Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
Hello, All! My name is Jessa and I am the CEO and co-founder of VidaLuz Development, a new launch mission-based development company focused on reinventing the current consumptive development approach to elevate sustainability and conscientious building to an obtainable lifestyle within all of our communities and hospitality locations. We aim to create a ripple effect that results in real, widespread change through our systemic green approach to eco-agro microcities, holistic wellness eco-agro boutique hotels, and NetZero modular building. We believe that change is urgent, utterly vital, and we need big picture thinking and approach to insight big change.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I'm new to Ellevate and the community, but I love hearing about it so far and am actively looking for ways to increase my participation and give back.
How would you define your professional mission?
VidaLuz Development strives to create the ripple that changes the way the world thinks about development, shifting the mindset from consumptive wasteful processes to holistically producing sustainable lifestyle communities. Our core function is to positively impact the world through rethinking and revolutionizing development, and the potential resultant for conscientious lifestyle and worldwide environmental change.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
One misconception is that green development choices mean a more expensive project – this simply isn’t true. We are working to correct this and demonstrate sustainability initiatives actually mean higher profitability in our models over time, higher project valuation, greater long-term stabilization, and more visibility in the market because we are mission forward and cause-based in our approach.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
Vidaluz – by far. I’m so proud of what we are doing because we have the intent to positively impact the world at the forefront of our thinking and decision making in our company development. I’m proud that we are a woman and minority-owned company. I’m proud that we are prioritizing fighting climate change and addressing food security. And, most of all, I’m proud that this is the first time in my career I have been able to choose a path towards the greater good, towards building something that really has the potential to blaze a pathway of change.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
Honestly, I know this might not be the most positive response but seeing the short-sighted mistakes of others and how detrimental and damaging harsh patriarchal leadership has been in my personal career. Learning what not to do has redirected me to choose the path I am currently on, and for that I am very grateful.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part is feeling like what we do has a sense of purpose and that we have the potential to make a difference. Even though we are still in our infancy and not fully funded yet, being able to focus on our vision and mission pushes me forward despite obstacles because I genuinely believe what we are determined to accomplish matters.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
I hope to be able to change the way people think about sustainable living, to be able to leave the world a better place for future generations, and to be able to educate as to why this change in approach and thinking is so imperative.
What does success look like to you?
Right now, success to me would be to cut the ribbon at our first eco-agro micro city, to know that we launched our company and created something that has the potential to be so positively impactful, and to be able to tell that story of our “why” to the world through something tangible.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Unapologetically be the full force of who you are. As women, we are diminished in so many ways in order to fit into cultural or workplace norms. There is strength in femininity, there is uniqueness in how we perceive the world, there is courage in our big picture approach. Stop apologizing for that.
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