Our Advisory Board serves as an external body of expertise that is integral to buildgirls.org success. We are honored to be able to present the following leaders as members of our Advisory Board.
Founder & Chairman (Washington DC)
Linda Rabbitt founded rand* construction in 1989 and was one of very few female owners in the construction industry at the time. She is still active as Founder and Chairman and is responsible for setting the strategic vision for the entire organization. Linda provides executive direction, manages client services, and oversees all aspects of corporate and financial operations. Since stepping down as CEO, Linda is focusing on growing the next generations of rand* executives. Under her leadership, rand* has grown into one of the top general contractors in the DC metro area and has expanded on a national scale with licensure to perform construction services in over 26 states. Her knowledge of the industry and professional experience has enabled rand* to deliver award-winning work for a vast client base.
Her current boards include Willis Tower Watson (Independent Director), Children’s National Hospital, Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, and the Economic Club of Washington. Additionally, she has served on the Federal City Council (Chair), The Greater Washington Board of Trade (Chair), International Women’s Forum, Washington, DC Chapter (President), Washington Building Congress (President) and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) (President).
She is a Trustee Emerita of the George Washington University and was Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank (5th District).
Linda has served as an independent corporate Board member of Watson Wyatt and Towers Watson (Lead Director) and Brookfield Properties.
Linda founded a program at George Washington University called “On the Board” teaching C-suite women the roles and responsibilities of corporate Board directorship and recently, founded a similar program at the Harvard Business School called “Women on Boards”.
The business media recognizes Linda as an exceptional leader. Among her many accolades, she has been named a “100 Most Powerful Women in DC” (Washingtonian Magazine), “Outstanding Director” (Washington Business Journal), “National Director of the Year” (NACD), “50 Most Influential Virginians” (Virginia Business Magazine), “Power 100” and “Most Admired CEO in Construction” (Washington Business Journal), “Top Workplaces” (The Washington Post), and “Best Places to Work” (Washington Business Journal).
Linda holds a Master of Arts degree from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan.
EVP + Principal (Virginia)
Celebrating 25 years in 2023, Bognet Construction is an award winning commercial general contractor specializing in large commercial tenant interiors and complex building renovations throughout the Washington metropolitan area.
Jennifer serves on the board of directors of Bognet Construction Associates, Inc. In that role, she works closely with the Bognet executive team on corporate strategy and community relations.
During her tenure as Executive Vice President, Jennifer cultivated talent and promoted from within to build an outstanding executive team, and she was instrumental in expanding a small family-owned business into a premier construction partner building award-winning projects for the region’s most notable organizations. In 2021, she was involved in the implementation of a new employee stock ownership structure, a natural evolution of Bognet’s culture of entrepreneurship and collaboration.
Prior to joining Bognet Construction, Jennifer worked in the software industry in both sales and systems engineering for Oracle Corporation and Marriott International. She has held leadership positions in many commercial real estate industry organizations and philanthropy including The Greater Washington Board of Trade, Commercial Real Estate Women, Tysons Partnership, Leadership Greater Washington, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Lombardi Women, and Women Giving Back. She currently serves on the board of directors for Old Dominion National Bank. In 2022, she was recognized as the Commercial Real Estate Women DC’s Woman of Impact. Additional recognition includes the Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Class of 2014, Bisnow Commercial Real Estate Power Woman in 2014, and Bisnow Commercial Real Estate Woman of Influence in 2017.
Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the Smeal College of Business at the Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Science in Information Systems from George Mason University, and an Executive Education from Harvard Business School. She resides in McLean, VA with her husband Jim, and her son and daughter.
CEO (Washington DC)
From a young age, Kim Roy knew she wanted to become a builder. In 1999, her vision came true when she began her career in commercial construction with HITT Contracting. She rose through the ranks of construction operations and her considerable building experience and business savvy propelled her to increased leadership positions for the firm. She oversaw construction business units and a diverse group of corporate resources including business development, HR, marketing, preconstruction, virtual construction, and sustainable construction. In 2017, Kim was named CEO of HITT Contracting. In this role, she is responsible for defining key initiatives, identifying emerging markets and business opportunities, as well as developing the strategic plan for the company. She provides executive oversight for all corporate operations including HR, Finance, and Risk Management. Additionally, Kim leads the Leadership Council for emerging talent, the Corporate Steering Committee and the firm’s Strategic Planning Committee. Kim cares deeply about giving back in the communities where HITT builds and as such, she initiated and serves as President of the HITT Contracting Foundation.
