcast with three questions. One question, and you talked a little bit about this, but I'm gonna just try to hone it in a little bit more if a young woman called you tomorrow, and she said, I'm really thinking about a career in engineering, or in the land and development arena. And I just want to know, like, where should I focus my efforts? Like what skills should I really be trying to hone? What would what advice would you give her?

Sally Riker 29:22
Um, you know, I would, I would say, if you like to, there's so many problems that we solve, you know, and you don't necessarily have to necessarily be the engineer. Sometimes you can be the outside person looking in because a lot of times our clients needs us, you know, are not engineers, right? So they're talking a certain language like hey, I need this, this and this done. And sometimes it takes a non engineer to actually hear oh, okay, they actually need this. So like we talked the listening skills. So I would say If If this person likes to solve problems, if they like to see the built environment come come to life, if they like to be purposeful, if they if they can communicate, these are all great skills that transfer really well into a STEM career, commercial real estate career, some career in the AEC field, you know, I feel like and I'm passionate about it, even if you're a mark, we talked about marketing. I actually, you know, the beginning part of my career marketing branding strategy, that's really what I do well, and I know, I don't know if we have time, but I helped develop the brand for low engineers, which is the zebra stripe. And I'll tell you fell into that as well. I've just been incredibly sometimes a little bit of luck, but a lot of hard work, you know, to follow. We were we were doing a project in New Orleans at the time after Hurricane Katrina. And our surveyor came to us and said, Hey, I'd really like to see my boat better out on the water. May I you know, put some paint on the bow. Can I zebra stripe it? And so we said in the corporate office? Sure, you know, go ahead and zebra stripe at the time 2005 There wasn't all these fancy car wraps, so we can paint it on the truck or the boat. And then he came to us a month later said, Hey, do you mind if I matched the truck with the boat and get the truck painted? And we said, oh, you know, how much is it? Well, you know, all right, let's do it. This would be fun. So a couple months went by and I started getting calls in the Atlanta office and I put my marketing hat on and I was like, you know, we err on the side of roads all the time doing survey, we're we're on army bases. We're we are on project sites. What if we were to stripe our whole fleet of trucks and so we ended up I ended up blurting that out in a marketing and sales meeting, I said, Hey, you know, what, if we were to just stripe all of our trucks, I don't think it's been done before. And the CEO said, I love it. And I'm gonna get my truck strike right now we're going to test it out. So we went and we did it. We branded everything, I took the zebra stripes, and we got a really good graphic designer, and we overlaid it with these trucks and found a company that would do the car wraps, and we put them on every single fleet. And then honestly, it kind of took off like wildfire here in Atlanta and in Louisiana. And we ended up saying, Okay, we're rebranding, like our whole look, our whole field, everybody loves it. This is something fun. And usually in the architecture engineering world, it's a lot of times very boring, you know, and so to have a little bit of fun on the road, and actually, it's been really good for us to because the clients see it visibility, safety, our drivers that drive the trucks actually have have to slow down and behave. Not that they weren't before. But you know, it's it's, you're visible now to everybody. So we now put the zebra stripes on our proposals, envelopes, everything zebra striped here, we have a lot of fun with it. And it's to the point where we've been doing it now for so long, that a lot of times in Atlanta, I don't even have to put our logo on it. They just see the zebra stripes. And no, it's our company. So it's a great, it's, we have a lot of fun with it here in Atlanta.

Nancy Surak 33:44
What a fun story about you. I'm from New Orleans. So I particularly love that story. But I love the fact that someone was trying to solve a really simple problem, right? I can't see my boat, I turned into this massive opportunity for you guys as a company to leverage solving that one simple little bitty problem. Can't see my boat. And now you're known all over your region. And I'm sure people here listening today are like what a fantastic marketing concept. You know, like you're just well well known. So I love the fact that you went from giving advice to young women right to recognizing when you have an opportunity that is literally right at your fingertips to jump in from a strategic standpoint and say, what if we did this? So I want to just add my advice, my little piece of advice would be, don't be afraid to speak up in a meeting with an idea that you think is a good idea. Don't be afraid of what the response might be. But instead go with your gut, especially if it's a strategy because you could be really onto something. Right?

