Member Profiles

Meet a Member

Karen Velen

Where do you work and what is your role there?

I work for Servcon, a mid-size construction company in Richmond Hill as a construction project manager.  My role?  As a project manager I wear lots of different hats for various situations everything from estimating, procurement, contract management and managing sub trades.  Fortunately I’ve only had to pick up a power tool a few times lol.  I walk a tight rope between managing our client’s project expectations and making sure that the project is progressing on time and of course on budget. 

What areas of commercial real estate do you specialize in?

Servcon designs and builds various projects for clients in office buildings, retail spaces, industrial locations and special purpose build outs. I have been involved in projects ranging from institutional trading floors, private banking areas, multi-functional office spaces, funeral homes, warehouses, jewelry stores and restaurants to name a few.

What do you find is most satisfying or challenging in your role?

Construction is an industry still at the top of the "super male-dominated industries" spectrum. Certainly female on-site construction workers are scarce, but women are almost as underrepresented in the industry at large. This has always been my “on site” challenge and at the same time one of the most satisfying aspects of my job as I see more and more women make the decision to enter this field.     I think that perceptions are changing and I feel empowered as a woman in construction; I don’t let gender faze me. In many ways I think women bring a fresh approach to the industry and will encourage further innovation and change. 

I am proud of my progress and I have developed a lot of confidence and self-respect in succeeding in an industry which wasn't an obvious choice for me. I still get a few surprised looks when people ask what I do as I am not the stereotypical image of someone working in construction!

How long have you been a CREW member and what do you get most out of being a member?

Since August so I’m really new to CREW and absolutely thrilled to be joining this great organization.  I’m going to be a sponge soaking up all the wisdom, knowledge and experience that this community has. I’ve also noticed that there’s a feeling of “giving back” within the organization.  I’d like to be part of this and help others on their journey.

I would like CREW members to call me whenever they need . . .

...anything to do with construction or just being a sounding board for ideas. I would enjoy speaking/meeting any of the members to offer whatever assistance I can provide – I’m here! 


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