This week we are celebrating Women in Construction Week at JP Cullen! We sat down to talk to JP Cullen’s first female Co-President, Jeannie Cullen Schultz, to learn more about her experience and advice she has to women in the industry.
Jeannie started with JP Cullen in 2012 after spending time working for North American Mechanical. Since then, she has spent time at JP Cullen as a Project Manager, the Director of the Healthcare Division, and Vice President of the Division.
Meet Jeannie Cullen Schultz, Co-President of JP Cullen.
Tell us about your very first job and what the experience taught you.
My first job was giving private lessons in basketball, ranging from second graders through high school. During college, I would come home for the summers to give lessons and train the students. Looking back, the experience taught me a great deal about business development and the skills that go into being successful at bringing in new business. I had to prove to the new students that I could play and knew the game and how to help them improve. But as I became more experienced, I was able to create lesson plans for each training, work with a variety of different skill levels, and ages and grow in my people skills all while having playing a sport I am passionate about.
What is the biggest challenge in your career thus far and how have you found ways to success?
One of the challenges I have seen thus far in my career is the fact that I am often one of the younger people in the room. To tackle this head on, I have made it a priority to come to meetings overprepared and ready to participate. I also always try to ask questions, even if it is a follow up or prior to the meeting, I have noticed it goes a long way. Another way I have found success overcoming this challenge is by having a resource present in meetings. A resource could be anyone that has your back and can support you throughout the meeting. It can be easy to second guess things prior to having the expertise but being prepared and engaged will make you confident in your decisions.
What advice would you give to women entering the construction industry now?
My advice would be to be your own biggest advocate for your career and development. Have your goals and visions determined and go get them! If that means going to your boss and asking for your next opportunity, do it. Be prepared, do your homework, ask the questions, and be sure to speak up.
What are some strategies that can help women become a more prominent role in their organizations?
To achieve a prominent role in your organization, my advice is to execute your job and tasks at a high level and remain self-motivated. The second part of it is to have a plan and figure out how you are going to get there. What resources will you need? What challenges can you take on that will help you reach your goals? Look for ways to make yourself uncomfortable and go after it. Doing so will help you stand out and get recognized amongst your peers.
What three famous people would you invite to attend your fantasy dinner party?
Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Bill Simmons. Ask me at a different time and I might go a different direction but with limited time interacting with people in 2020-21, I think we would all enjoy a night of laughter and basketball stories!
What is something people do not know about you?
I am a 5-time eating contest winner, 4 of them were pie and one was Sauerkraut.
What is the best part about being a part of the Cullen family?
Family has always been an important part of my life. I have always been close with both sides of my family and cherish spending time with them. The best part about being a part of the Cullen family is that JP Cullen and our personal lives intertwine in a special way that is hard to find.
Check out more of our Women in Construction Week posts here!