During Women in Construction Week, we’re highlighting some of the amazing women who are at the heart of Eastman Cooke’s success.
Meet April Intrabartola.
As Vice President of Eastman Cooke Construction, April Intrabartola has been vital to the company’s success, helping it to become one of New York’s leading general contracting and construction management firms. She joined the firm from the ground up in 2009 before rising through the ranks to take ECA to new heights. Under her exceptional leadership, ECA has elevated its band, broadened its corporate messaging, and built strong relationships with clients representing a range of industries. Internally, April’s outstanding talent management has helped to fuel an award-winning corporate culture made up of spectacular teamwork and a commitment to quality service.
Last year, Eastman Cooke celebrated its 10th anniversary. Can you describe the journey – as well as your own personal path – to achieving this exciting milestone?
Working in the construction industry, you at look at things from the standpoint of a builder. I’m so proud of the company we’ve built—its culture, collaborative team and the projects that bear our name. Starting as an Executive Assistant/Assistant Project Manager with an astounding array of responsibilities, gave me the opportunity to grow professionally and play an active role in strategic planning and business development. Together with my fantastic team, we created a solid foundation that has made us truly client-driven. As a result, we have created lasting relationships and repeat business that have helped us to thrive.
What are the secrets to your success when it comes to maintaining excellent client relationships?
Having a meticulous attention to detail and creative problem-solving skills has helped make our company a trusted advisor and partner to our clients. Our goal with every project is to shape our clients’ vision. To do that, we listen to their needs and come up with a plan to build a successful product. Together, our dedicated team goes above and beyond to ensure that our clients are satisfied.
Describe some of the work that you do internally at Eastman Cooke to create a successful, productive workplace.
In my leadership role, one of the most important responsibilities is to make sure our employees are aligned with the firm’s strategic plan. I also oversee staff training and on-boarding programs, designed to help our team further understand our systems and procedures. Effective communication is particularly essential in the workplace, whether virtual or face-to-face. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve strived to maintain consistent communication with colleagues, clients, subcontractors, suppliers, and regulators to help the firm navigate this challenging path.
As someone in a leadership position, what are some of the things that you do to help your employees grow at the company?
For new employees, I proudly serve as their mentor when it comes to managing projects from an operational and financial perspective. I always make myself available to provide guidance and assistance if needed. For many of our women employees, I’ve been fortunate to act as a role model, since women (especially those in leadership positions) still comprise a small percentage of the construction industry. I’m thrilled to be joined by amazing women on our Eastman Cooke team, and I’m very proud to work for a company that supports professional development and equal opportunities for all in the workplace.
What are some helpful resources (e.g. books, podcasts or conferences) that you would recommend to women to enhance their professional development?
While there are many great books and resources to recommend, it comes down to this: You’ll get the best advice from a person you trust who is attuned to your vision. For me, there have been two people who have influenced me tremendously. My dad has always been my mentor. He worked in the construction industry also, so he has provided a great deal of guidance and insights. He encourages me to trust my instincts and follow my heart, especially when I’m at a crossroads. My late aunt taught me to be independent and confident. I helped set up a foundation in her memory so that her spirit will continue to influence future generations.
Name one characteristic that you feel every woman in business should possess?
Courage! It’s important to have the courage to follow your vision. Sometimes the advice that we receive in life is very limiting. By exhibiting courage, you will have the opportunity to make discoveries and to become a leader who forges new pathways. I give this advice to everyone, not just women. I was fortunate to receive the same advice from my own mentors, and I have never regretted building the courage to follow my dreams, shift my career focus, and find my place in the world.
When you’re not busy inspiring others or helping to enhance the business at Eastman Cooke, what other activities do you enjoy?
Supporting the community is an important aspect of what we do at Eastman Cooke, and the same holds true for me personally. I serve on the Board of Trustees of Family & Children’s Association (FCA), a local nonprofit dedicated to protecting and strengthening vulnerable populations across Long Island. I have also contributed to many other charitable organizations, including one nonprofit (which I mentioned earlier) that is particularly close to my heart: the Kathi Smillie Nursing Foundation. It was started by my family in memory of my late aunt, who succumbed to breast cancer in 2002. The Foundation helps to support the nursing profession, breast cancer survivors, and research through scholarships and grants. Supporting these wonderful organizations and helping them to make a difference is very rewarding to me. In addition to contributing to these great causes, I’m also a member of several professional organizations, including Professional Women in Construction (PWC), Women Economic Developers of Long Island (WEDLI), Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) New York, and am actively involved with the Hospital Engineering Society of Greater NY (HESGNY). I’ve also had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), and I’m humbled to have been recognized by a number of organizations acknowledging my contributions to the business community.
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