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Profiles in Confidence: Celebrating Women’s History Month

Women's History Month Vector

In honor of Women’s History Month, we highlighted several of our colleagues who discussed their career journeys, challenges and thoughts on the 2020 theme, “confidence.” Read their perspectives below.

Lisa Malishkevich, Assistant Property Manager, Bozzuto Management Company

Tell us a little about yourself:

I was born in Andijan, Uzbekistan, which is surprising to most people. I speak without an accent and was mostly raised in Chicago. My favorite memories are family vacations as a kid. From Wisconsin Dells to the Bahamas to Israel, it was always a great experience. As immigrants in the early 90s, my parents didn’t have much money and had to work two jobs each to take care of my little brother and me, but they always made things fun for us kids.

Outside of work, I’m a crazy dog mom. My dog has the best life. We spend all summer brunching on patios with friends, going to the dog beach and enjoying the Chicago outdoor scene as much as possible. My dog Mayah even goes bike riding.

Lisa Malishkevich
Lisa Malishkevich
What women do you draw influence from?

My role model is my mom. She pushed my entire family, grandparents included, to leave Asian Russia and come to the U.S. to give her kids a better future. My family was pretty comfortable in their old life, with plenty of money and decent resources, and the rest of the family members thought she was crazy. She wanted the best life possible for us and the rest of the family. She had the confidence that immigrating to Chicago would offer that better life. There is no way she could have been sure, but she did it. It was a huge struggle for a few years, but it all worked out—here we are!

My mother’s high hopes, confidence in the future and her decision and the drive to make it work gave us all so many amazing opportunities. We are all living great lives compared to those who ended up staying behind.

This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Confidence.” What meaning, if any, does this theme have to you?

Confidence is not only self-assurance but also an entire way of positive thinking and putting out good vibes all around you. Confidence is something that you can also give to others by encouraging them and making them feel like they can achieve new things and big goals. Confidence is a huge factor in success, whether in work, family, hobbies or relationships. My advice is to always have the frame of mind that things will work out. If you make the effort, you shouldn’t think otherwise. Have confidence when meeting new people, in your work, in others around you. That outlook can only help in life with every path you take.


Aprile Smith, Graphic Designer, Bozzuto Management Company
Tell us a little about yourself:

I’m a Baltimore City, Maryland native. My fondest memories as a child were the friendships I made along the way. A good amount of my elementary and middle school friends moved on to the same high school with me and I am still very close to most of the ladies today.

Having a bond and support system specially made up of strong women pushes me to be the very best version of myself.

Another fond memory is of all of the extracurricular activities (softball, ballet, tap and jazz classes) I was a part of that taught me how to be headstrong, organized, focused and creative.

Aprile Smith
What women do you draw influence from?

The two family members who have shaped my character in every way are both my late grandmother Shirley and my amazing mother Jill. Both my grandmother and mother were and continue to be the epitome of a great tag team of love and support.

Growing up as a child of a single parent, I can proudly say I never missed out on an opportunity or experience. Now, when it came to adulthood and a new opportunity would present itself my grandmother would say, “Why not go for it? You can do anything you put your mind to!” And without even knowing it, she changed my mind in an instant to push myself harder and put my best foot forward.

To this day, my amazing mother continues to shape how I carry myself as not only an individual but also as a woman. She as always shared with me to “always be a lady.” If you carry yourself with confidence, class and poise, you will go far and even farther with the knowledge you gain along the way.

What advice would you give to other women navigating their career and life choices?

The advice I would like to share with other women navigating their career and life choices is to go for it, live in the moment and do it with confidence.

As women, we may often feel as though we are not as prepared as we would like to be for something we want to go for or an opportunity that has been presented to us, but I have found that women are born ready, ready as we’re going to be. Trust yourself and you will be surprised at just how prepared you really were!


Lauren Cella, Assistant General Manager, Bozzuto Management Company
Tell us a little about yourself:

I was raised on Long Island, New York by my single mother. She always did all she could to give my sister and me a full life when we were children. My fondest childhood memories are the camping trips we went on as a family. There was my mom packing us up in the car, pitching our tent, starting a campfire and teaching us how to make s’mores.

As an adult, outdoor music festivals bring me joy and world travel gives me peace. The combination of the two is my ultimate goal. Lollapalooza Brazil, anyone? 

Lauren Cella
What women do you draw influence from?

I am so very fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing, supportive, brilliant and confident group of female friends. Outside of my inner circle, I’d say any woman who can stand up for themselves and others and isn’t afraid to disturb the status quo gets my vote as a role model. I’ve seen so many strong female political activists recently and I am in awe of all of them. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi can all have a seat at my “girl gang” table.

What words of wisdom would you share with your younger self or other professional women growing their careers?

I had lived in New York City for fifteen years until I found myself in a rut. I was unhappy with my job, over the craziness of the city I had once loved and had overgrown my little pint-sized studio. Sitting in the back of a yellow cab one random Tuesday, I had a revelation: “I don’t have to be here!” That’s when I searched my soul for what I was really seeking. I honed in on what I wanted out of a career and home. Chatting with people came naturally to me and I loved being surrounded by beautiful things. I plotted and planned and changed my mind a hundred times until I finally found myself in Chicago leasing luxury apartments. I could not be happier with the life I’ve made for myself.