Sally Riker 35:00

Nancy Surak 35:01
Yeah. So exciting. I could like talk about that forever. I know. So the the next question I'd love to ask is, do you get your inspiration? Or have you read a book or listen to a podcast or read a magazine article recently that particularly stands out to you have something that you hold, dear, that you think folks here should also maybe look into?

Sally Riker 35:24
Absolutely. So two parts to that one is, I have been lucky enough to have the support of a company to pay for a lot of my leadership endeavors like I have gone through a lot of leadership training. So I went through one with Atlanta Regional Commission was accepted into the program. ULI. And then I went through CREW's leadership, and I went through one with s ame. And so whenever I get a chance, I love to do any sort of leadership training, learning, because you can never stop learning and growing. So that's number one, I get a lot of inspiration from from those trainings, and the people that are around in those trainings as well. The other thing that I'll say is, through one of my leadership trainings with crew, I actually took some coursework with Brene Brown, which was daring greatly, and have sense helped with some books with her dare to lead series, but I love Brene and, and the if you have a chance to take any coursework with her, or that's patented with her, or even read her book, you know, daring greatly, it's just having the courage, Nancy, like you're saying, to put yourself in the arena, make yourself bigger, you know, and at the end of the day, it's you that counts, you know, you You're your own worst critic, and you're probably the one that holds holding yourself back in the long run. So if you step out and have the courage, I actually after that series, I'll tell you, you know, part of it is, you know, you're not always going to succeed, sometimes you're going to fail, but I had the courage to run for a, somewhat a political office opportunity. And in Georgia was like a Transit Board. And I do not, I did not get it. But I put myself out there and I ran for the ran for the seat. It took a lot of courage, when we tell you to run for a, you know, position like that, because you are getting, there's a lot of critics that are coming at you. There's a lot of supporters too. You know, sometimes you don't know who to trust, but you learn and grow so much from an opportunity like that, and putting yourself really out there in the public, you know, area and I, I wouldn't have I wouldn't take it back at all, even though I wasn't successful. Actually. I'm already trying to figure out okay, what else am I going to do next? So, but daring, Daring Greatly really kind of gave me that push, you know, to, to jump out and have the courage to do something like that. So yeah,

Nancy Surak 38:17
I actually just read that book. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was it was a really good reminder, right of what you should be doing and how you should be looking at the world when you're taking different risk or what you might be perceived as risk. So I'm really glad that you suggested that book. I think it's fantastic. And finally, Sally, I my last question is, if someone here today would like to connect with you? What would be the best way for them to do that? Are you active on social media? Are you active on LinkedIn or Instagram where they could just sort of follow your path or just kind of watch what you're doing? Is there? Is there a place that maybe we can keep in touch?

Sally Riker 38:59
You know, I've thought about this, I'm not so good at social media, I feel like it's not as much with our generation, although I feel like that's kind of an excuse. Now. I do try to get on LinkedIn more often and try to post so if someone wants to connect. I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn. Please message me. I'm always you know, I love to talk to other women. I love to help women. I love to strategize. You know, it is it is a joy to really help women move forward. So if someone wants to connect, reach out on LinkedIn, that's probably the easiest way. You can also look on Lowe Engineers will post different blogs and different things on there so easily accessible, I would say.

Nancy Surak 39:47
Perfect. Well, I really, again very much appreciate the fact that you took time out of your busy schedule, as a company leader to join me here to have a great conversation about you know, the tips that you've learned over the years all your lesson. And, and then be able to pass those on to other folks in our industry. Again, thank you Sally so much and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Sally Riker 40:08
Okay, take care. Take care.

Nancy Surak 40:11
Thank you for joining us for another episode of She's Wild the podcast for women in land and development. If you enjoyed today's show, please go out and rate us so that we can be found by other women in our industry. And if you know women who are working in land and development, please share this podcast with them. And if you know a total rock star woman, badass chick who is killing it in land and development anywhere in North America. I want to know who she is. Please reach out to me so that I can feature her on an upcoming episode.