Concurrently, Kim serves as President and active member of the board of HITT Holding Corporation, the parent company of HITT Contracting. She focuses on overarching management and performance of all assets including establishment of the governance of the individual corporations within the holding structure. Kim leads the M&A process for the firm, including prospective business reviews, due diligence, procurement, and integration.
Kim is an Independent Board Director for Brand Safway, a leading global provider of access, specialized services, and forming and shoring solutions to the industrial, commercial and infrastructure markets.
Corporate Counsel (Atlanta)
Lisa Mingoia, Corporate Counsel for Skanska USA Building, oversees all legal matters for six states, and the District of Columbia, with a focus on construction, corporate and transactional law and litigation. Additionally, she has subject matter expertise in Prevailing Wages, program management, legal training and insurance matters.
Lisa is a Fellow in the American College of Construction Lawyers, an In-House Counsel Fellow in the Construction Lawyers Society of America, Past Chair of the Skanska Women’s Network, Skanska’s first employee resource group, President of Women in Construction, Inc., a founding member of DICE (Diversity and Inclusion in Construction and Engineering), a Programming Committee Member for the Corporate Counsel Section of the Georgia Bar and a frequent speaker and moderator at many construction-industry events. Selected speaking engagements include: the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry Meetings; Construction Super Conference; Groundbreaking Women in Construction; Women in Construction Leadership and Networking Conference; Construction Financial Management Association; Architecture Boston; and the Construction Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association.
Lisa is a graduate of California Western School of Law, Columbia University Business School and the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Skanska uses knowledge & foresight to shape the way people live, work, and connect. More than 135 years in the making, Skanska is one of the world’s largest development and construction companies. It operates in select markets throughout the Nordics, Europe and the United States. Skanska in the U.S. is headquartered in New York City with 30 offices around the country. In 2021, construction in the U.S. generated $6.4 billion in revenue, and as a developer in the U.S., Skanska has invested a total of $3 billion in commercial and multi-family projects. Together with its customers and the collective expertise of its 7,300+ teammates in the U.S. and 30,000+ globally, it creates innovative and sustainable solutions that support healthy living beyond our lifetime.
Melinda Marlén Agron
Melinda Marlén Agron, principal at Newman Architects in New Haven, is passionate about creating synergies between critical building design and innovative business strategy. Growing up in Miami, she cultivated an early fascination for the impact that coupling good architecture and thoughtful real estate development has on an evolving city landscape. That lifelong interest prompted her to pursue an MBA alongside a graduate architecture degree and brought her to Newman, where she works across multi-family, mixed-use, and large-scale commercial projects as well as in real estate planning services.
Melinda also plays a key role in recruitment and strategic business development efforts in the firm, both of which engage her drive to connect people through relationship building. Melinda is an engaged alumna of Dartmouth College, the Yale School of Architecture, and the Yale School of Management. She has served as an instructor at the Yale School of Architecture and is co-editor of Perspecta 54: The Yale Architectural Journal (2021).
Melinda Marlén Agron
Sr. Planner (New York)
Camerin is a professionally licensed Senior Transportation Engineer & Planner at Enovate, a Women Owned Business (WBE) based in the New York Metropolitan Area. After juggling a Civil & Environmental Engineering Degree at NJIT with D1 basketball, she decided to specialize in transportation engineering. Now, she takes pride in shaping the way people move from point A to point B.
For the last five years she’s had a hand in some of the biggest transportation and infrastructure projects in the New York City area and beyond. Projects include the World Trade Center site, John F. Kennedy International Airport, La Guardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Union Station in Washington D.C., Los Angeles International Airport, and beyond. Her skills include studying transit and vehicle automation; conducting Environmental Impact Studies; data collection and analysis; and performing traffic, pedestrian, and parking analysis to name a few. She has become a key player and lead in her company’s transportation engineering and planning department.
