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AEP’s Outstanding Women: Krystal Hernandez

by on March 29, 2017

Krystal Hernandez

AEP is featuring a series of Q&A articles in March – Women’s History Month — to recognize some of the exceptional women in our workforce and among our suppliers. This story features AEP Texas employee Krystal Hernandez, Customer Design manager in Pharr, Texas.  

When Krystal Hernandez started working as a contractor for AEP Texas in 2008, she had no idea where her new journey would lead. But true to her form, Hernandez held steadfast to her faith.

Hernandez, who graduated from the University of Texas Pan American (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) in 2007 with a degree in mechanical engineering, became a full-time employee in 2012.

In April of 2016, Hernandez made another move as she was named Customer Design manager for the Rio Grande Valley District, overseeing 20 employees. Hernandez said transitioning from being an engineer to a manager was a challenge at first but one that was made easier with the help of her team.

“This job is about being a team player and helping each other accomplish our jobs,” Hernandez said. “I get the most satisfaction and fulfillment out of my role when I can lead by example, coach and help develop my group.”

Outside of her job, Hernandez has been part of a ministry that goes into nursing homes and sings and shares the gospel with residents for the past seven years. She’s also volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters since 2015.

Q: How did you become interested in your career choice?

A: I was always interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field as a child and throughout my educational career. I also enjoyed being challenged with problem-solving situations. To me, engineering captured all the above.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge for young women entering the workforce today?

A: The biggest challenge for young women entering the workforce today is that it’s a male-dominated field.  Slowly but surely, however, more women are stepping up to pursue STEM-related careers.

Q: Have you had a role model or mentor earlier in your career or when in school?

A: All my engineering professors cared and showed interest in their students, in particular Dr. Karen Lozano. After taking a class with her, she immediately offered me a job to perform research in her Plastics Lab, where I worked for four years. I also have the honor to work with great people at AEP Texas who dedicated their time to my continuous development.

Krystal Hernandez and Clemente Garza, technician principal in Customer Design, review plan documents.

Also, I have to say my role models and my mentors have been and are still my PARENTS. They have given me their unconditional love and support throughout my career. Growing up they weren’t as fortunate to pursue a higher education due to economic barriers. They’ve taught me to never give up and pursue my dreams and that you will never know until you take that leap of faith. The words that my parents always mentioned are, “Never stop learning. Education is very important. Take advantage of the opportunities you have. Always place God first in everything you plan and do.”

Q: How is your career field different now than it was when you started, especially for women in your field? What things have improved, and what needs more work?

A: As a manager I’m responsible for leading and serving a group of employees. Since I’ve been with AEP Texas, this is the first time I recall a woman holding a manager’s position in Customer Design. This is a great accomplishment and proof to other women that it’s not impossible.

Q: What’s the best career advice you have ever been given, or that you have learned from your experience?

A: The best career advice I’ve been given is to always remain humble and ready to learn. You never know where your career may lead you.

Q: What advice would you give early to mid-career women to encourage them to stay and succeed in their careers?

A: The road may seem bumpy at times, but eventually it pays off through perseverance and effort.

From → News From AEP

One Comment
  1. Well done, Krystal!

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