Archive for October, 2014

Dear Friends,

Several of you have asked me what my new business will be. I am starting a bank consulting practice focusing primarily on two areas: 1) Enterprise Risk Management, and 2) Creating efficiencies and integrating all areas of the bank to increase shareholder value.

More to come very soon. Stay tuned!

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Dear Friends,

These past three weeks have been very busy working on my new business. I’ve met with many people but mostly with leaders of non-profit organizations and especially Christian brothers and sisters who devote their lives to serve God by serving people. One day this week, as I was going from one meeting to the next, I said to God, “You know Lord, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Christian leaders and non-profits. Although these meetings are awesome and I feel re-energized spiritually, they are not ‘income producing’ meetings, per say.” The Lord immediately put in my heart this thought: “You are building the spiritual foundation of your business and that comes first.” Wow! I was speechless when I heard those words in my heart.

How do you build a spiritual foundation for a business? It is by associating yourself with like-minded believers who will hold you and your business up in prayer all the time with no self-interest or hidden agenda. It is by sharing your dreams with people who will be your spiritual “pillars” so you can feel supported and loved no matter how your business is doing. You build a spiritual foundation for your business when you base your business beliefs on Scripture. The two Scriptures that come to mind are:

Matthew 7:24-29 (NLT)

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

I will build my company on the Solid Foundation, which is Jesus Christ, the Rock. He will give me wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to do the right thing, to do what is right, and to do things right the first time. These are not only Biblical concepts, these are business concepts that create efficiencies throughout the organization and a strong work ethic, which in turn increases shareholder value.

The other Scripture that came to my heart is:

Romans 12: 6-11 (NLT)

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

This Scripture reminds us that God gave each one of us certain gifts and talents. When we operate within those gifts everything seems easier because we’re not going against our nature. Even though we will encounter challenges, God will be there for us to get through them but the work itself is easier when we do what we’re good at. God gives us the “ability to do certain things well.” One key to our individual success in business is to know ourselves well so we can recognize what our gifts are and utilize them in business.

I know God gave me the gift of leadership and I feel the incredible sense of responsibility when leading others. I also know God gave me the gift of teaching, which is why I train others and pass along all the knowledge I acquire through the years. Lastly, I know God gave me the gift of encouragement and I use that gift every day. Sometimes I’m not sure if what I just told someone will have an effect in their lives but I do it anyway. A word, one word of encouragement can change someone’s life when said at the right time.

I also believe strongly in working hard and effectively and I sincerely care about people. I stay away from those who are not genuine. Those who say they love you but their actions don’t reflect their words. Working hard and loving others are strong beliefs that will be foundational for my new business.

So friends, today I wanted to share with you the Scriptures and beliefs upon I will build the foundation of my new business venture. I have a ton of ideas on how to give to the community and support my brothers and sisters who are doing the “eternal” work out there, bringing the Good News of the Gospel to the world and helping people. I will do my part in the mission field that God called me to be—Corporate America.

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Dear Friends,

A couple of weeks ago I shared my immigrant story with you. The other day I was talking to my mom and she told me something that I will never forget. She said, “When you came to the U.S. you didn’t come with nothing. You came with your values, your upbringing, your morals, and most importantly, you came with your Christian faith. “My mom is right. I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said for the past week.

I was privileged to have been born to the society of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. My dad is an attorney and his dad (my grandfather) was also an attorney and author. He was the President of the Supreme Court of Nicaragua for over 25 years and authored several books. My dad is also a composer and was well known in his time (more so for his music than from practicing law). My mom comes from a large family of well-known people as well from Leon, Nicaragua. In the Nicaraguan culture and in many other Latin American countries, it is customary to use your two family last names. So my Nicaraguan maiden name is Marcia Flores Arguello. Flores is my dad’s last name and Arguello is my mom’s last name. When you say your name and two last names, people immediately recognize who you are and there is nothing to prove. In the U.S. we are all a number and most people that are well known come from money. In the U.S. it is easy to make a name for yourself if you are financially successful and it doesn’t matter as much where you came from as far as “class.”

When I came to the U.S. at the age of 19, I had graduated from high school from a private Catholic school in Dominican Republic. I had completed 3 semesters at one of the top Catholic Universities in the country and I had also completed 14 Certificates in self-study courses on computer programming from IBM school. I was the secretary to the President of the University for one year, which gave me administrative experience. I also worked with my mom as her bookeeper in the jewelry business she started in Dominican Republic. My parents sent me to San Francisco, CA at the age of 11 as an exchange student to learn English. Even though it was a traumatic experience being apart from my family during the Christmas season, I did learn the language. I came back at age 12 and continued my English studies through my school and college years so when I came here, I already knew the language.