Camerin’s leadership has shone throughout her career and extra-curricular involvements, starting from her days at college. She has been a member of multiple Advisory Boards including FeelGood, a youth-led social movement turning college campuses across the country into effective social enterprises raising money to end global hunger, and The Climate Mobilization. She is passionate about staying involved in her community and youth engagement. She hopes to inspire more young women to pursue STEM careers. A self-titled transportation nerd, she loves traveling and utilizing transit, bike, and walking wherever she goes. She is a Professional Engineer in NY and involved with organizations such as Professional Women in Construction, Institute of Transportation Engineers, and Women’s Transportation Seminar.
Deborah B. Baum
Partner (Washington DC)
Deborah Baum is the leader of Pillsbury’s Global Litigation Practice. She is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has secured an impressive success rate in recent cases tried to conclusion.
Debby has been achieving winning results for more than 30 years, prosecuting and defending a wide range of business cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts, and before arbitration tribunals. She has tried more than 17 civil cases to conclusion before judges, juries and arbitration tribunals, and countless evidentiary hearings on TROs, preliminary injunctions and other matters.
Debby’s broad practice includes product liability, complex commercial, real estate, corporate, fiduciary and health care disputes, and international arbitrations.
Deborah B. Baum
Jenna Kirkpatrick Howard
SVP (Washington DC)
In her role as Senior Vice President at Lockton, Jenna works with organizations to identify, assess, and manage their financial, operational, and reputational risks. Lockton is a $2B family- owned company that provides risk management and employee benefits consulting services to clients worldwide. Jenna understands the goals of her clients and leads the Lockton teams in the risk management strategy, insurance program design, risk finance, employee benefit consulting, claims advocacy, and risk control. Her clients are real estate owners, developers, general contractors, engineers, community development entities, social services, higher education, and other entities with complex property portfolios with professional services exposure.
Within her firm, Jenna was recently appointed to the Executive Committee for the Northeast Series of Lockton Companies. In this role, she will provide strategic leadership within the business that serves over 1,000 clients and 600 Associates generating revenues close to $300M. She serves on three steering committees for Lockton – Women in Leadership,
the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Council, and Lockton CARES, the community service arm of Lockton’s culture. Jenna is the 2021-2022 Co-Chair of the Elite Women Producer (EWP) group within Lockton. The mission of EWP is to create deeply connected and engaged Producers committed to growth, accountability, recruiting talent and modeling authentic leadership.
As a 2018 graduate of the KPMG Executive Leadership Institute for Women (ELIW), she is committed to mentorship, advocacy, and the advancement of female business leaders. Jenna serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) whose vision is equity for all accomplished through the mission of advancement and advocacy for women and girls. Jenna currently chairs the Audit Committee for AAUW where she recently led an auditor RFP to select a new provider along with the CFO, Chief of Staff, and fellow audit committee members.
Jenna is actively involved in philanthropy working with groups that support families in the Washington DC community. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Community of Hope (COH) after being a member of the Finance Committee for several years. COH is an award-winning, growing nonprofit that is making Washington DC more equitable through providing healthcare and housing. In addition to her personal investment of time and treasure to this important organization, Jenna has introduced Lockton Associates and her network to the work of Community of Hope through volunteering to host birthday parties for residents and sponsorships/attendance of several Night of Hope events.
Jenna was previously the Board Treasurer for 826DC, a nonprofit dedicated to working with students to develop their writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Jenna sits on the leadership committee for the annual 50/50 Women on Boards Luncheon and the annual Harvest for Hope Event for Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas raising funds to end homelessness. In previous board appointments, Jenna has served on the CEO search committee with 826DC and AAUW.
After a decade of membership in Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW DC) and four years on the Board of Directors, Jenna stepped into the role of Board President in 2020. This organization’s mission is to advance women in commercial real estate through education, networking, professional development, and mentorship. During her time on the Board of CREW DC, she played a pivot role in the development of the current strategic plan and championed a key objective of that plan on fostering an inclusive environment. In 2021, Jenna led the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee that reviewed bylaws, mission, communication, events planning, and vision to ensure a commitment to anti-racism and belonging across all programs of the organization.
