Can you tell us about your family’s roots in Ecuador?
I was born in Ecuador, but was practically raised in Overland Park, Kan. My father was the first one in both sides of my families to take the risk of starting a life in U.S. He was about 22 years – looking for better jobs and higher-quality education. Being an American citizen means a lot to me because of the sacrifices that both my parents and other family members made to come to this country.
Furthermore, I was fortunate to travel back to Ecuador almost every summer and that has enriched my life by staying in touch with my extended families, learning about my heritage/culture and beautiful travel experiences. I’ve learned a great deal about international business, politics, environment, economies, etc.
I like to think of myself as a third-culture individual, because I bring my Ecuadorian and American Cultures to create my own identity.
Why did you choose UMKC?
One of the top things I was looking for was location. I knew I wanted to stay in Kansas City. Second is the network. I know a lot of business professionals are familiar with UMKC alumni so I knew I was going to be part of a good network.
How did you choose your field of study?
I actually applied to be an architecture student. After the first semester, I realized it wasn’t for me. I decided to focus on business administration with an emphasis in finance and real estate. I chose finance and real estate because they are the backbones of any business, and I wanted to learn how to make the best long-term decisions to impact businesses’ finances and real estate matters.
“Network as much as you can with your peers. Those same peers are going to be the people who start companies or are excelling in their careers.”
What was your favorite thing about UMKC?
Bloch Executive Hall—it was a great environment for collaboration and meeting tons of cool, smart people throughout my program. Also, through the E-Scholars program I got to meet so many entrepreneurs in Kansas City and great mentors, and I developed a business plan.
My product was YO-GU, a self-serve frozen yogurt chain to implement in Quito, Ecuador. The plan contained market research, competitor analysis, real estate strategy, growth strategy, cash flow analysis, sales projections, research of Ecuador’s economy, store and kiosk design, pricing strategy, recruiting efforts, and more. Some local investors expressed interest in the business, but I chose to stay in United States to pursue other opportunities.
With the E-Scholars program, and UMKC in general, my network throughout my college career really expanded.
Who was the most influential faculty or staff member at UMKC, and why?
Nathan Mauck (Henry W. Bloch School of Management) influenced me the most. He taught me how to think strategically on making financial decisions, evaluating all stakeholders and how to finance projects or investments. I enjoyed having side conversations about the stock market, real estate investments, behavioral finance and current mergers and acquisitions.
Were you involved in student organizations at UMKC?
I served as VP of the Association of Latin American Students for two years. UMKC’s student associations taught me how to lead other students, manage and inspire others to lead.
What organizations are you involved in today?
I serve as president of the Kansas City Prospanica chapter. Our mission is to empower and unite Hispanic professionals to achieve their full potential. I have enjoyed developing strong community partnerships with corporations, universities and nonprofits throughout the city. I also help develop and organize local events focused on career development, leadership skills, higher education and networking.
Do you have any advice for students entering UMKC?
Network as much as you can with your peers. Those same peers are going to be the people who start companies or are excelling in their careers. No matter what industry or major you’re in, it’s always good to have contacts in any type of industry. Second, leverage all your resources at UMKC. There are so many good programs you can be a part of, opportunities to build leadership skills and even scholarships.
Did you have any internships while you were a student, and how was that experience?
My favorite internship was with Ferguson Properties in Liberty, MO. I met my boss for that internship at a UMKC networking roundtable. I worked as a retail tenant rep, meaning I was representing a company that was expanding to Kansas City or looking for a location in the retail sector. My first deal was closing Andy’s Frozen Custard in their Westport location. I learned so much about working with the city, the real estate market, negotiations and contract management. It was a really good experience.
Tell us about your current position.
I work as a senior analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. I’ve been there for about three years. I help with managing the financials of the department and lead a team of five analysts. Together, we work on developing the budget, doing project management and vendor management in the arenas of facilities and law enforcement.
How did UMKC help you reach your current position?
UMKC gave me a strong background in multiple areas of finance, and the strong emphasis in communication skills prepared me as a professional on how to best communicate to several types of audiences.
The E-Scholars program helped me to truly build a powerful network filled with professionals and entrepreneurs from all types of industries.
What is one word that best describes you and why?
Futuristic, because I am always projecting what the future might hold and enjoy creating a detailed picture of what it will possibly look like. In addition, I like to challenge processes in order to become more effective and efficient.
What’s your favorite place in Kansas City?
The Plaza and Loose Park, which are both right by UMKC. I love the restaurant scene and architecture of the Plaza. Loose Park is a really nice park. I love to be active, and I’ve spent a lot of time there, too.