MGAC Impacts: Lexie Mayewski on Community Partnership, Future Presidents, and Finding Joy
The Impact Blog is a spotlight series that highlights and celebrates the diverse employees that make MGAC | RLF tick. Beyond their day-to-day schedules, we want to know how they have a greater impact on their colleagues, their company, and the communities in which they live and work. We want to know what makes them get out of bed in the morning, what led them to their current role, and what they hope their lasting impact will be.
Today, we get to know Lexie Mayewski, Project Manager at MGAC.
MGAC: Welcome to the Impact Blog, Lexie!
Lexie Mayewski (LM): Thank you!
MGAC: Tell us what you do here at MGAC.
LM: I am a project manager here at MGAC. I was actually just promoted about a month ago!
MGAC: Yes, congrats!
LM: Thank you! So, I just made that transition from assistant project manager. The main client I serve is the DC Public Schools system, so my summers end up being very busy getting schools ready for students to come in!
MGAC: Makes sense!
LM: It’s busy, but it’s so rewarding. We are making these schools better for hundreds of students—students who will hopefully go on and change the world, which is really cool! So, day to day, I’m pretty much the middleman between the school principal and the construction team. Those two groups don’t necessarily speak the same language, so I’m there translating, making sure that everyone is on the same page and gets what they want at the end of the day.
Right now, I’m involved in a swing space, which is where we transition students temporarily while we modernize their main school. So, I am involved in one of those projects as well as two modernizations—two gigantic projects that are being renovated for the district.
MGAC: Sounds like you’ve found a great gig! What brought you to MGAC in the first place?
LM: My story in construction started when I was a Girl Scout, which is kind of funny. When I was 10, I was at a Girl Scout event, and Lockheed Martin was there talking about the need for more women in engineering, and I was like, “Yes, sign me up. I’m going to be a woman in engineering.”
MGAC: Wow! What came next?
LM: I was 10 years old, not knowing what any of those words meant, but I always said from that day forward that I was going to be an engineer! As I grew up, I was good at math and science, so it just kept making sense. I went on to study civil engineering in college. I had an internship with a general contractor, who actually hired me before I even started my senior year of college. I was set! It was the kind of company where you’d live, work, and die in the same place, though, and that just wasn’t for me. But, I still loved being able to see a project from start to finish, so I found a different place to do that. That was being on the owner’s side, and I’ve loved it here ever since! It’s been just over a year now at MGAC, and it’s been awesome!
MGAC: Sounds like you came full circle with your involvement with Women in Construction today?
LM: Yes! I am on the board of directors, serving as the co-chair of the registration committee. I’m a mentor for a small group of fellow women in construction, and I also sit on the scholarship committee, where we award scholarships to high school seniors going to study architecture, engineering, or construction. It’s cool to be a part of making an impact in the industry for women.
MGAC: Love it. So what’s keeping you busy these days?
LM: Getting my school open! We have 580 students moving from their temporary home to the newly renovated main building. So that’s keeping me busy! As the dust settles there, I’ll be on my way to open schools next summer and then the following summer. In short, I’m busy with schools for the foreseeable future!
MGAC: Sounds like it! What exciting projects to bring to life.
LM: Absolutely. One of the schools I’m working with right now is the School Without Walls at Francis Stevens. It has been really rewarding. Their mission is so wonderful, and you can just tell the leadership and the teachers have the biggest hearts and really want their students to succeed. It’s inspiring to be a part of that.
MGAC: And what impact do you hope to make through projects like this one?
LM: I’m able to know that thousands of students over the next 50 years are going to go through a modern, fully equipped school. I like to believe that our future president is going through DC Public Schools as we speak. To have them breathing clean air, feeling comfortable while they are learning, and experiencing a really cool classroom is a concept. It’s so exciting and is what gets me out of bed every day to do what I do.
MGAC: That’s a great way to look at it. Oftentimes with schools, there’s a wider community impact as well. Is that something you’re seeing with this project?
LM: It’s definitely a major factor. Everything we do spans beyond just the students, and even the classrooms. It’s knowing that parents with baby strollers can attend sporting events. It’s knowing the walk to school is safe. It’s knowing students can ride their bikes. It’s knowing the drop-off time, when hundreds of students are coming through the car line, doesn’t negatively impact the community. It’s thinking about the community garden that welcomes outside members of the neighborhood. The word community is so ingrained into every conversation we have. Every question we ask and everything we do goes back to not only the students, but the community as a whole. Being a real community partner is a big part of the job.
MGAC: How cool to live in a place where you’re making a direct impact.
LM: Definitely. I love being able to see that end product every day. And in 20 years, when I drive around the city, I’ll be able to show my kids an elementary school I built or renovated. Pointing to a tangible product and saying, “I was part of that,” is so cool.
MGAC: Have you experienced any challenges along the way with this work?