Jenna co-authored a book for the American Bar Association titled Construction Insurance: A Guide for Attorneys and Other Professionals. In addition, she regularly hosts webinars on risk management topics and speaks at industry events such as the ABA Construction Forum, Washington Business Journal, CREW Network, Community IT, Environmental Bankers Association, and RIMS.
Jenna Kirkpatrick Howard
As Director of Strategy for Shimmick, Christie DeLuca leads strategy development and strategic planning for the company. With nearly twenty years of experience in the civil construction sector, she has held leadership positions in business development, marketing, and corporate communications, securing major civil construction projects for DOTs, airports, and municipal clients across the U.S.
Prior to Shimmick, Christie served as Director of Business Development for AECOM’s civil construction business, where she led the successful capture of the $260 million Gilcrease Expressway project. Prior to that, she served as Regional Director of Business Development for Flatiron Construction.
Most recently, Christie helped start a women’s resource group whose mission is to empower and support women by providing professional and personal development opportunities at Shimmick. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Rivka is a tax partner with more than 20 years of experience in corporate and partnership income tax compliance and management advisory services, with a special focus on business transactions. She works with clients on effective growth and tax strategies, mergers and acquisitions, and succession planning.
In addition to assisting owners and their businesses, Rivka works with individuals and sole proprietors on various private client matters including tax planning, income tax preparation, and estate planning. She coordinates numerous services for clients with both multistate and international operations.
Rivka joined BDO Baltimore in November 2020 as a part of the Hertzbach expansion.
EVP (San Francisco)
Susan Hecker is Area Executive Vice-President and National Director – Contract Surety for Arthur J. Gallagher’s Construction Practice, and is based in San Francisco, California. In addition to her account executive and management roles within Gallagher, Ms. Hecker is responsible for facilitating surety nationally, including mergers and acquisitions and maintaining national surety relationships. Prior to joining Gallagher in 1997 Ms. Hecker spent 20 years with a Top 10 surety operation, departing as the Surety Center Manager for the company’s regional flagship surety operation in San Francisco. She attained her CPCU designation in 1989. Within the construction industry, Ms. Hecker was a charter member of the CFMA and served as President of the Surety Association of Tennessee. She is currently a member of The Beavers, an Ex-Officio Producer Advisory Board Member for Liberty Mutual Surety and is Past President of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP). Ms. Hecker is also a faculty member of NASBP’s William J. Angell Level II Surety School as well as the John J. Curtin Level III Advanced Surety School, where she was instrumental in development of the curriculum. In 2019 Ms. Hecker was honored with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Hecker has written many articles and spoken often to construction industry groups on various surety related industry topics. In addition she has represented the surety industry on several panel discussions for IRMI & the AGC Surety Bonding & Construction Risk Management Conference on topics such as the State of the Surety Industry, the Surety Prequalification Process, Surety Minefields and Ethics in Surety. In 2016 Ms. Hecker was awarded the prestigious Golden Beaver Award for Service & Supply to the Heavy Engineering Construction Industry. She resides in Los Altos, California, with her husband, Jeffrey.
Arthur J. Gallagher
Kimberly Goldsteen is an accomplished leader and mentor known for her advocacy and contributions to worthwhile causes and organizations across the globe. Prior to her leadership work with buildgirls.org, Kim was the Director of Events at The Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Prior to which she worked at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Kim began her career in the arts at The New York City Ballet in New York City. Kim is involved in numerous philanthropic and community organizations, including overseeing the family foundation. When she is not giving back, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis and traveling.
