Fri, May 7, 2021 04:37 PM
In recognition of Mother’s Day, Greenbrier is proud to feature a mother-daughter team, Maribel and Kyla Boswell.
Maribel moved from Colombia to the United States in the 1990s to take English classes at Clackamas Community College with the intention to move back home after her studies. It was there that she met her soon-to-be husband and Kyla’s future father. Maribel began working at Gunderson in 2012. She started as an Accounting Specialist and after two years, she was promoted to AP Coordinator and Lead. Currently, she works for the IT department at the corporate headquarters.
Maribel’s daughter, Kyla, started working for Greenbrier Management Services (GMS) in a Customer Experience Support role approximately 1.5 years ago after graduating from the University of Oregon.
We asked Maribel and Kyla a variety of questions about life as a multicultural family as well as their experience at Greenbrier over the years. Read their answers below:
Tell us “your story.” How has your journey made you who you are today?
Maribel: I was born in Bogota, Colombia. My father died when I was six, but despite that, my mother was able to raise me and my two brothers through hard work and being frugal. She has been my example of hard work, but also of staying humble and positive. Despite the struggles, we made the best of things. We became creative problem solvers through attention to detail, developing strong relationships with people and learning everything possible in an area where we work.
I came to the United States to study English in the early 1990’s with the intention of going back to my country and going to college. While at Clackamas Community College, I met my husband and six months later, we got married. He also lost his father when he was six. I was lucky because he is from a multicultural family and speaks native Spanish, which helped me adapt to living in the United States.
As young, married students, we both held jobs. My first job in Oregon was as a hostess at a Mexican restaurant, then I landed an opportunity as Accounting Clerk at Mail-Well envelopes manufacturer, Because of my Spanish, I was constantly asked to support the shipping, sales and marketing departments when communicating with vendors in Latin America. Here, I learned the value of establishing relationships with the various departments in a company, because accounting requires information from all departments. Prior to Greenbrier, I worked for Michaels of Oregon for about six years before they were bought out and relocated, it was a great company and I enjoyed it. After Michaels, I completed my associate degree in marketing management.
I was considering obtaining my bachelor’s when the opportunity to work at Gunderson opened. I brought the lessons I learned in my previous jobs and quickly established excellent working relationships with many people across departments. I knew how much interdepartmental work was required in accounting positions. I strived to provide assistance to my colleagues quickly and to the best of my abilities. I believe this mindset is the secret to my success.
Kyla: Growing up in a multicultural family is a unique experience that comes with its own hardships. It was through these hardships that I learned many values that have stuck with me to this day. My mother came to this country from Colombia with few resources and barely spoke English. My father lived in Costa Rica since he was 10 years old and moved back to United States in his mid-twenties with no real support system. Seeing my parents start with so little, then comparing to where they are now in their careers is truly inspiring. It is by their example that I have become the employee that I am today. Not only did they stress that working hard was important, but they also emphasized working smart and finding ways to improve processes so that everyone benefits from them – not only you. These were values I carried into college and adulthood. I went to the University of Oregon, majoring in cultural anthropology and minoring in music. During my time there, I learned the values of trust and self-honesty. I learned to trust my ability and intelligence, but I also learned to be honest with myself and know when to ask for help… I tend to think I am a superwoman sometimes.
Once I completed my degree, I spent some time traveling Europe. It was through these travels that I learned how to problem solve quickly in stressful situations. When I returned home, I worked at a small nonprofit. I started working at Greenbrier in December of 2019. In this last year and a half, I can honestly say I have seen myself grow in all aspects of life. I couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of a company that cares not only about the company’s growth, but the development of each individual employee. I look forward to seeing what the next several years have in store.
Kyla: What about your mom’s time at Greenbrier made you want to join the team?
One of the biggest things that stood out to me about Greenbrier is their focus on growth, primarily with their employees. Seeing my mom grow into the position she is in today has been inspiring and displays Greenbrier’s commitment to creating a career rather than providing jobs. My mom deserves recognition for her talents and hard work and Greenbrier truly pays attention. When I saw the opportunity to apply, I jumped because I knew I could learn and grow in this company.
Maribel: What kind of advice did you give Kyla before joining the workforce after graduating from college?
The advice I gave to her is never stop learning and work hard. If you want people to respect you, you need to respect people, their time and their needs.
What do you value in a place of work? How has sticking to your values made you successful, even when things get difficult?
Maribel: I value honesty in communication, behavior and action. I value when opportunities are available for people who strive to grow. I value when people’s work is measured by their efforts and outcomes, not labels.
Kyla: I value a strong team. A strong team to me is a group of individuals that work together to help each other succeed. Components of that would be good work ethic, trust, honesty and accountability. I am thankful to be on a team that possess those qualities and more. Sticking to my values has worked in my favor. Most of my values help prevent issues and delays; however, when these do occur my value of honesty is key. Being honest with your team allows for effective problem solving that you may not have done on your own.
What do you enjoy about working at the same place as your mom/daughter?
Maribel: I enjoy seeing my daughter’s professional growth and success, and understanding what she does and how she does it. We taught her to work hard, work smart and to not limit herself to her immediate goals. Instead, we taught her to challenge herself, expand her understanding of the company, be confident and recognize how important her colleagues are. I am proud to see Kyla apply what my husband and I have taught to her.
Kyla: Something I really enjoyed pre-COVID was getting lunch with my mom almost every day. I no longer live with my family so to have that half-hour with her was really special. I also loved meeting other coworkers through my mom that I wouldn’t normally interact with due to the lack of overlap with our work.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned about working?
Maribel: The biggest lesson I have learned is always to treat people well even if they are inside customers. Believe in yourself and have self-confidence in what I do. Growing up with brothers helped me to not feel intimidated working in a primarily male industry.
Kyla: The biggest lesson I’ve learned about working is knowing your self-worth and always advocate for yourself. As a woman in a heavily male industry, confidence is key in anything you do. For me, this is when trusting myself and knowing my self-worth comes into play because that’s the fire that drives the confidence everyone else sees. It is also important to highlight that as a Latina there are some cultural factors that come into play. I am a proud Latina that, like my fellow Latinx, takes pride in my work ethic. Historically, Latinx individuals have set aside advocating for themselves in order to have job security. This ingrained belief is also something I have battled in myself. Though I have seen this generation of Latinx begin to feel empowered to break this notion, we are still battling. I do hope to see a future where this is no longer an issue, but for now Pa’lante, a Spanish affirmation meaning “forward!”