Life Lessons that Shaped my Career

Everyone’s life journey is exceptional in its own way. For me, there were many struggles and challenges but also lots of joy. Each of my life’s lessons helped to define who I am today as a Puerto Rican business executive and shaped the most frequent business advice I share with others.

Always remember where you came from. My abuela (grandmother) was a night shift maintenance worker in a high-rise corporate building in Manhattan. I visited her one day when I was 12, and what stuck out most to me was how kind the executives were to the woman who cleaned their offices every night. They told me how lucky I was to have such a special grandma. And I was proud. To this day, whenever I present to a roomful of powerful executives, I am reminded of her sacrifices and how proud she would be of me. Respect and honor your past because it can guide your future.

Embrace optimism. I’ve faced many challenges, but I always found a way to smile through every hardship and find joy in every day. You can decide to focus on the negative, or instead see the bright side. It is not always easy but picking yourself up every day and making the choice to smile, to be a better version of you, to share the joy of you with the world – this will reap many rewards. Your life will be brighter and your impact on others will be more positive.

Have patience in your career path. My career path was what I would call slow and steady, which offered a more thoughtful growth trajectory than a quick and early path to leadership. I chose to focus on raising my family during a time when many of my colleagues were climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. Patience and grace, especially with myself, were key to keeping myself focused during that time. And it paid off. So, work hard, advocate for yourself, and trust that good things will follow.

Know your worth. As a mother, wife, and employee, I’ve been pulled in many different directions and despite giving my best to every role, I always felt like I fell short in whatever I did. This was not true, but in the moment, it felt that way. We are not always kind to ourselves, and that internal narrative must change. Just like that life lesson that is given before every flight, “Put your mask on first,” make your needs a priority so you can bring your best self to your family, your work, and your life.