Claire Goldman, Principal, head of design and business development at R&R Landscaping

Q: How long have you been in the industry? What motivated you to want to work in this industry?

I have been working in this industry full time for 11 years. I’ve always been drawn to design and had a passion for the outdoors. I saw how therapeutic my grandma’s garden was for her towards the end of her life and I decided I wanted to be a part of creating that joy for others. It didn’t hurt that the man I chose to spend my life with was also in horticulture.

Q: What do you enjoy most about it?

My favorite thing about this industry and my job specifically is that every day is different. There’s always a new challenge in front of me that requires problem solving. In 11 years, I can honestly say I’ve never looked at the clock and felt like the day was going by slowly. The pace of our days is intense, but it keeps me on my toes and pushes me to give my best every day. I guess I thrive off the challenges.

Q: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career?

Establishing and maintaining a brand that my team is proud to represent is the most important thing to me. There is nothing about what we do that is easy. The fact that I have 20 people show up every day to represent my company with a smile on their face overwhelms me with gratitude. When our team is proud to fulfill their roles every day, they consistently exceed client expectations and when our clients are satisfied, we go home knowing we made someone’s day better and are happy to wake up and do it again.

I also love watching our projects grow in. When I show up on a job site three, five, or 10 years after an installation and it continues to get better and better, I can’t help but want to just drop the mike and say, “BOOM! We nailed it!”

Q: Have any men served as mentors to you? 

Yes. In fact, most of my mentors have been men. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to continually be encouraged and supported by people in every step of my journey. The men in my life have been my biggest advocates and every time I’ve been ready to throw in the towel, they are the ones standing there ready to listen to my frustrations and tell me all the reasons why I can do whatever it is I feel like I can’t. My dad started from the beginning always stressing the importance of being an independent thinker. He taught me how to gather the facts and form my own thoughts and opinions regardless of what everyone else is saying. My professor Dr. Harry Ponder, always made me feel like I could conquer the world. (Dr. Ponder, now retired, was Goldman’s arboriculture professor and advisor at Auburn University). He’s one of those people that no matter how terrible your day is going, you can’t help but feel better about life after spending time with him. My husband probably deserves the most credit. He has supported me every step of the way, even when it meant putting my name above his on our company organizational chart. He’s my biggest supporter and I couldn’t do anything I do without him. I could go on and on about the men who have played important roles in my life. From clients, employees, pastors, and friends I’ve found that the men I’ve spoken to want to be a part of the solution. Most of the time, they just don’t even know there is a problem.

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