LM: There are always budget and schedule challenges, but I think the most formative challenge I’ve faced is learning to communicate with people with all kinds of different backgrounds. There are sometimes competing interests in this work, and I love to be the unifying thread on a team. That person who knows everyone, as well as their interests and goals, and is responsible for weaving the team together. In essence, stepping up as the leader. It’s a challenge but also a really unique position, which makes this job so exciting.
MGAC: What a great takeaway. What else has this job taught you?
LM: I think one of my biggest takeaways, especially with being recently promoted, is that you can be a leader at any level. I wish I could go back five years and tell myself this right out of college. Specific technical knowledge—like knowing the exact details around how a door or a window connects to a wall—doesn’t always matter in the grand scheme of things, because you can learn. Nothing prevents you from asking questions, having opinions, and sitting at the table as part of a team. I think that’s huge and has followed me a lot recently. Having the confidence and knowing that you were hired for a reason and what you have to say matters.
MGAC: So very true. What about MGAC has made the biggest impact on you?
LM: The people. When you walk in here, you know there are brilliant, amazing people around you. Having that all under one roof is incredible. My boss, Elyse Roeder, is a big part of that. Back in December, my best friend passed away. It was so horrible, but knowing that I was taken care of professionally while I was dealing with a loss made such a difference. It’s difficult to fully put into words how much it meant to me. There are just good, genuine people under this roof, and it’s really inspiring.
MGAC: Absolutely. And what gives you energy each day?
LM: I’m just so thankful to be alive and to be able to wake up whether the sun is shining, or raining, or doing both. It’s just so cool to be here and go do cool things in the world. Or even just sit and drink your coffee. I think that life is just so good.
MGAC: And what’s your secret to winding down after work?
LM: I’m a huge bookworm. During COVID, I started reading so much. For the past two years, I have read 83 books each year. I read like nobody’s watching. No books are safe near me!
MGAC: That’s great. Any significance to 83?
LM: It just happened that that’s what I read the first year, and I was so impressed with myself that I wanted to keep the same momentum. Being a goal-oriented person, I have decided I have to read at least 83 each year now!
MGAC: Do you have a favorite book that you’ve read?
LM: That’s a hard question. Untamed by Glennon Doyle is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s about living your authentic, truest life. And I just think that what are we here to do except be ourselves and do that every day? It’s just such a cool message.
MGAC: What about a favorite quote?
LM: I love quotes! My best friend, before she passed away, wrote this one down as one of her favorites: “Always believe that something magical is just about to happen.” I have it in her handwriting, and it’s so special to me. To me, it signifies the joy and hope we all need. It’s knowing that even if you’re knee-deep in mud, you’re gonna get home and take your shower soon. Even if you have had a tough day, you always know something better is coming.
MGAC: That’s a great one. Do you have a routine for starting each morning on the right foot?
LM: Ideally, I journal and meditate. Mostly I am setting my intention for how I want to feel that day. Recently, I find myself coming back to the theme of joy. I want to find joy in the small things, and I want to be calm. No matter what challenges construction throws at me, I want to take them on with peace and joy and knowing that it’ll be ok. So, setting intentions, drinking a cup of coffee, and just spending some time with myself before I get into it all.
MGAC: And what do you hope your lasting impact at MGAC will be?
LM: There’s a great quote that says, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If I’m on my deathbed, I want to know that I loved hard in this life. I think that’s all that matters. Long-term, I want people to say, “She loved people, loved life, and was joyful.”
MGAC: That’s great. Now, we’ve got a few rapid-fire questions for you. Ready?
LM: Fun! Let’s do it.
MGAC: You’re starting your workday. What’s the very first thing you do?
LM: Check my email!
MGAC: And the last thing?
LM: Make tomorrow’s to-do list.
MGAC: What’s the weirdest thing we might find in your desk or work bag?
LM: Snacks? Peanut butter crackers, almonds, a Trader Joe’s lime seltzer. I have all of those things right now in my bag.
MGAC: Speaking of food, what’s your go-to workday lunch?
LM: A cobb salad from Sweetgreen, heavy on the balsamic dressing.
MGAC: What’s the most used app on your phone?
LM: Peloton or Kindle.
MGAC: Describe your job in five words or less.
LM: Managing people, building relationships and buildings. (Can I do five and a half?)
MGAC: We’ll take it! What is your biggest work goal for this year?
LM: I want to continue developing my confidence and using my voice to better serve my clients.
MGAC: And where do you see yourself in five years?
LM: I would love to travel for work and be able to do the same job in multiple locations. Personally, I hope to be married and have a fenced-in yard for my dogs!
MGAC: What is something your colleagues don’t know about you?
LM: I practically grew up in a dance studio, taking ballet and jazz classes. The very last time I danced was in London during the 2012 Olympics. I don’t think anyone knows that!