New Introductions

Words: Bronzella Cleveland

Cassandra Stern, Media Operations Associate -

Hello everyone, and happy December. As we prepare to ring in the New Year, allow me to introduce myself as the newest addition to the MASONRY Publications team. You may have seen my name scattered across various articles in MASONRY Magazine and MASONRY DESIGN in the past year or so- as a former freelancer for both publications.

I am very excited to have been welcomed to the MCAA with open arms and look forward to the many experiences and challenges that lay ahead. I have many ideas for new ways we can continue to serve the masonry community to the best of our ability- but first, a little bit more about me.

I (like Dan) am a proud graduate of Loyola University Chicago. In 2012, I received my Bachelor of Arts in English with a Concentration in African American Literature, as well as double minors in Environmental Action and Leadership and Bioethics. From a young age, I have always enjoyed architecture and design in particular,
and I think it runs in my blood. Both my grandfather and great-grandfather were accomplished architects that designed a variety of buildings throughout New York State and the East Coast, including parts of Rockefeller Center.

When Dan reached out to me late last year with an opportunity to join the team, I was hard at work applying to law schools, but after turning down my seat and accepting this position, I knew I made the right choice to pursue my passion for writing and non-profit work. I was officially brought on in August of this year, and have already been overwhelmed by the passion and energy of the incredible professionals in the masonry industry.

Dan, Bronzella, and I are a team to be reckoned with. Their dedication to improving the lives of mason contractors across the nation through workforce development initiatives, lobbying efforts, and foundation grants is nothing short of impressive, and it is my goal to learn as much as possible from them and other industry professionals. In my few short months working with the MCAA, I have started to see the world through different eyes.

Walking through my neighborhood in Chicago, past buildings I have seen every day for the past 10 years, has taken on completely new meaning for me. I used to see a rundown corner store- now I see a wall in dire need of a Dutchman treatment, and the high school across the way is no longer a noisy nuisance, but a beautiful example of Prairie Style architecture.

I firmly believe in setting intentional and realistic goals to ensure success, and it is my goal for 2020 that Bronzella, Dan, and I push the envelope to take our publications to the next level. In addition to rolling out daily digital content, we are hard at work to extend our reach and cement our position as the leading industry information source. Like a team of mason contractors, we are building brick by brick from the foundation up to preserve the colorful history of this honorable profession.

This month’s issue is full of fantastic content. From the Gear of the Year Guide, which highlights the year’s best products and services, to a recap of some of the most popular articles in the Year in Review, we’ve done our due diligence in bringing you a comprehensive look at this year’s finest content.

Looking forward, I am thrilled to be attending my first Excellent in Masonry Architectural Awards on December 7th, the AIAS Forum in Toronto at the end of the month, and then, of course, World of Concrete! There is never a dull moment here at the MCAA, and since I love being busy, I think I’ve finally found a new place to call home.

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