Meet Jessica Dowling
Associate Director of North America Builds and Operations, Wayfair
Jessica is the Associate Director of North America Builds and Operations at Wayfair. In this role, she manages construction projects for offices, retail stores, and photo studios, as well as facilities operations for North America. She joined Wayfair in 2014 as a manager in B2B Marketing, specifically focusing on Interior Design and Contractor customer verticals. In 2018, she transitioned to her current role. Jessica recently graduated with distinction from Wentworth Institute of Technology with a Master’s in Construction Management. She also holds an undergraduate degree in Business from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Q: How did you get your start in Commercial Real Estate Development and what drew you to this field of work?
A: I began my career in residential interior design, prior to going back to school for business. When I joined Wayfair, I was hired to market to interior designers, architects, and contractors. It was perfect because I was able to use my business knowledge to market to an audience I was familiar with. However, over time, I missed being directly part of the process of transforming physical spaces. Luckily, Wayfair was looking for someone to manage our commercial office projects so I jumped at the opportunity. Today I could not be more thrilled to spend my days working closely with internal business stakeholders, real estate, and legal teams, as well as external architects, engineers, and contractors. It’s really the best of all worlds.
Q: Have you seen the field advance, in terms of female representation, since you got your start?
A: I have, but I’m not sure if, at first, it was the construction industry consciously advancing or if it was more that women were finding the courage to enter a world that has historically employed more men. Either way, it’s awesome and I’m excited to see more and more women enter the field.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of women in CRE Development?
A: I’m hopeful we’ll continue to see more and more women join this field bringing with them their unique experiences and perspectives on commercial spaces.
Q: How has the CRE industry changed in the last two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Great question! I think it’s accelerated the need to rethink how we experience commercial spaces. This includes everything from how the space should function for people in the space, as well as those who are virtually interacting with them, to how often the space is used, to how the space operates from a health and safety perspective. I believe we’re on the cusp of some really exciting innovations in all of these areas.
Q: What would you say to young professionals coming up in the industry?
A: Give yourself the grace to be a lifelong learner. It’s absolutely impossible to know everything. One of the really great things about this industry is that you get to work cross functionally with so many experts. Take advantage of the time you spend with them, ask lots of questions and soak up all you can. Not everything can be taught in textbooks. Learn from their experiences and areas of knowledge.