This entrepreneurial mastermind has got the combination of being a mother and Co-CEO of Elevate Structure down to a science. It’s not difficult to be in awe of Tiffany Toothman. Her list of accomplishments boasts a range of roles within engineering, the latest being Co-Owner/Founder of Elevate Structure, a company that creates innovative, eco-friendly and sustainable constructions.
Sound intimidating? Well, Tiffany is anything but. She’s approachable, candid and open. Part of her sturdy foundation is composed of her role as a mother, which enables her to remain grounded. She may have a significant job title, but her children are her top priority. She mentions that this sometimes means, “staying up late at night once the kids are in bed, to make up for work I didn’t get done, if any, that day.” Tiffany makes no attempt to hide that finding a balance between being a mother and Co-CEO is a difficult task. She readily admits it’s like having “two full time jobs” and that things can get stressful at times, especially as Elevate Structure is in the start-up stages. Her children provide an escape, however. She describes them as “full of personality” and says spending time with them is her release from the stress of work.
Elevate Structure’s design concept was inspired by Tiffany’s aim to “help care and preserve nature for our kids and future generations to come.” Living in Hawaii has guided Tiffany and her husband on a mission to bring people closer to nature, with Tiffany’s childhood being a key influencing factor, “growing up in Hawaii, I need the beach. I think I like not feeling enclosed.” This is why she believes in Elevate Structure, because it offers those who love urban communities, but also enjoy nature, the best of both worlds.
She’s not afraid to admit engineering remains a male dominated industry, and to survive as a woman, you need to be “one of the boys.” Thankfully, Tiffany grew up with three younger brothers. She credits this as one of the biggest reasons she can comfortably be in a male dominated world. To be taken seriously and respected, she has to make sure she does her job, and well. She mentions it’s important to be “ready and willing to accept the challenge.”
Although there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure that women in engineering are the norm rather than a novelty, change is surely on its way. And that’s thanks to women like Tiffany coming forward and showing that it is possible to combine an engineering career with motherhood. By not claiming to be superwoman, and instead being open about the challenges she faces, she is a role model for all young girls today.
By: Sophie Kaylor