It’s no secret that the JAI team is my heart. I respect each team member on a deeply personal level while also being inspired by their creativity and talent. Thinking about Jenn, Christina, Melissa, Jessica, and Jenn Mock leaves me in awe of what each outstanding woman brings to JAI.

Jenn Lindner brings tremendous flexibility. She has the ability to jump around all phases of multiple projects seamlessly, as I have never seen! That takes skill!

Christina is fiercely detailed. She doesn’t miss a beat in her designs as well as in her documentation. This translates into stunning graphics, concept presentations, and thorough recordings for our team. 

Melissa is our tracker. She focuses on all aspects of a project from multiple consultants while recalling the smallest details discussed months ago. This gift is beneficial with our renovations requiring much hunting for information!

Jessica is systematic. She is superior at systematizing procedures that help us all work more efficiently. As we move into a year of elevation, she is a gift to the JAI family! 

Jenn Mock is the planner we couldn’t function without. She plans at least a year in advance and helps us to see and maintain our long-term goals. Her planning and organizational skills make her the best Operations Director! 

Insanely creative in their own ways, JAI would not be the same without each of them. And as 2023 begins, I plan to leverage each of their talents while taking care of their personal needs, focusing on health, recharging, and rest. With that strong desire to create the healthiest work culture, I decided to implement a 4-day work week.

My “Why” Behind Our New Structure

For the past two years, the benefits of Sabbath have been prominent in my Christian Women of Influence mastermind group. We started adding it to our weekly accountability and immediately saw the positive effects, both personally and professionally. Last fall, Sabbath was a topic at church, and I felt a nudge in my spirit clearly telling me I had to bring this to my team. 

I took time to weigh the pros and cons, ensuring this structure aligned with my team. The value became clear, especially for our team members with small kids whose evenings and weekends are not their own. They return to work Monday, even more exhausted from having no time to stop, reflect, recharge, and reconnect. 

Because JAI has always had a strong work/life balance culture, I knew this was the direction we needed to take. It just made sense.

Making Adjustments

Society has conditioned us to work every second of the typical Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm workweek. Surprisingly, since our 4-day model was implemented last September, it has been difficult to make the necessary adjustments.  So now, even with permission, breaking that behavior will take time and intentional effort. But I know we will get there! 

My hope is that Friday will become a day of rest, reflection, and time outdoors to recharge so that we can be our best for our families, clients, the team, and ourselves.

More Big News

When a team member leaves JAI, I often stay in touch with them, following their progress, celebrating milestones, and praying for their concerns. 

Jessica Williams started with me five years into starting JAI, so we shared huge life milestones. When the US Coast Guard relocated her family out of state, I was there for her as she adjusted to leaving her Florida home. We continued to keep in touch, bringing me to last fall when we had dinner together.  While I was sharing my vision for JAI and other projects, Jessica’s eyes lit up! I asked if she was ready to return to JAI; the rest is history.

Meet Jessica Williams

Growing up, Jessica loved design. While playing with barbies, instead of using the Barbie dream house, she was building furniture out of household objects to create Barbie’s custom apartment outside the dream home.  As a teenager, Jessica would rearrange her room, constantly reimagining the space and changing the decor. 

When it came time to choose a career path, going to school for design was a natural extension of her artistic expression. She knew she wanted to be a person that could use creativity to impact someone’s life and well-being.

 While Jessica was completing her degree, she applied to be my intern. It was a good fit for us both, as I was running JAI out of my home, and Jessica had just relocated to Florida with her husband and two young children. We clicked immediately, and I knew I needed her to be my first employee. So I set up a folding table in my office, and we got to work. 

Because JAI was so small then, Jessica learned a lot while wearing multiple hats. From tradeshows to design implementation to developing client relationships, she got to do it all. After five years, JAI had grown from the two of us in my home to a professional office space with several designers and an expanded client base. 

Months before her husband’s relocation to Virginia, Jessica passed her NCIDQ Certification. Once settled in her new home, she applied for her state license in Florida and Virginia. This move was pivotal to her career. She was able to gain experience in every design sector, mentor younger designers, play a role in growing a design studio, and continue building lasting friendships within the design community. Jessica also served as an IIDA Virginia chapter board member and is actively serving on the Central Florida IIDA board now that she is back in Florida. She continues to use this opportunity to give back to the industry that helped her connect and build relationships.

Jessica’s love for the process of creating the layers of the story that unfold as a guest experiences a hotel will only enhance the JAI team as we work together to develop unique spaces. I am genuinely excited to have her back! She is a beautiful woman of faith who I know will do great things as a designer, teammate, and friend.

Elevation in 2023

My 2023 word for JAI is ELEVATE!

With elevation comes change, which isn’t always easy. But in order to grow as designers and women, I will faithfully pour into my team. There is no more significant ROI, and I consider it an honor to invest in Jenn, Christina, Melissa, Jessica, and Jenn Mock. I am so grateful for each of them, the value they individually bring to JAI, and the women they are outside of work. There is nothing they can’t do, and you will see that as JAI moves to new levels this year!