Meet Jen –
In her own words –
“My kids get so annoyed every time I do it, but there is nothing better than driving toward the city on Lake Shore Drive on a crystal clear Chicago night, holding up my arms with our incredible skyline in between my hands, and telling them how lucky I feel to sell this city every day. I own Suite Home Chicago and my job is to help those in transition, whether it be during a relocation, a home displacement, or maybe an extended project or TV show, and find them temporary housing for their extended stay.
Like many in my industry, I stumbled into this career. I definitely did not set out to be a corporate housing provider, nor did I actually know much about this market segment at the time. It is a niche industry that I discovered when briefly working for a company involved with property management. It took just a few months for me to turn my back on my journalism training to pursue the life of a service provider.
In one way, when I took on this career, I had unintentionally come full circle. As a child, my family was relocated several times to accommodate my dad’s job, and we would live in serviced apartments until my parents found permanent housing in our new city. Knowing what it feels like to be uprooted now provides me the tools I need to understand what our guests must be feeling when coming to Chicago for the first time. There is so much anxiety, stress and nervousness and you just want to feel at home again. I love being in a position to be one of those first contacts here to make them feel welcome.
This may also be the reason why I have planted such firm roots here in the city. When people ask me where I am from, sometimes I tell them Texas where I spent my early years, or sometimes I tell them London where I finished high school. If I really want to create some conversation, I let them know that I was born in Saudi Arabia. I am done with being a nomad, and I proudly identify as a Chicagoan now. All 5 of my children were born here and my company is conveniently called “Suite Home Chicago,” which would make a move difficult (a strategic move on my part)
I really thought I was coming to Illinois after college to get a job at a newspaper or magazine and to pursue my journalism career. I never expected that a brief stint in a temporary job would have changed the entire course of my professional career.
There is that quote, “sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one.” Looking back, I certainly believe I did. I am 22 years into my corporate housing career, and a few months away from celebrating Suite Home’s 15-year anniversary. It’s been an incredible ride- and not just down Lake Shore Drive 🙂 “
Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!***