“I know what it feels like to start over from scratch,” Vicente Garcia says. While his decision to immigrate to the U.S. with his wife and son 21 years ago meant the promise of a better life, it also required walking away from all that they
had built in Venezuela, including his career as a project manager at a large electric company.
In America, he didn’t immediately qualify for such roles. “I valet parked, worked in a sandwich shop and made copies at the university — whatever I could to try to make money,” Vicente says. “That was just something I had
to go through to build my career back up.”
He did that quickly: Vicente completed his MBA at the University of Dallas in 2004 and has spent nearly two decades since working his way up the corporate ranks at some of America’s largest companies. He’s now a Senior Manager for Global Net
Revenue at PepsiCo, exploring how technologies like AI can help Frito-Lay set pricing and promotion strategies.
Now, he says, it’s time to give back. He does that as the Community Plank Lead for Adelante, the PepsiCo Employee Resource Group that supports Hispanic associates. “I feel very fortunate and blessed to be where I am, but in my mind, that’s
not enough,” Vicente explains.
I feel very fortunate and blessed to be where I am, but in my mind, that’s not enough.
This summer, Vicente partnered with The Storehouse of Collin County, a nonprofit in Plano, Texas, to lead a career workshop. Along with 14 other Adelante members, he spent a Saturday offering resume-writing tips, interview skills and job coaching to immigrants
and other members of the Hispanic community. “These are things that may seem simple to us, having worked in corporate America for so many years,” Vicente says. “But imagine someone who is new to this country? Many of them were struggling.
They were very eager to learn.”
Vicente asked each attendee to share where they came from and what they hoped to achieve. Then, he and his colleagues shared their own stories. “It was amazing to have the opportunity to connect with them,” Vicente says. “Everyone had
a different background, but similar experiences. I could see myself in them.” He hoped that by describing their journeys, the PepsiCo team showed attendees how many different career pathways there are.
Vicente and his PepsiCo colleagues during the career workshop at The Storehouse of Collin County.
“It’s unbelievable how powerful it is to have someone who understands your struggles take the time to listen and offer advice,” Vicente says. He has never forgotten his early days in the U.S. and sees others in his community facing similar
challenges every day. “There are people who don’t have food, who don’t have shelter, who are trying to find jobs. Working together to leave a positive impact for them is how we act with integrity.”
Vicente wants Adelante’s impact on the Hispanic community in Texas to be long-lasting. After the event at The Storehouse, he connected each attendee with a PepsiCo mentor. Plans for another workshop are already underway. He wants to support the
next generation of jobseekers, too — to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Vicente planned a volunteer event to benefit a nonprofit organization that offers application assistance and financial aid to aspiring Hispanic college students.
“As an immigrant, I feel blessed to be working for a Fortune 50 company,” Vicente says. “Getting here is not easy. But I want to do my part to help other people see that, hey, it is possible. I came from where you are. I made it. You