Building Sustainability in Our Communities

Facilities Management graduate Justine Manaid advocates prevention, engagement for sustainable housing

Justine Manaid was born and raised in the Phillipines’ Marikina City—“a town known for making beautiful shoes and leather goods and that holds the Guinness World Records™ record of having the largest shoe ever made”—by her mother and her aunt, who were always strong advocates for her and her siblings’ education.

With values rooted in family and the firm belief that education makes a difference in achieving goals, Justine’s career path eventually led to a director of facilities role at Eden Housing, an organization in the affordable housing industry and whose mission connects Justine’s past, present and future.

It would be her strong work ethic and a desire to improve the world that would also lead Justine to our Certificate Program in Facilities Management.


During the pandemic, Justine wanted to enhance her facilities management knowledge and found our online courses and certificate program to be the most suitable for her and her lifestyle. But first, let’s learn more about the path she took to reach this professional goal.

A Career Foundation Built on Family Needs

A few years after moving to the United States at age 19, Justine began attending Napa Valley College (NVC) to pursue the school’s Psychiatric Technician (PTEC) Program and earn an associate’s degree in psychiatric nursing to increase her earning potential.

“While I was taking the prerequisite classes for the PTEC program, I was employed full time in the affordable housing industry at John Stewart Company (JSCo),” Justine says. Her requirement to work full time stemmed from needing to petition for her mother, who was still in the Philippines, to come to the United States.

Justine completed the program at the top of her class in 2011, then received her state license as a psychiatric technician soon after. “I received offers of employment from the state and from private companies,” she recalls. “One of the companies that offered me a job was the previous company I worked for—JSCo—prior to starting my clinicals. It was a lower-management position that paid well enough and, again, showed earning potential.

“My mom and my aunt were both getting older and were starting to get ill. They needed medical care. So even though I just spent more than two years pursuing the PTEC license, I accepted the job offer in affordable housing because it would pay more.”

This time at JSCo found Justine focusing on the business side of affordable housing facility operations:

  • managing day-to-day administration

  • consistent application of property rules and regulations

  • compliance with regulatory requirements.

It’s also where nursing knowledge came into play when interacting with the public and explaining the different types of affordable housing available—permanent supportive housing, veterans housing, farm workers housing, low-income housing, senior housing and others.

In 2014, with her mother successfully moved to the U.S., Justine decided it was time to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration, management and operations from Dominican University of California (DUC).

“I pursued this degree specifically for its flexibility,” she divulges. “I wanted to have the ability to either pursue health care or affordable housing. After some self-reflection, I decided to follow the path of affordable housing, where I knew I would be able to use both my business and PTEC degrees.

“The LPN degree helps me with the human and emotional element of the industry while the business degree helps me with the financial, policies and administrative duties.”

Tragedy Makes Her Career All the More Important

Justine tells me, “In 2008, the City of Vallejo filed for bankruptcy. Part of the social services that were cut were for seniors and unhoused individuals. There was also no nomadic shelter or navigation center within the city.”

In 2010, Justine and a friend, together with a few other key people within the community, began a group called Vallejo Together. She began volunteering as a project manager, and then in 2012, became a lead for this social services organization.

“Today, this group is a registered 501(c)(3), but when it began we were completely reliant on people’s donated time, talents and treasure,” she says. “As a member of the group, I advocated for seniors, the unhoused and victims of domestic violence; wrote grant applications that enabled funding for a navigation center; and partnered with other groups to open up nomadic shelters for the unhoused when temperatures go up or down. We would also, occasionally, receive phone calls from victims of domestic violence seeking to immediately leave their current situation.    

“All of this volunteer work aligned with my value system and deep desire to help my community. I was already familiar with how the affordable housing system worked and knew how grants were awarded. I also understand mental health and have been in crisis situations where de-escalation was the priority. These things came so naturally to me that I felt fulfilled both professionally and personally.”

It was the tragic passing of group cofounder Maria Guevara that was the catalyst for the remaining volunteers to formally file for nonprofit status and for Justine to join as a board member. “I was able to help the memory of my friend live on while still being able to assist my community. The effort I directed as a board member created the groundwork for what Vallejo Together is now.”

Moving Into a Director Role

After 15 years of being in the affordable housing industry, Justine joined Eden Housing in 2019, “because their model is unique: They build their assets, manage them in-house, preserve them and provide resident services,” she says. “I was motivated because the role they offered was in asset preservation, and I would oversee the facilities department that handles all the capital work for the entire portfolio. This was not only exciting, but also fulfilling because it ensured that good, quality, habitable, affordable housing will still be provided in the years to come.”

