Women’s History Month with Silvi Hernadez, Cicily Wright and Candee Lewis

January 1, 2023
irfan ullah

Hernandez, Wright, and Lewis, all of Pavion, discuss the experiences, challenges and successes they’ve had working in a male-dominated industry during Women’s History Month.

It’s timely to reflect, during this month, who Ada Lovelace was and how she paved the way for the technology we use today—that’s a big win for society and for women. Lovelace was a 19th century English mathematician and is known for being the first computer programmer. This month is named “Women’s History Month” and is dedicated to all women, to be celebrated for their unending contributions to society. Many of our industries are still male-dominated, even though the paradigm is shifting and more women are going up the ladder. How can we encourage more women to enter these industries, and what are some of the challenges women in this space already face?

To get an insight into these topics, today’s Pavion podcast host Michelle Dawn Mooney brought on Silvi Hernandez, Chief Financial Officer, Cicily Wright, Controller, and Candee Lewis, Payroll Director, all from Pavion. They’re the most qualified people to answer these questions and discuss their experiences working in a male-dominated industry. They also chatted about women’s superpower and how they have capitalized on that superpower to succeed.

“I love being a woman in this industry. Finance in general tends to be a male-dominated industry, even construction, because Pavion is in the construction environment. Some of the challenges is the ability to leverage communication styles. Finance is one of those roles where you have to be able to ask questions, dig deeper, be thoughtful and have critical thinking. And the challenges around that is it can be perceived that you are being emotional or tough as a female when you are really just doing your role, and perhaps if you are a male, that might not be perceived the same way even if it’s the exact same question being asked. I have come to…admire the fact that women can be successful in these male-dominated industries and functions,” Hernandez explained.

“One of the things I find challenging is gaining men’s respect. It takes them a little bit longer to realize and understand the value that I personally may bring to the table. Once I gain their respect, then it’s smooth sailing from there,” Lewis said.

“I would say that I’m not particularly assertive; I tend to be more of a listener and kind of can bring ideas after I’ve heard a group speak and I think in the past it’s been challenging if your male counterpart is more assertive. I think what’s helped me is I’ve looked to some of my female colleagues that I respect, and I’ve tried to emulate what I see as successful techniques and it has really worked well for me,” Wright added.

“I think it’s just the characteristics of being a woman—the thoughtfulness, discipline, interest, curiosity. These are all very common traits that women have that really provides us a benefit and ability to do our job thoroughly and thoughtfully… I believe the ability to be able to build trust, to be curious certainly does provide a benefit and I leverage that all the time,” Hernandez said.

Silvi Hernandez is a talented finance professional who understands the importance of being a true business finance partner to business leaders. She is a skilled communicator, able to build strong working relationships with employees, peers, and the senior leadership team. She is enterprise-minded and has a strong business understanding and a demonstrated track record of providing robust analysis to senior management.

Cicily Wright is an accomplished CPA, combining cross-functional competencies in all phases of accounting, finance, team motivation, and management. She is proficient in organizing and strengthening financial operations to maximize performance and profitability. She has developed expert qualifications and exemplary leadership skills in public accounting (the “Big Four and the “leading national firm”) and in high-growth corporate environments. She is dedicated to improving relationships, transforming processes, and creating a challenging and stimulating environment for team members based on their individual strengths.

Candee Lewis is the Payroll Director for Pavion.

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