July 3, 2019

Too extraordinary to be temporary

Jessica Bray, Assistant to the President, knows all of the ins and outs of the office. So, we figured it was only right to get to know Jessica a little better. After six years as a teacher, Jessica found her way to Schaefer as a temp. She knew right away it would be difficult to leave and we knew pretty quickly that we didn’t want to let her go. This lover of all things travel, food, and Game of Thrones, brings an energetic attitude to the office each day that makes anyone who passes through our front door smile from ear to ear.

 Let’s start by getting to know you a little better. Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Mexico but have lived in Fort Worth my whole life. I consider myself a true funky-towner. My husband, Tyler, and I have been married for 12 years, and we now have a little girl named Evelynn. Before Schaefer, I dedicated six years towards teaching and spent the past year with my daughter. That’s where I’m at now.

What’s something you love to do?
I love to travel. Whether it be flying across continent (yet to experience), island hopping by boat, road tripping across the country, or even walking around through our city’s neighborhoods, there is so much beauty in our world and I’m just eager to go see it for myself. I feel blessed for the opportunities I’ve had to see some of those places, yet feel like there are so, so many more to discover! If I’m not working, or spending the day with my family, I’m planning my next trip getaway.

What’s your favorite place?
New York. It’s my favorite place, and it never gets boring. My husband and I got engaged in Central Park. He promised back then that we would visit New York every year. He’s kept that promise 12 years and counting.

Assistant to the President isn’t the first position you’ve held at Schaefer. Tell us a little bit more about that.
I started at Schaefer as a temp helping out with their year-end closing in Accounting. I went into it thinking ‘this is only temporary, nothing long-term’ but after my first day and being blown away by the building, the people, and the atmosphere, I quickly realized it would be difficult to leave. When my time was coming to a close, I was surprised by an opportunity to do something completely different within the agency. I thought for sure if I stayed, I would be helping in Accounting. Never did I think I would be the assistant to Ken. I’ve never had a job like it, but I absolutely love it! Ken is truly amazing to work for and with.

What do you love about the job?
I’ve found that my current position is very similar to my time as a teacher. I love that the diverse roles I had as an elementary school teacher can still be applied to my new position as Assistant to the President. To be successful in both roles, you have to be good at organizing, planning, and wearing different hats to keep things flowing. It’s been rewarding to tap into those skills once again. Also, I’m learning a lot about myself as an individual and what I’m able to bring into the Schaefer Culture. It’s refreshing to be at a place that values growth in all aspects of the company and transcends into our community. What I’m learning here at Schaefer can truly be applied to all aspects of life.

If you could do anything besides what you are doing now, what would you do?
I would become a Montessori teacher. I discovered this child-centered education approach while rearing my infant daughter at home. If I ever decided to go back to teaching, this is the method I would choose to educate through. I would love to spend my days around toddlers!

What is your favorite way to spend the weekend.
Right now, family time is most important. One of our favorite family outings is discovering all the city parks Fort Worth has to offer. You’d be amazed at all the hidden gems that are out there! Another family favorite is trying new restaurants. Even our go-to places now hold a different experience when enjoyed with our little one. And for me, when I take a family member or friend to try new cuisine, and I see their delight and awe as they take a bite into new and delicious food, it really brings happiness.

What is the last thing you’ve binged watched?
Game of Thrones. I’ve seen the whole series about four times. It never gets old.

If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Burgers and fries.

Any words of advice?
The more flexible you are in your plans for life, the more opportunities you get. Don’t narrow your goals; you’d be surprised at what comes your way.