A Latina Trailblazer’s Secrets to Business Success
For as long as she can remember, Alma Guajardo-Crossley’s sueño has been to help the Latino community, particularly in the area of education. We caught up with Alma for tips on how focusing, getting through school and working hard can yield a rewarding life.
You're a big advocate for education, why do you think it’s so important for Latinos? What would you say to someone who is thinking about skipping college and heading straight to the workforce?
Alma Guajardo-Crossley: Given the current demographics of the country, the future of the nation depends on the success of our Latino youth (with one out of every four teens under the age of 18 being Latino). That is why they must prepare themselves for the opportunities that will be available to them. The price of entry for a good job is a college degree; especially at the rate technology is expanding. At times, circumstances do not allow for immediate access in to the college world, but I would challenge our youth to pursue the dream. There are many people willing to help and organizations that offer scholarships. Ultimately, it is up to the student to research and connect with those people. Almost nothing worth having comes easy.
What are the secrets to your success?
A.G.C: Perseverance, hard work, passion and confidence.
Why is giving back to the Latino community so important to you?
A.G.C: I understand how difficult it can be for a Hispanic with a humble background to achieve a certain level of success. The help I received from people, no matter how big or small, meant so much to me. We need Latinos to succeed and I am happy to play a role in whatever way I can.
You've worked for GM for over 25 years, what do you think about this young generation who wants everything (success/fame) so fast?
A.G.C: Knowledge is gained through people and experiences, and the road to success provides you with many encounters and opportunities. You must appreciate every station given to you in life no matter how big or small; never think you are bigger than the job. The foundation you build and the tools you carry with you in life will be much stronger and broader the more time you take to cultivate them.
What are the three words that describe you?
A.G.C: Dreamer, believer and achiever.
What was the most important piece of advice you've ever received?A.G.C: Eliminate negative energy in your life. You will come across many people and often times there will be some who bring you down, discourage or distract you from your dream. You must be strong enough to let them go. In order for one to be successful and happy, you must surround yourself with people that believe in you and support your dreams. Do not let someone change who you are or the dreams you have.