This week’s Latina Spotlight is on Ariele Gonzalez, Vice President of Business Development at DashLocker. Ariele sits down with New Latina to discuss her new role at DashLocker, her professional goals and how being Latina has impacted her personal and professional outlook.
Congratulations on becoming DashLocker‘s new VP of Business Development! Tell me, how did you end up at DashLocker?
I was working at the Custom Content Council, a publishing association, for four and a half years. I was lucky enough to be promoted to director in a relatively short time, which was really great. But I wanted to go somewhere that had more spunk, I guess. I was looking for something intuitive. So, I thought, why not a start-up? I actually got involved with DashLocker through a contact, and I don’t know, I thought the idea was just ingenious!
My role at DashLocker is getting the actual locker system into apartment buildings. With DashLocker, people literally don’t need to leave their apartment to do dry-cleaning. We love to say, “Imagine that it’s 2 degrees outside, and you really need to get your suit or dress dry-cleaned. You don’t have to go outside! You could just go downstairs in your robe and slippers and drop off your laundry and pick it up a day later.” It’s such a cool idea, and that’s why I was so attracted to DashLocker. I think it’s really going to be big. I’m driven by success. It’s a good idea and I’m happy that I’m a part of it.
What has been your biggest professional accomplishment, so far?
I’m driven by wanting to be a part of something that I enjoy and that is going to be successful. I feel that landing this job at DashLocker is going to that for me. It’s a huge accomplishment. It’s a start-up now, but I think that it’s going to build quickly. I can’t wait to be a part of that.
Also, I was beyond thrilled to have been promoted to director from associate at my old job after only six-to- eight months of working there. Just to have had that recognition was incredible.
You mentioned that you’re driven by success? What else drives you?
I’m especially driven by my sisters. They’re young–fifteen and sixteen years old–so they are definitely young minds ready to be molded. I want to show them that you can literally do anything that you want to do, and be successful doing it. I want to do good by them. I want to show them that there’s a lot to be done in this world.
What has been your biggest professional hurdle?
I’ve always liked to be challenged, and that’s exactly how I’m feeling at DashLocker–challenged. I think that at my old job I hit a point where I wasn’t feeling challenged any more. I felt like things were just standing still. It became very stressful and it was a hard environment for me to be a part of. When you’ve worked somewhere for four years it’s so easy to become complacent. Anybody looking to start a new job knows that there are a lot of nerves involved, and that it can be very scary to move on. So that’s something that I’ve overcome. I said to myself, “You’re not going to get anywhere if you stay here. You need to leave. You need to find something that you love.”
How has being a Latina impacted your career?
I come from a mixed background. My mother is of Jewish descent and my father is Ecuadorian. My father came here from Ecuador when he was eleven years old. My dad’s first job was as a pizza boy and as soon as he made some money he was like, “Wow, I love this! I want to stay here and make more of this.” Eventually, he was able to build a company of his own. That’s just hugely inspiring to me.
I grew up in Queens, where I was never made to feel like a minority. I felt very much a part of my community and high school because a lot of the other kids were Hispanic. But once I arrived at Bowdoin College [in Maine] I felt like such an outsider. That’s when I started feeling uncomfortable with who I was for a little while. I had this feeling that having the last name Gonzalez sort of put me behind other people. I think it was probably a year into school when I finally was like, “It doesn’t matter what other people think. You are who you are. You’re going to be successful!”
My culture and background makes me a stronger person. I just want to prove everyone wrong.
What would be your advice to young students/professionals, young women pursuing business?
Always be confident. Always be confident in your abilities, always be confident in your decisions, always be confident in who you are as a person. You don’t need to change yourself in order to get the next business deal or form the next relationship. People are going to love and respect you for who you are.
What’s your next big goal?
Making DashLocker the most successful company in the world! My goal is to be on the cover of Forbes!