Struggles, we all face them. In school, in work, in our personal lives, and in our relationships. If we use the lessons we learn from the struggles we face to inspire the rest of our choices, there’s no saying what we can’t achieve.
Join me in this episode as I speak with Jennifer Longoria, VP of Sales, about her uniquely challenging life and how she got inspired to climb the corporate ladder of the construction industry.
Jennifer and I actually grew up together and after living two very different lives, we both ended up in the trades with memorable learnings to look back on. Tune in to this amazing conversation to hear some of those learnings and more!
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
· How Jennifer climbed the corporate ladder of the construction industry to become VP of Sales.
· The dynamics of working as a sales representative in the trades industry.
· How to gain skills, grow, and succeed in your career from an entry level position.
· The mindset it takes to overcome struggles we face in school and in the workforce.
· How the isolation of getting pregnant as a teenager influenced Jennifer’s life.
· Valuable lessons learned from working in customer-facing roles.
· Advice for tradespeople on cultivating respect in the industry (for all genders and all people).
· Jennifer’s Learning and Misstep: Being the best you can be and understanding what your customers value.
Watch this episode on YouTube:
Connect with Jennifer:
Connect with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-l-madden78073/
Lean & Love by Jesse Hernandez Jr. and Jennifer Lacy: https://www.depthbuilder.com/5s
actually, let me take a step back. I did interview with somebody and it, at the time it was their sales manager and this is a pretty good idea of how sometimes these things go. So they wanted me to come in, in sales. I met with their sales manager at the time at bill Miller's right here by my house. Okay. And, um, you know, I walk in dressed because at Martin Marietta, we did have to be, you know, business professional. pretty much every day there, you know, so I'm, you know, skirt, whatever heels, you know, I walk into bill Miller and I get the up and down look, you know? Hmm. And, uh, so he's like, oh, you're Jennifer. And you know, I'm like, yes, whatever, , and he says, so you're interested in what position now. And I said, well, you know, Joe and Paul had me in mind for a sales rep position for you. And he's like, oh, he says, well, feel like with your look, you probably belong more at the front desk. Okay. And I, I was like, excuse me, yeah. I said, with my look, you know, and he says, well, yeah, he said, we, we really also need a front desk person. And I told him, I was like I said, I'm sorry. I said, I'm not sure if this is gonna be a waste of my time or your time Ooh. Any of that sound familiar? That is the voice of my really great friend, Ms. Jennifer Long. I know her as Jennifer Velo because I've known her ever since sixth grade. We met at the FOYA middle school, grew up on the south side of San Antonio, Texas. And now she is the VP of sales. She's kinda like a big dog. Now, making things happen out there. You know, it had been wow. Since she and I had connected. And we, I think there's a whole group of us that went to middle school together. We have this really special connection where we can go for years without seeing one another. And then when we connect, it's just like sixth grade all over again. Um, in this conversation, Jennifer shares the mindset that has carried her through life. I mean, it wasn't all rainbows in unicorns and she had to overcome some significant. She also talks about customer appreciation and some differences between relational and transactional thinking, which I think is some secret sauce that led to her becoming the VP of sales. That's kind of a big. And I share a very serious fear. I think that every middle school boy deals with, uh, leave us a comment, let us know what you think about that one. Of course, we're gonna shout out our patrons because their funds are contributing to, to continuing the movement, making things happen. We got a little update on our Patreon account, so we've, we've trimmed it down. There's two options. You can sign up for one level or the other. Uh, or you can do like a, a custom donation or contribution if you'd like to. And you can find that on the website, learnings and missteps.com become a member. We appreciate anything you're willing to give and everybody's been giving their time. So thank you for listening, spending your mornings, your drives, your walks, your runs, doing chores, whatever it is that you do when you're listening to the podcast and our guests, uh, we deeply appreciate you doing. All the reviews, you're leaving all the sharing you're doing. Thank you very much because the word is getting out there and there's a continuing movement around, uh, careers in the trades. And that is the whole purpose of this podcast. And I appreciate y'all joining me in that. Oh, and then we have another, a little bit of an update on the book. keep an eye out for some future conversations where Jennifer, Lacy and I are speaking on a few podcasts. We've got, we've secured some time with a quality podcast. You need to check 'em out. Find them on YouTube. A quality podcast, uh, Wednesday with will, will be live streaming with him on LinkedIn. . And then with Mr. Felipe engineer, Manriquez, we're gonna be speaking with him on the BFC show and, uh, Dr. M on the Dr. M Vodcast also on YouTube. It's like super excited. You know, we've gotten feedback already that people are getting value out of the book and applying it to their lives, which was, and will always be the goal, but having an opportunity to talk about it and spread that message to other people is really, really meaningful. So thank you all out there for supporting us in that effort. Oh, and then one more, one more update. Uh, we've got the next gen builders event coming up at Clemson univers. I'm gonna be hanging out with Mr. Walker and Mr. Davis, uh, from The Laying Foundation's podcast, interacting with the next generation of the construction industry. we will be in person with the students on campus and we will be live streaming the event. So go to The Laying Foundation's podcast. I'm pretty sure there's some sponsorship opportunities. So take a shot, baby. Come and support that effort. And here we go to Ms. Jennifer Longoria. . I am here with a dear, dear friend that we've known each other. What? Since sixth grade, Jen? Yes, Jen sixth. and it like, this is how like special this conversation is back in middle school. We went to Tafolla middle school, Tafoya totals for life. Right. And so we used to take a bus to go to this special school. um, because we're super smart kids and well, everybody was, I just, I made it in somehow. I don't know. and, and I would walk Jennifer home. Do you remember that? Jennifer? and I would always walk what's that? I said pretty often. Yeah, yeah. Off at Walker, her home, which was a few blocks. It was on the other side of the tracks for