Bride & Groom MOM Subscribe

Find Local

What Made Me: Linda Rabbitt, Founder of Rand Construction

She talks Teddy Roosevelt, surviving breast cancer, and being the only girl in the room.

Photograph by Douglas Sonders.

The Motto: Teddy Roosevelt said: “It is not the critic who counts. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” But I would change that to “person.” Win or lose, I am always “in the arena” trying. Taking action trumps complaining.

The Risk: I have been a lot of different people: a schoolteacher, a mom, a marketing manager for an accounting firm. Then I took a risk and started Rand Construction in 1989. I was a single parent—I had to put food on the table for two little girls. No one, including me, knew what I was capable of. The bar was so low for women of my generation.

The Struggle: It disrupted the social order to have a girl in the construction world. I had to walk into rooms full of men who didn’t want me there. At times I felt invisible, but my mere presence changed the expectation—that the head of a construction company could be a woman.

The Setback: Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had seven surgeries and four rounds of chemo. Many good things came out of that. I gave myself permission to let go of people who were pollutants in my life, and I said “I love you” to a lot more people.

This article appears in the May 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular on Washingtonian

Everything You Need to Know About Pho*

This Dramatic New Apartment Building Just Opened in "The Next Cool DC Neighborhood You Never Heard Of"

15 Casual (But Still Really Cool) Gifts for Your New Boyfriend

10 Cozy Places to Drink By the Fire This Winter

Look Inside Washington's First Hawaiian Restaurant: Hula Girl

The Great Washington Bucket List: 50 Things Every Local Needs to Do

The First Thanksgiving Took Place in Virginia, not Massachusetts

The Best Day to Travel for Thanksgiving Is Thanksgiving Day Itself: Google

Quit Kidding Yourself, DC: An English Basement Is Just a Basement