This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Confidence.” What meaning, if any, does this theme have to you?

I dug deep to find the confidence to make a solo cross-country move and career change. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t easily accepted by friends and family. Turn down the outside noise and listen to yourself. You know best what’s best for you. If you are finding yourself wanting to make a big, bold change, do it. Believe in yourself and the path you are creating. You are the architect of your life. If you make mistakes along the way, just know you will make it through. You are a woman; you can do anything!


Dana Carraway, Assistant Property Manager, Bozzuto Management Company
Tell us a little about yourself:
Dana Caraway

Outside of my full-time job as an assistant property manager, I am a full-time mom. I’ve always been family-oriented. Becoming a parent to my child has changed me as a person. Although I have my child to care for, I am still passionate about assisting others. In my free time, I often help others look for either jobs or affordable housing. I do not work with any organization to do any of this, but only do so out of the kindness of my heart. I do very well with putting resumes together, so I put it to good use. Since I’ve been working in property management for three years now, I am familiar with the industry and well-connected. All my family, friends and their referrals know I am the person to reach out to when they are looking for a place to rent or own.

I grew up in the northwest area in Washington, D.C. I did not grow up in the best neighborhood. My mother always made sure to do her best at protecting my brother and me from the neighborhood trouble and keep us active in other ways. My fondest memory is that since elementary school, I was one of the very few children who attended school Monday through Saturday. I attended Benjamin Banneker Academic High School Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, I attended classes at Howard University through the Howard Upward Bound program.

What women do you draw influence from?

My confidence role model would be my mom. There hasn’t been any challenge in life that I’ve ever seen her turn down. I’ve witnessed my mom lose some battles, but with her confidence, you would still think that in a way, she still won. My mom had open heart surgery while I was in high school and it was the only time in my life that I have ever seen her be what I thought was defeated. Within a day post-surgery, my mother was back to her normal self, being in charge and comforting everyone, reassuring us there was nothing that could keep her down.

This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Confidence.” What meaning, if any, does this theme have to you?

To me, confidence means having strength from within. Confidence pertains to emotional, spiritual, mental strengths; any strength that isn’t recognized with the naked eye.

What advice would you give to other women navigating their career and life choices?

My advice to other women would be to stand tall—even in heels—and own whatever it is you plan to take charge on. If there’s a career you want to take a chance at, and you feel like you may not have what it takes, walk into the interview as if you already have the job. If there is something in life that you feel is getting the best of you, ask yourself the following day or week if you still feel the same about the situation. Never let anything negative manifest inside you. Instead, work on your manifestation to guide you.


Stacie LoVullo, Assistant General Manager, Bozzuto Management Company
Tell us a little about yourself:

I love animals. I grew up in Woodbridge, Virginia. A fond memory I have is making milkshakes and homemade bread on family movie nights when I was younger.

Stacie LoVullo
Stacie LoVullo
What women do you draw influence from?

Felicia Theus, Assistant General Manager at The Wellington, inspires me and astounds me with her strength. Through many changes and challenges, she has been a pillar of The Wellington team. She takes care of the team and cares about their well-being, but she doesn’t let you slip. She is quick to let you know when you are not performing to the best of your ability and then gives you the encouragement you need to get there. She leads the team with grace and is a great example to all of us. She always goes the extra mile for people and puts in the extra work. She made sure to attend all residents’ events and take the time to connect with everyone.

She is also extremely loved by the residents. Ms. Norma and Mr. Bill and plenty of others stop by daily to say hello and hug her. I loved the sense of community she fostered. She takes the time to learn people’s names and makes sure she is saying them correctly. Felicia was born to be in her role, and it was a privilege to work alongside her for the time that I did.

What advice would you give to other women navigating their career and life choices?

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Know your strengths, be proud and own them.


Aisha McMillan, Instructional Designer, Learning & Leadership
Tell us a little about yourself:

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and was a nonstop ball of energy. My favorite things to do were climb every tree in my backyard, explore in the woods and ride my bike. I liked the idea of pushing myself until my parents told me to stop.

Aisha McMillan
Aisha McMillian

My hobbies outside of work mostly revolve around music and cooking.

What women do you draw influence from?

Jada Pinkett-Smith. I don’t have many people I look to as an example, but Jada has always been someone that built her own lane. I admired her growing up, watching “A Different World,” long before many people knew her. She’s made choices that align with her values and doesn’t concern herself with what people may think about her. If she ever struggled, she used it as an opportunity to learn and grow. She’s married to a household name but she’s a force without pushing for recognition. She’s honest and open, which are the true markers of confidence.

This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Confidence.” What meaning, if any, does this theme have to you?

Confidence for me is fully embracing the skin that I am in. It’s knowing that I am capable of being a warrior and being flawed. It’s being self-aware and accepting my humanity. Confidence definitely requires being secure in yourself.

What advice would you give to other women navigating their career and life choices?

The advice I would give women navigating their careers is to not shrink to make others feel comfortable. I think as women, and especially as women of color, we may feel compelled to hide our identity or personality to make others feel comfortable around us. However, it’s not necessary to shrink to be successful. Confidently be yourself, and if you fail at a project, you know you did it without compromising who you are.


Learn more about Bozzuto Careers

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