like, literally we lived on different sides of railroad tracks. and I would walk like, almost up to your house and then turn around and go home. yeah. You remember that? Yes. That was funny. I don't know why. you wanna know why I could I'll tell you the secret? Was it my brother? I don't know. no, I, I, here's why I would turn around and like, okay. We're this is the limit. I can't go all the way to the front door. Because if I went all the way to the front door, in my teenage mind, I had to kiss you. Oh, that's weird. Yeah. like, cuz it's what you see in the movies. Right. They walk into the front door, you gotta kiss 'em and I'm like, no, I can't do that. Cuz she's gonna fall in love with me. So I'm just gonna turn around and walk home. Wow. You think? I never knew that. That's pretty cool. Actually. that? Cause that, that never happened between us. That never happened. So yeah. Funny, but that, I mean as close, as close as we were growing up, that that did not happen. So yeah. You probably walked me home. I don't know a lot. And that never happened. So yes. Well Jennifer, thank you for. Letting me walk you home and being such an amazing friend, um, over whatever that is 20, 30 years now. Like the numbers just keep growing no, thank you. Cause I'm pretty, like, I know that the times that you walked me home, obviously I was pretty safe. Um, you know, unfortunately there was sometimes when you didn't walk me home, that there was some things that happened that not a lot of people know about, , you know, it was, it was nice to have somebody to walk me home sometimes. yes, you're welcome. Beautiful memories. And like who would've thought here we are, you know, just a few years into the future from being walked home down Barrett street, um, and the lives that we're living now. and, and like, I was super excited because one we've grown up together and, and we're both in the construction industry. And like, would you have ever guessed that we would be doing what we're doing today? No, not at all. That was probably the furthest thing from my mind. I don't even think it was ever a thought to be honest with you. I just think that because of the classes we were taking and, you know, the people that we were surrounded by, I don't think it was ever a thought for, for, for me, for sure. Because that, wasn't where school was taking us. Is that, is that fair to say? Right? Absolutely. It's like, you know, they, they teach you, you know, to be teachers and doctors and lawyers and like, you know, this is where you're needed or whatever. And so outside of that, you don't think about it at all. like, was there even, even, uh, like another option except for cuz we were in, so we were in the multilingual program, which meant we went to a school that we had the, we had access to. Uh, what language did you take at the FOYA? Uh, I took Spanish cause I didn't know Spanish actually. Nice, nice. And so it was, it was multilingual because the assumption was we were already bilingual and so we had access to a third language. I took Latin, um, and uh, bunch of our friends took French and German and Japanese mm-hmm Yep. Yep. But part of the deal was we couldn't like certain electives. The, we took two credits of a foreign language every year. And so that ate up a credit that we could have taken in extracurricular activities, but also we could only like. We had to take college geared courses. And so that was a direction and it was, it was a good program. And like you said, our friends were our amazing people. They're out there contributing, doing big things in the world and in, in the community. but never, ever, ever construction or careers in this industry ever discussed? No. Nope. Not at all. Yeah. And, and so you entered the industry, so like how did that, like, I don't even know. How did you get into, into the industry? Like for real, for real? honestly it was by chance cuz I went, I was in the oil field for about, probably about four years. and that's kind of when the price of oil dropped, I think it was 2014 that it dropped again pretty drastically. even, even how I got in there was, was pretty crazy. Um, but I was laid off and, you know, kind of going through some, some feelings, uh, about being laid off was the first time I had ever been laid off ever. And, you know, it was pretty difficult cuz I had, I had worked my way up even through there. You know, I was like a rental coordinator. I, I got promoted to small parts inventory and then I made my way into, sales in about, in about two years. and so it was, it was pretty diff difficult to, you know, to swallow that I got laid off, among how many sales people were. I was the only female salesperson. Um, that was probably about eight of us. And I was the only one that got. so anyway, kind of just trying to get my mind off of things. Um, my family and I were driving around and I think we were kind of like, uh, in the Hilos area, Michael kind of driving around, I see a sign or Donald he's a sign that says Martin Marietta. And he says, maybe you should look into something like that. And I was like, what's that like, never, I've never even heard. Don't clueless, clueless, never heard of them. You know, he's like, oh, I don't know. He said, I think they, they do something in construction. He said, my dad, you know, does the, uh, the radios for all of the plants, he's like, just look into it. He said, you never know. Yeah. I was like, okay, sure enough, get online. And they're looking for a sales coordinator. so the sales coordinators they worked directly under the outside salesman. So they did a lot of their quotes and things like that. Any billing issues, they would take care of that for them. Um, I applied and from what I understand, I could be wrong, but I was one of the very few people who were direct hires. They, they were really big on temp to hire. There were some people that had been temps for years. Ooh. Um, yeah, so I was a direct hire, , started to pick up what I could. I asked a lot of questions. I was just who I am. Yeah. I just asked a lot of questions. within about six months, my friend Amy, who was in inside sales, got a very well deserved promotion and she became, uh, an outside sales rep. So with that, her position opened up in inside sales. so within about six months, I was promoted to inside sales at Martin Marietta. I was super lucky to be paired up with, David Little back then David had been with Martin Marietta for, I think it was like 50 years. He started, he was, he was with Martin Marietta before it was Martin Marietta. Okay. Um, so I was pretty lucky. He was also an inside sales. he's he was a great mentor. I know that he was a great mentor for Amy too. I just, I really did. I appreciated being around him so much. He just everything right from, from the stories he would tell me, you know, about like back in the day, Jennifer, you know, we didn't do this and things like that. Like I just, I love those things. So. Um, everything from the stories he would tell me, you know, to just how he started in the industry, you know, just all sorts. It