Please let me start off by saying that I find the word ‘gal’ to be a term of familiarity and affection, peppered with a vintage flair. Gals are women, like Guys are men. Lassies and ladies and women, are women.
If you saw a group of men walking down the street, one could very likely casually say that they saw a group of guys, and one could very likely NOT be accused of minimizing their masculinity, nor their positions in life. Same same with gals, in this gal’s book.
Eni Cadena is the founder of Lighthouse Remodeling. When I first brought up the idea of GC’ing my project, Gimi (see The Singing Caballero in the Vintage Cadillac) said that he has worked with this ~kick ass~ female General Contractor, and offered to connect me with her. I immediately said “yes please!”
Eni is a woman who has, to date, run a number of renovation projects in Chicago, and with that experience has come knowledge. With that experience has also come contacts and tips and tricks that could make decision making, goal setting and sourcing both materials and crew THAT much easier. Anyone who has launched themselves into a new and ambition project knows that this is mission GOLD.
Eni is also one of the most generous of spirit human beings that I have ever met, and that’s saying a lot. I am literally surrounded by people who openly share their info, attention, knowledge & skill and communities. Eni very quickly moved to the top of that list.
Having only been introduced via email, Eni sincerely invited me to call her anytime. I did. She spent nearly an hour on the phone with me, sight unseen, giving me her experience with having spent her time as a GC. Since then, many more hours have been spent. We talked about contractors, and how she has found her ‘A’ team. We talked about contractors, and how she has thinned the heard by listening to how they say things and address situation vs what they say, and what they do. We talked more about contractors and what made her feel the most comfortable when it comes time for setting payment terms (yes, we, as the GCs and customers can set the terms of payment). We talked about contractors, and what it feels like to walk into a room full of guys, and command respect without setting the stage for or allowing intimidation or getting in the way of what we all have experienced of the state of ‘fragile masculinity’.
Side bar, as a woman who has made my way in the world, generally positioned at the front of the room, AKA Boss Lady, I have had an opportunity or 100,000 to navigate this, personally. From landlords to team leaders, administration to bandleaders. DO NOT THINK I AM SPEAKING TO YOU (the definition of fragile masculinity), but know that it could be speaking to you, and you might not even realize it.
Anyhow- Eni has her particular was of living in her skin as a GC, and it was super enlightening.
And she was kind, and generous of her time. She has continued to be, and I am grateful. Along the same lines, and with gratitude, I hope to be able to share some wisdom looking over from my side of the fence some day. Because, as human beings, that’s how we become stronger together.
If you are interested in connecting with Eni for an upcoming project, see my RESOURCES page for more information.