Continuing our highlighting of the many women of NTCIC that make our impactful investments possible, we chatted with Kandi Jackson, our Senior Vice President & Managing Director of Acquisitions & Project Management. Kandi joined NTCIC in 2008, bringing more than 20 years of senior-level experience in real estate development and finance. Learn more about her personal and professional journey.
What drew you to this industry?
I’ve always been passionate about historic preservation. At Bovis Construction, I worked on huge historic projects that didn’t have historic tax credits. Then, I worked in the LIHTC world. The historic tax credit industry provided the perfect combination of historic rehabilitation, high finance structuring, and compelling community impact.
What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
I joined NTCIC in 2008, right after the 2007 financial crisis. I had worked for major corporations and banks before coming to NTCIC. The change offered the opportunity to make decisions with less bureaucracy, be part of a mission-driven organization, and have a much more direct hand in growing a business. I could move the needle at NTCIC and see the direct impact we were having on communities.
I’ve also grown a lot since joining, thanks to my extraordinary team. I’ve learned to delegate. In the past, I would do things myself because I wanted to know they were being done right and on time. My team is driven, smart, responsive, resourceful, and because they are so good, they’ve helped me grow. I am most proud of the people at NTCIC.
But really, my favorite aspect is the people. I work with lots of smart people at NTCIC, as well as our investors, consultants, attorneys, accountants, and developers. And of course, Merrill! I continue to be impressed by her consistent leadership at NTCIC and in the industry.
What have been some career barriers you’ve experienced and how did you overcome them?
I started my career in construction management which is a male-dominated field. I overcame barriers by being smart, attentive, and ambitious. I never tried to be “one of the boys.” I was my own person and did my job well. Along the way, I think I may have been given more credit for my technical knowledge than deserved, mostly because it wasn’t expected from a woman. I guess you could say I turned a barrier into an advantage.
What advice do you have for women entering (or wanting to enter) the industry?
I have a couple of key points of advice:
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Sharpen your analytical skills.
- Everything we do comes back to the numbers.
- You’re a better negotiator, underwriter, or asset manager if you understand the economics and math behind the project/investments.
- Network and find a mentor – there are some amazing people in this industry!
What famous women have been inspiring you?
Most recently it is Mackenzie Scott. She has donated $12 billion to 1,257 charities since June!!! She is much more than the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos. She was one of Amazon’s founding employees. She is making a difference! Ever since I started working, I’ve always said I will know I’ve made it when my title changes to “philanthropist.”
Who is the most influential woman in your life?
Without a doubt, my grandmother, on my mom’s side. Gram was a successful independent businesswoman and ahead of her time. At one point in time, she owned 5 high-end clothing stores in southern California. She worked hard, provided for her friends and family, always pushed me to excel, and always helped celebrate our accomplishments.
What is one thing you know now about women in the workplace you wish you had known much earlier?
It is important that young women know that it is 100% possible to have a wonderful family life while pursuing a successful career. It is also important to know that your children will know if you are “happy”. If staying home with your kids makes you happy, do it. But, if having a professional career makes you happy, pursue those aspirations. If you are happy, your children will be too. There is no reason to feel guilty.
How do you achieve work/life balance? What do you like to do outside of work?
I spend a lot of time on the tennis courts. I play competitively. I have a terrific group of friends throughout the Charlotte Metro area. My kids keep me busy too, even though they are both in college. I also read, but most of what I read is for world economic insight and investment guidance. I plan to do more pleasure reading in the future. I say that every Summer season.