My journey began with the transition from fascination to a mission. Fascinations drove a thirst for knowledge in science and math (in academia) and then to data processing, computers, and mutual funds (in business). Along the way, I was exposed to vice presidents in different organizations, and I decided that was what I wanted! I wanted to be a vice president that represented the intellect, knowledge, and power to make major decisions. This became my mission.
I studied the culture of vice presidents and learned what they knew and how they reasoned. I replicated how they behaved, what they read, how they spoke, and even what they wore. Within five years, I was one of them.
The path to becoming a vice president had its hurdles. The first was my own family and friends, who first scoffed at the notion. They all worked for vice presidents and had no idea that it was possible to achieve that status. They were proud of my accomplishments, but vice president seemed out of reach. This fear did not deter me.
As for race, I have always been an outsider. In Guatemala I was an outsider because my mother was from Jamaica. In Jamaica I was an outsider because I was from Guatemala. In New York I was not American. Race was secondary to these cultural hurdles. My arrogant attitude blinded me to the difficulties I faced. I wanted to be a vice president and genuinely believed that all the hurdles would be overcome if I remained focused on the mission and not on the hurdles.