March 4, 2021
Jordana Jarjura – Executive Profile: Menin President Jordana Jarjura on taking her career one step at a time
By Executive Profile: Menin President Jordana Jarjura on taking her career one step at a time
Executive Profile: Menin President Jordana Jarjura on taking her career one step at a time
Editor's Note: Executive Profiles offer insights into the management styles, hobbies and inspirations of South Florida's C-suite. This Q&A is featured in our weekly print edition.
Residence: Delray Beach
Current position: President, Menin
Previous position: General counsel, Gulf Building
Education: B.A., sociology and public relations, University of Florida; J.D. and MBA, Pepperdine University
Boards: Bound for College, Crockett Foundation, Old School Square, Leadership Florida
Jordana Jarjura tries to leave little to chance.
Every degree, job and position was a premeditated decision that helped get her where she is now: her dream job leading a local development company. Thanks to that careful planning, she not only hit the mark, but did it all before 40.
Now, alongside Menin CEO Craig Menin, she spearheads hospitality projects across Delray Beach. The company's upcoming projects include the 150,000-square-foot Delray Beach Market, expected to be Florida's largest food hall when it opens later this year, and the 141-room Ray Hotel.
With a B.A. in sociology and public relations, how did you get into law? I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 6. I would have files in my playroom where I would work on fake clients. I’m one of those people who are pretty decisive, and I had my whole life planned out in my mind at a very young age. The reason I selected sociology and PR is because … I wanted to not only practice law, but be ready to run my own business and position myself to best succeed. At that time, development wasn’t on my radar, but I knew I wouldn’t be practicing law my whole life.
Where does that spirit come from? My father owned his own business, and he instilled in me that you get your higher education, go work for someone to learn, but then you go on your own because the best way to succeed in life is to make money for yourself.
Why did you get into local politics? When I decided to move back home from California to Delray Beach, there were some things I wanted to see in my city, which is why I ran for City Commission. I’m not a Craig Menin, and I don’t have the ability to buy up parcels of the city to change the landscape of our town, so I thought the next best thing – while I was still building myself and career – was to get on the City Commission. It would let me learn more about what other developers were doing from a different angle.
What drew you back? I like beach towns. I lived in Santa Monica, and I think a lot of people I know thought I would stay there. But I fell in love with something about Delray when I started high school here; there’s a certain innate quality about it that was just really attractive to me.
Why did you join Menin? City Commission did change my life, because I met Craig Menin while sitting on the commissionfrom 2014 to 2017.I had planned on being a developer at this point, and I thought I’d be on my own. But the opportunity to work with Craig Menin and his experience with every type of product, there was no way my little development company could match that. I probably would have started with spec homes and townhomes versus now we’re doing a $60 million food hall and a $75 million hotel, in addition to everything else we have going on. And we’re not the biggest development company, so we get to stay focused on quality and the design.
If not law or development, what would you have pursued? I love architecture and interior design. Those were the two other occupations that really were attractive to me. I love creating.
What inspired your involvement with Bound for College and the Crockett Foundation? I believe education and nutrition from early learning on is going to be a key driver of the future of this country. The fact that ZIP codes dictate your health more than genetics is extremely troubling for our long-term sustainability. We need to invest in our kids, certainly the ones who don’t have the infrastructure of a traditional family at home.
What's your advice for planning ahead? I don’t think you can just wake up and decide to run a marathon. People are always going to have innate talents, but I believe it’s just as important to apply yourself and put in the effort.
How do you cope when things don’t go according to plan? My mom would love that question. She always tells me: "You don’t ever lose or get rejected, so you don’t know how to deal with it." I’m the type of person who sees the problems, looks for a solution and, when I can’t find a solution, I move on. If I can’t solve it, I move on to something else. You’ve got to know when to fold ‘em.
What’s a hidden gem restaurant in South Florida? The Grove in Delray Beach's Pineapple Grove is one of my favorites. The attention to detail and the quality of the food is amazing.
If Covid-19 were eradicated overnight, what would you want to do tomorrow? Travel. I work a lot, but I work hard and play hard. I’d settle for anywhere not within driving distance at this point.
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