‘MY STORY’ Fatima Hakim, Loro Piana: Unbelievably, I started in fashion. I worked at Condé Nast for one their Brides magazines. I was only supposed to be there temporarily. I wanted to be in fashion. I wanted to be stylish. I organized the fashion closet and did logistics. We used to fly things back and forth to Paris on the Concord! That was how we shipped things back in the day. Their import / export shipping was in disarray – this was in the very early 90’s. None of Penny Sengstacken, Tricarico Architecture and Design: the publications spoke to one another for coordination, it’s a private Design is really my second career, although it was my first choice. company and the publications acted independently of one another. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Environment and I knew that I could help coordinate and enhance the process. One Design. I was so excited and proud of myself because I was one of editor sent me down to HR and insisted I ask for additional duties the few in my class who actually had a job since I was juggling so many things, so I upon graduation. took over logistics. I started working with I moved to Marion, Ohio, located at the the fashion departments and doing all the corner of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, shipments and logistics – Carnets, TIBs imto work for a small family owned commercial port and export. That role segued into me design company. The Sunday before I was doing purchasing and strategic sourcing supposed to start work, there was a knock and eventually Facilities. at my newly rented apartment door. It was I worked there for nearly 20 years. It the owner of the design firm. The company was an incredible workload and a once in a had lost a large contract and I no longer had lifetime experience. One day I realized it was a job. time to switch companies. I reached out to a So, I went back to my small home town colleague and he was planning to leave his in Minnesota and my life took a different current role and asked if I wanted to step direction. To fast-forward, I got married, had into his previous role. It was with a retailer my daughter and moved around following with about 100 stores, but a corporate office my husband’s career and caring for our job, not in one of the stores or Store Ops. daughter. We eventually ended up in New I went from over one million square feet to Jersey, where I started working for a mortabout 20,000 square feet and it was a nice gage company as a receptionist as I needed change. After looking at the way they did to pay the preschool bill. I worked there their internal operations, I reached out with for six months and I was so bored I quit. some suggestions. They eventually had me Instead, the owner offered me a promotion. help with their budgeting. I took it and began a very successful career The next thing you know I am working in mortgages. with 101 stores in my home office increasFor a long time, I was happy at this job. ing my workload exponentially. That retailer I was helping people clean up their credit eventually fell victim to its competitors went and reduce their debt. But the industry out of business and the liquidators came in. – Jennifer Kong, Forever 21 changed. I decided that I just could not work I wanted to learn how a liquidation was done in the mortgage business anymore. I decidsince it was going on everywhere, I figured if ed to follow the dream I had when I was in college, to work in comI’m going to be in retail I should get a handle on the dark side of the mercial design. Soon, the 2008 credit crisis, caused by high default business as well. I worked with my employer and with the liquidators. rates of mortgage-backed securities, confirmed my gut instincts. Shortly afterward it was announced, that a big box retailer was going When I left the mortgage industry, I was an assistant vice presiout of business in Canada and the liquidation team asked if I could dent. Changing careers meant starting over at the bottom. My degree complete the liquidation on my own while they head out of town and had been on the shelf a long time and I’d never worked in the design I happily obliged. At that time, another retail company reached out to field. So, I took a course at a technical school to learn AUTOCAD, me on LinkedIn and asked if I wanted to manage the FM within their ignored the reasons why it wouldn’t work, and started looking for a Store Operations team. After the liquidation and the closing of the job. It was challenging, trying to find a job. Tricarico saw my business business I joined that retailer and from there I got into the real estate experience as an asset and offered me a position. and marketing side of the business in addition to FM. I was traveling Although, I did start at the bottom, I’ve worked way up to project and attending real estate conventions. I eventually decided that I wantmanager. Happily, I have had the opportunity to manage a variety of ed to focus on facilities and process. retail projects and some office projects, too. I am doing something Shortly afterward, I found Loro Piana and it is a perfect combithat I love and I’m proof that it’s never too late to follow your dream. nation of luxury and retail. I love it. CK Being a part of The Little Gym is being part of something big and worldwide. It’s being involved with children and helping to impact them. Being part of this organization has been everything. It’s a family; we’re all a family. It’s like I don’t have a job. I have an opportunity to help people open businesses and realize their dreams.
After merging the two teams that handled all of the construction, fixture and visual items, they gave me the opportunity to manage that team. It has now been two years since I took this role, and this year will be my ninth year at Forever 21.
COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION & RENOVATION — NOVEMBER : DECEMBER 2018