Josephine Arroyo Coleman, AIA, LEED AP
Studio 5 Partnership
Years with company/firm: 18
Years in field: 28
Real estate organizations / affiliations: American Institute of Architects (AIA)
What was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2017? I became a Partner of my firm last year, but it was this January 2017, when I doubled my shares and along with another female partner of our 4 Partner firm, took over majority ownership in the firm and became a certified Women-owned Business Enterprise. It was hard work, but in a few short months we obtained our WBE certificates in NJ, New York City, New York State and got our WOSB certification from the Federal Government.
What was your most notable project, deal or transaction in 2017? Getting my firm on the design teams that are currently rebuilding LaGuardia’s Central Terminal Building and the Delta Terminal. I take tremendous pride in being a part of something bigger than myself.
How do you contribute to your company and / or the industry? I think my constant hard work, +150% effort, consistency and reliability have brought leadership to my firm. Leadership that speaks by example; I don’t expect things from my employees that I have not accomplished or done myself over my own career. In my industry, I never hesitate to address disparities or get involved to help make positive change happen. I take great pride in my reputation and in everything I do because I don’t have a job, I’m building a career.
Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career? So seeing as how this is a “Women” in Business spotlight, I might be frowned upon when I say this, but it’s been a man that was the strongest influence on my career. Currently one of the two male partners of my firm was my strongest influence because he constantly elevated me, mentored me, supported me, and depended on me. He never saw me as a “woman” that needed help, he saw me as a powerhouse that only needed room to grow and he always made sure I had that.
What unique qualities and or personality do you feel makes you most successful in your profession? I’m out-going and an admitted type-A personality. Over the years, I have honed a razor sharp focus and intense work ethic that coupled with my ambition and passion, leaves me always striving to better myself in anything I do.
If you are the primary caregiver to your children what obstacle and challenges do you meet on a day to day basis? I think the biggest challenge of being the primary caregiver is leaving the stress of work at work. Finding just a little more patience to pull me through the second part of my work day when I get home. No doubt, it does take a tremendous amount of extra effort to find time and stay committed, consistent and involved in my child’s school and extracurricular activities, but doing so is the only way I found to remain grateful for the blessings of my beautiful family.
What is the funniest, most unique situation you have faced / conquered during your business career? As the architect for a securities project that involved 10 different airport frontages at EWR, LGA and JFK, I was responsible for doing on-site reviews of installed work. One day I arrived at one of the sites and met with the contractor’s rep to go over their work. Afterwards, he smiled and bluntly said “You’re not as bad as they all said you were!” How do you answer that?!? With my words escaping me, I just smiled as he continued by saying “You’re tough, yes, I can see what they’re afraid of, but you’re fair and know your stuff.” It was embarrassing on the one hand to realize you’ve been the topic of conversation around the construction trailers, but funny at the same time to be taken off guard with such an awkwardly phrased comment!
What outside activities do you enjoy during you free time? Color me crazy, but swimming laps for 60 minutes at 5 am, three times a week is what I consider “aqua therapy” and the best part of my day! When not swimming, I can be found camping with my family and friends, or riding my motorcycle, or screaming on a tall, fast roller coaster! Love to cook, bake and wine about how quickly life passes by!
What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young woman about to go into the field of commercial real estate or your allied field? Never stop learning; if you find yourself in a position where your career is getting stale, then move on! Don’t ever wait for someone to hand you something; go out and make your own way. Always have confidence and faith in your own abilities, don’t be afraid to try and most importantly, live each day with a positive attitude knowing that you can do anything you want to do in life. She believed she could so she did!