This month, our Chief Consulting team had the pleasure of sitting down with one of our incredible team members, Leslie Gonzalez. In this candid, one-on-one interview, we discussed life, business, and career.
Where are you from?
“I am from Southern California. I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area until I was the age of 11 and then moved to Northwest Arkansas to be closer to family. It was definitely a culture shock!”
How would your parents have described you as a kid?
“I was very analytical. I carefully assessed every decision before I made it, from big things like what sport I wanted to commit to, what musical instrument I wanted to play, and what career field I wanted to dedicate to. Also over analyzing the small stuff like what toy from the toy store I wanted and how it would benefit me longer. I was very active as a young kid as well. I played soccer, basketball, and karate all at the same time in elementary. I was quiet and to myself for the most part, because I was very studious but was more outgoing and social when in sports; that’s when I shined.”
Were you in any sports or extracurriculars?
“Growing up in California I took part in karate, basketball, and soccer. Once I moved to Arkansas I focused on volleyball as my main sport and ran track in the offseason to stay in shape. For extracurriculars, I took up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, played the flute and guitar, was part of almost every club in high school and was my senior class Vice President, but dedicated most of my free time to volunteer work.”
How did that competitive environment help develop you?
“Being a part of both individual sports and team sports, it developed my competitive nature to perform the best I could and to lead and develop others to do the same. I did not settle for mediocracy in anything which is probably why I was both a top student and athlete growing up. Even till this day I strive for the best and putting my best foot forward when trying something new and developing new skills. I’m very competitive in nature. Both competitive with those around me, but mainly with myself in striving to do better than what I did before.”
Did you have any idea you would end up in this field?
“I never imagined myself being in the sales and marketing field. Since I was a little girl, I envisioned myself in the healthcare field and nothing else. I was president of my high school medical honors academy, attended nursing school, was in the public health honors society in college and when deployed, taught medical classes to soldiers and policeman. I’ve invested a lot of time to train and develop a strong skill set in healthcare. It’s surprising to those close to me and myself that I’m doing something completely different. I believe in the management training program and strongly feel this is exactly where I’m am supposed to be.”
Tell us about your college experience.
“I attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and majored in Public Health. As for extracurriculars, I was in the Army ROTC program, served as an Eta Sigma Gamma officer, worked as a math tutor and youth volleyball coach, and played sand volleyball.”
What is one life experience that you feel has shaped you?
“I joined the Arkansas Army National Guard in 2009 and shipped to training after high school graduation. I turned down my dream of playing college volleyball to be a part of something that was greater than myself. This experience humbled me, disciplined me, and made me mentally strong. This experience taught me to never quit and to give it my best in all that I do.”
What were your first thoughts when starting with the company?
“I started with the company on October 29th, 2018. My first thoughts were that I didn’t think I was going to be able to do the job well. I was shy, quiet, and have never done sales before. Starting out I honestly didn’t have the confidence to knock on someone’s door because of how antisocial I was. But I told myself after accepting the position that I was going to dedicate one year to it and won’t allow myself to quit prior to that. After getting over the nervous hump, my confidence grew, and skills naturally developed. Something unique I noticed was the support I received from my manager at chief consulting and from those visiting from other offices. It was ultimately their personalities and help that molded me to who I am now as a leader.”
How would you describe the culture at your company?
“The company culture is unlike anything I’ve experienced or seen from companies around. We work hard, but we play hard too. I enjoy getting to know everyone in the office during office nights and while training. I couldn’t ask for a better company culture.”
What is something you’ve learned through your work you didn’t know before?
“I didn’t know how to create relationships quick with coworkers and ultimately that has helped me become a better leader in general. I’ve also learned great interviewing skills because I’ve never done that before.”
How has this career changed you as a person?
“I’m not as socially awkward for one. I was once antisocial when it came to talking to strangers whereas now I can talk and network with random strangers and develop relationships with coworkers.”
What are your goals with the company?
“My ultimate goal is to have financial and time freedom. Getting promoted to manager and managing my own business will be a stepping stone in achieving that freedom. After that, then I can focus on opening several offices around the country and developing others to do the same.”
Do you have any mentors inside or outside of work?
“Inside of work I have my manager, Harrison Ruesch, Chief Consulting CEO, as my main mentor. I go to him first for everything from product knowledge to leadership mentorship, to bigger picture and how to reach my goals. I also view Wrinardo McKennedy, 45 inc CEO, and Cori Tinch, Lace Marketing Inc. CEO, as mentors. Outside of work I have several leaders in the army that I have as mentors that help develop me as a soldier and help set me up for success so I can move up in the ranks.”
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
“I enjoy mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, going to the small arms and rifle shooting ranges, or chilling on my hammock whenever I can. Once a year I enjoy white water rafting trips or skiing down the Colorado mountains. A typical Saturday afternoon is spent catching up with friends and cuddling up with my dogs.”