Since he started in 2014, Gilbert Garcia has been considered a model leader amongst many at the TMX Finance® Family of Companies because of his high-energy and ability to quickly champion and influence others on Company initiatives. As the Director of ACV Operations, most can spot Gilbert celebrating every occasion from his team’s major wins to Star Wars themed birthdays. He’s humble but doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves and hopping on the phone to help his team support our store operators. From managing and growing stores as a General Manager in Dallas, to making the highly coveted move to our Corporate office, Gilbert’s career journey with the Company has been nothing short of successful.
“Everywhere I have worked, I started at the bottom. That’s a big deal for me because I can work my way up and learn the ins and outs of every position. You can really build up the level of respect. I’m never going to ask my team to do something that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do myself. The key to leadership is the willingness to learn and get in the weeds.”
“I ran a really successful business in the field and had the opportunity to come to Corporate as a Level I ACV Agent. Coming into Corporate as a Level I helped me learn the ins and outs and hone in on my management skills. I already had some great mentors and General Managers I could always reach out to, along with the Sr. Director at the time. I’m thankful for the year I spent in the field. All the pieces fit together and painted a big picture for me.”
Gilbert gets fulfillment from being the “go-to guy” and maintaining strong relationships with his field partners. The ACV Desk is one of the most fast-paced and high-volume departments at Corporate and our store operators rely on them in order to provide customers with an outstanding experience. He has helped play a pivotal role in establishing the effervescent culture the ACV Desk is known for.
“With the ACV Desk, there is a high need to support the field. We have a large team that serves the field and every single customer that comes in. Customer service is everything and I thrive on helping them! When I come to work, I think of how I can help and make the team more successful. Because of my previous work in the field, I have built great relationships, and managers can reach out to me for advice. It means a lot to know that I’m trusted and seen as having the Company’s best interest in mind.”
At the heart of it, Gilbert’s work ethic and willingness to help stem from his tight family relationship and a very special bond he has with the most influential man in his life, his dad.
Who inspires you to be the leader you are today?
“The person who inspires me the most is my father. He is Gilbert Garcia, Sr., and he is my hero. My parents divorced when I was a baby and my dad had custody. It could have been easy for him to take off and do his own thing, but he wasn’t going to be ‘just another statistic.’; He made a lot of personal sacrifices. He was a young man with a social life that he gave up just to make sure I was taken care of.”
“When I got married, and had two little girls, he was a model example of the kind of man that I wanted to be. He always made sure we never went without. He worked hard and still made time for us. That’s the mentality I’ve always had, all because of him.”
What does culture mean to you?
“My family is very proud of who they are and where they came from. When I think of culture, ‘hard work’ comes to mind. I’m very proud of the hard work my family instilled in me, and our love for each other. I have a lot of responsibilities here at work, then I go home and tend to a 2-acre farm. I love it!”
“I think of being Hispanic and taking my own experiences from what my family taught me. Family is everything to us. Being so tight, I appreciate it. Sometimes you hear about kids who never move out of the home because their parents want them there and my parents were the same. I was pretty independent; when I turned 18, I was working and moved out. When we did eventually move out, my parents adopted my sister because they have such a big heart.”
“My two brothers and sisters are all very tight and live in the same area. My parents just moved about 30 minutes away. They’re even using half of my house to store their belongings! Whatever it takes to support each other. We make sacrifices, we talk, we laugh. Whatever is going on, I know we’ll be here for each other.”
How do you celebrate your culture?
“Family is everything. I celebrate by keeping the family bond really tight. We tell stories constantly. It may be a story we’ve heard a million times, but sometimes you go for a million plus one. They’re stories of where we were and where we have come from. Seeing how far my family has come and the sacrifices they made makes me proud to celebrate that.”
“Of course, we love to eat. Chicken mole and rice is my favorite! My mom’s famous mole is dark red with a peanut butter sauce. Food is the centerpiece of what brings us together.”
What’s a little-known fact about you?
“When I was 15, my dad bought me a drum set (I have so much respect for him buying a teenager a drum set, but he always believed in me.) When I graduated, I joined my first hard rock band and that became my whole life. We got signed, I went on tour. It was some of the most fun of my life! Back in 2010, I joined another band and met our guitar player’s girlfriend’s best friend who, ten years later, is my wife. I still love to play drums and play for my church every now and then.”
What advice would you give to emerging leaders?
“Work hard and never be too prideful to ask for help. I’m anxious to know it all, but sometimes I have to take a step back to seek the answer. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes. I am constantly learning from my own. I hate messing up, even if it’s small, but taking advice and learning from your failures makes you so much better equipped to handle the next challenge.”
“Lead by example. I want to model the standards that I’m asking my team, or whoever I’m working with. Treat people with respect. I’m only as successful as the team I’m working with. If you want to be the best you can be, it starts with treating your team with respect. Lastly, always be training. If there is something going on, let’s learn together. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’m not too big to help.”