Los Angeles – Day 3 – Q & A with Veronica Soto
Sarah Taylor, Program Coordinator, Global Ambassadors Program
Veronica Soto is a lawyer, mother, consultant, nonprofit founder and forklift expert. For the past 22 years, she has managed GID Industries, an industrial machinery company in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico. This week she added Global Ambassadors Program mentee to her list of roles.
Halfway through the program week Veronica and her mentor Claudia Herreramoro, an executive at Procter & Gamble executive, are harnessing Veronica’s passion to strengthen GID Industries. Veronica shared her learnings with us fresh off an intensive one-on-one mentoring session.
Veronica (left) with her mentor, Claudia Herreramora
How did you hear about the Global Ambassadors Program and why did you apply?
Soto: I always wanted to be a part of Vital Voices. I heard about this program after I founded my nonprofit 10,000 Women for Mexico. We partnered with WEConnect International and WEConnect told me about Vital Voices. I started to get the application together in 2013 and 2014 but did not see any results. I was so sad. This year I heard about the Global Ambassadors Program. One of my friends told me about it and I said, “No, no, they would never offer me the opportunity.” Five days until the deadline, I decided to apply to show how women can be experts in this industry to provide solutions, security, and to move a forklift.
How did you start your business?
Soto: I started in a legal consulting company and my clients were in the automotive industry. We started a new business to provide water in bottles and we needed forklifts to carry them. This business failed completely and we had to sell everything. We only kept the forklifts and started to rent them. We saw the convenience of having more forklifts so we bought two more and then three. At this moment, we have 50 forklifts.
You mentioned that you know of no other women who are in this industry. What are your customers’ reactions when they realize you know so much about machinery and forklifts?
Soto: No words. They can’t believe it. The men who hear us they say, “No, no you don’t know anything about a car and less about forklifts.” And I say, “Well, let me see.”
It’s clear you are also very passionate about your nonprofit 10,000 Women for Mexico. What are you most excited to do when you get back home?
Soto: I am so excited to tell my people that it is possible to grow together. I want to focus all my passionate at this point on GID. It is so difficult to me to leave 10,000 Women, but I will need to look at what is the best way to involve my co-founders in the NGO. It is the time to give my space to another amazing woman.
You are a mother of four college kids and involved in many areas. What have you and Claudia been working on this week?
Soto: We have been working to identify the most important challenge for me. It is clear to me that my passion is to support women, but at this moment, the most important thing is to grow and to make my business profitable. At this time, it is very important to implement a strategic plan, to build a human resources department, to involve our values in our services, and build a strong budget.
She helped me to clarify that these seven women who are my employees need my vision and empowerment so we can create more jobs for women in this industry and company, and in these kinds of services.
Finally, will you go on to mentor others?
Soto: It is one of my missions in life to be a mentor to other women. To show them the way to go like Claudia has for me. I am so thankful to her for opening her mind and heart, and listening to me.
Left to right: Allison Shapira, Zoë Dean-Smith, Veronica Soto, Caitlin McShane, Kathleen Holland, Angela Antonio
Stay connected to #GlobalAmbassadors this week:
Watch the program’s YouTube playlist.
Photography: David Hume Kennerly