We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Jacenko and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jill, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
It’s an interesting question for me because before I became an artist and started my business, I worked as a Director of Marketing for seventeen years in the concert industry which is 24/7. I was always working because something always came up, but because I had a family and two small kids, I always found a way to balance the two and make it a priority to be at their games and volunteer in their classrooms. I attribute it mostly to my insane ability to multi-task!

When the pandemic happened and concerts were all cancelled, I found myself bored, plain and simple. I went from working full time plus nights when I had to be at concerts, to doing nothing and that’s just not who I am. Once I discovered woodworking and resin, I was hooked and threw myself into the business. It was wonderful working and creating at home and finally after so many years, I could pick my kids up from school! The lifestyle change was an easy one for me since I already had the work life balance down, in fact, I had become so good at it that without the commute holding me back, I was around for my family more than ever and even found myself with some down time.

After almost a year, I had a great job opportunity present itself that I couldn’t pass up and just a few months ago, went back to the industry full time to handle marketing for a local venue in Phoenix. I’m now surviving this chaos only because of my many years of having to juggle home and work life, but it’s now harder than ever. I have a full-time job and work many nights at shows, but still manage to make it to the kids’ events, hang with them, run markets on weekends, and create when they go to sleep! I think I have it down, but there are some days I know I could be better. I think it’s about putting family first, while not letting it affect your professional life. There will always be challenges as jobs change and kids get older, but we somehow manage to make it work and it’s a great lesson for my kids. Not only do they get to see their mom be successful at two things she loves, they’re also learning how to work with resin!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I am my own worst critic! I have always heard this saying but it is very true to who I am as an artist. I have so many pieces I feel proud of, so when one doesn’t turn out just as beautiful, I forever compare it to those others and think it’s not good enough. I’m reminded by my repeat customers that they’re all beautiful in their own way and they do not see what I see.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hiking Piestewa Peak Coffee at 32 Shea
Mimosas at Ohso
Dinner at Hillstone
Shopping at Scottsdale Quarter
Taking kids to Childrens Museum
Concerts just about anywhere

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to my family for sticking by me through this new venture. They’ve been dragged to lumber yards, helped me create, are my biggest fans, and worked markets with me for a year now! Their support is endless!

Website: https://thewoodworkinggirl.com/

Instagram: @thewoodworkinggirlaz

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.