Brittni L. Daley-Grishaeva – Daley’s Drywall & Taping
There wasn’t an election or formal inauguration and the song “Hail to the Chief” doesn’t play when she enters the room. For Brittni Daley-Grishaeva, the title of president is just that—a title.
“The title doesn’t define a person as much as their character, values and results,” says Daley-Grishaeva, the president and chief financial officer for Daley’s Drywall & Taping in Campbell, California. “Being ‘Brittni’ is what defines me, and I’d rather be the Chief Fun Officer, anyway.”
Being fun, however, doesn’t mean she takes her job lightly, or that it’s easy to maintain a family atmosphere at the business started by her grandfather, especially as it grows.
Like so many other companies, Daley’s Drywall is feeling the reduction in available workers, so Daley-Grishaeva is spending a lot of time on hiring, retaining and training. Competition is fierce for the few high-level, experienced project managers and estimators available, and Daley-Grishaeva feels her company’s culture and workplace environment can attract and keep them.
“We’ve grown a lot over the years, but we’ll never stop working on ensuring we remain a great place to work,” she says.
A collaborative approach
One way Daley-Grishaeva thinks her company is attractive to employees is through its collaborative atmosphere. She spends a lot of time walking around the office and developing personal relationships with as many people as possible.
“The whole leadership team has the same mentality,” Daley-Grishaeva says. “We have open doors, we care about our employees, and we want to hear from them.”
The company has a flexible remote work policy for office staff, so when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, it was an easy transition. However, it is hard to run a construction company from home, Daley-Grishaeva says.
“You cannot build a building remotely,” she jokes. “Our office staff supports our field workers, so a lot of our company needs to work in person and on-site.”
Currently, Daley’s Drywall has around 500 employees, including about 70 office workers. Currently, the company is working on projects for Facebook and the Miro Towers, an apartment community in San Jose, California.
All in the name
Daley-Grishaeva was put in a leadership position in her mid 20s—when her father ran the business.
“We’ve built collaboration into our culture, and we make decisions as a team,” she says.
Daley-Grishaeva says that despite growing up around her family’s business, her father never pushed her to join the company. She wanted to be in business, so she earned a degree in business management economics with an emphasis in accounting and legal studies from the University of California-Santa Cruz. And rather than start working for the family business, she interned at an accounting firm to start her career.
“The University of California system focuses a lot on economics, but there are just not a lot of specific jobs in that field,” Daley-Grishaeva says. “But after I started working in the family business, I found my passion.”
She spent two years as the company’s controller and became CFO in September 2011. She added the title of president in August 2018.
“I want to support women in construction, because just a few decades ago, a woman in my position was much rarer,” she says. “It’s great to see things changing, and the future for women in our industry keeps getting brighter.”
While Daley’s Drywall has not been the only place she’s worked, Daley-Grishaeva says she has a lot more to accomplish with the company. She’s continuing to find ways to improve the business, like new team-building activities, finding more efficient ways to build, and making the lives of clients easier.
It’s also important to groom a new set of leaders in the company, Daley-Grishaeva says, and she’s doing that by delegating more and giving others more responsibilities and opportunities to develop.
“I’ve got so much I want to do that it’ll probably take me another 30 years to get everything done for our company—and then we’ll still have more to do,” she says.
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