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Background Information

Employment History

Founder and President
The Christopher Companies

The Christopher Companies

Painting Contractor
The Christopher Companies

Web References (4 Total References)

FreshMinistries - Building hope. Changing lives

www.freshministries.org [cached]

The lively panel consisted of Mary Tappouni, President of Breaking Ground Contracting Company, Teresa Meares, CEO of DGG Taser & Tactical Supply, Inc., Teresa K. Myers, CEO of Myers-Seth Pump, Inc., and Desiree Forgione, President of The Christopher Company.

Desiree Forgione, in answer to a query from Tanya Douglas, President of Alliance Business Consultants, Inc. about the all-consuming nature of business ownership, advised "You've got to take some personal time or you'll perish.
Forgione also talked of receiving "gifts from God" in the form of good people who stuck by her during this recent economic downturn.

Desiree Forgione in ...

jacksonville.bizjournals.com [cached]

Desiree Forgione in her future Riverside location.The Christopher Co. owner is renovating a property where she will put her office.

Desiree Forgione, owner of The Christopher Co., which specializes in residential remodeling and rehabilitation, can certainly be described as an assertive risk-taker, a trait she said isn't uncommon among women entrepreneurs."Most women business owners are extremely ambitious and hard working."
When she was 28 years old, Forgione launched her company with a $5,000 loan from her dad.In just three years, it tripled in size, and has tripled in size again in the first half of 2008 alone.
"I'm looking at exponential growth in the middle of an economic recession," Forgione said."It's hard enough to be a woman in construction, but then [men in the industry] look at my age and say, 'How can you know what I know after my 25 years in construction?' They have to know 100 percent I'm in charge, I know the answers and I control the situation on the job site.On top of that, you have to be 100 percent on top of your game every day.If they see you falter, they think you faltered because you're a woman."
Forgione also credits her employees for the company's growth.

Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce

www.myjaxchamber.com [cached]

Desiree Forgione, Founder/President, The Christopher Company

"I always figured I would start my own company," Desiree said. She first founded Christopher Coatings as a painting contractor in 2005, then earned the Florida State CRC (certified residential contractor) license in July 2007. That same year, Desiree was referred to the Jacksonville Women's Business Center (JWBC) by her friend and attorney B.J. League, JWBC client turned JWBC volunteer.
"By that time, my business had tripled in size," she said. She was 29. "It was growing way too fast for me. I needed advice, direction and someone else who owned a business to guide me through the process. She joined one of three Business Advisory Councils (BAC), a peer-to-peer mentoring program, facilitated by Linda Nottingham, retired business owner and SCORE volunteer.
"Joining this group was one of the best things I could've ever done for my business," Desiree said. She remembers being motivated by wanting her business to last, and then finding a resource that could help her make it a success.
What she found was leadership insights and a confidential sounding board.
Desiree credits her JWBC experience with helping her properly form the foundation of her company to protect her and her business. According to Desiree, she has set up the business so it can function and be run by someone else if need be.
Looking toward the future, Desiree adheres to practical strategies to help her manage the company's growth.
Now, I'm operating a million dollar business," Desiree said. "I've gained a lot of trust from subs and employees by knowing what needs to be done and by making my words and actions match."
Running her business often requires Desiree to dress the part of a business owner, often arriving on the job site in a business suit rather than her usual jeans and t-shirt. Now, when she gets a comment like "wow, you clean up good," she just smiles and waves because she knows it's true.

Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce :: Newsletter Archive

www.myjaxchamber.com [cached]

Desiree Forgione, Founder/President, The Christopher Company

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