March 27, 2015
Work Hard and Strive for Excellence
By: Aubrey Lim
This week’s Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Program meeting started off with scrumptious chicken masala from The Elephant Lounge in Clovis. Thank you, Kelsey Gallagher, for introducing us to this local find! Sharing his entrepreneurial journey this week was Khon Bunsy: first-generation American, DJ, father, and owner of a growing skateboard business. For Khon, “the dream is to become a billionaire philanthropist.” At the end, Khon left us with a simple equation he learned from top entrepreneur EJ Carrion: Passion + Action= Satisfaction.
The mentor guest this week was Roe Garcia, president and founder of Polestar General, Inc. At first glance she seems an unlikely entrepreneur— until you hear her story. Ms. Garcia graduated from Fresno State with a degree in industrial technology and an emphasis in construction management. After some 30 years working her way up in the construction business, Ms. Garcia shares a unique insight on becoming a top player in a male-dominated industry through hard-work and unwavering vision.
Ms. Garcia chose to name her company Polestar General because it recalls the guiding North Star. Throughout her story, Ms. Garcia shared the principles that have guided her as a successful person and entrepreneur.
Ms. Garcia was born in the town of Parlier. Most of the 2000 inhabitants, like her father, were farm workers. Strangely enough, her passion for construction came while watching an episode of The Brady Bunch, in which Mike Brady is contracted to make a building shaped like a lipstick holder. In that moment, Ms. Garcia thought, “Wow, so there’s something else that you can do that’s interesting.” “It ignited a flame in me”, she said.
From that point on, Ms. Garcia never let go of the dream. At the time, however, the only job in construction for a woman was as the receptionist. Instead of snubbing the position, she took it, and turned the industry’s negative perception into a positive opportunity. From her position as receptionist she soon gained responsibility and credibility within her company. Looking back on this experience Ms. Garcia was emphatic, “don’t ever feel like a job is beneath you.” If you are serious about achieving your dreams, don’t let pride get in the way.
Something that many of us worry about is finding that “perfect job”— the one that fits all our criteria. However, Ms Garcia impressed upon the group not to be afraid to take a job that isn’t ideal, and to be willing to work hard regardless, adding “you don’t know who you’ll meet or what experience you’ll gain on the way.”
When Ms. Garcia spoke of “sowing and reaping”, she encouraged the group to put in the time to earn the reward, without falling for get-rich-quick schemes. Her second point was to be careful of how we “sow”, and she shared the example of how dishonest business practices will result in problems. On the flip side, she pointed out that “sowing” good relationships can result in our “reaping” more than we sowed when those who we have treated well end up helping us.
Roe Garcia is one who lives out her passions guided by her principles. As an entrepreneur, she encouraged the group by sharing how she did whatever it took to achieve her dreams by working hard and striving for excellence. However, she used her last axiom, “a generous man prospers” to remind us that caring for others is often the focus of the personally successful entrepreneur. Ms. Garcia personally lives out this axiom through her involvement in the Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Program. It was a pleasure to hear from an entrepreneur who models incredible self-belief, work ethic, and humility.