March 07, 2019

In Her Boots: Jessica Fernandez

Through Q&A articles and Instagram Takeovers, our "In Her Boots" series is designed to showcase and provide an inside look at what a day in the life looks like in the shoes (or boots) for some of the exceptional women at Clark. 

On Day 5 of Women in Construction Week, we're featuring Jessica Fernandez. Jessica is a Project Manager within Clark's Strategic Purchasing group currently working on improving how we manage our indirect spend.  

Jessica Fernandez 

What drew you to Clark?

I have always been drawn to companies with well-established brand recognition. I believe being able to easily identify a Clark project evokes a sense of pride and ownership in its employees that is not easily matched by other companies.  Knowing that in some way you contributed to the success of a product that will withstand the test of time, perhaps even long after you are gone, is very powerful.

How did you start working in the construction industry?

Clark was my first job in the construction industry as well as my first job in the DMV area after I moved from Miami.  I previously worked for a luxury media company in Miami Beach managing Accounts Payable and used a recruiter to quickly find me a similar job here.  There was a bit of a learning curve to get accustomed to the construction industry, but I have enjoyed every bit of the process. 

What do you enjoy most about the construction industry?

I think one of the most unique qualities of the construction industry is its creative drive to solve problems and share solutions.  I’ve been fortunate that Clark has numerous tenured employees with endless knowledge and experience who are always willing to share and entertain my endless questions and curiosities.  Whether I am working on how we can improve our indirect purchasing power to how we can make the jobsite startup process easier, it is all creating solutions that impact those in the field.  There is always something to be learned in the construction industry and endless opportunities for mentorship and growth.  If you want to try something new, all you have to do is ask. 

What is your proudest professional achievement?

So far in my career at Clark I’d say I am most proud of the company-wide T&E implementation that took place in June of 2018.  This was a project that was focused on improving the experience of our employees while providing the reporting transparency that our company needed.  It was crucial that the project struck a balance between these two objectives.  In order to meet these requirements, I worked with an amazing cross functional team that helped provide solutions and a large group of volunteer end users who helped provide user experience feedback.  I think the true success of a project is measured in the strength of its team and everyone who was involved can be proud that they were able to contribute to a large-scale change for the betterment of the company. 

Who inspired you to choose your career path?

A: I don’t know if I can pinpoint a single person who has inspired me to choose this career path, but I can definitely credit my husband with being my own personal motivator.  Anytime I may be second guessing myself or questioning my self confidence as a woman in a male dominated industry, he is always there to remind me that my knowledge, drive, and results speak for themselves and I am just as worthy of having a seat at the table as any man is.  I think this is great advice for any woman out there who may be having those same thoughts.

What advice do you have to a young woman interested in a career in the construction industry?

My advice would be to learn and network as much as you can.  The best way to succeed in the construction industry in my opinion is by having a mentor or by reaching out to leaders in positions you are interested in. Start by asking if they’d be willing to have a conversation with you and 9 times out of 10 they usually say yes.  Ask them about the history of the company, the path they took to get where they are, and what they have learned along the way.  Not only will you leave the conversation wiser, but it will leave a lasting impression with that leader that you are sincerely interested and invested in the growth of your career in this industry.  Then whenever new opportunities present themselves you will be fresh in the mind of that person or have that person’s ear for advice.

Check out our Instagram Story as Jessica shows us what a day in the life is like in her boots.