Sepi Saidi is always building – be it a construction project, a business relationship, or a new goal.
The successful (and personable) entrepreneur, who started the now award-winning SEPI Engineering and Construction business in her home’s bonus room in 2001, shared her journey and insight with Chamber members at our Coffee with Leaders event on Sept. 5.
SEPI, Inc. provides an expansive portfolio of services, including civil, construction, traffic, and water engineering, asset management and maintenance, geomatics, and landscape architecture.
Saidi chronicled her journey from Iran – where she grew up surrounded by strong professional women who championed education and financial independence – to North Carolina, where she faced challenges finding commonality with her mostly male fellow engineers.
Her solution? Focus on building.
“I had to consciously work to find our common points and build a relationship with my cohorts,” she explained. “I became curious about their likes and lives, and from there, it got easier.”
Saidi shared her expertise and answered questions on a range of topics such as hiring talent, finding a family/work balance, learning to delegate, equality for women in business, harassment in the workplace, and the importance of connection.
“Every time you meet a person, it’s like adding $100 to your personal capital,” she said. “Focus on those connections not for status, but for purpose, and you’ll be able to build bridges that bring value to both your life and business.”
She also encouraged business owners to step outside the walls of their company and enhance their interaction in the communities they call home.
“Get out of the box,” she challenged. “Join boards and committees, and get your face out there – not only does it help the community, it also helps you build and cultivate relationships. There’s always a connection to be made.”
With award-winning recognition on lists for Inc. 5000, Inc. Magazine, the Zweig Group, a designation as one of the Top 500 Design Firms for the Engineering News-Record (all multiple years running), and the distinction of being named Triangle Business Journal’s 2018 Businessperson of the Year, one might think Saidi is content with her accomplishments.
They’d be wrong.
Armed with passion, vision, and a desire to push her potential to the limit, she’s just getting started. There’s much more, she says, to build.
“Whatever you want to do, the most important ingredient is to be excited about what you’re doing,” she advised. “Expect more from yourself and from your team- there’s always a higher bar to be reached.”
We want to thank Saidi for sharing her story and perspectives with us. If you want to see more of our conversation with her, check our Coffee with Leaders series hashtag on Twitter, #ChamberCoffee.
Our next Coffee with Leaders will be on Friday, Nov. 15, where we will host Kristen Hess, president, CEO, and business development leader of HH Architecture. Last year, AIA Triangle named her company Architecture Firm of the Year.
We hope to see you there!