Meet the women behind Fort Lauderdale’s tallest building

by Kerrie Kennedy

They didn’t plan it this way, but the team behind Fort Lauderdale’s tallest building, 100 Las Olas, happens to be a powerhouse team of all women.

“While it is pure coincidence that the team is all female, it has been an empowering experience to work with this group,” said Catherine Kohn, director of sales for 100 Las Olas. “The teamwork and camaraderie in the sales office have made this one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.”

In an industry heavily dominated by men, with only 9.1% of the construction industry represented by females, this group of women has taken charge of this monumental Fort Lauderdale development, handling everything from the construction process to architecture and design, not to mention management and sales.

“Construction is such a great career that I’m surprised there aren’t more women in our industry,” said Diana Manning Yankee, project executive with KAST Construction. “The work is both creative and challenging. There are lots of opportunities in construction for both men and women because it takes the combined efforts of many people – designers, skilled tradespeople, laborers, supervisors and managers – to change the skyline.”

Nearly 50 women work on the 100 Las Olas team, including:

  • Peggy Olin, CEO of OneWorld Properties, the exclusive sales and marketing team for the project.
  • Catherine Kohn, sales director atOneWorld Properties for 100 Las Olas. 
  • Katherine Beja-McLennan, director of sales and marketing for the Hyatt Centric Hotel within 100 Las Olas. 
  • Pinar Harris, vice president of SB Architects, the architecture firm for 100 Las Olas.
  • Diana Manning Yankee, project executive with KAST Construction.
  • Carrie Tolman, lead designer with Simeone Deary Design Group, the design team behind the project.
  • Courtney Crush of Crush Law P.A., legal counsel for 100 Las Olas.

“It was a unique experience working with such a dynamic group of women on this project, each bringing her own skill set and sensibility into the mix,” said Pinar Harris, of SB Architects. “I was fortunate to be a part of this collaboration that required a certain temperament to match its complexity and pace.”

Located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, when complete later this year, the 46-level 100 Las Olas will feature 113 condominium residences, a 238-room Hyatt Centric hotel with a lobby-level restaurant and bar, a pool and fitness center and 8,500 square feet of retail and dining space with outdoor seating on the first level.

“This project has held special significance for me from the start, because downtown Fort Lauderdale is also my home,” added Kohn. “So to be involved in something that is transforming my neighborhood for the better is a privilege.” 

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  • Joangela Sanjuan says:

    Such amazing project and very good post. However, guys you forgot to mention a key person in this project, the Engineer Of Record (EOR) is also a woman. Karen Vaughan was the structural design engineer for the iconic tallest building in Fort Lauderdale. Remember that an excellent and professional design team is the key factor in the construction business.

    Atte.: Joangela Sanjuan (Threshold Inspector Representative at 100 Las Olas).

    Yes, i was the structural inspector of the iconic 100 Las Olas.

    • Pamela marshall says:

      Excellent catch Joangela!
      I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with Karen on another high profile complex structure. Rockstar! (And you were a great addition as well!!).