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Words From the Wise: Advice from CEOs/Execs

Our first ever blog features CEOs and Executive-Level professionals sharing their words of wisdom.

 

 

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Executive: Michael Moore

Position: Chief Financial Officer

Company: U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union

How did Michael Moore go from a head banger in high school with not the best grades to the Chief Financial Officer at U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union? He still enjoys playing the guitar, but the majority of his weekdays are spent crunching numbers and reviewing budgets.

Q: How long have you worked at U.S. Eagle?

A: I have worked at U.S. Eagle for seven years. I started as a Financial Analyst in 2009.

Q: Educational background?

A: I received my Bachelors in philosophy from NMSU.  I dabbled in law school after college but ultimately ended up going in a different direction.  I also have an MBA in Finance and a Master of Accounting from UNM.

Q: So, are you an Aggies fan or a Lobos fan?

A: Aggie. I have more of a connection to State than I do to UNM. I met my wife there and I have some great friends to this day that I met there as well.

Q: What’s your favorite 90s jam?

A: “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice OR “Pull Me Under” by Dream Theater

Q: What is the one thing you would like to change about Albuquerque?

A: The dust (laughs). On a serious note, Albuquerque is a little city becoming a big city. There is a lot of unrealized potential here. We need to ensure we are doing what we can to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs, CEOs, and professionals to stay in New Mexico.

Q: What is the most valuable thing in Albuquerque for young professionals?

A: Education is really important.  Also, taking risks in your career is key. Try different things and get experience in different areas.  It’s easier to recover from possible mistakes when you are young!

Q: What types of continuing education do you recommend?

A: Depends on your career. Anything providing different perspective than your usual day-to-day activities is a great way to expand your knowledge. It will broaden your scope and prevent you from getting one-dimensional.

Q: How often do you work on updating your LinkedIn profile or resume?

A: Once per year, maybe twice or when there is a significant change.

Q: What were you like in high school?

A: I was a head banger! I had long hair and I played guitar in a rock band. I didn’t have greatest grades. I played in my band for five years after high school, and then decided to go to college at NMSU.

Q: One piece of advice you would give a young professional in New Mexico

A: The “taking risks” thing I mentioned earlier. See New Mexico for what it could be, and not always what it is.

Q: Best move you ever made to further your career.

A: Took a decent size pay cut to move to a company with more opportunity. I was able to move up quickly in that job and ended up making more money in the long run.  Ultimately I ended up leaving that job to finish my MBA full time and ended up in the Finance world so that was a great decision looking back.  Looking long term instead of short term really paid off.

Q: Favorite lunch spot in Albuquerque.

A: My Desk! I really enjoy Chama River during the week and Green Jeans on the weekend.

Q: What is your dream job?

A: Aside from being the CFO of the coolest credit union in town?  I think I would be a Studio Musician.

 

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Executive: Matthew Bernabe

Position: Owner/Operator

Company: Urban Hotdog Company

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Matthew Bernabe graduated from La Cueva high school in 2009, and went on to pursue his Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of New Mexico. En route to his degree, he got distracted by a restaurant he would someday come to own.

Q: How long have you worked at Urban Hotdog Company?

A: I worked there around 2 years before I became owner. I was hired about 2.5 months before we opened shop. I worked closely with Dave, (the originator of the concept, and owner at the time), and we fleshed out concepts and strategies. My job was intended to be front of house manager. Pretty quickly, I fell in love with the concept and the branding. I took a pay cut from my previous job which was a manager position at Chick-fil-A, to work at Urban Hotdog Company. During the opening process of UHDC, and throughout the first few months, I was putting in eighty hour weeks, and at one point I took some time off from UNM to focus just on running the store. My total amount of time I have worked here is over four years.

Q: What’s your favorite 90s jam?

A: Summer Girls by LFO (aka my summer anthem), anything by NSYNC. JT is my boy.

Q: What is the one thing you would like to change about Albuquerque?

A: My biggest concern is how people see Albuquerque. People our age especially see Albuquerque as a place few opportunities that they want to leave. They want to move away to bigger cities like Denver, etc. to further their careers. I would like to see people think of Albuquerque as a place of opportunity, stay and grow the economy and our city.

