Lifelong Texan Laura Garza has worked for Careington International, a boutique health care company, for over seven years. She has taken on many roles in the company during her tenure there, from call center employee to Executive Assistant to the CEO. In 2014, Laura was promoted to Multicultural Sales Manager to build and manage the Latino brand and marketing initiatives. Since her Latino initiatives launched, Laura has brought on small and large Latino opportunities for not only Careington, but for the Latino community by offering more affordable health and wellness discount plans.
Hip Latina spoke with Ms. Garza recently, to find out more about her impressive career, on life as a working mom, and about her thoughts on the emerging Latino Health Care market.
Hip Latina: How did you get started in your career? Did you know you wanted to work in Health Care?
Laura Garza: I haven’t always known that I wanted to work in health care. I just fell into it when I submitted my resume to Careington since it was one of the first big corporate offices in Frisco, Texas at the time. I started at Careington in 2008 in our call center. Some people view the call center as the bottom level of the corporate ladder but it’s a good place to start, and can lead to success. I spent one year in the call center taking about 30-80 calls a day speaking with our customers and providers, in English and Spanish; that position let me experience what it was like to be a customer of ours—I heard their questions and assisted them directly.
Then I got promoted to our network development department where I assisted our providers. After two years as a quality assurance specialist, I was promoted to our project management team, where I implemented new groups and clients onboard. Soon thereafter, I was recruited by the CEO of Careington to be her Executive Assistant.
Learning the business from the ground up was an experience I will never forget. Seeing how business is done on an executive level, assisting with “hush-hush” HR issues, giving honors and accolades, putting on festivities for the company, scheduling meetings and booking worldwide trips was unforgettable.
HL: Do you feel you have faced opposition as a woman, or in particular as a Latina woman, working in business?
LG: Most definitely! Yes, to both. In the man’s world of sales, some men tend to think that women don’t know how to make deals, negotiate or are timid when it comes to speaking out. Women have to speak twice as loud, be blunt sometimes, negotiate till you drop, and be outstanding! As a Latina, sometimes people think you don’t know the “Anglo culture” or etiquette but it’s a darn great feeling when you can surprise them by showing that you do.
HL: Many of our readers are parents, or plan to become parents someday. Do you have any tips for maintaining a healthy family life while pursuing a career?
LG: Balance. It’s all about balancing everything you have going on in your world. It can get crazy and hectic but be sure to balance everything and BREATHE. For example, if you have to travel for work, like I do, make sure to take your little ones out for some fun that weekend. Or, if you have to work late one night and miss an evening with your kiddos, make the next night extra fun or surprise them at school for lunch or by picking them up early—that’s always a fun surprise. I only have one child so it’s a bit easier to balance her and work but I make sure to tell her how important it is for mommy to work hard to be able to provide the nice roof over our heads, good food on the table, and nice clothes as well as pay for extra fun stuff and the sports she does.
HL: What are your biggest career goals at this point?
LG: Every year I set new goals for myself in work and life. For work, my biggest goal is to land a big deal (or two) for the company and myself. A deal that would bring in thousands of dollars to the company. A promotion to director, and eventually VP level would be nice too!
HL: What are the unique challenges facing the U.S. Latino community in terms of health care?
LG: I think a lot of the challenge is getting Latinos to understand how not only healthcare works with insurance, discounts, etc., but also why they need to seek care when ill or hurt. Many Latinos try to get by with home remedies or don’t seek care because of the cost, language barrier, or because they don’t know where to go.
At Careington, we will help anyone, whether they are self-employed, contract workers, 10-99’s, full-time employee, etc. Since we are a discount savings plan, we accept everyone and they can begin to get the care they need right away!
HL: Thanks so much for speaking with us, and best of luck in your career!
LG: Thank you HipLatina, it’s been a pleasure!