75 Stories: Janice Suchan, VP Marketing + Business Development
2021 marks the 75th Anniversary for Clark Construction Company. To celebrate, we’re using our employee’s voices to explain the impact Clark has made to our fellow teammates, communities, and clients. This is Janice’s story.
Trust is a funny thing in business. It’s a simple word, simple concept, and seems like an obvious goal for any organization to embrace, but creating a business culture rooted in trust is simply not an easy feat to accomplish. Before joining the Clark team in 2019, Sam Clark shared the Clark mission statement with me at a lunch meeting, and I honestly did not think much about it. “We Build on a Foundation of Trust.” At the time it seemed like a no-brainer kind of mission statement, with little “teeth” or “hook” to it. Certainly nothing wrong with it, but not necessarily catchy or inspiring either.
After accepting the offer to join the Clark team, the first task on my plate was to go through a personal leadership assessment and development process with a coach that was assigned to me. This 3-month long process broke down my natural tendencies, both positive and negative, and the coach worked with me to develop a plan to move forward as a trusted leader within the Clark organization. Going through this in-depth process resulted in exposing many vulnerabilities, which is critical when establishing true trust within myself and within the company.
As an architect, making the move from the design world to construction management was and is not a simple transition. It took a leap of faith, and trust, on both my behalf and Clark’s to make this move, as it is not a common one. I honestly do not think the transition would have been as successful as it has been without the trusting culture that exists here. There is room and space to take chances, to learn from each other, try new ideas and suggestions, and to succeed (and fail!). This environment and tone are set from the very top of the company, with Sam Clark as the CEO, and follows throughout the entire organization. Trust is expected and established within each team, giving space to bring out the best/full potential in every employee. Candor and listening skills are both taught and expected, as well as following through with what you say you are going to do. Relationship building is valued and rewarded. This has resulted in high levels of employee engagement and strategic idea production, with energy, candor and vulnerability.
Before joining the team, I always enjoyed my time working with Clark as an architectural partner, and had always attributed that to just working with some pretty great people. Now that I have seen “behind the curtain,” it’s so much more than that. The environment of trust at Clark did not happen by accident. It is highly-strategic and has produced tremendous results including some of our best years yet from a revenue and growth standpoint, as well as from a cultural standpoint. I’ve seen firsthand how a truly engaged workforce can rise up to achieve incredible goals. Most importantly, working here has taught me that I can show up to work every day as my authentic self, and lead in a manner where my colleagues always have my back, and I have theirs. The weight this lifts off of me every day is remarkable, giving space for greater production and thought, and I have no doubt that our team will continue to move forward in remarkable ways.