was, it was really neat. And I appreciated him so much. , there was several people that worked in that office that had been in the industry for so long. I mean, even the younger guys, Bobby and, you know, just a lot of them, they were really neat to be around and I did appreciate anything and everything that, that, that they would talk to me about or, you know, take time to answer questions for me. And that's just kind of how that experience went with them. It was a really good experience. I enjoyed my coworkers there a lot and, you know, and it's crazy. I'll we talk about, there's so many things that happen for a reason, you know, and, and although I really loved Martin Marietta, it was. that corporate structure, right? That, yes, I was promoted within six months, but once I was at that inside sales level, I saw how long it would take everybody else to get going from there. It was, I mean, we're talking years and years. Um, Amy for instance, just, in the past year or so was, promoted to a senior sales rep. She's been there 10 years. Wow. You know? Yeah. And so, not that you know, I wouldn't have been okay with that. It was just like, man, there's just so much more out there, you know, type of thing. And so again, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I have no idea how that works, but, Madden materials was my customer. while I was at inside, inside sales at mark. Okay. So, Donald, my partner, he works for, uh, here at the time he worked for Cherokee utilities and they were doing some work at Madden. He had to go over there to dig a trench or something like that. It was a Saturday I think. And he was like, Hey, I know we were gonna go run this errand. I just have to go dig this trench real quick. You wanna come over there with me? And then we'll go do what we gotta do. I said, okay, fine. So I'm just kind of hanging out on what was going to be there, new office, front porch. It was like a big double wide on, uh, at the sand plant. And so I'm just kind of hanging out. And at the time the COO and the, the owner were there kind of, they were getting ready to do the floors and stuff in the office. And. They happen upon me on the porch. They're like, Hey, what's, you know, can we help you? And I was like, oh no, I'm just . I was like, sorry. I was like, I'm just waiting for, for Donald. He's gonna finish, you know, that trench and, they were like, oh, okay. You know, and they start to introduce themselves. And I was like, oh, I'm Jennifer, I'm actually your inside sales rep from Martin Marietta. And they were like, they're, you know, they obviously inside sales reps, don't get to meet their customers a whole lot face to face. Right. So it was my first time meeting them, you know, so kind of asked me questions. They showed me around the office, like what they were doing. Okay, cool. You know, I didn't think anything of it. It was, it was nice to meet a customer face to face. Yeah. I guess about two weeks later, uh, Joe, the owner actually reached out to Donald and was like, Hey, do you think your wife would be interested in coming to work for us? You know, it was kind of like that thing. Yeah. Yeah. Like, whoa. Yeah. You know, so like it's a very like right place, right time. at the time they were very, they were still really, really small. So, you know, it was kind of like one of those, they had no benefits, no anything mm-hmm . And so for me, you know, having a family, I, I struggled with that a lot. I struggled with, making that transition, and going from that corporate structure and everything, and, you know, I had a, a decent salary and all of those things to, you know, what they were offering me, which was, no benefits at the time. And, um, really, it was gonna be pretty much a commission based salary. That was hard to swallow. So I held back, you know, I was like, maybe not now. Right, right. So, they kept, probably about every month or so, you know, and I told 'em, I said, look, I'm gonna be honest with you. My son at the time, my youngest was getting ready to have, uh, surgery in October or something like that. I said, he's getting ready to have surgery. I said, there's, there's just no way that I could, I could do this. Right. So they were like, okay, you know, let us know how everything goes. I hope everything goes fine. Just keep us, keep us in mind. Fine. So sure enough come December of 2017, they tell me, okay, we have benefits lined up. Like we're, we're gonna have benefits starting this date. This. You know, we, we really, really would like for you to come work for us. Oh. But actually, let me take a step back. I did interview with somebody and it, at the time it was their sales manager and this is a pretty good idea of how sometimes these things go. So they wanted me to come in, in sales. I met with their sales manager at the time at bill Miller's right here by my house. Okay. And, um, you know, I walk in dressed because at Martin Marietta, we did have to be, you know, business professional. pretty much every day there, you know, so I'm, you know, skirt, whatever heels, you know, I walk into bill Miller and I get the up and down look, you know? Hmm. And, uh, so he's like, oh, you're Jennifer. And you know, I'm like, yes, whatever, , and he says, so you're interested in what position now. And I said, well, you know, Joe and Paul had me in mind for a sales rep position for you. And he's like, oh, he says, well, feel like with your look, you probably belong more at the front desk. Okay. And I, I was like, excuse me, yeah. I said, with my look, you know, and he says, well, yeah, he said, we, we really also need a front desk person. And I told him, I was like I said, I'm sorry. I said, I'm not sure if this is gonna be a waste of my time or your time. I said, because you telling me that I'm, I, I fit for a front desk position is not my idea at all. I said, you would be telling me to take about 10 steps back from where I've gotten. I said, so I was like, thanks, but no, thanks. You know, and I kind of walked away from that. it, it was unfortunate because I. He never really relayed that information to, uh, Paul and Joe. Yeah. Like what, what had happened or what had transpired. So they didn't even know that he was, that he did that or said that, you know, so anyway, you know, it's interesting how all of that ended up coming along, you know, and I still ended up coming on board, in January of 2018 now. So it's, again, it's, it's crazy how I even ended up there. Never thought, yeah, I would end up in the industry at all. So Madden sell, you know, sold cells, sand soil, and you know, their, their idea of bringing me on was, uh, to help them build their limestone aggregate sales at the time, because they mainly did sand in soil. So with me coming on board, that was the idea. And luckily, I, I did have that experience now and I was able to do that for them. I brought, I, I brought over some customers because I, I do even now, I struggle even now as a, as a VP, I struggle to give up some of my customers because I just, you know, you have a relationship with people that's really