Chief Financial Officer
Location: St. Louis, MO
Faced with a problem, Samantha Cook first tries to envision three scenarios: best case, worst case and most likely.
“I do that because it allows me to think about what needs to be done in order to maximize the result or prevent the worst scenario,” Cook said. “Then I try to understand the things I believe my team or I can control or master and the ones that we don’t. Doing so gives me a solid, quick set of actions or directs me to people within my team or connections that could help me to strategize the solution. Lastly, I ensure I am emotionally ready to execute the plan. Sometimes taking an intentional hour break can make the difference.”
Cook puts that formula to work in her role as chief financial officer at Brinkmann Constructors, a $1.3 billion national general contractor company. She manages the company’s financial, accounting and technology divisions, and is responsible for aligning Brinkmann’s plans for future growth and setting the organization’s overall financial and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) strategy.
In just a year at the company, Cook has helped align more than $5 billion in forecasted sales while staying focused on the values and mission that supports culture at Brinkmann, the company said.
Prior to joining Brinkmann Constructors, Cook spent 10 years in finance and operations leadership roles at Clayco, where she most recently served as senior director of financial planning and analysis. Cook, who is originally from Mexico, also spent more than five years in construction operation roles in international companies in Latin America.
“I came to the United States with nothing but pockets full of dreams,” she said. “I left behind my family, friends and the connections I had made throughout my professional career. I took a lower position when I moved to the U.S. I started from scratch, knowing I was getting outside my comfort zone. Today I know it was worthwhile.”
Cook was named a 2019 Top Influential Women in Real Estate by the RE Journals and won the 2019 Inclusion Award from the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers. She served on the board of directors of the National Association of Women in Construction and is a CREW-St. Louis member. In 2019, she co-founded Clayco NOW, an initiative that connects women in the industry.
Cook holds several degrees, including a master of business administration and a master’s degree in finance from Webster University in St. Louis, and a master’s in construction management and architecture from Universidad del Valle de México. She also completed the executive leadership program at Cornell University and the executive investment program at Harvard University.
Outside of work, Cook loves to travel with her husband, Nathan, and her 19-month-old son, Landon. She is also a triathlete and endurance cyclist.
She is currently training for a half ironman.