Forget Barbie dolls and dress up clothes—when Janet Leon was a little girl, she probably would’ve preferred to have a mini tool belt and set of screwdrivers. Growing up, she says she fondly remembers shadowing her father, a machinist, around the garage, pointing out his to-do list and helping him tinker with engines and fix-it projects. She eagerly soaked up knowledge of tools, maintenance, machinery and whatever else her dad wanted to teach her.
As an adolescent, Leon would hang out at the local camera repair shop, keenly watching the technicians make equipment repairs until the owner finally put her to work. When she was in college, she supported herself as a locksmith.
Today, Leon has integrated all of this knowledge and passion for systems and repairs into her career as one of the few female building superintendents in New York City—a job that Leon says she loves.
After trying her chops at an acting career, Jennifer Davis moved into her role as a building super.
“I lived in a slum and started fixing things—and I realized that I liked doing it,” she says. A friend in the property management field suggested that she look into being a super and, taking the friend up on her advice, a career was born. Today, Davis is in charge of keeping a 150-unit co-op in Greenwich Village operating well and she supervises an all male staff.