Lenore Janis, Who Broke Construction Industry Barriers, Dies at 86
Lenore Janis, a force of nature in New York City’s construction industry who left thousands of cracks in the concrete roof of a male-dominated business, died Jan. 31 at an assisted living facility in Brookfield, Conn. He was 86 years old.
The reason for this was the complications of Kovid-19, his son John said.
Ms. Janis was a founder and longtime president of Business Women in Construction, starting as a small, all-volunteer nonprofit and under her leadership, a networking powerhouse for tens of thousands of women navigating a career path Trying to exclude those that may have seemed intended.
A clever creative organizer with a cigarette-rousing voice, Ms. Janis was, by all accounts, more than just providing mental opportunities and meet-and-greet sessions – although she did much more.
Knowing that many deals in his industry were done on golf courses, he ran clinics to teach women How to play the game. She sent officers to high schools to recruit girls who would otherwise never think of life in construction. And he told stories to young members of his business group, life lessons spent pushing open barriers.
“He will take you under his wing and advise that you will not hear from anyone else in New York,” he said Barbara Armand KushnerChief executive of Armand Corporation, a project-management firm in Manhattan.
Lenore Janis was born on March 4, 1934 in Manhattan. She grew up in White Plains, NY, where her father, Harry, was the owner of White Plains Iron Works. His mother, Gussie (Weinstein) Janis, was a housewife.
She studied theater at Bennington College, but left after her younger year to marry Herbert Fishman as an engineer. The couple moved to Indiana, where they enrolled in a local Methodist college. she was sad.
“Wearing a short-sleeved modest dress after a semester,” she wrote in a Bennington alumni newspaper in 2005, “understanding Edmund Spencer’s ‘Faerie Queen’ (all the naughty lines blacked by school censors) and good religious Trying to escape from the folk who wanted to ‘save’ me, I walked east. “
A divorce decree at hand, she graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1956 and moved to Manhattan in search of work. She got a job at a public-relations company, but was shocked by what she found: a woman in the office told her that the only way to move forward was to accept a lower salary than men.
Ms. Janis was married and divorced twice. In addition to his son John, he is survived by two grandchildren. Another son, Peter, died in 2011.
After leaving public relations, Ms. Janis worked in an off-Broadway theater. In the late 1960s he built and ran the Jewish Heritage Theater for Children at 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.
Navya divorced and raised her sons on her own, she moved back to White Plains in 1972. Her father died soon after her arrival, and she and her brothers, George and David, engaged in the family ironwork (George died in 2016, and David died in 2020). Suddenly she was working 60 hours, much of it spent driving around the New York area to visit construction sites.
In a 2004 interview, he said, “I came into the industry very recently and was on the job.” “For years I was the only woman participating in various industry functions and was often at fault with someone who should be in the interior decoration business.”
In 1979, inspired by the workplace benefits made by women in the 1970s, they founded Era Steel in the name of amendment of equal rights, which was then awaiting ratification by two-thirds of the states.
Ratism never occurred, and as the new decade began, Ms. Janice found that running a construction firm as a woman was harder than she expected. Banks would not loan him, and despite his years of experience, he could not reach the back room, where developers, bankers and construction officials – almost all men – made their deals.
She and 11 other women founded 1980 in the construction city with the goal of lobbying business women and opening the contracting process for women-owned businesses – something the federal government had already done under President Jimmy Carter.
His efforts paid off: Mario M. in 1983. Cuomo, who recently arrived at the governor’s mansion, established an office to ensure that more construction contracts would go to women-owned companies in New York State.
In 1986, Edward I. Mayor of New York. Koch hired Ms. Janis of the city’s Bureau of Building Management, the first woman to hold the job. Among her achievements was the establishment of a women’s locker room in the department of sanitation facilities. He later oversaw special projects at the city’s construction office under Mayor David N. Dinkins.
Ms. Janis left the city government in 1994 and became president of Business Women in Construction the following year. She retired in 2015, not long after her 81st birthday.
Today more women are working in the industry than ever before, both in boardrooms and construction sites. But progress has been slow, and the female workforce has declined drastically since the epidemic.
Nevertheless, Ms. Janis remained optimistic about her gender’s place in an industry that, over time, was gratefully created for her.
“In 1980, a woman could not expect a well-paid, managerial job in the construction industry,” He said in 2014. “Women trying to run a construction business were rescued by banks and suppliers. Attitudes have changed: When a woman steps into a room, she may be pleasantly surprised to learn that she is not the only woman at the table. “