Professor (Los Angeles)
For the last twenty years, Jennifer Jay has been a Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California Los Angeles. She specializes in the fate and transport of chemical and microbial contaminants in the environment. Her research addresses a wide range of topics including coastal water quality, environmental proliferation of antibiotic resistance, and the role of environmental education in shifts toward diets with lower carbon footprints. Her classes include Aquatic Chemistry, Chemical Fate and Transport, and Foodprint: Understanding the Connections between Food and the Environment. She was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, and two engineering school-wide award for excellence in teaching. In addition, she was the Pritzker Fellow for Environmental Sustainability and a Carnegie Fellow for Civic Engagement in Higher Education, and she recently named a Chancellor’s Fellow for Community-Engaged Research. Jennifer also directs the Center for Environmental Research and Community Engagement (CERCE), a UCLA Center that addresses community-based environmental research questions in under-served communities in Los Angeles. She founded Meals for the Planet (meals4planet.org), an organization with the goal of disseminating information on the connections between food and the environment. Jennifer earned her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Claudia Gunsch is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University and holds secondary appointments in the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She joined the Duke Faculty in 2004 after obtaining her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, her MS from Clemson University and her BS from Purdue University. Currently, she serves as the Director for the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Precision Microbiome Engineering (PreMiEr). Previous leadership roles include serving as Associate Dean for Research and Infrastructure for the Pratt School of Engineering (2021-2022), Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement (2019-2021) and as the Director of IBIEM (Integrative Bioinformatics for Investigating and Engineering Microbiomes), a joint graduate training program between Duke and North Carolina A&T State University (2015-2021). Dr. Gunsch’s research bridges environmental engineering and molecular biotechnology. Current research foci include developing microbiome engineering approaches for the built environment and bioremediation, investigating the ecological impacts of emerging contaminants on environmental microbiomes, studying microbial evolution following exposure to anthropogenic contaminants and developing innovative water treatment technologies. She has received in excess of $36 million of research funding from federal and state funding agencies as well as private industry. She is the recipient of the 2009 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, 2013 Langford Lectureship Award, 2016 Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising and the 2016 ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. Dr. Gunsch was named ASCE Environmental & Water Resources Institute Fellow in 2022, Bass Fellow in 2016 and Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering for the United States Frontiers of Engineering in 2011 as well as the Indo-American Frontiers of Engineering in 2014. She currently serves as Editor in Chief for Biodegradation and is a member of the Editorial Board for npj Clean Water and Industrial Biotechnology.
Iro Armeni is a PostDoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich and an incoming Assistant Professor at Stanford University (Sept. ’23), conducting interdisciplinary research between Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Visual Machine Perception. Her area of focus is on automated semantic and operational understanding of buildings throughout their life cycle using visual data. She completed her PhD at Stanford University on August 2020, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, with a PhD minor at the Computer Science Department. Prior to enrolling in the PhD program, Iro received an MSc in Computer Science (Ionian University-2013), an MEng in Architecture and Digital Design (University of Tokyo-2011), and a Diploma in Architectural Engineering (National Technical University of Athens-2009). She is the recipient of the ETHZ Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Google PhD Fellowship on Machine Perception, and the Japanese Government (MEXT) scholarship. Iro has worked as an architect and consultant for both the private and public sector.
Senior Director (Harvard)
Megan Panzano is Senior Director of Early Design Education and Lecturer in Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. She has taught and coordinated studios and advanced seminars in visual representation at the GSD for the past 10 years in both the graduate and undergraduate architecture programs at Harvard, concurrent with running her award-winning design and research practice, studioPM. Her built and scholarly design work addresses architecture across a range of scales that are progressive through their interplay of images, objects, and space so that they invite a broader audience to engage with design.
Megan is the recent recipient of four sequential Harvard Excellence in Teaching awards, a 2021 Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Faculty Design Award Honor, and a 2020 Best Parks award for her Boston-built rooftop playground, High Sees. Her design work has been published in Mark Magazine, Wallpaper, Bauwelt, Architect, PLAT, Arch Daily, Domus, the Boston Globe, the Harvard Gazette, and Harvard Design Magazine and has been exhibited in numerous domestic and international academies and galleries. She holds a B.A. in Architecture with honors from Yale and an MArch with distinction from the GSD where she received the John E. Thayer Award for outstanding academic achievement and the 2010 winner of the GSD’s James Templeton Kelley Thesis Prize.