EEP Alumni Success Story Featuring Juan Gaviria
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Posted by: Salina Rivera
Through interviews with alumni of the HITEC Emerging Executive Program, each month we reveal to you real-life inspirational stories of success and the impact their participation in the EEP program has had on the trajectory of their career.
1. How has graduating from the HITEC Emerging Executive Program changed the trajectory of your career?
I was fortunate to have been working for a leader and a company that truly cared about my professional growth and were willing to nominate me for the program. At the time, I was sure I would stay with ADP for many more years but as I progressed through the program and thought about my career and personal growth, I decided it was time for me to experience a new industry, a new company and a new culture.
The HITEC Emerging Executive Program (EEP) provided me the opportunity to connect with senior technology executives and industry leaders which ultimately led to new opportunities and important relationships. The most impactful relationship was with my HITEC Emerging Executive Program (EEP) Mentor, Jonathan Echeverria. Jonathan went to great lengths to introduce me to leaders at Bank of America which gave me a real appreciation for the talent at the bank, the values of the company and their focus on diversity and inclusion. Those interactions ultimately led me to Bank of America and changed the trajectory of my career.
The HITEC Emerging Executive Program also helped me develop and hone skills that have given me the confidence to take on additional challenges and roles. Simply put, I would not be at Bank of America or have my current role as Network Operations Executive had it not been for the HITEC Emerging Executive Program.
2. What advice do you have for current EEP Fellows?
The program is what you make of it and if you consider every interaction and EEP lesson as an opportunity to grow and learn, you will! You have an amazing opportunity to build a long-lasting meaningful relationship with seasoned executives in the field but you have to put in the work. While I was incredibly fortunate to have partnered with Jonathan, who went above and beyond, you can’t expect your mentors to have all the answers or to do all the work. While they may have experience with mentoring, you have to consider your individual growth opportunities and leverage your executive mentor to influence your growth. At the end of the day, you to own the outcome of the relationship.
The other piece of advice is to network and leverage your current EEP fellows. You’re surrounded by future industry leaders and you have an opportunity to develop a strong network. HITEC is working hard to create a community where the future movers and shakers of the industry can grow together and it only takes one relationship or interaction to completely change your career and life.
3. Since graduating from EEP, what professional achievement are you most proud of?
Moving to Bank of America from my previous employer was an incredibly difficult decision for me because I was already at a great company and surrounded by incredible people. I’m proud that I made that decision because it provided me with a tremendous opportunity to continue growing my career at another great company in an entirely different industry as well as growing my network exponentially.
I am also very proud of what I’ve achieved thus far at Bank of America. When I first joined, my role was a Storage Service and Product Management portfolio leader. In just one year, I was promoted to my Network Operations executive role, which I feel speaks to the willingness of Bank of America to invest in future Hispanic leaders.
Also, technology and financial services are both industries where Hispanics are typically underrepresented at senior levels. Through my time at Bank of America, I’ve seen firsthand how committed the organization is to diversity and to identify the best talent for its technology workforce. Being able to break through and gain this experience will be highly valuable as I continue mentoring and providing career advice to other Hispanic professionals coming up through the pipeline.
4. What Is today’s single most important goal?
Growth. I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by great people and teams and my most important goal is to help them grow so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Whether that means providing real-time feedback on an interaction or giving long-term career advice to current and past teammates. For me, it’s also important to remain relevant in a competitive industry, I need to ensure my growth by continuously learning new technologies, adapting to new ways of working and continuing to accept difficult challenges.
5. What is your go-to source for information (book, website, publication, newspaper)?
There are so many great sources of information so it’s hard to pick just one. We are fortunate at Bank of America to have access to countless courses and articles through our in-house university for technology and operations employees and I’ve been using that as one of my go-to sources. I also find myself on YouTube and tuning in to podcasts for both personal and professional topics.
Following up on my single most important goal of growing, I also try to stay open-minded and seek out new places for information as sources evolve all the time. Hearing different perspectives and reading news across various industries is a great way to keep thinking outside the box and continuing to build your acumen.
6. What is the most powerful word in your dictionary?
Uncomfortable! We’ve all heard this before but getting comfortable in an uncomfortable space is the best way to grow. From a career growth perspective, this means taking stretch projects or a role that will force you to get out of your comfort zone, be pushed to new limits and continuously learn.
Before joining ADP, HITEC or Bank of America, I spent four years in the Marines. Being in the military taught me many valuable lessons that I still apply to my career today such as discipline, teamwork, and dependability and it also taught me how to be in uncomfortable situations often. This mindset served me well when I first got out of the Marines. While I knew that I wanted to get into technology, I didn’t have a degree nor the experience which put me at a real disadvantage. While I knew little about system administration, I made the uncomfortable decision to accept the opportunity as a system administrator for a startup while I pursued my technology certifications at a trade school. The experience and certifications ultimately opened more doors for me professionally while I pursued my Bachelors and Masters Degrees. Each decision, from deciding to join the Marines, to ultimately obtaining my Master’s Degree required me to stretch out of my comfort zone and be willing to take on new challenges.
7. What are you doing to give back?
I’m focused on helping the next generation of leaders both in and outside of Bank of America to accomplish personal and professional goals. I’m an active mentor of our Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA) to help pay forward the mentoring I’ve received throughout my career. HOLA is a huge employee network with more than 13,000 members at Bank of America. Being able to be a part of that network and help members work and grow professionally feels authentic and meaningful to me.
I still meet with former employees to provide non-biased advice on their career goals and Bank of America provides countless volunteer opportunities, such as Junior Achievement, to give back to my local community – something I’ve really enjoyed.
I highly value the relationships I’ve built over the years. Each one has played a role in my personal and professional growth and my hope is that I can return the favor. I’m also looking forward to the relationships I’ll continue to make as I meet new people in my current role at Bank of America. This is a huge company that serves millions of clients across the United States and more than 30 countries across the globe – with that scale comes people from many different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Being such a diverse and inclusive workforce enriches everyone who works here, collectively it makes us stronger and I’m excited by the potential it offers me for my own personal growth.