Happiness is his Key to Success
Gonzalo Martinez, Facilities Coordinator, Atlanta
Gonzalo Martinez doesn’t just embody happiness and pride; he exudes it. He always has a smile on his face and is at the ready to roll up his sleeves. No job is too big or too small.
“We all have bad days, but when you come to work with kids toys it’s like we are playing all day. How can you not have fun?” Gonzalo shared about working for Kids2.
He has worked at the company for 17 years. Though, not all consecutively. It may surprise some people to know that Gonzalo is a boomerang. He left the company in 2008 before returning in 2008. Yes, that is right. He was only gone for three months. A good friend convinced him to try a new career opportunity. During the training he realized that the job wasn’t as financially stable as he had originally thought. With a wife and young children to provide for, he felt that Kids2 was the best option to support his family. So, he returned to his Kids2 job after a short hiatus with an even bigger smile on his face.
“That’s what happens when you listen to your friends,” he warns!
Gonzalo grew up in the southwest Mexican town of Oaxaca. He was 18 years-old when he came to the United States in search of better opportunities. He spent nearly two decades in California before planting roots in Georgia. He moved here in 2004 with his wife Petrona. He has three grown children - Hugo, Anthony and Diana – and is the proud grandfather of two little boys, Mateo and Leo.
He loves everything about his job at Kids2 and says his favorite part is interacting with all the different departments, including global team members who visit Atlanta. He wants team members – new and old - to know he is here to help.
“I want everyone to feel welcomed and comfortable knowing they can ask my anything. If I can’t help, I’ll direct them where to go,” he shared.
A few years ago, Gonzalo noticed how much technology was changing the way we worked and lived. It made him want to change too, especially to be prepared for any project at Kids2. Gonzalo decided to go back to school to pursue his high school equivalency (HSE) and take English-as-second language (ESL) classes to improve his language skills. For two years he attended night classes three times a week while working full-time.
“I was very nervous going back to school at my age, but I knew the sacrifice and benefits would all be worth it. Now I feel confident for any project that comes my way and I can do my part to help the company grow.”
Gonzalo graduated in 2021. His teachers asked him to be the graduation speaker. He spent a lot of time researching what he should talk about until he realized it was his story – of coming to America, going back to school and triumphing – that would be the most impactful. He missed the rehearsal and was a little shocked on graduation day to see so many people in the audience. He says his nerves got the best of him for a few seconds before he told himself he had this! He did such a great job with the speech that his teachers asked him to participate in a speech competition shortly after graduation. This time he had to memorize the speech and compete with students who spoke English as their primary language. He participated in three days of competition and made it to the finals!
Today, he is an ambassador for Technical College System of Georgia. From time to time he goes back to the school to offer encouragement to other adults pursing their HSE. He knows it can be challenging. “I want them to know that you can learn at any age.”
Outside of work, Gonzalo loves to spend his time with family, attending art and music festivals, and cycling. Prior to COVID, he would ride for hours and miles with friends and spent lots of time at festivals. He’s very glad to see so many events taking place again.
His favorite fundamental is “be proud of your work’. He is proud when he sees babies playing with our products, especially knowing he can take it apart and put it back together quickly! Another proud part of his job, doing his part to help drive the 10x10 strategy.
“I love knowing I’m going to do something to help achieve the 10x10 goal. My job makes me happy. I’m so happy every day.”
Happy indeed and a team player in every sense of the word.
Be sure to watch this video about Gonzalo produced by his college, TCSG!