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Bella is my daughter. She’s a sweet, smart, loving girl. And she’s the reason that I wake up at 4:30 in the morning. She likes to see the stuff I build, and she knows that it’s a man’s world in this business. She's really proud of me that I can show up, do my job, and succeed in it. And I love it because I get to help her build stuff. She's always building stuff. She wants to build a go-kart. She doesn't want to buy one. She wants me to help her build one.
Wanting to be a builder is always something that’s been in me. As a kid, I loved building blocks, I loved puzzles, and I liked making things fit. I grew up in Haiti, and there you had to fend for yourself and get what you want by working for it, because nothing was given to you. I’ve always worked hard that way.
When I first started as a carpenter, my foreman used to tell me, “You are female, you are black, you live in Boston — you're going to have a lot of targets on your back. Everything you do, make sure you do it really well. Don't give them any ammo.” And that's been one of my rules: Don't give them any ammo. Over the years, I’ve realized that he was right about another thing: these guys act so tough, and a lot of times it’s just a façade. Even if they were tough making me earn my place, they’re decent people.
I want her to know she can choose whatever she wants to do.
Growing up in Haiti and seeing where I came from to where I am now, every once in a while I pinch myself and think, I did it, I made it. So, I’m trying to give Bella what I didn’t have. I want her to know she can choose whatever she wants to do.
Kendy Power-Koch was a high school counselor when she took the advice she gave to one of her students: join the carpenters’ union. That was her start in the construction industry. As an assistant superintendent at Suffolk, she enjoys seeing every aspect of the building process and living the “see her, be her” mentality for her daughter.
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