JILL BENKO

Meet JILL BENKO Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. Jill moved to Naples with her husband Chad, their son Grant, and a yellow lab, Athena.

The family used to vacation in Naples and fell in love with the area, “we knew at some point, we wanted to retire here and make this our permanent home.”  And so they did! They remodeled their beautiful home near the beach, moved in, enrolled their son in school, and Grant tried out for the hockey team and is already playing at Hertz Arena, Whew!

Not exactly retired.  Jill is the Associate Director of Commercial Training-MS at Sanofi- Genzyme, and is responsible for developing content, and training sales representatives,
and all while Chad works his crazy schedule in sales here in southwest Florida. Jill and Chad are thrilled with their decision to make Naples home, even if they aren’t retired.

Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?

A: I have a solid background in Science, which I enjoy, but I knew I did not want to be in a laboratory. I am fortunate to have the best of both worlds. I enjoy having a day that is different every day where I can engage with the people I work with at the  office as well as other individuals throughout the day and continue to combine my passion for science. I was fortunate enough to get my start in this industry right out of college. The healthcare industry is very dynamic, and I love being a part of it and making an impact on the lives of patients and families every day.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Naples, and what do you love there?

A: Truluck’s, We love the sea bass and it reminds us of all the great decisions we made!

Q: How long have you lived or worked in Naples?

A: June 15, 2019. So around five months.

Q: Why did you choose Naples as your destination?

A: Chad and I vacationed here when we lived in Miamiit can be crazy there.  We fell in love with this area, and we knew, at some point we wanted to retire here and make this our permanent home.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?

A: I would go back to Italy. I would love to bring Grant with us to experience the history, food, and culture when he gets a little bit older.

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: I enjoy comedy, so anything that allows me to have a good laugh is right up my alley.

Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?

A: To be patient and be respectful to one another.

Q: What is something on your bucket list?

A: Australia and also New Zealand.

Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?

A: I like 80s music! That’s my Happy Place! I love going to a good ‘ole fashion 80s concerts and have a good time.

Q: What is the happiest memory you’ve had?

A: That’s probably a t0ss up between the day Chad and I got married and having Grant, both amazing life events!

Q: What current/former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Naples?

A: The place Chad and I considered to be “Our place” was McCabe’s on 5th in Naples. Chad and I used to go there on our day trips when we lived in Miami, we would sit outside and talk about our life plans and goals. We made a lot of great decisions there! We returned on one of our many vacations after we moved to see that it had been renovated and changed into another establishment. We were both so sad since it was “our place!” We did, however, find a small painting of McCabe’s by a local artist downtown and purchased it, so we could always reflect on the fun times and great conversations we had there!

Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative with whom would you love to have lunch?

A: I would love to have lunch with Judge Judy!

Q: What is your favorite thing about Naples?

A: I like the fact that it has a nice mix of Old Naples and New Naples. For example, if you look at our neighborhood, we have a wide range of backgrounds and ages. Different Everybody comes together, and we all have a good time when we were out.

It’s fun because there are young kids here, and then there are some that have moved here to retire and enjoy life.  You see brand new homes that are as modern as can be, and then you see”old school” homes that are just like ours.  It’s a welcome mix between two very diverse demographics and populations, I like that! I like our neighborhood!

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

A: I’ll still be working. Hopefully, not commuting between here and Boston every week.  Eventually, I would like to be leading my own team.  Having a close family here, I see myself spending a lot more time at the Hertz Arena watching Grant play hockey and being involved with his school activities.

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

A: I grew up playing drums. For Grant’s 3rd birthday we got him drums, yes, mom would love to see him play, he’s good and has fun. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t sneak some time to play too!

Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?

A: Comfortable, love, appreciation.

Q: What is something you would like for someone reading this know about Naples?

A: Don’t think it’s just older adults. Why do you say this?  People in my office ask me, “why would you want to move there with a 1st grader?”  If you only knew how many more 1st graders and vibrant young adults live here, you would be amazed. The number of kids that are in our neighborhood is amazing and this has been a great change from where we came from, there’s no comparison.

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