hard to just like, yes, well, you know, are you, are you gonna take care of my baby? The way I take care of my baby? I always, you know, I mean, I'm a mom, so I always revert to like mother, you know, talk, but that's exactly how I consider all of them, you know? Like, I did that. I, I feel like I did that. I brought in that limestone aggregate side and I still do that, you know, to this day, like, look at our progress and things like that. And they're like, you go, you know, they would compare pie charts and be like, look, you guys, this is Jennifer and Jennifer's pie is very even, you know, she sells this much of this and this much of that, like, it's great that you guys, you, you sell more than her. Yeah. That's great. But you should be an all around sales person like this. Ah, that was always nice, but yeah, it's not the, you know, you sell more than her . Yeah. But, but the fact that, that I did, you know, I, I did sell evenly across the board when it came to things like that. That was always nice. Wow. So from the front desk lady to VP. Yeah, exactly. And I wonder where that guy is now, you know, I think he's at Collier somewhere on there, but yes. You know, I wish I could say I was shocked by them even saying that, but. though the industry has progressed quite dramatically. We still got a long way to go. And there's still a lot of people with just that type of thinking. I mean, there was a time where, when I was out in the field and I saw a woman on site and my immediate as like, I just knew they were the secretary. Right? Yeah, exactly. And when I told, , I think she was the project manager mm-hmm I somehow referred, I probably treated her, like she was the secretary and she made it clear. She's like, hold on, like, I'm the project manager here. I'm like, whoa. And then it's kind of like dummy, of course, like it's not, it's my thinking. That's the problem. And that's, that's kind of the point, right? Is this fool sees you? I shouldn't say that, but this dude sees you and says, oh, you'd be great at the front desk. tell me, you don't even know me. Exactly. Like you're just looking at me and saying, I should be at the front desk. How you like me now, baby? right, right, exactly. It's you know, like you have my resume, like, what are you doing right now? Like, you know, and for, for anybody, you know, women in the industry like that, it's, it's, it's a punch, you know, in the gut or, you know, if you wanna say a slap in the face, whatever, um, it's, it's not okay to just assume, oh look, you, you know, you, you have a nice look, you know, you should be more here. This is where you fit, you know, I'm like so wrong. I know, I know it. I know it. And you know, you still get those, like, like you sell what? Like yeah. You know, because people, it it's just it's. I get it. You know, it's, it's not that often that you see women in the industry, but. it happens and more and more, I don't see it as often as I'd like to, in the field still, but, you know, I mean, I see it like on LinkedIn all the time, you, you see all these amazing women out there and it would be nice. It'd really, really be nice to see more, you know, that is, um, something that I strongly encourage women to do. Like all the time, a friend of mine just, tagged me in something the other day where she had aspirations to be in, um, in fashion, you know, which is obviously that's men and women. You know what, there's a, there's just a lot more men, right. Male designers than women designers. Yeah. But she had aspirations to do that back when I was in the hospitality industry. and she was really upfront that, you know, she had no desire to be doing what she was doing for me at the time. I said, you have to have, you have to be able to talk to people. I said that if you can't talk to people in whatever industry you're going and yeah, you, you, you have to start somewhere. So if it means this lower level gross desk position, cuz that's exactly how she looked at it. Yeah. Yeah. If it's this lower level gross desk position that you have to answer phones and, you know, take a customer orders and things. I said, if it means starting there. Learning how to talk to people. Then, then that's where it's, it's building, you know, steps. , and she, you know, she thanked me for giving her an opportunity back then to, to do what she needs to do today. And, you know, um, I am glad to say that she, she does do fashion. She lives in California. She has styled, um, I think like east moles and a couple of people. Yeah. So, you know, I mean, and, and, and I, I love the fact that she still thinks about me when it comes to that, you know, that I helped her learn something in, her path to getting where she needed to get. that's an important lesson, for any entry level work. Like I remember being out in the field as a laborer. Right, right. Outta high school. Get that first summer job. And I had to clean and I'm like, man, well, I gotta do clean, like pick up trash. Like this is stupid . Um, but all of those things build skill. Right. And, and like the ultimate skill. You talked about it with you, um, developing your clientele and like nurturing those relationships. Being able to communicate with people. I mean, I just launched my business and guess what I do, I talk right. And I got, I gotta, I gotta understand the people that I'm serving. I gotta really figure out what value they're looking for, uh, and, and how they best approach things or prefer to digest things. And that came from learning how to have conversations. Like, just like you said, learning how to talk to people. Super super powerful skill. Now, you know, I've, I have a hyper developed ability to talk except now I do it with purpose before I used to just talk to talk, uh, get myself in trouble. so Jennifer, what else should the LnM Family know about you? I watch some of your other, the, I have your book. I have lean in love. Oh, thank you. um, I am not finished with it, but, uh, you know, so I watch, , you and Jen and all of the conversations that you guys have, and, you know, you've talked about some of your struggles in life and what I always feel like is important. I feel it's really important for people to know. And again, not only women, but anybody who has something that they struggled with in life, right. So for me, for instance, I started out adulthood, childhood, um, as a statistic, right. I had my daughter a couple, what, three weeks before we graduated, I had my first child three weeks before we graduated high school. And again, like, I didn't necessarily let that stop me from doing things. And, you know, I, I struggled to get where I needed to get right. Uh, right outta high school. I still thought that, you know what, I can go to college. I can, I can be a full-time student and, and be a mom and, you know, do all of these things. I found out that it was, it was really hard. Yeah. It was hard to do that. yeah. So, you know, I did have to take a break from being able to go to school and, and, you know, it was more like part-time school part-time work, full-time mom. but