Someone YOU Should Know: Lisa Pickell


by Alisa Bay

We’ve selected Lisa Pickell, Chief Operating Officer of the Orren Pickell Building Group as this month’s person to know.

Lisa joined Orren Pickell in 2004 as Division Manager of its Remodeling Group. Her involvement in local trade organizations, including the Homebuilders Association of Greater Chicago (HBAGC) and the National Association of Homebuilders, culminated in her achieving the Remodeler of the Year honor, bestowed by the HBAGC in 2009. Lisa’s natural leadership skills, client-focused approach and her encompassing knowledge of the company’s processes led to her appointment as Chief Operating Officer in 2010. She is an active member of the Executive’s Club of Chicago, a docent with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and is definitely someone you should know.



Lisa Pickell
Lisa Pickell is COO of Orren Pickell Building Group is an award-winning, natural leader. – Orren Pickell Building Group photo

What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

I always wanted to be a singer. But, it was a short-lived dream because I am completely tone deaf!


What was your favorite childhood television program, and why?

I loved the Smurfs! We were allowed to watch TV on Saturday mornings, and it was a big deal.


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would choose Chicago! I love our city and feel so fortunate to live here. Vancouver is definitely a close second. I love the mountains and the ocean.


What would you change about yourself if you could?

I really wish I could sing!


If you weren’t part of the Orren Pickell Building Group, what would you be doing?

I’d want to be a chef. I think it’s too late now to make a career move, but I do enjoy experimenting in the kitchen at home.


What’s your favorite movie?

It’s The Thomas Crown Affair (the “new” one), with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.


If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

I’d love to travel and explore a part of the world that I haven’t seen before.


What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would take care of my friends and family.


Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job?

I would much rather work at the perfect job!


If you could share a meal with any 3 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

It would have to be Gandhi, Teddy Roosevelt, and Marco Polo.


If you could be any animal, what would it be?

I would want to be my dog; he is SO spoiled!


Name one thing you wish you could change about yourself?

Did I mention I can’t sing?


If you could live in any period of history, when would it be?

If I were a man, I would pick the Wild West. As a woman, I would choose right now!


What are 10 things that I’d see when I walk in your front door?

You’d see pictures of family and friends, a dog leash, keys, books, fresh flowers, elephants from India, a family painting from Estonia, a clock that my brother Eric made, and old Gramophone records (78’s not LP’s).


What really makes you angry?

Inconsiderate drivers!


What are your hobbies?

Travel, skiing, sailing, cooking, and wine. I also give architecture tours of the city through the Chicago Architecture Foundation. I’m a volunteer docent.


If you were a super-hero what powers would you have?

I’d be able to fly.


What is your favorite family recipe?

Rosolje – Estonian potato salad. Don’t ask what’s in it!


Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?

My favorite teacher was my sophomore year English literature teacher, Bruce Johnson. He unlocked literature, which turned into a deeper and more meaningful understanding of art, architecture, the human spirit and the world around us.


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