Spotlight on Inspiration - Carlos Martinez, CEO/Executive Director of BRIDGES
We're highlighting leaders across the region in the series. If you have someone to recommend, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you get to be in the job you have now?
I've been working at BRIDGES for over 12 years with several roles and capacities. One of the roles I had was managing the agency's largest program, while in another role I had created I managed new businesses the agency opened to provide opportunities for people with disabilities seeking meaningful employment. When the role of the CEO/Executive Director opened up in 2018, I moved forward and applied. After many rounds of interviews, I was given the news that I was hired for the job. I never felt more supported and empowered all while understanding that the right thing was done as far as the interview process. I have now been in the role of CEO for over 4 years and it has been an amazing journey with an amazing team!
What career did you think you would have when you were in high school?
An Architect! As an avid artist I knew I wanted to go into designing and layout out future spaces. Little did I know the career I would go into would have more purpose and a design for me.
What was the best advice you ever received?
Listen first, Speak Last - The words from Simon Sinek were words I have been and continue to train myself to live by. You really see the fruits of it almost immediately, but it takes a large level of patience to follow through to the end and to be intentional about listening to someone the whole way through and not coming up with your own idea before considering their entire argument.
What piece of advice would you give to college seniors?
Listen first, speak last! They are words to live by and they are words that among other things, will help us become wiser.
Do you have a particular charity you support? And why?
BRIDGES! Our work involves empowering people with disabilities to live and to lead a life of independence. Where there may be barriers in place, BRIDGES advocates to remove them, whether they are social or attitudinal.
Do you have a personal goal for 2023?
I don't necessarily have one goal, but I do have a baby on the way, my third child, a son. I am very much looking forward to meeting him and doing my best to support my wife and my 11 and 7-year-old during this adjustment. (Editor’s note, Carlos’ beautiful baby boy Caden was born in mid-January.)
Do you feel you have a good work/life balance? If so, why or how did you achieve that?
I don't know if there is ever a "good" work/life balance because to me it’s relative to each individual. I think the goal is to do the best you can at each one without one over-reaching or negatively impacting the other. Sometimes, they're intertwined and even then, that goal still applies. I am still developing this and I think it will always take time and adjustment to new challenges but you are always developing.
When you feel stuck, how do you recharge yourself or get inspired?
Recently...golf. I know it's weird, that this guy from the South Bronx all of a sudden loves golf. But it has been that tool for me to recharge and come up with ideas and have conversations that lead to new things! I am nowhere near good at it, but I enjoy it very much!
Do you have a hobby?
See the previous answer :-)
Do you have a habit you wish you could break?
My eating habits are not that great. When you are busy, on the go and moving or not moving at all depending on the vacation or time off, eating is and can be my biggest weakness. If I can develop healthier eating habits, I know I will feel more energized and more alert.
Name one thing you are working towards in 2023?
For the organization: it is to revolutionize how people build homes! Universally Designed houses should be the new standard not a wish. For myself: It’s really just getting to know my new child and excited to see him grow.
What one thing would you try (or do) if you weren’t afraid?
If money wasn’t a concern, what would you be doing right now?
Probably investing in and developing real estate properties. I am very much into real estate and learning about how places are built and designed.
Name one or two of your favorite movies.
Favorite movie: 300 and Gladiator
Name one or two of your favorite books.
Start With Why by Simon Sinek - It's an important reminder to remember why you do the thing/job/career you do. Starting with Why puts you in the driver's seat at any job, to own it, making it your own and to give the client, consumer, patient etc. the experience that will leave them walking away with empowerment!
What do you want your legacy to be? Or how do you want to be remembered?
This is still a question I am discovering. I think we all want to be people who are remembered for making a difference and I agree with that very much. But personally, I am exploring what more specific in my purpose I'd like to be remembered by.