it was all those struggles, you know, even being in a, a not great first relationship mm-hmm , um, you know, and, and finding myself and realizing, you know, what did I want, my, what person did I want my daughter to look up to? What person did I want? You know, anybody, anybody in, in my situation, how would, how would I approach that? And how would I expect them, you know, or not necessarily expect them, but what would I want them to do for themselves? Yes. Is kind of how I was about that whole thing. And, you know, I mean, although again, like I went through some struggles, I never really let that keep me from. Being whoever I could be with whatever company I worked for. I always tried to be the best. You know, if I was, if I was answering phones, I wanted to be the best person on the phone. I wanted to, , I wanted the customers to want to talk to me. I didn't want them to talk to anybody else. Yeah. It didn't matter if that meant that I was, , on the phone throughout the whole eight hour day, 10 hour day, whatever the case may be. I wanted people to come to me. that's pretty much how I still am. Again, like it didn't matter what industry I was in, whether, and I went from extreme, you know, one extreme to the other, uh, working in hospitality for 90. What was it? 98 through 2010. I was in hospitality. and then went like the completely opposite direction in a sense, right? Yeah, because I still did, um, I still had to deal with people, but I went from an industry that was, um, I guess it's pretty balanced, maybe hospitality, but you know, to oil field where I was almost always the only female in the room, you know, or in the warehouse or anything like that. And, um, it's, it's, it's definitely been an interesting transition, but again, like for me, it's more about, uh, the things that you endure to get where you want to be. I don't think I ever thought actually that I would be, uh, a VP of sales. Did I want to be there? Absolutely. But unfortunately. some women, we still have that idea of nobody's gonna let us get there. Yes. Let us play with the big boys or whatever you wanna call it. Unfortunately you still have that mentality and that is, I don't know, like at what point that breaks, you know? Yes. Even now, even in my position now, you know, can I do more? Who, what, what can I do to be better than that? It's still, it's still there at the back of my mind all the time. What can I do? How can I be better? girl, you touched on some big, heavy stuff and, and. I'm so proud of you for, for G going through the, the journey that you've gone through and growing into the person that you are and who, the person that you are going to be, like amazing. Right? Cuz we, you know, we come from a part of town that it's tough. Uh, and those life experiences create a type of thinking, a condition of thinking that makes it very easy for people to take advantage of us. and you're clearly, you're like overcoming that, and recognizing the value of like putting yourself out there so that other people can see, I know this is nobody's gonna believe hearing this cuz I'm like super hyperactive on social media now. Right? Like posting stuff, uh, pictures and videos about me and different thing. My thinking, and for me it was a big switch cuz I used to use social media just to be a goofball and to keep up with friends. Right. And post dumb, silly stuff, which I still kind of do that. Mm-hmm but, but I, I kind of switched my thinking about it in terms of it's social marketing on one end, cuz of course have a business. We wrote the book, but also because I know what I feel like when I see somebody that looks like me or somebody that has a similar experience that I've had thriving, it puts fuel in my tank mm-hmm and so that's like, that's what helps me get, get over. Ooh, I don't know if I should post this. Like no, no. Like I have a responsibility to share my story and, and, and I thank you for letting us share your story. Like it it's so important, Jen, like. It's going to impact people because I mean, think back to back way back when we were walking down, going crossing the bridge over Friel city road, walking by Oscars, how many women did you get to see that, that you were able to connect with? Just because, Hey, we have something in common. Yeah, no, definitely good mark. Right, right. Mm-hmm there's very few. Um, and, and so now we have that opportunity to do that. So thank you for, for doing that. And again, you know, the relationship stuff, that's big, big, heavy stuff. Um, and, and being in less than nurturing relationships has, is traumatic. Right. I mean, I've been through 'em yes. Guys can be traumatized too. And you've overcome that. So I applaud you, Ms. Jennifer, you're a rockstar. Thank you. We did get to see each other here recently. not, not for the best reason, but I was, I just felt something like, after all of us got to see each other this last time. Yeah. and it was so funny, because for the first time ever, some of y'all asked me. what happened to me in high school. Mm-hmm , you know, like where did you disappear to? And I thought it was interesting that nobody knew where I was mm-hmm mm-hmm , you know, it was funny that nobody knew where I was and, and it was really shocking to y'all to find out that the high school counselor hid me away and, you know, yeah. They were, and they were like, well, what do you mean? I said, well, I was, you know, 17 because I turned 18 in December, you know, I was 17 Oh yeah. I gotta interrupt the flow just a little bit. Can you hear that music in the background? Little groovy music. Anyhow, this little segment of this interview exists and is only available on the YouTube. That's right. We got a YouTube channel learnings and missteps, check it out. Or you can go to learnings and missteps.com and find our YouTube channel there. And while you're. You can also click on, become a member, uh, to, to contribute some money, like funds straight up. I'm just gonna say it, 80% of that is going to be donated to the skilled trades Alliance because the skilled trades Alliance mission is very much in line with the learnings and missteps mission. Uh, and we're going to support great things and great people. And you signing up as a patron. we'll contribute to that effort. So we appreciate you deeply for doing that. Also. I dunno if y'all heard or not just in case you missed it. I'm an author now, Jennifer Lacey and I have, co-authored a book you gotta check it out. Lean in love five S love letters. It's on the Amazon. The whole goal of that book is to just help one person. And so far, we've gotten several, several people from the nobs tribe, from the LnM Family that have indicated to us that something at least one little thing in the book has helped. And so we've kind of exceeded our goals, but to exceed the goal and continue helping people that is the ultimate privilege in the world. So while you're out there on the Amazon, on the YouTube, on the LinkedIn, all the socials, leave us some reviews, leave us some comments, let us know you're out there. I know you're there. I see the statistics, the data, but I don't get to interact with John. That makes me a little bit sad. Anyhow, I'm gonna stop my whining. Appreciate. Y'all very much go to the YouTube to catch this learning and misstep backstage pass. And here we go back to the. I realized that night, how much I missed my, my friends. Yeah. You know, cause 12 years old, God, we went through so much. Um, even at 12. Yes, absolutely. I mean, for me, it was definitely to, I guess, not allow something like that to stop me from doing what I wanted to do or being what I wanted to be, which has always been the best at whatever I'm doing at that time. Ju just like I mentioned a while ago, if I was just doing inside sales or whatever, the case, like I wanted to be the best at what I was doing, no matter what it was, period. Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's just kind of always been my thing, I still, even though I've been told Jennifer, you really need to let go of some of these customers, um, I don't want to, you know, it's, it's, I don't want you're mine, you know, but it's one of those things, you know, like, oh, let's, let's figure out what we're gonna get people for Christmas, You can send baskets of trees and sausage and stuff like that out all. That's all good. those like pre pre-sold pre-packaged things, but for me, , I know my customers. So, and oh, not a lot of people know, I think, you know, so of course I raise show pigs with my kids. Yes. Um, and , and so I am a, a very hardcore FFA mom. Um, and so every year we actually keep one of our pigs and we process them. Right. So everything that I have is I know I, I raised it. It's all homegrown. so one of the things that I do pretty often, because I know that, you know, my customer, Mike, with Cherokee, his daughter is, super big into softball. So Mike is like the go to barbecue dad. he's at softball, you know, he's at softball tournaments every weekend. And so I know that the best thing that I could get, Mike, you know, as a foreman was, well, you know, I, I gave him some, uh, brought worst or whatever that, that that's. Mine, you know? Yeah. From me. Um, I, I gave him some, some brought words and I got him, you know, some, some new barbecue utensils, cuz I know that that's my customer. I know I cater to my customers in that sense. So yeah, sure. I can, I can do, you know, I can do the generic things and that's all fine, but I know what's gonna make them feel more, you know, a lot more special because I know them, you know, I know that Al with this other one, this other company, um, he likes to ride his Harley with his wife on the weekends, you know, so if I'm gonna get him something, it's probably gonna be something to clean up his bike, , that's my thing. Like I, I love to cater to people in that sense. I, I, I like to get to know people from that standpoint, my customers, I enjoy the personal side of dealing with my customers in that. Yes. You know, and I feel like that that really helps me, not only get to know them, but it keeps them from wanting to go anywhere else because they want, they wanna deal with Jennifer, you know, or whatever the case may be. So how did you, I mean, first of all, like feeling appreciated and feeling heard is powerful. Mm-hmm so how did you go about discovering the difference between sending, you know, the stuff you can order online? The prepackaged sausage, cheese thing to like, no, no, no, no. I need to give them what they value. How did you figure that out? Was it like a class you took? No, I, you know what it was, one of the first big projects I got. When I started at Madden, um, I use, uh, I use VBX, right? Mm-hmm so I was really huge into VBX. I would go and scout, you know, whatever I could. And so, I came up on the huge Sarah Martinez, uh, project that was going on, um, on gray town, kind of a at gray town in Abbott. Okay. Um, and actually that's in like phase four now and I still deliver to that. It was two of my customers that got that project actually. I just happened to be talking to them and the guys were like, oh yeah, you know, we're barbecuing today. We're gonna cut out a little bit early, you know, from the project, it was kind of one of those things, you know? Yeah. One barbecue. I'm not very typical, but, it was one of those things. So I thought to myself, you know what, like. I got pork chops and all these things that they're sitting in my freezer that, , sometimes it gets to the point where I'm like, I have way too much crap in my freezer. I need to start figuring out how to get rid of this cuz I'm gonna get a new pig soon. Right. Right. and so it was one of those things actually, where I kind of went to the job site, , and, and the guys were getting ready to barbecue. So I brought them some, some of my pork and they loved it. And they were like, man, this is so good. Like where did you get this? I was like, I it's me. I, you know, and, and that always shocks people cuz again, it's like mm-hmm, mm-hmm raise pigs. the front desk girls raises pigs yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, so it, it was, it was kind of like that, I think that from there it was one of those things where those guys would call me, be like, Hey, you know, I know that, you know, I ordered from you for this, but I'm gonna do this project at my house. What do you think? What do you think that I can do if I'm trying to, you know, make this nice flower bed for my wife or, you know, whatever the case may be. And so it it's just things like that, that they start to feel a little, a lot more comfortable with you and going to you just about anything like that. So, you know, our business relationship, not, not necessarily became personal, but you know, it, it, it was valued in a different way. They could come and ask me, to do personal projects for them at, at their house, you know, what do you suggest or whatever. Yeah. I think it was from that, that I was like, you know what. I appreciate knowing people in that sense, uh, and I, you know, just like you, you're a talker, I'm a talker. I didn't think I was as much of a talker. And now I know I am a talker. Yep. uh, it's just things like that. I appreciate and value that type of relationship with people that they trust me enough to, beautify their home or, you know, do something special for their wife or whatever the case may be. Yes. Like I value that a lot. Yes. Well, it's, it's the transition, you know, there's people talk about this a bunch now. Right. There's transactional and relational interactions. And for me like that, I'm like, okay, those are a lot of syllables you're losing me. The way I, I make sense of it. It's, it's the, the growth from. providing a service to becoming a trusted resource, right? Where now I get to work, with executives, et cetera, that at some point when I'm, when I'm listening appropriately, um, they invite me in, I'll get invited in to be a trusted advisor on like serious stuff. And if you don't, if folks, if y'all don't know out there building something for your significant other at home is serious business . And so that's