Career Insights from the Past 20 years: Journey from South Valley to Silicon Valley
Since my graduation from the Anderson School of Management back in December 1996, I’ve had a chance to reflect on my diverse career path over the past 20+ years. As with any experienced professional out there in the industry, everyone has ‘nuggets of wisdom’ to share that will hopefully resonate and help guide you towards good decisions in your personal journey.
I was born and raised in Albuquerque, grew up in the South Valley, and attended UNM with an unwavering focus on attaining my management degree and exploring the world with whatever career path I would create for myself. Along that path, I’ve lived in Houston, London, and now the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. I’ve worked across numerous industry verticals including: U.S. government (Air Force & NASA), oil/gas (Shell), tech - hardware/services (Hewlett-Packard), retail (Gap), tech – software (Adobe). Along this journey, I’ve learned a great deal from navigating these large and complex corporate environments and traveling around the globe.
All that said, here are some words of advice from a ‘seasoned’ fellow Lobo:
Network, Network, Network
I can’t stress how important it is to learn the power of networking early in your career. You need to build your brand with your immediate team, within the company, and at various industry events, conferences, and socials. If you can navigate this well, you’ll have the opportunity to make great connections with both internal management and industry colleagues that’ll open doors with exciting opportunities.
Work Hard…Play Hard
I learned the value of hard work early on from my family. When you work hard, focus your efforts on that next goal, and finally achieve it, you learn that anything is within reach and ‘the sky’s the limit.’ Balancing this is the importance of having fun as well to avoid burning out. By rewarding yourself with the ability to do the things you enjoy outside of work, you’ll stay motivated to work hard and achieve bigger/better outcomes.
Never stop learning new skills, theory, and real-world application. You can pursue additional degrees, professional certifications, soft skill training courses and remember to take advantage of any employer-offered training funding.
Net/net: you don’t want to find yourself as expendable because you have a limited offering. Always stay relevant, be mindful of industry trends, and continuously invest in yourself.
Give Back When You Can
I’ve had the honor to volunteer and serve many organizations in several different capacities (board memberships, recruiting, mentoring, teaching, building, etc.). Find your passion with what you can share and give back to others that can benefit from your insights and abilities. Volunteering takes time, but it’s an investment where we all win when we help each other to succeed and grow.
Never Become Complacent
I learned this mid-career and wish I would’ve realized it sooner. In a large company, you’ll have the opportunity to move around and tackle many different jobs if you so choose. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I’ve also learned that you have much larger opportunities to grow with expanded roles and sometimes better compensations when you take that leap from what’s comfortable and move to new challenges in different companies and geographies.
I know it sounds cliché, but there’s a reason why people say, “Don’t be afraid of change.” You truly need to embrace it…and the sooner the better.
While at Anderson, I focused on marketing and international management. I knew that experiencing the world would be extremely important in shaping my views and learnings of different cultures. Since then, I’ve had the chance to travel the globe and learn the cultural richness this world has to offer.
Remember to always be open-minded and respectful when meeting new people, trying new foods, and learning traditions and ways of doing business in other areas.
Whether you’re just graduating or years into your career, these ‘nuggets’ have guided me to be a good corporate and global citizen, and proud UNM alumnus. Good luck…work hard…and have fun!
Antonio Humphreys is a strategic sourcing and marketing expert with 20 years’ professional experience in global sourcing and negotiations, marketing and advertising management, sales consulting, and business planning across multiple industry verticals and geographies (including NASA, Shell Oil, Hewlett-Packard, Gap Inc., and Adobe Systems Inc.).
He is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico and has lived in Houston, Texas and London, England. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and works in ‘Silicon Valley’.
Antonio earned his Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of New Mexico and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Houston. He has served on a board of director capacity for Habitat for Humanity, Sourcing Industry Group University, Association of National Advertisers Mentor Chair and UNM Anderson School Alumni Council. He was also a management adjunct professor at Lone Star College and served as Chairman for their Business Advisory Board.
His passions include travel, hiking, teaching, and U.S. soccer.