A more than 25-year veteran of the financial Services industry, Mario Ramirez currently serves as the Managing Director of Executive Relations and Hispanic Markets at TIAA-CREF, the leading provider of retirement Services in the academic, medical, research, and cultural fields.
Ramirez is also a dedicated supporter of Hispanic leadership and advocate for Hispanic advancement. Here he shares some of his thoughts on the importance of the Hispanic market, corporate advancement, and diverse leadership.
Schneider: Could you share your background?
Ramirez: I was born and raised in Dallas and I am the grandson of Mexican immigrants. I attended the University of Arkansas with the intention of being an architect, but after taking some business classes, I quickly discovered that finance was my passion. I received my degree in Financial Management and began my career in the financial Services industry.
At home, I learned early in my life about the importance of setting financial goals and how important it is to trust financial institutions that secure the money you earned until you need it. My great-grandmother, Maria Luna, achieved the American dream of building a successful business and was the first Hispanic businesswoman in Dallas. She had a clear vision and a strong work ethic, but her financial awareness was self-taught and at times unconventional like the time she took a paper bag of cash to the dealership when she bought her first car. My father was the first person in his family to attend college and my mother received her degree and began her teaching career late in life. All this helped instill the importance of education in me.
I was fortunate to have an experience at the onset of my career that had a big effect on me and instilled a principle that I have carried throughout my life, and that's giving back to others. Upon accepting my first job at Merrill Lynch, I was told that one of the reasons why I was hired was because my fraternity brother, for whom I worked at the office in Little Rock during college, put in a good word for me. When I later thanked him, he said, "Don't thank me, just do the same when it's your turn."
These experiences had a profound effect on my life and serve as the background to why I feel honored to have the chance to now serve the Hispanic population here at TIAA-CREF. Outside of my job, I continue to give back to my alma mater and the community with my time and resources, and by serving on several boards....