what that's, what's coming through to me, Jennifer is because you're you demonstrate to them that you're listening and you're paying attention. They said, oh man, this, this amazing person can help me outside of the confines of the current relationship that we have. And so the relationship, um, expands it blooms and turns into something long term and more meaningful mm-hmm , uh, all, all around pork exactly. No, really? That's another thing, like I know I've seen you post on, on the Facebook about the FFA stuff and it's like, wow. Like, you know, we were city kids, right? City kids, south side, San Antonio by south Samoa. Like we ain't got no pigs in the backyard. We ain't got no poultry running around. Uh, but to just to see where. where those paths lead. Right. It's it's pretty damn amazing. It's super cool. Keep an eye out, maybe a drone. It may be hiding in a Bush somewhere. Just trying to catch some footage of you feeding, feeding the animals or something. Oh no, it's hilarious. Actually, my, um, our ag teacher does an amazing impersonation of me. He's pretty damn funny. Yeah. And what's even more awesome is that he went to high school with, with, um, my daughter went to Somerset with Nikki and now he's the ag teacher, um, over at Somerset, which, you know, it's crazy. Yeah. How much these kids grow. , but he does a great impersonation of me. you know, we, I have to mix feed and, , I mean, so I show up, you know, sometimes if, if I, if I'm at a work site, it's fine. Cause I'm in jeans and boots, but if I'm going to the office or coming from the office, you know, I'm in, I'm in heels and stuff and I mean, barn full of pig, poop, I'm always on the phone, right? So he does this thing where he he's like this and he pretends he's holding a bucket, you know? And he's like shutting there and he's like, no, no, that's not gonna work. Well, you need to fix it. You know, he like, does this whole impression of gen, you know, miss Jennifer on the phone? Like yeah, no, no. And just seeing him do it of me is hilarious. And everybody, when he did it, they were like, That's Jennifer , that's her that's the VP feeding the pigs. Yeah. You know, and, and, you know, I'll get calls in the morning cuz I have, cuz we have to feed twice a day. Yeah. You know, so I drop off accident at school cuz we keep our pigs at the high school ag bar. So I drop off accident at school at the intermediate school. And then, uh, I drive to the high school and so I'm feeding pigs in the morning and, and last year we had five or had five. Wow. And so I'm mixing feed for five pigs or sometimes I have it pre like pre-one and you kind of mix it in the morning, but I'm on the phone, you know, where I'll get a phone call and I'm like, Hey, can I call you back? They're like, what is, you know, I'm always get the, what is that noise? I'm like, my pigs are really hungry. I really have to call you back. And so of course, I ended up calling people like, did you just say pigs? I'm like, yeah, yeah. I said pigs, like I have five humongous pigs right now. They're not happy. I gotta feed them cuz they're not gonna shut up until they get back. that's so cool. That is my life like it's and it's getting ready to start again, cuz school's gonna start and we'll get pigs here in the next couple of weeks and start fresh all over, you know? It's nice, but it's also not nice to have a kid who knows what he wants to do already, you know, at, at 11, not, not in life per se. Right. But as far as like, uh, shows, you know, he's like, okay mom, I'm thinking this year, I wanna go to Arizona again. I wanna go to, you know, he has his, like the shows, the big shows that he wants to do, like lined out. I'm like, okay, who's gonna pay for all this. You know, he knows how many pigs he wants. And um, luckily. We were gonna try to do a steer this year, but with everything happening for me at work, uh, steers are steers are a year long project. And so, um, it was just gonna be a little bit too much for me, uh, right, right now, you know, opening three ReadyMix plants and 60 days is, is not easy. So, so yeah, it was, it was crazy. Um, so I, we couldn't do a steer. Hopefully we'll do a steer next year. That'll be, I've never done that. So that would be completely different. Yeah. But you know, to, to what you said, city kid to this life it's been really fulfilling, I guess, like, not that city kids can't do FFA cuz I think they do. They have FFA programs in some of the high schools. but you know, it. it's, it's different living out here than in the city. And, you know, I tell people all the time, like I would never move back to the city. I just, wow. I can't, I can't do it. I, I stayed with my parents one weekend when they weren't feeling well and I could not sleep. I was like, how do you live here? Like, I heard everything. Yeah. You know, I'm used to going outside and hearing like crickets and coyotes and, you know, , mm-hmm and, you know, I mean, in the city, I was just, I mean, I mean, every single hunk, like, I, I just couldn't, I, I couldn't wait to come back homely to sleep. Cause it was so loud there all the time, you know? And, and I tell people that, and they're like, you're crazy. I'm like, no, like you guys need to come stay at my house. Like, come stay at my house for a weekend and you will understand what I'm talking about. Yes. Yes, the nephews love it. Actually. They like to come here. They like to come to, you know, and I'm not that far out of the city, but just far enough. Right. They love like, oh, we wanna go to aunt Jennifer so we can see cows. And you know, on the way out here, cows right. Is, you know, whatever. And they're just funny. They think it's like a whole new world over here. Yes. Yeah. Like out of town trip, for sure. Yes. Yeah. They're like, man, it's like so far to get to your house. I'm like it's 35 minutes. It's really not that Jennifer. So the FOIA middle school learning Spanish, getting walked home by a super awesome gentleman. Young man, um, being a teenage mom, hospitality, indu industry construction industry VP. FFA mom, right? Like so much. And, and that's like just the surface. Like we know that there's tons and tons of other experiences you've had along the way and contributions that you've made into other people's lives. So the question is, what footprint do you intend to leave on the world? I don't know. I can't help, but think of what one of my friends says all the time. Just be nice. Right? I think that being, being nice and appreciating people for who they are, what they can bring, no matter what it is. Um, cuz everybody has their own, their own thing about them. Right. Their own strength in some way. So I feel like being nice to people. It really brings out a lot of that character. Um, being able to talk right. Is, is, is huge. And I like to give people those chances to, to talk whether it makes no sense at all. Cause maybe at some point, you know, it's gonna make sense, um, or, or whatever the case may be. I just, I like to listen. So I feel like being nice. And again, I'm, I'm, I'm not gonna take credit for