Punto Final! Finding Confidence Through a Life of Change

By Jomil Guerrero Managing Director Head of Global Marketing Operations New York Life

I’ve been the “new girl” countless times in my life, and while it wasn’t always easy, I ultimately came to view this as a gift that enabled me to adapt and thrive in a world of change.

Due to my parents’ careers, my siblings and I moved frequently. I was five years old when we moved from Puerto Rico, where I was born, to New York. During my childhood I attended 12 different schools between kindergarten and high school. Though it was sometimes difficult to settle in and find my place, it didn’t diminish the excitement of starting fresh in a new place—from Pennsylvania to Arkansas to Okinawa, from rural towns to big cities to sleepy suburbs.

In each move I saw opportunities to see new places, meet new people, and connect to the experience of others. My family was a support when being the outsider became stressful, and we leaned on one another for strength. In this, I learned how important it is to have people around you who build you up and appreciate your unique qualities.

Being adaptable was a necessity during my childhood, and the skills I learned as I navigated new schools and introduced myself to my new classmates became advantages later in life in my professional career. Understanding the culture of an organization or adapting to a new manager’s style weren’t as daunting. Being the only woman or the only Latina in a boardroom didn’t feel as foreign. And feeling grounded despite the accelerating pace of change in the world today has been manageable. I simply do what I did as a kid—consider it an adventure and reach out to others to join me for the ride.

When I came to New York Life in 2011, I felt I had found a place where I could be my authentic self. There’s a culture of collaboration and acceptance at the company that is unlike what I’ve experienced at other organizations. My colleagues support one another, we celebrate difference, and we value each other for our unique perspectives.

In this environment I’ve been able to grow and develop professionally, taking various leadership roles in finance, running strategic projects in our asset management division, to now being director of operations for our investments marketing division. Each move challenged me to adapt quickly and learn on the fly, and I realize today how rich and valuable my childhood experiences were in preparing me for success.

Success is very much dependent on being comfortable in your own skin. My parents always instilled a sense of pride in being Puerto Rican and the unique perspective it afforded us. To them, I am grateful. I’m also grateful that each day I get to come to a place that helps build me up and enables me to pull others up as well. Afterall, that’s what true success is.