Celebrating the Women of Clark Nexsen

by Eliza Vaughn

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating the tremendous contributions women have made to our company and the AEC industry. We wouldn’t be where we are today without their talent, commitment, and insight. We asked the #WomenofCN to share some of the ways their female colleagues amaze and inspire them.


Donna Francis is a quietly determined trailblazer. She entered into the construction industry at a time when the gender gap was starker than it is now. She has broken through barriers for many years by consistently seeing another way and pushing through. Her passion led her to become an Accredited Learning Environment Planner (ALEP), validating her expertise and becoming a nationally recognized leader in educational design.” — Julie Leary

Carrie Anne Monplaisir is driven and inspiring. I have worked with her on multiple projects and have witnessed her poise, passion, and intellect. She is an outstanding engineer but also an advocate for sustainability and women in our A&E industry. Outside of her title as an engineer, she is a tremendous mother, wife, friend, and runner! I look forward to seeing what she conquers next and the trail of excellence that she leaves behind.”— Brittney Just

Zee Hill has an incredible way of engaging and motivating those around her. Talking with her is like a spark – I leave our conversations with fresh enthusiasm for what can be done and with a plan for how to do it. I am inspired by the way she responds to an idea and helps build a process for actually achieving it. Her passion for her work is contagious and makes others want to elevate their effort as well.” — Eliza Vaughn

Mary Beth Russo is a highly organized individual who can be relied on to stay on top of every detail and schedule. When she shifted from structural engineering to a project management, her first project was an over $100M building with a major client. It was great to see the firm trust in her abilities and she was instrumental to the success of a very complex project.” — Cat Brutvan

I was inspired and amazed by Clark Nexsen’s working mothers during the public health crisis. Fully dedicated to their profession and their growing families, they managed to balance working and full-time child care. They still met deadlines and collaborated with their team members while sliding some work efforts to nap time and after bedtime. Despite the challenges, they were as committed as ever to a high level of work.” — Donna Francis

Stephanie Jude’s leadership style inspires me. Her passion for marketing in the AEC industry motivates me to be the best that I can. I am thankful to have her as a boss and a mentor and I know I will continue to learn from her.” — Jenna Lackey

“It is a pleasure working with Melanie Goodson. Being on the ball is the best way I can describe her. She does not waste a minute and gets things done. Melanie is a very talented and hardworking interior designer with a good sense of humor and a great attitude.” — Angie Brose

Nancy Todd is a dedicated professional who has welcomed people to the Virginia Beach office for more than 10 years. She consistently manages the delicate and complex operational demands of the company with grace, patience, and skill. In response to the pandemic and current industry trends, Nancy has expanded her role in the firm with cross-location collaboration and support.” — Nikki Pierce

“As an architect I love to talk through problems. I appreciate that Jackie Eury is always eager to collaborate on project issues and goes above and beyond with extensive research. Jackie is an outstanding engineer and I look forward to every opportunity I have to work with her.” — Anna Traylor

“Energy and direction define Janet Brooks’ professional career. She is naturally curious about her colleagues’ skills and strengths and how each person can thrive in the company and their profession. She is steadfast and confident about moving in a direction that has risks, but will position the firm for success. Janet’s broad and varied experience in the AEC community inspires her to share thoughtful and practical guidance with her colleagues.” — Nikki Pierce

Cat Brutvan always goes out of her way to make others feel welcomed. Her humor is infectious, and she always makes everyone laugh! Cat’s willingness to help others, whether at work or within the community is admirable. She has made my work experience more positive.” — Jenna Lackey