At Credera, we believe we’re truly better together. The Roster is a monthly series that allows you to get to know leaders at all levels across the firm. This month, Mario Borja, Marisa Steele, and Michael Grube share some insight into their personal and professional lives.
Favorite Sports Team: I’m a big Dallas Cowboys fan and was born into a family of rabid Dallas Cowboys fans. I remember my grandfather having a 1980's Ford F150 custom Dallas Cowboys edition. My father and all my uncles on both my mom and dad’s side of the family along with all my cousins support the team. I have many fond memories over the years that include big family gatherings, going to the game at the old Texas Stadium, and frequently organizing tailgate parties. Those were all such great times. I’m equally a big Texas Ranger fan and got to witness Nolan Ryan’s 5,000 strikeout game when I was maybe 10 years old…and still have the ticket stubs to that game!
Hobbies Outside of Work: I am big into the outdoors and try to set time every year to get outside and enjoy mother nature. I am into hiking/climbing 14ers (this is a term used to describe a mountain that reaches at least 14,000 feet in elevation) and have climbed several in Colorado and California. This year I didn’t get to climb any new 14ers but got an opportunity to hike through 3 major national parks, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches national parks. All were amazing experiences. I hope to someday visit Patagonia in the southern part of South America and climb Torres del Paine.
Best Concert Experience: I’m a big music fan and have been to my fair share of concerts, but my most memorable was when I got to experience a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. I saw the band Incubus, which isn’t a super well-known band but for those that enjoy late 90’s alternative rock….this was epic! The show was awesome, but the venue made it even more memorable, plus the shenanigans that ensued trying to find our car after the concert. This place is in the middle of nowhere, on top of a freaking mountain, and pitch black at night, so yeah it was challenging to say the least.
Favorite Thing About Working at Credera: The people and the culture without a doubt. That’s an easy one. The people here are down-to-earth, motivating, and super smart. It’s like that saying goes, surround yourself with people that inspire you. Working here pretty much checks that box because everyone here at Credera enables you to be a better you.
Favorite Credera Memory: My first year at Credera, which was also the last time we had a company trip, but that trip was epic! First off, we were in beautiful Southern California, Laguna Beach and several Crederians including me decided to rent exotic sports cars (that is a whole other story in and of itself). Avoiding an obvious Farkle trap that was disguised as a prize (I feel bad for the first-year consultant I gave my “prize” to). Also, the major weather that caused the trip to be postponed and leave half the company stuck in California was a hilarious turn of events. The most meaningful part though was being able to connect with so many fellow Crederians on a personal level, let loose, and enjoy such a memorable time together.
My Role Model: My uncle Lou (Lucio Barajas). He is my mom’s older brother and the first in our family to attend a major university. He received a full scholarship to the University of Texas, graduated with honors, and became a literal rocket scientist. He worked for TI and Raytheon, designing rocket and missile defense systems. He’s also the person who got me into mountain climbing and has climbed all 57 14ers in Colorado and then some. He’s an awesome dude and enjoys craft beer as much as I do!
Favorite TV Show: The one TV show that will always make me laugh and is a total classic is Friends! I own all the seasons and periodically will go back and watch old episodes. It has truly stood the test of time and has the perfect level of humor.
Hobbies Outside of Work: I’ve recently gotten into pickleball and I am loving it! My husband and I play often with our friends or families and it is a fun opportunity to spend time with people and also get a great workout!
Favorite Vacation Story: One of the most beautiful places I have visited is the Algarve region in southern Portugal. There are incredible cliffs overlooking gorgeous blue-green waters and it is truly breathtaking! I took a month off of work to travel before starting at Credera, and this is one of the places I got to visit. I would love to travel there again!
Best Advice You’ve Ever Received: Some really good work-related advice my dad gave me is, “The work you do is not nearly as important as the people you work with.” I have really found that to be true in my experience, and the people at Credera are truly the best! While I do believe the work we do is important, the people around you make the biggest difference in your experience at work, and you have an opportunity to make a great impact on them. Positive team dynamics help create more energy and productivity on the team, and relationships are critical to establishing trust with clients. I want to leave every team better than I found it, and I know I am better because of the great people I have worked with.
Favorite Employee Resource Group at Credera: I love being part of Credera Community Impact (CCI), which was launched this year. Our team focuses on how to make a great impact not only on our clients and our people at Credera, but also in the communities that we live and work in. We help drive the thought and strategy behind this at the corporate level and execute it at the local level. Service and impact on the community are really important to me, and I love seeing Credera put a lot of thought and effort into how we do this strategically so we can make the greatest impact on organizations that align with our values and what we are about.
How You Avoid Work-From-Home Burnout: It has been really helpful for me to block my lunch hour and go for a short walk or run to break up my day where possible. It’s nice to give my eyes a break from the screen and get some fresh air and sunshine (if the Houston weather chooses to cooperate)! It’s not possible for me to do this every day, but I find that it gives me a substantial energy boost when I am able to.
Favorite Sports Team: Unfortunately, my favorite sports team is the eternally cursed Detroit Lions. Despite them inventing new, heartbreaking ways to lose games, here’s to hoping they find a way to buck history and find some winning ways soon!
Favorite Book: My favorite book is usually the last one I read, which would be The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s an older science fiction novel, but many of the themes feel just as relevant today as they did when it was written in 1959, would definitely recommend it for any fan of the genre.
Best Advice You’ve Ever Received: One time when I had a lot going on in my life and was feeling overwhelmed, my career coach/mentor, Ashley Alston, gave me some advice in the form of a metaphor. She told me that life is a juggling act, but some of the balls are made of glass and some of rubber. And when feeling overwhelmed it's important to remember that work, while important, is one of the rubber balls that you can take some time to step away from at times to keep the truly important things in your life afloat, like the health and well-being of yourself and those around you.
Favorite Employee Resource Group at Credera: I’ve been involved with Open Pride Credera since its genesis which has been so rewarding. Being a part of a group that helps celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and highlight important issues both within the company and through community involvement has been really special. One event that has stuck with me was Transgender Day of Remembrance, when I helped host with Kim Warren of the Credera UK office. We discussed the documentary Disclosure, which is focused on transgender representation in media and can be found on Netflix, and honored the lives lost to anti-trans violence in the past year.
Personal Values: I believe in leaving wherever you go better than when you found it. Whether that be picking up trash you see in a park or helping a person in need with food or supplies. I consider myself very lucky to work at Credera where I’ve always been put in a position to be a part of projects that leave the people and clients I work within a better position than when I arrived.
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