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News Oct 9, 2018

Unmask Your Best Self with These 3 Secrets to Success

Young blond girl child in a super hero costume

Ever wondered what you have in common with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Maya Angelou or Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks? 

If you’ve ever felt like your accomplishments have happened due to luck, timing or a mistake and feared that you’d be “found out” at any moment – you’re not alone. Angelou and Hanks are among the estimated 70 percent of people who experience this phenomenon, commonly known as impostor syndrome, at some point in their lives. 

While the impostor phenomenon can impact anyone, it’s particularly common with high-achieving women. And because we’d love to live in a world where masks are reserved for the upcoming Halloween holiday – some of our most bold Jacobs women shared the tips that helped them unmask their best selves this year for International Women’s DayInternational Women in Engineering Day and now, International Day of the Girl.

Christel van der Nol, project engineer and wellness coach; water engineer and project manager Andrea DuMont; and Jennifer Edmunson, planetary geologist, join today’s empowerment conversation to reveal their secrets to success.

Define what success looks like

“Fit and healthy is not about having a six-pack, but having a fit and healthy mindset,” says Christel van der Nol. “Feeling fit is more than physical health, it’s all about mental health and balance in life, including work.”

Christel herself balances her daily work as a project engineer with her passion for fitness. “On the weekends, I give trainings for several brands like Reebok and Nocco,” she explains about her business that helps people adopt a fit and healthy lifestyle.

At Jacobs, she helps lead high-performing and cross-functional teams through a framework to complete some of our most complex projects. Christel’s ambitious and positive attitude – integral to the Scrum coach role – shines through on her Instagram account, @FitGirlChris, where her followers get a glimpse into her fitness journey that recently landed her the cover of Dutch Women’s Health.

To be successful, you first need to think about what success would look like for you, she says. “Define what your success is. For me, I think that we are successful if we are happy in what we do.”

For Christel, success thus far includes landing the aforementioned brands as sponsors, running a successful business and cultivating an innovative career – and maintaining a fit, healthy and happy lifestyle throughout. 

She adds, “Don’t see your goal as just the goal – try to enjoy the journey toward it. That, for me, is the best part.”

Figure out what gets you up in the morning

Andrea DuMont’s thrilling career as a project manager and water engineer started at home – specifically at the kitchen table, where her eager engineer father exposed her to the wonderful world of data and inspired her to join her high school’s F.I.R.S.T. robotics club.

Now, when she’s not helping secure underground drinking water supplies with aquifer storage and recovery, taking measurements from a drilling rig, constructing city-wide management plans or traveling, she’s inspiring the next generation of engineers through her blog, with an active following of more than 7,000 subscribers.

“Young girls need role models. Sally Ride, the first American woman astronaut, has this great quote: ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’” “It’s hard to get into engineering if you can’t see yourself in it. So, I think a lot about how I can write about my job and these projects in a way that would inspire someone to want to pursue engineering,” she says.

And with posts titles from “Career Roadmap – Futile or Useful?” to “A Walk on the Valve Side” and “Learning from Angkorian Water Engineers,” Andrea’s blog offers a little bit of everything, giving young women an encouraging, empowering look into a sometimes-inaccessible industry.

When it comes to success, Andrea encourages being an active participant in your career and figuring out what makes you jump out of bed in the morning. “For me, that means expanding my network and reaching out for a variety of projects,” she says. “I love to work with diverse teams and solve all sorts of different challenges.”

“For you, that may mean taking on a leadership role, advocating for yourself and your value or finding an innovative way to solve a problem,” she continues. “It will be different for everyone. At the end of the day it is your career. Be proud of yourself and your engagement.”

Get out there, be tenacious and remember, nothing is impossible

“Don’t look at things as impossibilities,” says Jennifer Edmunson, “Only look at them as challenges that need to be overcome.”

As a geologist and in-space manufacturing engineer, figuring out how to build on Mars is one of the thrilling challenges she’s faced with, and it starts with studying soil chemistry, mineralogy, and geomechanical properties. In fact, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed nearly three years ago that water indeed flows on Mars, Jennifer was already deep into experimenting with 3D printing and additive construction for in-space use. 

“Be tenacious,” she says, “Success will be yours if you just keep trying.”

Jennifer and her team found early success using a Martian simulant to create cement construction material and she’s hopeful that one day, they will be able to use 3D printing technology to print their entire habitat. For now, Jennifer spends most of her time at the NASA Marshall Flight Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where she’s leading the charge to better understand the Red Planet’s origin, habitability and resources – all through a geological focus. 

“Don’t be afraid to take a detour in life – sometimes the end of the new road is exactly where you should be and will be more fulfilling than your original intended path,” Jennifer adds. 

Her own path has also included work supporting NASA’s International Space Station program, an orbiting research facility – the largest single structure ever put into space by humans – that’s helping develop groundbreaking vaccination research and generating captured-imagery to assist with disaster mitigation and relief efforts, including the recent Hurricane Florence

Most of all, your success depends on getting out there, she says. “Use social media to advertise yourself and the capabilities of your company/organization. It’s a good opportunity to bring business your and your company’s way. Go to conferences and network, and present and publish your work. Otherwise, only the few you work with will know how awesome you are!”

Ready to show the world how awesome you are? Jacobs is hiring! Click here to view available career opportunities and join us in delivering the promise of a more connected, sustainable world.