Women in Construction Week 2018: Shanna Dennis

From the beginning, Shanna Dennis knew that Sellen was the right career choice for her.

“I was drawn to Sellen’s regional focus, stellar reputation and diverse portfolio of project types,” she said. “Additionally, I had investigated the percentage of women in management positions at each firm I was considering. Sellen had more women in project management positions than other contractors in the region at that time, so my mind was made up.”

Shanna started at Sellen in 2007 as a project engineer on the $18 million St. Thomas School project. Over the past 11 years, Shanna has focused primarily on healthcare projects, recently completing the MultiCare Covington Hospital project. As one of Sellen’s four woman project managers, her next opportunity will be leading the Seattle Children’s Hospital, Building Care expansion – currently one of Sellen’s largest projects.

“As both a mother and a construction professional, I’m thrilled to carry on the great work that we’ve done with Children’s to bring healing environments to kids across our region,” Shanna said.

When asked what advice she could offer to other women in the industry, Shanna replied quickly.

“Two things: First, understand the difference between a mentor and a sponsor. A mentor can offer guidance on your personal and professional growth – but a sponsor is someone who highlights your achievements to leadership. It’s difficult to toot your own horn. Sponsors are the folks in your professional network that say, ‘Hey, have you seen what so-and-so is doing? She’s killing it over there.’ Sponsors help you get noticed for your achievements so that you can make career progress in an appropriate timeline. Second, speak your truth. If something doesn’t feel right or makes you uncomfortable – speak your truth! The sooner you do it, the better the outcome.”

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Shanna Dennis
Project Manager
With Sellen Since 2007