that cuz it it's somebody else that says that. Just be nice, , to people. And I think that goes a really long way. you know, personally or professionally, I just feel like it translates into a lot. That's AMA cause it's not easy to be nice. people make it hard for, I'll just I'll speak for myself. I like to be nice, but I'm really good at not being nice. And I'm like, I'm really nice until I'm not nice. And it's hard for me to get there cuz I'm, I'm really patient, you know what I mean? I, hello. I have, I have two, right. A 27 year old and 22 year old, um, uh, both college graduates or whatever. Wow. I'm have an 11 year old. Right. And so like, I'm really nice until I'm not nice. And I think the only one who has really seen my not nice out of those three has been the youngest one. He . no, but even with people like, you know, right in, in, in business relationships and, and whatnot, like. I'm real nice. So if you're, if you're doing something that's offensive or whatever it takes being in the industries that I've been in, it takes a lot for me to be offended in any way I can, I can handle a lot, you know, I, ive heard all like the horrible jokes in the oilfield industry. Yeah. Like totally inappropriate crap, you know, but, but it takes a lot and, and I'm, I'm generally pretty dang, nice to people, you know? And, but I think that that it's rewarding. It really is to be that way. Yes. Yes. Well, you know, one thing you mentioned, uh, and we didn't, we didn't talk about it too much, but it's a reality is the, the, the struggles and the friction that you had to endure and continue to endure as a woman in the industry. Mm-hmm and like, so this is a challenge to all the men listening out there and to all the men and women out there that are respons. For hiring and developing people within their organization. Like it is not okay to be dumb and, and, and make inappropriate comments and, and be shortsighted about women in the industry. If you're tolerating that type of behavior from your employers, employees, you need to do better. Um, like you get a li like you get a pass on not being nice to men that don't treat people like human beings. Uh, and if you don't have employees that you're responsible for, and you're saying dumb stuff, inappropriate stuff, uh, rather I'll say it more clearly. If you're not lifting up elevating and supporting everybody, you come in contact with you're failing and, and you need to do better. Uh, because we can like bottom line. So there that's the chastising for the day. Um, that pretty good. What's that? I said that was pretty good. You like that? Okay, good. I get a pass. See, and I was still nice about it, right. Like I didn't get too, too huffy. Um, anybody you wanna shout out? Oh, I feel like I did a little bit. Um, but again, like David Little, uh, I, he has retired since, you know, since me leaving Martin Marietta, um, Sandy Garcia, we, he, we touched on like the ready mix stuff a little bit when I was there. Um, he also has retired from Martin Marietta. Wow. Uh they're so they're just great. Um, Amy, who I love and I give her a hard time all the time, but just because I know that there's so much more to her yeah. Than people give her credit for, um, uh, let's see everybody that works. with me. I'm not gonna say for me, everybody that works with me because we are all a team and I wouldn't be where I am without, you know, all of them. So, uh, two James's and actually there's another, there's another gentleman who just became a part of my team. That's an older gentleman and I really appreciate him. I, I love storytelling, you know, and I love people who tell me stories that I just love that stuff, so Jim Delaney, James Oliver, David reg, lotto, who is the owner son, um, uh, who else? Um, Laura, Laura's a long time. Laura and I worked at Martin Marietta together. Um, and you know, I brought her on board and she's been great. Uh, some of the new people, Dominique, um, Joe, my dispatcher slash go to everything guy. Like I depend on him for everything. Um, Uh, even on the ready mix side, there there's some transitioning happening. And so for a good while now, I've been in charge of, aggregate sales, ready, mix sales, all of logistics for both sides of the company. Wow. You know, because again, like a lot of this stuff like happened very quickly. So, uh, so the, the, my ready mix, dispatchers, crystal and Raul who, uh, we, I recently had promoted from a driver to a dispatcher. Nice. Cause I'm all about promoting from within there's a lot people out there that get overlooked for a long time and they deserve so much. just the whole team that I work for. Uh, you know, obviously Joe, my, my boss for giving me an opportunity to shine for him. I really appreciate that him and Sophia actually, they're, they're great people to work for, so yeah. Beautiful. well, Jennifer, you are an amazing leader, uh, an amazing friend. And, and I appreciate you giving us this time today. Did you have fun? I did. I did. I still feel like I probably talked a lot without knowing that I was gonna talk that much, . Oh man was, that was a I don't know, for me, it was like super for me. It was super cool because, you know, I kind of mentioned, I had a little bit of a crush on her. I'd walk her home almost every day in middle school. But getting to be back in contact with somebody that was present at a very pivotal time in my life was, was a special moment for me. And of course we gotta give a shout out to the LnM Family member that's been supporting us. This one goes out to Mr. Rafael franca with Bosch Refinemy Site. Rafael franca says lean in love five S love letters by Jesus and Jennifer, a book dedicated to the men and women that wake up every morning and take that early morning. Drive away from their homes, the men and women who have accepted responsibility. To lead others and make decisions that impact the careers and lives of others. This book really made my daily reading routine so much fun over the past weeks. It alleviates the stress. I learned so much from the men and women that contributed to it that shared their struggles. And we're transparent with everyone practices that are being used as a powerful influence to heal relationships. Both inside and outside the gate of the job site, the office, and at home, we are in relationships all the time. 24 7 with our partner, our family members, friends at work. And mostly we are in a profound relationship with ourselves. Thank you to Jesse and Jennifer for the great. Thank you Rafa for the amazing review and the rest of the LnM Family. We love you very much and we'll talk at you next time. Peace Man you are one dedicated listener, sticking with us all the way through to the very, very end. Please know that this podcast dies without you. And we invite you to share how the episode's impacting you along with your thoughts, questions, and suggestions. You have been gracious with your times. So we added social media links into show notes to make it super easy for you to connect with. Be kind to yourself. Stay cool. And we'll talk at you next time.