We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Gustavo “Gus” Barajas, PMP, CSCP, CPIM a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Gustavo “Gus” thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. One of the most important things small businesses can do, in our view, is to serve underserved communities that are ignored by giant corporations who often are just creating mass-market, one-size-fits-all solutions. Talk to us about how you serve an underserved community.
“Helping Every Member at Every Opportunity” is my Vision for Adelante.
I am the Originator and Co-Founder of Adelante con DISH. I have 20+ years as a results-driven nonprofit volunteer leader developing innovative programs that serve Hispanic students and professionals with professional and career challenges. I will leverage my National Board Leadership experiences from the Society of Hispanic Prof. Engineers, Society of Hispanic MBAs, De Colores – Phoenix AZ Women’s Domestic Violence Center, and the Purdue Latino Alumni Organization to continue designing and implementing Programs and Services with fellow Adelante Leaders to achieve our Mission.
From our inception 4/1/2020, I have engaged 51 Adelante leaders across our Nation to implement our Qty13 Bienvenida, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Cultural Events thus far. I look forward to working with all Adelante members by creating an inviting “familia” Adelante community; driving performance, program improvement, and quality initiatives for all.
Gustavo “Gus”, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
In my 30+ years as a results-driven nonprofit volunteer leader developing innovative Scholarship and Educational programs that serve Hispanic students and professionals with professional and career challenges, I have encouraged hundreds of students and professionals to consider multiple higher educational venues as viable career options. I really did treat everyone like they were part of my family and that’s what a lot of parents appreciated: the fact that I was challenging them even until this day. Looking at it generationally, I see improvement and it just confirms what I strongly believe: Serving Others really matters, and I think I provided that representation to higher education through my work,
I was born and raised in East Chicago, IN. I am a Sr. Supply Chain Manager for DISH Corporation in Englewood, CO. To some, given my work title and credentials acquired a long 26-year working career, I am a Professional. To me, I am still a friend from East Chicago, IN.
I am a results-driven nonprofit volunteer leader with 30 years of experience developing innovative programs that serve Hispanic populations. I am deeply committed to improving the lives of Hispanic K-12 students with minority or low-income challenges. I have proven the ability to provide team leadership, driving performance, program improvement, and quality initiatives. I am also a visionary leader known for my ability to win community support, develop key coalitions and build relationships with a shared sense of purpose. My biggest challenge was the lack of insight my parents had on the college experience as a whole – and the task of picking a major. My parents migrated from Mexico and spoke very little English. As a young child, I learned quickly that I wanted to help my parents live more comfortably.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
Achievement of an action within a specified period or within a specified parameter. Success can also mean completing an objective or reaching a goal. Success can be expanded to encompass an entire project or be restricted to a single component of a project or task. It can be achieved within the workplace, or in an individual’s personal life. For example, if an individual’s personal goal is to be accepted in a new career, success would occur after the individual has been officially accepted into his or her new place of employment.
To me, I measure success with every day or every situation. Did I improve from the last one? If so, I am successful! If not, I will be successful very soon!
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
I was the first male in my family to graduate from high school. I had no idea what university would be like, and I was often more anxious about money than grades. I am sure I would have made much better grades, but I was most often working around my classes. I managed to make good enough grades to graduate, though, and I know my parents were very proud of that degree. Now, I have two degrees and three certifications. A long way from little to no elementary school education experienced by my parents.
I struggled greatly throughout my years at college. I had graduated at the top 20% of my class and I never imagined feeling so stupid and underprepared for college. I felt like I didn’t have anything smart to say and my writing skills were low. I constantly felt overwhelmed by the workload.
I also struggled with culture shock. I had never been around so many white people in my life. There wasn’t a big Latino or black population, and even on campus, Purdue University. I felt disconnected because my family was low-income, and the black and brown students came from middle or upper-class backgrounds. Depression was a constant issue. I felt dumb, poor, homesick, confused, and burnt out. Now, with Prospanica, I am helping similar students and professionals to overcome these challenges as I did.
- Instagram: barajaspmpcscp
- Facebook: gus.barajas
- Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/gusbarajas
- Twitter: @gusbarajas
ADELANTE con DISH (DISH Corporation ERG) (2021 – Named Top 15 ERG in the Country – LatinaStyle, Inc.) Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Prospanica, Association of Hispanic MBAs and Business Professionals Purdue University Arizona State University