Bianca has a vision.
“In a couple of years, I want to buy my first property,” she told us on a sunny afternoon while taking a break on her current job site with Evryman Wood. She’ll rehab the space, make it beautiful, and then sell it or rent it out. And then she’ll buy another and another. Eventually she wants to own multiple properties. We called it being a “real estate mogul,” to which she chuckled.
Bianca graduated from Revolution Workshop’s training program in December 2019, but she wasn’t a stranger to construction. “My father was a carpenter, and he used to take me to his jobs when I was a kid.” She fondly recalls time spent running around the worksite and the adrenaline rush she got. “This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m very thankful for RW, because it changed my life, it changed my mindset, my vision. Everything, really.”
It doesn’t take long to uncover Bianca’s many strengths. When we asked her what she thought they were, she punted a little. “My boss Jeff. He never gives up on me.” But it’s beyond clear to us—it’s Bianca that never gave up on herself. She radiates positivity, determination, and grit.
Bianca worked in retail for most of her adult life, holding down multiple jobs to make ends meet. After a brief time spent in Washington, D.C., working in similar positions, she had a realization. “There’s so much more in life than doing this work over and over again.” She wanted something more. She moved back to Chicago laser focused on her dream.
She learned about RW from a friend who had attended, and she called us to learn more. The line was busy, “so I was like, you know what, I’m just gonna go up there. As soon as I walked in, someone was there to meet me. And even though it was technically too late to enroll, they ended up taking me anyway!”
“I remember Bianca’s first week in training,” says Jackie Gallo, RW’s Business Services Manager. “She might say that we helped her change her mindset, but it was clear to us that the reason she was with us was because SHE changed her mind first. She wanted to level up.”
The training program wasn’t always a walk in the park, though. “When I started at RW, I had to make sure I went to bed on time,” she said with a laugh. “I was in class Monday through Friday, and I went home and studied every night. I was still working at Amazon on the weekends—and there was no telling when I’d get off work—so I wasn’t getting any sleep!”
And then there was math. “I struggled a little bit,” she said. She was determined, though, so she took advantage of extra math tutoring while in the program—and even over holiday breaks. “I never gave up, because this is something I’ve wanted to do for so long.”
She made the most of her time in training in other ways, too. “There were a lot of things I didn’t know, like all the different tools. I learned them all!” She made connections with her peers in the program and was inspired by their personal stories. “I’ve been through a lot in my life, but hearing from others who pushed through, that was motivating for me.” The program helped her prepare for interviews via mock interview days—”I was pretty nervous, but I did good”—and set her up to take those next steps towards reaching her vision.
Bianca has been working with Jeff at Evryman Wood for about a year and a half. When we asked her what gets her up in the morning, she was clear—she strives for excellence. “I want to get to the point where Jeff can leave me on a job site, and I can complete everything he asks me to do.”
Jackie remembers getting a call from Jeff on Bianca’s first day. “He called me up and was like ‘How do I get more people like Bianca? She literally swept through break.’” And Jackie pointed out that, even when another opportunity was available to Bianca—a job that would have paid more—she turned it down. Why? “I’ve got something good here, this is something I really want to do,” Bianca said. “And I respected that,” added Jackie, “because she really weighed her long-term vision for the short-term payout.”
As for Jeff—”Bianca was my number one draft pick. She was it. She told me in her interview that she was 'thirsty.' I didn’t know what she meant! But I get it now.” Bianca is the first person Jeff brought onto his team, and he’s endlessly impressed. “That drive—to do it and do it well. She shows up every day ready to fight for perfection. And the look on her face when she does it right is so rewarding.”
Never give up
When we asked Bianca what her proudest moment was while in training, she didn’t hesitate. “Graduation! I almost cried!”—so did we in her recounting of the moment. “I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it, because working while going to school was tough. I was thinking to myself ‘I finally did something with my life that I really wanted to do.’ I never gave up.” And that’s the advice she’d give to anyone looking to join RW’s training program. “If this is something you want, stick with it. Never give up, and stay focused.”
Fast forward to today. “I’m amazed at what I can do now,” Bianca said, beaming as she gave us a virtual tour of her job site where she’s installing baseboard and shoe and putting the finishing touches on a built-in closet. “I want more. I don’t want to settle,” she said. And she’s not. “I’m learning so much from Jeff. I’m learning about property and what it takes to rent or flip them from Junior at Vargas Properties."
"I realize I’m in a great spot. This is where I want to be.”
Life is different for Bianca these days. She’s living in one of the apartments she had a hand in rehabbing—”I see all the mistakes I made, and I want to fix them!”—and she’s thinking a lot about her future. “I don’t see my old friends anymore, because I’m so focused on what I’m trying to do in my life.” She purposely surrounds herself with positive people who have good energy. People she can learn from. Because Bianca has a vision, and “this is only the beginning.”
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