Laura Gonzalez

Solutions Manager at Verizon Wireless

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Laura's CHL Academy Experience

09/22/2015 10:38AM

My experience with CHL Academy was something I will never forget. It has propelled my career to new levels and continues to be a foundation of learning for me. 

At the CHL workshop I attended, I was able to network with some important and brilliant people. I met individuals from New York, Chicago, Houston – and all from different types of professional backgrounds. One person I met was a Vice President at Pepsi who later after the workshop I met for dinner to discuss some ideas I had for a project I was doing at work. It was such a valuable time for me to be able to sit down with him and learn from him and hear his ideas and thoughts. I was able to expand my thinking further and land the project I had been working towards at work. In addition, I learned firsthand from Glenn Llopis about the Immigrant Perspective and what it means to build good fortune around you. I still feel humbled and so honored to have been able to attend the workshop and meet the author in person. His passion for his work and commitment to teaching others how to embrace their cultural advantages is amazing. After the workshop, I felt more confident and began to really push my career forward. I stayed focused on learning to utilize the tools from the workshop and continued further learning by reading Glenn’s books.

I live by the six characteristics taught at CHL Academy.

I look at situations I am in as opportunities always, no matter what. And I look at them through the lens of my immigrant perspective. I make sure that my circular vision is always on and that I am paying attention to the potential in something, good or bad. I use this to guide my career forward; for example, I was given an opportunity to take a new position at a retail store and, although in title it was not a promotion, I looked at what this opportunity could really give me. I made the choice based on my own research and the opportunities I felt it would create for me by taking the offer and starting this new venture at work. The position has given me the opportunity to work on some high-level projects, new retail experience, and great exposure to executives I would have probably never had otherwise. I took the position anticipating the changes I would have to work with or around, good or bad. I am glad I made the decision because it has been an incredible experience and great for my career. Because I could see the potential in this way, I took the risk.

Also, another characteristic that helps me always do my best is focusing on unleashing my passionate pursuits and doing everything with excellence. I teach this to my teams and it ensures that we never complete something feeling mediocre about the results. If we strive for excellence, we can walk away knowing we did our very best and have no regrets.

After the workshop with CHL, I was so inspired to use what Glenn referred to as our cultural advantages that I put them into action. For example, we spoke about Latinos being so passionate and how you can use that energy to your advantage in the corporate world. I took what I learned from Glenn about using that passion, speaking up and sharing my thoughts and ideas at work, and really using that energy to capture the attention I needed so leaders around me would be interested in learning more about my ideas. Based on that and the ideas I voiced around capturing our Latino market in Houston, I was asked to be part of a couple of marketing planning summits with Marketing Directors and Regional Presidents, even though I was not part of the marketing team in our area.

Now, at this time I also read the book Earning Serendipity and I started following the Methodology taught in Glenn’s book. I began to see more things as opportunities and I worked hard to take advantage of every one. For example, at those marketing summits I attended, I contributed ideas, offered assistance, and took on a couple of projects. I networked so that I could have discussions with different leaders and understand and see the business from their perspective. I opened myself to so many opportunities in front of me and learned so much that I built much more confidence as a leader with the company.

Below are a few things that occurred to me after the workshop and after learning and following the book’s Methodology:

1. I started a Hispanic Task Force along with two other individuals; we worked with our Regional President to create initiatives and provide feedback to help us get more involved with the Hispanic community in Houston.

2. I was part of a few monthly technology segments with Telemundo ( these were all in Spanish).

3. I was promoted to take part in the building of our first flagship store in Houston (I was asked to join the team, I didn’t apply for this opportunity).

4. I did a Grand Opening segment with Great Day Houston for our new flagship store.

5. Verizon won a contract with the City of Houston that I was part of where I had the opportunity to meet with city officials and a council member (I am not part of the Business team but because of previous work and visibility, I was asked to help support in this contract).

6. I created with the Task Force a Spanish-led sales training curriculum for our retail employees in Houston Gulf Coast; the training was called Ponte Listo and was focused on connecting more with the Latino customer.

After going through the workshop, I had such conviction in my heritage and my culture that I started taking more advantage of what made me unique. I did that by making sure I saw the opportunities in front of me and seizing them. Also, I made sure that I was sharing that success with others so that those around me were successful and so far that has brought more good fortune to my career. I have a good reputation at work as a leader and that good fortune was built from helping the people around me further their own careers.

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About the Author

Laura Gonzalez

Solutions Manager at Verizon Wireless

Laura Gonzalez is currently a Solutions Manager at Verizon Wireless’s Destination store in Houston, Texas. The Verizon Houston Destination Store, one of only  six in the country, is a 12,000 Sq. Ft. location with  two Floors and  six Lifestyle Zones specifically designed to cater to the lifestyle of all customers. It is truly a destination for Verizon’s innovative technology. There, Laura is responsible for leading a team of 10 specialists to excel in guest satisfaction while exceeding business metrics and key performance indicators. During its launch in November 2014, Laura was chosen to represent Houston Destination in the media at local morning show Great Day Houston and at a series of technology segments for the Spanish media. Laura also remains active in the community by attending events, such as Hispanic Chamber events. She leads an initiative to create and award a technology badge for the local girl scouts troops based on their completion of a technology workshop facilitated by her team at the Destination store.