Jill M. Arenovski
By Marissa Borja
She never went up a hill to fetch a pail of water and most certainly didn’t come tumbling down after her husband, but there is something that parallels Jill M. Arenovski and her husband, James, to the age-old “Jack and Jill” nursery rhyme: their partnership throughout their personal and professional lives. From the beginning, Jill has faithfully followed the lead of her other half.
Originally from Cape Cod, Mass., it was more than 20 years ago when Arenovski came to Guam with a round-trip ticket and a suitcase to see James, her future husband. Eight months later, the couple received word that James’ company wanted to move them to Saipan.
“Truthfully, I was a little freaked out,” Arenovski says. “I was still adjusting to the incredible culture shock, to the heat and humidity, to being so far from my family. But Jim is my rock, and I would go wherever he wanted, so we moved.”
After working for a variety of businesses over the years — including the Law Office of Eason & Halsell, Seafix, the federal Troops-to-Teachers Program, Security Title Inc. and even a roofing company on Guam — Arenovski is now the executive director of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the largest private business organization in the Northern Mariana Islands representing more than 142 members.
The role is one that Arenovksi had experience in, as she had filled in as coordinator and as executive director several times in the past when staff were on vacation. Additionally, James was president of the Saipan Chamber for two years, which familiarized her with the job as “any public outing was sure to attract chamber questions and comments from business owners island-wide,” she says.
The mission of the chamber — to improve business opportunities and build a better economic and civic community on Saipan — is one that Arenovski is fully behind.
“I truly believe in the chamber and what it does for the commonwealth, for chamber members and for the business community at large,” she says. “I’m thrilled to work here and love that my job includes event planning and that my compulsive organizational skills are finally put to best use.”
Organizational skills and creativity not only serve her well as executive director, but in a number of other pursuits she engages in, namely her roles as president of Soroptimist International of the Northern Marianas and board member and treasurer of NMI Crime Stoppers, and in her Stampin’ Up! card business.
Arenovski started with Stampin’ Up! as a way for her to make cards and include photographs of her daughters to send home to family. She says the hobby became a passion, and she hasn’t stopped making cards since.
“I find great joy in sharing my craft with people of all ages and have enjoyed donating time and materials to the Girl Scouts, Saipan Southern High School, school children in Vietnam and Destino Peru. I love seeing the faces of those who thought card-making would be too hard but somehow managed to make something beautiful in just a few minutes.”
Her little girls have since grown up and are admittedly her greatest passion. Her older daughter, Amy, is a sophomore at Boise State University studying engineering. Her younger daughter, Nicole, is a senior at Saipan International School and interned this summer in the Creative Design Department at Subway headquarters in Milford, Conn.
“My girls are the stars and light of my universe,” she says. “They always come first.”
Poised to be there for her daughters at any moment should the occasion arise, Arenovksi says, however, that she prefers to stay on the island in lieu of how some parents follow their children throughout the next phase of their lives.
“This is my place now,” she says.
And where James is her “Jack,” she remains a stalwart supporter of all his endeavors. James is the regional partner for the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Educational Institute; owner of Delta Management Saipan, which operates Shell service stations for IP&E; and the owner of Island Training Solutions, a full-service training company that offers staff development and compliance courses.