Moving to the topic of values and morals. Even though I am now simply a non-denominational Christian, I was raised in the Catholic faith. My parents taught me to love God. They used to take my older sister and me to the Charismatic Renewal meetings that their Catholic Church held. Attending these meetings exposed me to hear the Word of God in a different way than a regular Sunday morning mass. I was hearing about deeper concepts and things of God that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I gave my life to Christ at one of those meetings and I remember one specific night, how the Holy Spirit filled me and changed my life forever. I felt the warmth of His love run through my entire body and I have never left God since that day when I was about 10 years old.

So you see, I came to the U.S. as an immigrant with the morals and Christian values that my parents instilled in me. I came with my high school diploma and some formal education plus some work experience and knowing English. It was because of the job as a bookkeeper I had with my mom’s business that I got my first job in banking as a teller. Then, because I had experience as a secretary I was able to get promoted from teller to secretary in cash management after one and one half years. God had a plan for me and He used everything I had up to that point in my life.

After the war in 1979, the communist regime took all the material possessions from my family. My father had five homes, land, a couple of cars, and his established law practice. The government took it all. But they didn’t take away our family’s values, our morals, or our faith in God. No one can take away our salvation and our faith in Jesus Christ. That goes with us everywhere we go.

Today, I encourage you to think about all the things that you have that are not material, the things that no one can take away, the things that are eternal. Focus on what has eternal value and make the most of it. Thank you mom for reminding me of where I came from. You are right. I didn’t come here with nothing.

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Dear Friends,

“The End of this Road” –that is the title of the last chapter I wrote to finish my second book titled Your Gifts. Your Calling. How to Connect the Two.

September 30th, 2014 was the last day at my job at the bank I help start 10 years ago. September 7, 2004, my ex-boss and I decided to start a bank. It was his dream and I was purposed to help him fulfill his dream—that was my mission. I told him, “I’m ready to go back to banking but this time I want to be the CFO and learn to run a bank as a business.” He said, “Deal.” I had been in banking for thirteen years when I decided to leave and moved to the non-profit arena in the technology field as the Y2K Project Manager for a church. I changed careers and industries! I did that mainly for family reasons because I wanted to spend more time with my kids.

Ten years have gone by and now it was time to make the next move again. I told the staff when I announced it at the staff meeting, “My kids at home grew up and my kids at work grew up. I hired the right people. I fired the right people. I built teams. I trained you all. I promoted you several times and helped you get where you are now as leaders of your own departments. All my ducks are in a row. I leave you with a well-oiled machine. My mission here is complete.” I was the first employee of this bank and created the infrastructure of the bank but I didn’t do it alone. I never work alone. I did it with a great team of people and with God’s grace and wisdom. It took 9 months to start the bank back in 2005 and it grew from zero to $300 million in assets in the past 9 years and 3 months. It’s a successful bank.

I was reminiscing yesterday on these past 10 years and realized that so much has happened in my life. My husband and I finished raising our two kids. They graduated from high school. They graduated from college. Our daughter just got married this past July. I finished my college degree in 2011 and graduated from the Graduate School of Banking this past August. My husband and I also started two businesses. One was closed and one got merged with the company he currently works with. I wrote and published my first book while starting the bank… Wow! No wonder I was feeling a little exhausted. Those who know me know that I don’t even drink caffeine because I don’t need it as a source of energy. But after looking back, I realized maybe I needed to stop, take a rest, and start the next chapter in my life.

So now, here I am. The Lord is clearly directing my steps to start a bank consulting practice and also to pursue my public speaking career. I will also finish my second book and hope to finally publish it next year. I will continue serving on both non-profit and for-profit Boards and will help non-profits in any way I can. You see, I am purposed to pursue my dreams—ALL of them!

I live with an awareness and sense of urgency because I simply don’t know how much time I have in this life. The time period that we’re here on earth is so short and I feel the responsibility to use all my gifts and talents to help others be successful. I want to love on people and make them feel important. I want to encourage people every day and inspire those who I come in contact with. Right now, at this time in my life, I have an opportunity to pursue my dreams. God is opening new doors that were not there for me before. I just needed to take the step of faith and jump. The thing is, no one has told me that I’m crazy for doing this. People believe in me. All the seeds of encouragement I have planted in others through the years are coming back to me multiplied. People want to help me and want me to succeed. Wow! I’m overwhelmed with the support I have received from all my friends, family and colleagues. Thank you!

My family, of course, has given me unconditional love and support. They believe in me, pray for me, and love me just the way I am, with my faults and weaknesses. They don’t care what titles I hold or who I am in the business community. They know me from the start and they love me just as I am. Thank you!

I will be busy starting the business but those of you who know me also know that I do stay in touch. I take the time to nurture my relationships because each person that God puts in my path is a treasure to me. Each friend that I make is a gift from heaven. I can never have enough friends!

Let my new adventure begin!

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