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Making Capital Project Portfolio Management a Walk in the Park

New York City is renowned for its lush and lively open-air parks. Indeed, few green spaces in the US are as iconic as Manhattan’s Central Park. With Oracle Industry Connect set for April in New York, we are excited to have Diane Jackier, chief of capital strategic initiatives at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, join us to share her experience helping make New York City an inviting, beautiful, and livable metropolis.

NYC Parks is the steward of more than 30,000 acres of land—14% of New York City—including more than 5,000 individual properties, ranging from Coney Island Beach and Central Park to community gardens, parks, athletic fields, and Greenstreets. With a five-year capital budget of more than $4 billion and a portfolio of more than 500 active projects, the department uses Oracle’s Primavera Unifier to manage capital projects and ensure visibility and transparency for stakeholders.

We recently sat down with Diane to learn more about her professional interests, career journey, and approach to her work.

What path led you to your current role?

DJ: I never pictured myself working in city government. After college, I worked at an investment bank and a law firm before I realized that was exactly what I didn’t want to be doing. I decided to go back to school and study architecture, and through that process, found that I was much more interested in taking a broader look at cities and urbanism. I ultimately changed course and studied historic preservation and city planning. These are two very different disciplines that not everyone thinks would go together, but I’ve found them to be such a great combination.  After I graduated from graduate school I started working at the Landmarks Commission and later joined the Parks Department, where I’ve been able to continue working on exciting, large-scale projects that have a positive impact on New York City’s built environment.

Other than your current work, what’s the most interesting initiative or project you’ve worked on?

DJ: I think the most impactful project was my first internship in grad school, which was my first real professional job. I was working for an architectural firm, and they selected a group of students to work on a project at the Second Bank of the United States. We were tasked with doing a full conditions assessment of the south- and west-facing facades of the building, which involved climbing up on rickety scaffolding and looking for cracks and compromises to the structure. Since I’m terrified of heights I opted for the only role that kept my feet firmly on the ground, and that gave me the opportunity to connect and communicate with people passing by who wanted to know what we were doing.  I’ve used those skills in every job I’ve had since then.

What’s the best advice—personal or professional—you’ve ever received?

DJ: I used to work for an artist when I was in college, and she told me: “You should always listen more and talk less.” That is something that has stuck with me throughout my career, and I think it can be applied to both your professional and personal life. It’s really important to listen to other people and hear their point of view. I’ve learned to choose my words wisely and keep in mind that, if I’m not talking, that means I am listening — and people have really important things to say!

Many other innovators and big thinkers will join Diane at Oracle Industry Connect to share their stories of successful business transformation. Visit Oracle Industry Connect to learn more about our full program and to register to attend. 

Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here.

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