In the world of construction, technology, and engineering, the odds are stacked against women of color. However, through the noise Joanna Olawunmi Oladiji persevered and made her mark as a black woman in construction.

Who is Joanna?

Oladiji grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. She seemed to always have a mindset geared towards entrepreneurial success. As a young girl, Oladiji began selling candy bars and Girl Scout cookies from the age of 9. It also helped that both her Nigerian father and American-born mother were entrepreneurs themselves. It’s in her blood.

She’s transformed this early interest in entrepreneurship into a career. Oladiji now works for herself as the owner and CEO of Oladiji Realty & Construction, a company that epitomizes integrity, energy, hard work, and creative service in every detail of their real estate transaction. The company has operated in the Chicago-land area for 12 years and has definitely made its mark on the community.

Before her success in her business, Oladiji had worked every aspect of the real estate industry. From leasing, property management, to construction, representing sellers, buyers, investors, and banks, Oladiji has Succeeded in both the residential and commercial market.

How Has She Grown?

One of the most fascinating parts of Oladiji’s story is her work as a black female general contractor. She has now opened real estate offices in several divisions. As a black woman, she is thriving in an industry built for men. Oladiji is certainly no stranger to going against the odds and succeeding.

Oladiji cares about her clients and the experience they have. She shared that her “why” for getting involved in this business was “To fulfill dreams of personal freedom through the experience of Real Estate. I like to think of myself as a liberator. I want to inspire individuals to become a better version of themselves.”

She explains that with her clients she loves “to see them break away from bondage. Bondage of thinking that they will never be able to own successful investment property. Bondage of getting over the fears of purchasing their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.., home.” 

She goes on to talk about her staff and how she’s “addicted to seeing their growth. I’m usually 1000x’s more elated than they are when they hit a goal or reach an accomplishment. Helping them reach a level of independence and financial freedom by being their own boss is like a drug to me.” Oladiji deeply cares about what she does and the people she brings on to her team.

Growth in Business

Oladiji’s company is a booming one, with a steady growth rate of 22%-26% year-over-year growth. Oladiji emphasizes that in a market that’s constantly changing through improvements in technology, artificial intelligence, etc. it’s important to use technology as an aid, rather than enemy. That’s how Oladiji real estate stays on top of the competition in 5 different real estate markets.

What is Next?

Oladigi explains that “Growth is next (for her company)! Building on the foundation that has been created. Also, breaking into neighboring states with real estate & construction is definitely in the plans.” We certainly see this for her based on the hard work and dedication her and her staff puts into the business every day.


All images by 529 Management