Meet Vivian Fernandez – #TeamNMGameandFish

The Department of Game and Fish currently has over 300 full-time employees. Working through the hiring process, managing personnel records, ensuring proper recruitment, running payroll and leave management can be a challenge. The Department’s small team of four manages the diversity in employees and customers.

Banner: Vivian Fernandez is one of the Human Resources Administrators for the Department of Game and Fish. Inset, top: Vivian and her HR colleague, Gabryela, working the fishing pond at the 2020 Outdoor Expo.

In this month’s #TeamNMGameandFish, we talked with Vivian Fernandez, Human Resources Administrator. Vivian joined the Department of Game and Fish on Jan. 11, 2020. She transferred from the Department of Cultural Affairs, an agency she had been with since 2006. During the state personnel consolidation, she worked in the Talent and Acquisition group for approximately a year and a half. 

In Vivian’s current position, she is responsible for performing advanced complex human resource functions for her assigned divisions (customer groups) that include compensation, classification, recruitment, payroll, leave management and data analytics.  

?What led you to your current job?
I love what the Department stands for here in New Mexico and I wanted to be a part of this team. The Department of Game and Fish feels like a close-knit family.

?What is the most exciting part of your job?
The most exciting part of my job is learning the different customer groups within the Department and learning what each moving part does. The very first thing that my supervisor asked me to assist with creating positions for the Mexican Wolf program, following it all the way through to fruition and then seeing it talked about on the news was pretty exciting. Another exciting project was directly related to the pandemic. The Department was unable to hire any Conservation Officer recruits in 2020. This June, I was excited to assist with the new recruits that Law Enforcement/Field Operations was able to recruit and hire. It’s exciting to see new employees start their career path.

?What is your favorite part of working for the Department?
I like helping wherever I can, whether it be an employee who just had a baby, a new supervisor who needs direction on what they need to post their position or where we can help to make a process/procedure easier to understand. I also like the various volunteer opportunities the Department offers. Gabryela (a colleague in the Human Resources section) and I signed up to assist at the fishing pond during the Outdoor Adventure Show in February 2020. I look forward to more volunteer opportunities to interact with the community.

?What are your hobbies, or what do you do when you are not at work?
My family and I love the outdoors. We love to take the fifth wheel and boat out to Abiquiu or Elephant Butte. My husband and I also love to travel. Our oldest son is a pilot in the Navy and is stationed in Florida, so we love to visit him. Our younger son is at New Mexico State University, so we visit Las Cruces quite frequently, as well as my hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. We also have friends from out of state who love to visit us during ski season with their college-age kids. We usually go to Angel Fire, Taos or Red River during winter break. My husband and I have always said that we have the best of both worlds – the mountains and the beaches.

The Fernandez family enjoying some time in the snow.
Vivian says her family has the best of both worlds, the mountains and the beach.
 
?What are some of the projects you will work on over the next year or several years?
Some of the projects that we will be working on include updating the Human Resources Tracks, a webpage used by internal staff for hiring, to have the most current information updated and readily available; working on processes for recruitment (interviews); and compiling training for new managers/supervisors on information they need to know and where to get it. Additionally, we will be reviewing what data we can keep electronically vs. hard copy.

?What else do you want the public to know about you or your job?
I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, a daughter of a police officer. At a very early age, my father took me hunting and fishing with my three older brothers. He hunted in South Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. It just seemed fitting that when I transferred to the Department that one of my internal customer bases would be the Law Enforcement/Field Operations division.

?What is the most common question you get about your job, and how do you answer it?
Are you hiring? A lot of people are really interested in working for the Department of Game and Fish. Depending on which area they are interested in or depending on the position, I let them know where to navigate on the State Personnel Office website to find our openings. I have also sent them the minimum qualifications for a certain classification (that contains the type of degree and years of experience needed, etc.) in that area. In addition, I have forwarded their emails to a contact within the Department to let them know that they are interested.

?If someone is looking to get a career with Game and Fish in the future, what advice would you give them?
All jobs are posted on the official State Personnel Office website. That website is www.spo.state.nm.us. In addition, if you have any Department of Game and Fish questions, you can reach our HR Team at DGF-HR@state.nm.us. We also have a volunteer program that is a great way to learn about the Department and network while doing something that you are really interested in.   

About Tristanna Bickford

Tristanna Bickford is the Communications Director for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.