About a year later, she was promoted to the facilities department director.

“Due to now having more external-facing duties, I decided to look for a program that would open up the facilities world more for me,” Justine explains. “I was already familiar with housing, but I wanted to know the other ways the built environment is being preserved and maintained outside of my own little bubble.”

She learned how to do that with our Certificate Program in Facilities Management.

Adding Sustainable Skills to Her Career

Justine completed the facilities management certificate online, and in the process discovered many benefits to the online course environment, including:

  • work-life-study balance;

  • networking and making friends in different time zones;

  • staying on track and completing classes—and eventually the certificate—at a quick pace; and many more.

“The program was demanding, yet very fulfilling and exciting,” she adds. “I appreciated the time demand of the classes, which was intense, but I knew that that would allow me to complete the program quickly. I managed to complete the certificate while fully employed, newly married and caring for my young family, nursing my newborn—all during a worldwide pandemic.

“This entire experience was so wonderful, and the small community I gained through it is world-class. All the instructors were respectful and treated each student with generosity while still challenging each of us.”

Instructors Jon Martens, Kelly Gearhart, Fabio de Martino and Justine Burt provided Justine with the support and knowledge to grow in her career.

Justine found that our Facilities Management: Operations and Maintenance course gave her insights into how general assets are maintained and each asset’s life expectancy, which will allow her to create better capital-work schedules. And in Building Systems and Technology, she was able to further her knowledge on the components and tools that contribute to the design and operations of buildings.

As a member of Eden Housing’s Extended Leadership Group, Justine says she is positioned to succeed within the company and/or within the housing industry. For her, Facilities Management: Strategic Planning Leadership and the Organization taught about organizational leadership within and outside her current position.

Offerings such as Introduction to LEED v4: Concepts of Green Building and Design and Managing Sustainable Change in an Organization spoke to her current employer’s strong sustainability values.

“My department’s main task is asset preservation,” Justine states. “I took Managing Sustainable Change in an Organization because I wanted to be around like-minded people who can help me discover new and innovative solutions toward sustainability and be efficient in my role.

“Some of our new construction builds received recognition. We also complete retrofits at our existing properties where we receive credits. Introduction to LEED v4: Concepts of Green Building and Design allowed me to learn more about it and opened up the idea of getting a LEED certificate to further my growth.

“I also learned about the Great Pivot and how industries can evolve into actively ensuring we don’t just build new things green, but we deconstruct and reconstruct existing structures into being green. I brought my team into the concept because I want every single one of us to wholeheartedly buy into the idea.”


It opened numerous doors for me and legitimized my seat at the table. I increased my income by 66 percent. I am able to represent my department with confidence and come into conversations with pride and belonging.”
          —Justine on how the certificate benefited her career


But it was our Project Management course that interested Justine the most. “I knew the skills I would learn here can be used not only within my job duties, but also with basically everything in my personal and professional life,” she says.

The course also provided something unexpected. “It helped improve how I complete my job duties, and surprisingly, how I communicate. I now see almost every task—big or small—as a project, and I find that I consistently become successful when I implement the skills I learned from this course.

“I learned about Gantt charts, which to this day, are something I use almost daily,” she adds. “Each year, my department runs about 295 capital projects. It can be very challenging trying to recall task lists, timelines and milestones without this chart. Communicating information to other stakeholders without the chart can be excruciatingly time-consuming.

“Plus, I loved the final group project that our instructor assigned because it sparked creativity and teamwork.”

A Bright Future

Our facilities management courses continue to aid Justine’s career growth, making her a better leader overall and leading to additional opportunities and recognition. She doesn’t see her motivation to grow in this field stopping anytime soon either.

“In 2022, I was invited to join the benchmarking panel for IFMA for Northern America, and in October 2023, I received a FacilitiesNet national award recognizing my skills as a facilities leader,” she relates.

“I am discovering more and more about this industry, and I get excited every time. There are innovations and efficiencies that can be implemented to give our residents better living environments, and I want to learn more about it.

“Also, as I am a wife and a mother now,” Justine adds, “I want to be able to help preserve the built environment for my daughter and other children. I see my growth not just within the affordable housing industry, but in the built environment as a whole. My varied background serves as a wonderful resource on how I see and approach challenges.”

Reflecting on her past, Justine sees how her present ties into her future.

“The Certificate Program in Facilities Management created an alignment within me that now directs my course. In a curious and somewhat funny way, I am realizing that my journey led me to this industry and taking part in the courses affirmed that I am where I’m supposed to be.”