Conversation with Jenn Sussman, Tricarico Architecture and Design

Jenn Sussman, Tricarico Architecture and Design

The marketing and business development guru at Tricarico Architecture and Design PC on the power of ’80s hair bands, finding work/life balance, and why her father is the role model who helped shape her life.

What do you cherish most in your home office?
I adore seeing my cat and best buddy Norman dashing through the house all day. Bearing witness to his boundless joy serves as a constant reminder that happiness and deep contentment can be derived from the smallest things.

What is your favorite time to get things done?
The first thing in the morning is ideal so I can start my day off right. I love to complete imperative tasks before unexpected emails and calls interfere with my well-devised plans.

What is the soundtrack that plays in the background of your office?
My musical tastes run the gamut, but I’m a sucker for ’80’s love songs. I’m usually singing along with Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon or some other band donning badly frosted, teased hair.

What does a typical work day look like?
My typical day changed dramatically when COVID hit. Prior to March, I was traveling regularly and building relationships through face-to-face interaction. My tried and trusted approach to business development transformed dramatically in response to this pandemic. Now that I’m grounded, my days are spent in front of my laptop—working on RFPs, developing connections with potential clients online, maintaining our social media and website and continuously researching new prospects for Tricarico. Retailers, restaurants and shopping centers are now forced to adapt, to innovate and to evolve if they want to survive and with change comes opportunity.

How are you staying connected with your team? Customers?
I have utilized various platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, Microsoft Teams and good, old fashioned conference calls for both colleagues and clients alike. I’ve swapped out my stilettos for slippers and my blazers for T-shirts, so my preference is a voice-only call first until I relearn how to apply makeup.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on a job site?
The Valentino Flagship project on 5th Avenue in Manhattan had a number of unique occurrences on site. It was pretty wild that toll booths at the GW Bridge were actually removed in the middle of the night, allowing trucks carrying crates of three story tall glass from Germany to fit through. It goes to prove there is a solution to every challenge.

Name the band you cannot take off your playlist.
Probably Mumford and Sons and Coldplay. On the weekends, my playlist is all rap. I need a clear differentiation going into Friday night to set the tone. It is an escape from my “Groundhog Day.”

What are you binge watching right now?
I blew through every season of “Ozark” quicker than I care to admit. Also, “90 Day Fiancé,” “Love After Lockup” and “Dirty John” are TV gold.

Favorite comfort food.
I eat extremely healthy every day, so my idea of comfort food now is adding hummus to my carrots. But I dream of mozzarella sticks and boneless wings when I close my eyes at night.

Best advice you ever received?
I’ve had some brilliant mentors who have all provided me with nuggets of wisdom that have affected the trajectory of my path through life. I think the most notable is the sentiment echoed by Albert Einstein which was, “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has been before.” It embraces the idea that in order to live, we must not follow, but lead ourselves. When I stopped comparing myself to others, I became free to live the life I dreamed of.

Biggest influence in your life?
My father. Although he is retired now, he built a thriving law practice through perseverance, grit and determination. He was the master of work life balance, closing deals during the day and attending family dinners every night. I am extraordinarily blessed to have a humble, compassionate, loyal, supportive and honest role model who always encourages to me to fight for what I believe in and reach for the stars. Together, we celebrate all modest achievements and let them serve as catalysts to strive for more. My dad is a magnificent representation of what I seek to embody personally and professionally.

What trait do you most admire?
Authenticity

What advice would you give your younger self?
They say hindsight is always 20/20 and that couldn’t be truer. I would have told the 22 year old me to forgo the rooftop bar and club circuit and go to law school. I am certain I would have made a stellar attorney. I also think young adults need to be reminded to pursue their passion versus following where they believe the money will lead. Choose a career that feeds your soul.

What is the first thing you are going to do when you are able to get back to some sense of normalcy?
My dresses and suitcases think I’ve abandoned them. I can’t wait to get back on a plane to the West Coast and see some clients, friends and palm trees. The Malibu Wine Safari is calling my name.

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