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Turning your Passion into a Career: A Conversation with Jill Brack

Written by Let’s Detroit Campus Ambassador Amanda Bastien. Amanda is a student at Wayne State University studying public relations and business. Connect with her here! 

When challenged with the question of who I look up to professionally, the answer is simple: Jill Brack. Why? Simply put, she has changed my entire outlook of what a career should look like, which is a lesson that will positively impact my life in an immeasurable way.  

Growing up blue collar, I have often been surrounded by a mindset that your job is just a source of income. I am a person that operates purely on passion, so I have always known that I want the most that my career can offer. Almost two years ago, I accepted a position at Broder & Sachse Real Estate and finally found an environment filled with inspired, like-minded individuals. I initially sought out the position as a part time job to make money while putting myself through college, without realizing the impact that the position would have on my professional life. As a Broder & Sachse Real Estate concierge, I have gained a great deal of experience providing exceptional service and hospitality. This is where I learned that it is possible to genuinely enjoy working.  

Broder & Sachse Real Estate is part of an Enterprise of Companies including Sachse ConstructionZolman Restoration, Morrey’s Contracting, and Stuart Mechanical. While each company in the Enterprise serves a different purpose, they all operate with the same core values: do the right thing, have passion and enthusiasm, pursue excellence by always raising the bar, and do whatever it takes. I was indoctrinated into this philosophy at my first Enterprise State of the Union and it changed my entire mindset for how a job should feel. At this State of the Union, I met one individual that drives this machine of passion and enthusiasm, Jill Brack.  

Jill is Head of Community Engagement Strategic Partnerships. You may wonder how she landed such an incredible title; well, that is because she created it entirely for herself. After sitting down with her, I was able to learn more about the road that led her to this position and how she has evolved into someone who ignites change within the Enterprise and throughout the entire Detroit community.  

At the end of the day, one single connection can change the entire trajectory of your career. Jill, for example, moved out to Los Angeles right after college and worked as an assistant to an agent in film production at the William Morris Agency. Within the position, she connected with a client, Tim Burton and this single connection led her to ten-year career in film production, although she knew nothing about the movie industry before moving to California. Although she may not have had a clear vision of where she was going, Jill was able to be successful by fearlessly going after new opportunities with an open mind.  

Eventually, Jill moved to Detroit and found a new way to continue doing what she loves. My favorite piece of advice from Jill was, “If you can turn your passion into your profession, you’re always going to be successful.” I asked her exactly how one can make this happen, “We all dream about having an ideal job that perfectly combines our skillset, interest, and expertise – but often times that position does not exist. If you believe you can make a difference, identify a problem or opportunity in your industry that you and your unique skillset can solve, connect with the decision makers, pitch yourself, and prove your personal value proposition.” 

Jill has always been a producer and her personal value proposition – curating programming that cultivates and connectcommunity, content, and culture was an asset the Enterprise of companies found they needed. Day to day, to Jill’s work brings people together. She directs a creative and robust annual program schedule that includes social impact initiatives, community and team engagement, and mission-driven strategic partnerships. 

She spearheads the Sachse Construction Academy, an annual event that has provided a platform for over 3,500 Detroit high-school students to learn about post-secondary skilled trades job opportunities. She also produces the New York-based Sachse Retail Summit, an annual thought leadership event for our clients featuring architects, brand executives, founders, and CEOs redefining the next generation of retail. As Founding-Editor-in-Chief of EXP|DET, a Broder & Sachse Real Estate Lifestyle Magazine and Podcast, Jill leads the editorial team curating a robust content calendar featuring people and places that are shaping Detroit for residents who live at our three downtown luxury apartment buildingsThe Scott at Brush Park, The Albert – Capitol Park, and The Hamilton Midtown 

Each day, Jill wakes up and asks herself, “how can I challenge myself,” and “how can I make Detroit a better place?” These two simple questions have added up to an entire portfolio of positive impact.  

This year she led the charge to establish the Sachse Social Mission (SSM) Committee, a team member committee who lead the philanthropic charge for our companies. With a mission of contributing to a thriving Detroit by empowering and investing in organizations that support youth, workforce development, and community, the SSM committee spearheads fundraising, volunteer efforts, and not for profit partnerships. This year the team member community supported the following 14 local Detroit, not-for-profit organizations through in-kind, financial, and volunteer initiatives: Black Lives Matter DetroitDetroit Justice CenterDowntown Youth Boxing GymHumble DesignNeighborhood, Defender DetroitSAY DetroitThe Bail Projectand The Empowerment PlanCass Community Social ServicesForgotten HarvestHabitat for Humanity Detroit: Critical Home Repair ProgramL!FE LeadersLife Remodeled, and Southwest Solutions: YouthBuild Pre-Apprenticeship Program. 

Working at a Broder & Sachse Real Estate has provided me with amazing opportunities both personally and professionally and has connected me deeply with the Detroit community. Experiencing these different programs and events has truly made a difference in my professional life and I feel fortunate to have met Jill and so many great connections within the Enterprise of companies.  

Overall, the message that I hope readers will take away from this article is to discard the word NO from your vocabulary and never stop networking. Regardless of what profession you are in, networking will always be one of the strongest tools at your disposal. There will always be somebody who knows someone else who is great friends with someone else who happens to have the key to your dream job. Explore every opportunity that comes your way, because even if it is not exactly what you want, you may very well make a great connection and gain some experience by saying YES 

Want to share what you love about the Detroit region? Learn more about becoming an ambassador with Let’s Detroit! 

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