Q: What is the most valuable thing in Albuquerque for young professionals?

A: Networking is huge. Growing your network is such a valuable resource for you to succeed in whatever field you pursue.

Q: What types of continuing education do you recommend?

A: Finding a mentor. I think there are a few mentorship programs around town. Mentors have been through the fire and can lead you to success. I also listen to podcasts and audio books as often as I can.

Q: Do you have a mentor?

A: Yes, Dave is my mentor. We chat every couple of weeks and meet maybe once a month. He’s pretty busy, but we try and connect fairly often.

Q: Do you have a mentee?

A: I do in the sense of my staff are my mentees. I take a personal interest in what they do and their goals.

Q: One piece of advice you would give a young professional in New Mexico.

A: You have to be willing to put in the time. A lot of people have goals and passions, but don’t really work towards them. If you truly want to achieve something, sometimes you have to put in an 80-hour work week to make sure you are actively working towards your goals as much as possible.

Q: Best move you ever made to further your career.

A: Taking a pay cut to experience the opening of a local restaurant. I learned a lot of skills in dealing with vendors, the costs associated with opening a business, and how to make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure the success of your business. The second thing is finishing my degree at Anderson. I was able to network with peers and professors and figure out accounting processes, business strategies, and best practices.

Q: Interesting fact about you not many people know?

A: When I was 12 or 13, I got a cease and desist letter from New Line Cinema for selling Lord of The Rings memorabilia on eBay without being licensed.

Q: You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

A: I would go ahead and put some billboards on it and take it around town. Sell the advertising space.

Q: Dream job?

A:  I want to continue owning and operating restaurant and bar concepts, but at the end of wherever this takes me, I would like to start up a consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs (especially young entrepreneurs) with understanding the small things necessary to run a business, strategy, and mentorship.

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Executive: Jack Vigil

Position: President/CEO

Company: Harmonix Technologies Inc.

Jack introduced Harmonix to Albuquerque eleven years ago. Let’s find out what advice he has for young professionals in Albuquerque.

Q: Educational background?

A: I received my Bachelors in Electronics and Computer Engineering from NMSU.

Q: What is your favorite 90s jam? “Jump” by Kris Kross

Q: How long have you lived in NM?

A: 33 years

Q: What is the one thing you would like to change about Albuquerque?

A: I would like there to be more of a positive mindset. I hear a lot of people complaining and wanting to leave Albuquerque. I think you can be a champion wherever you are at, it just starts in your mind and heart.

Q: What is the most valuable thing in Albuquerque for young professionals?

A: Albuquerque is an open canvas of opportunity for you to lay your own platform. You can do whatever you want, it just depends on how much you put into it. We have a big spectrum of opportunity; there isn’t one specific industry that dominates the market.

Q: What types of continuing education do you recommend?

A: You need to know what industry you want to be in, and get the recommended certification or training necessary. Industry standard certification is what I recommend. Find the organization within your industry that is the best at what they do, and get certified to that level.

Q: How often do you work on updating your LinkedIn profile or resume?

A: Personally, I do not update my resume because I own my own firm. For a young professional, I would make sure your resume is updated whenever you have a new accomplishment. You are a walking resume; your accomplishments are your resume in my view.

Q: Do you have a mentor?

A: I have had multiple mentors that are different for each aspect of my life. I have a mentor for exercise, education, career, spirituality, etc.

Q: Do you have a mentee?

A: Yes, I mentor about eleven individuals. They reach out to me and we meet on an almost bimonthly basis.

Q: Best move you ever made to further your career?

A: Starting my own company. I prepared to make the move, made a game plan that took over a year to prepare (licensing, etc.) and took action.

Q: One piece of advice you would give to a young professional in Albuquerque?

A: Under commit and over deliver. And if someone hires you for $10 per hour, give them $12.50 worth of work.

Q: Favorite lunch spot in Albuquerque?

A: Oak Tree Cafe and Pappadeaux.

Q: Dream job?

A: I’m living it. CEO of Harmonix. Wake up every day loving this job! If I had to pick a second job it would be a life coach.