Early on in her time as a construction project manager at global commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, Natalie Myers, who has a petite build, earned a nickname for herself. "Little Hammer," she says, laughing lightly but with no hint of bitterness. The name stuck. "I had to learn how to be firm with contractors to drive projects," she says. "And they respected me for it." That experience has served her well in recent years, as the Los Angeles-based designer set out on her own and founded Veneer Designs, her one-stop shop for homeowners looking for a firm that could provide skilled interior design and architecture, sourcing, and execution on projects at a variety of scales.
Though there's the potential to cause offense with a nickname like "Little Hammer," considering the gender-imbalanced environments that construction sites can so often be, Myers seems to have taken it in stride. After all, she's the boss. "As an interior designer, you lose a bit of power on construction sites if you don't know how those things work," Myers says, referring to the world of material specification, subcontracting, and equipment management. "Now, when I'm on a project with a bunch of players, it helps me establish my position."