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Jakki Mitchell : Faith in God generates success in 'a man's world'

Published:Wednesday | August 23, 2017 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston
Jakki Mitchell on the job.
Jakki Mitchell and her son Stephen Thomas.

For Jamaica-born construction industry worker Jakki Mitchell, prayer and hard work are two valuable tools to forge ahead in the business world.

She is now reaping success from those two staples, which have been the guiding force in her life.

Today, the former National Commercial Bank (NCB) employee is a project controller for Suffolk Construction, headquartered in Boston, and manages two of its largest projects in Florida: Jade Signature and Ritz Carlton Residences in Sunny Isles Beach.

A single mother raising her son Stephen Thomas, who is now 15, Mitchell had to adjust to climbing the success ladder and ensuring that she met his every need.

For Mitchell, it was not an easy task, but it was something she knew she had to do.

"Balancing family life and work was not easy, but with patience and sacrifices, there has to be a give and take in some cases. When my son was younger, I had to pay a sitter to keep him when my job demanded working long hours. There were some cases I even took him to work as my job was flexible and allowed that as his dad was always busy and worked far away," she told Family and Religion.

Born in Kingston, Mitchell, who was raised in Stony Hill and who is a past student of Immaculate Conception High School, migrated at the age of 20.

After leaving NCB in 1991 and migrating to Florida, she started working as a bookkeeper before receiving an offer to work full time at a large construction company as an office manager.

"My career in construction and accounting started while I was still attending college to obtain my accounting degree here in Florida. The company knew I was attending school to obtain my accounting degree, and they offered to train me in their accounting department since there was a need in that area," Mitchell shared.

Although Mitchell has summed up her life in just a few words, it was not an easy journey, noting that after landing in the construction field, which is often viewed as 'a man's world', she was determined to remain there.

"There are times I felt heavy pressure, mainly with subcontractors, emphasising to them the importance of meeting deadlines, etc. Working on these two projects has been the biggest challenge of my career, but by God's grace and inspiring myself daily (even in dire situations), my faith has seen me through," she said of her reliance on God.

"I overcame this through prayer, patience, and maintaining a positive attitude always, even when things seemed impossible. I am very passionate about my work and always press on to the finish," she shared.

A Christian, she quotes her favourite Bible verse - Philippians 4 verse 13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

"I live by those words. I do whatever it takes. I believe in doing my best and going the extra mile, as God always blesses your best - and then some - and I have seen it flourish so many times in my life."

Mitchell is a member of the Construction Financial Management Association.