Today we’re proud to feature Jill Fiandaca, a construction project manager at Focus. Jill was recently featured in the 2019 Real Estate Journal’s edition of Women in Commercial Real Estate. This issue is dedicated to women who have made tremendous in-roads in the industry and who share a genuine love and passion for what they do.
Check out our Q&A with Jill where we discuss her career and passion for the real estate industry.
Q: What was your inspiration for going into construction management?
A: In high school, I was very interested in automotive technology and anything that had to do with engines. I took a small engines class and a couple of auto shop classes and some of the other students convinced me to sign up for a building construction course. Over the course of my senior year, I built a house from the ground up. I learned how to frame walls, insulate, hang drywall, install roofing, lay tile and how to lay flooring. After that class, I knew that this was the career path for me. It just felt right.
Q: What is it like to be a woman in an industry like construction management?
A: When I first started, it was a bit tough to break in and find my niche. But, with hard work and dedication, I’ve been able to work my way up and really create an exciting career for myself. As the years go by, my expertise and knowledge grows. I’ll continue to work hard and help showcase my leadership as a woman in this industry.
Q: How is your continued growth and success in this industry supported?
A: I am very supported at Focus, they have provided me with a career full of opportunities, and the company recognizes hard work and rewards it. The last project I worked on helped me gain confidence and strength. I was a part of The Link team in Evanston and was in charge of running all of the interior work. It was a huge undertaking and at first, I felt totally out of my element. But with the support of my colleagues, it was a huge success and I was able to take my team to the finish line.
Q: For anyone else interested in entering this industry, what do you need to be successful?
A: Learn to have thick skin - it only makes you stronger. You also need a really strong work ethic. The hours can be long, but it’s such a rewarding field. You need to have self-confidence, be self-motivated, and be a problem solver. But most of all, have passion and don’t be afraid to pursue something that might be out of the ordinary or non-traditional when it comes to your own career path. I might be one of the very few women in the construction field here in Chicago, but I am so proud of that!