High-Profile recently interviewed Jeysi Zuniga, owner of Synergy Contracting, Inc.
High-Profile: Can you share how you first got into construction and your journey to opening your own firm?
Jeysi Zuniga: I’ve always had a fascination for watching projects take shape from when they were nothing; how an idea, a plan, can become a beautiful building, a dream home, a nice place to watch or play a game, or simply walk and spend time.
In July 2001, a friend of mine asked me to accompany him to his job, so I went. I walked into that building, and as soon as I entered, I witnessed absolute mayhem… it was payday. I couldn’t stand so much chaos, so I jumped in a chair and told everybody in the lobby to make a line, grab their check and go home to their families. In between layers of people, I met the owners, and on my way out I had a job offer. That’s how my journey in the construction industry began. It was supposed to be a summer gig, and it lasted 18 years.
I took a leap of faith and opened Synergy Contracting in 2019. I am now building the company I always dreamt of.
HP: Can you share some of the challenges you have faced and overcome in this industry?
JZ: There are challenges wherever you go, no matter the industry, but in construction I could mention toxic masculinity, misogyny, and racism, just to name a few. I come from a long line of matriarchy, so none of this scares me. On the contrary, I use them as a catapult. So, when I notice someone trying to diminish me or my work, I make sure to give my 200% and to deliver more than what’s expected. It’s my way of telling them, “Yes, I’m a woman. I look different than you. I have an accent, and I do a hell of a job.”
HP: Why do you feel women-owned (WBE) and/or minority-owned (MBE) businesses are so important?
JZ: Because that’s what America is all about. America was built by immigrants, and if you dig a little, there is not one single business in which a woman hasn’t played a role. So, it’s only natural that a good percentage of businesses are created by minorities/women. There’s so much diversity in this country, so much talent, and that’s what makes us the best country in the world.
HP: What resources are available for WBE or MBE firms?
JZ: We’re starting to see an increased effort in including women-owned and minority-owned firms in federal, state, and local contracts, especially here in Massachusetts. With its Affirmative Marketing Program, The Commonwealth, through SDO & DCAMM, set higher MBE/WBE participation goals this past July. Also, a new executive order signed by Mayor Marty Walsh established a 25% MBE/WBE participation goal in all city projects. Now more than ever, we can have a fair chance at competing for contracts. The Supplier Diversity Office certifies women and minority-owned businesses. Betty Francisco and her Amplify Latinx have done an amazing job at putting many resources together for our Latino community. Karen Kelleher from LISC and the IXL Center have excellent programs to help small business owners navigate through these difficult times. There are so many wonderful people out there helping us get through, yet I think the best resource is within ourselves: advocating for ourselves, building relationships, and knocking on doors until they open.
HP: What advice would you give to a young woman entering this field?
JZ: Believe in yourself. Start off with a winning mindset. You can have all the components to succeed, but if you don’t believe you have what it takes, then you won’t succeed. Building a company or a career takes time, so don’t be discouraged at the first obstacle. Learn from mistakes, adapt, and keep going. Yes, this field can be challenging, but also very rewarding. Welcome aboard!