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Kristine Hernandez, High Mark Companies

Talk to Kristine Hernandez for just a couple of minutes, even on the phone, and there’s something about her you can just sense: she’s fun.

You can tell without knowing anything about how she loves to dance, or that she met her husband because they were both Zumba instructors, or that they got married two years ago on Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico, or that they are rabid Orlando City Soccer fans, Iron Lions who chant feverishly and proudly amid legions of purple-clad supporters.

Hernandez makes time for play but loves her job in commercial real estate, having joined High Mark Companies earlier this year as director of development. It’s a true high point in a 30-year career that began at age 14 with a summer job at her father’s development company.

“I was doing administrative work, research and typing and I thought it was kind of cool that while my friends were going to camp, I was doing something more grown-up, though I didn’t fully appreciate all that the job taught me until after college, when I began to pursue my own career.”

Save a seven-year stint in Washington, D.C., where Hernandez owned a successful interior design company, her career has been spent here in Florida, from design work at Walt Disney World to business development at SCOTT + CORMIA Architecture and Interiors, prior to her move this past spring to High Mark.

“I’m doing my dream job right now, where I’ve always wanted to be and with absolutely the right team.”

As her professional prestige has grown, so, too, has Orlando. Hernandez has enjoyed watching the skyline stretch, although a part of her heart always remains out at St. Pete Beach, where she often spent summers with grandma.

After years spent living in Maitland, she’s back in her old hometown of Longwood and loving it.

And why wouldn’t she? Between a busy job – and being mom/stepmom to six kids ranging in age from 9 to 22 – down time is precious. Longwood is just a stone’s throw from Wekiva Island, where cabanas and kayaks and cold beer are boxes she checks as often as possible.

“I’ll go even when I have no plans on getting in the water,” Hernandez says, “I love their ‘Fire Pit Fridays,’ when the weather is cool – it’s awesome to get into an Adirondack chair and enjoy that relaxed vibe. I love that at the end of the week. I don’t need to dress up. I just want to go relax and enjoy local music and the natural setting.”

Live music figures big into her leisure preferences. On a given night you might find her at one of her favorite venues, like the House of Blues at Disney Springs which she lauds for its intimacy, or even over at Universal CityWalk.

“I love going to Bob Marley’s; their house band is absolutely phenomenal!”

Decades down the line, after Hernandez has truly left her mark on local CRE development with High Mark and retired, she and her sister have mulled spending their golden years operating a tropical-themed boutique hotel together.

 “Lots of fruit juice and reggae and really good rum – a place where people can go and unwind and unload and not think about their daily routine.”

For now, between work and the family she likens to a real-life Brady Bunch, life is jam-packed. There’s not a tremendous amount of free space for the fun stuff.

“But I do make sure we squeeze it in from time to time.”

A.D. Thompson
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