Leading the Charge: The leaders who are changing our industry
Ceci Clarke — VP of Construction
For our VP of Construction, Ceci Clarke, building is in her blood. Her career has been punctuated by major achievements and she’s not slowing down. Ceci’s firm was the first women-owned luxury homebuilder in Southern California and her work has been featured in premiere publications such as Architectural Digest, Towne & Country, and Elle Decor. Along the way, she’s built $900 million in assets, has successfully built a number of companies, and has started 2 of her own. Now, as a key leader at Homebound, she’s on a mission to change our industry for the better by developing new technologies and operational methods, and uniquely leveraging trade partnership networks to make homebuilding accessible to everyone.
From an early age, Ceci has been interested in all aspects of building. Inspired by a drafting class early in her education, Ceci went on to receive a degree in Civil Engineering at Stanford University. Often the only woman in the classroom, she was determined to gain professional experience in the commercial industry so, as she said at the time, she could “see how the big boys did it.” While she laughs at how silly it seems to say that now, the sentiment remains. She wanted to get hands-on experience and that’s exactly what she did.
But, in 1987 — only a few years into practicing — Ceci became pregnant with her first of four daughters and was confronted with the decision to quit her job. “As soon as I found out I was pregnant I thought to myself, I’m never gonna work a normal day again in my life.” Instead, she began working as a third-party contractor for Tyler Development Corporation and within the year was running the company. By 2019, Ceci had technically “retired” once, started a company with her husband and another on her own, and acted as Senior Vice President at Douglas Emmett. Her achievements are almost unimaginable and her experience is unparalleled.
But, by the end of her time as Senior VP of one of the largest real estate investment companies in the nation, she was itching for something new saying, “The corporate world wasn’t quite the place that fit me. I was used to being an entrepreneur. I was used to acting and thinking like an entrepreneur.” So when she was approached by Homebound her curiosity about the start-up peaked. After three or four months of contemplation, Ceci joined Homebound as the VP of Construction Services. She explains it like this:
“I remember waking up one morning and it occurring to me … if I woke up a year from that day would I wonder what Homebound was doing and be super curious? If I opened up a magazine … and there was an article about Homebound, would I be mad or jealous? And I knew that I would be. I wanted to be a part of it… and I thought that if I was a part of it that I could help make it succeed.” And that’s exactly what she’s doing.
When asked what made her finally commit to Homebound she spoke first and foremost of the people, but also of excitement for the technology and unique operating model.
Throughout the conversation, Ceci continuously mentioned her admiration and love for the people at Homebound, which started at her first dinner with CEO, Nikki Pechet, and Head of Growth, Ian Bishop. While she had her doubts at first, ultimately she was wooed by their ambition reflecting, “I so admire them. They are so energetic. They’re so positive. You just wanted to be around them… they had this ambition that was so inspiring.” She feels the same way about everyone at Homebound asserting, “Everyone at Homebound is like that. They’re so obsessed [with home building]! I really love that.”
In addition to her admiration for the team, she’s dedicated to changing the industry for clients, trade partners, and our experts alike through technology. At the direction of Ceci and other executives, Homebound collaborates with other industry leaders to combine our APIs, making selections streamlined and accessible. These industry relationships allow us to get better products, increase our buying power, improve logistics, and process iteratively:
“To be able to step into a role where I change my industry — an industry that has not integrated technology at all — for me, it seemed like an obvious choice in my career.
A New Labor Model
Another unique aspect of Homebound is the new labor model. Homebound relies on word of mouth and vetted networks of hundreds of experienced builders working together across a variety of projects. This strengthens our overall expertise and Ceci loves it:
“ I learn every week something that I didn’t know before. I rely on our trade partners. — I love that about these specialists that have been doing something as long as me and what they bring to the table and what I have to learn from them. I hope that every person that works for me or with me does that too. There are just so many experts around you all the time.”
Internal Sustainability Standards
California has the most stringent building codes and standards in the nation which has allowed Homebound to master the best practices of building early on and in the most competitive markets. We take these lessons with us to each new market we explore. Through this process, we are continuously learning and innovating to be the best and most sustainable builders we can be. While there is an inherent focus on sustainable practices and materials, Ceci has also come to understand that despite best efforts there are no practices that can withstand the force of nature.
Client & Community Resilience
What Ceci truly appreciates is the resilience of the people she works with — both clients and Homebounders. The past year has been incredibly challenging with unprecedented wildfires and the global pandemic. But through it all the people at Homebound have found a way to adjust and move forward together. The same applies to many of our clients who have lost their homes to the fires.
“There is this resilience to people when they start picking up the pieces and realize that things are things. That they’re glad to be alive. That they get to reboot their lives. And in most people — there is a way of making something good out of something horrible. Same with these communities — they end up being transformed as they get rebuilt. “
Ceci is one of many passionate and exceptional leaders in the Homebound community. Her decades of experience paired with an insatiable desire to learn are helping to reshape not only the single-family home building sector but the entire building industry.
Homebound is currently building in most counties in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Ventura, and the Bahamas. We are now expanding to the Austin, TX Metro Area. If you’d like to connect with Ceci or want to explore our services, visit us today.