State Farm’s Robert Garza recently participated in UWGLA’s Loaned Executive Program, doing his part to advance the organization’s core mission of Creating Pathways Out of Poverty for all Angelenos. Below, he discusses what this unique experience means to him.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to participate in United Way’s Loaned Executive program.
I graduated with a business degree from CSUN in 2004 and I’ve worked at State Farm Insurance for the past nine years. My current job in the claims department is fast-paced and demanding but also offers useful “real-world” knowledge. My manager approached me about taking part in the LE program and I jumped at the chance to learn more about United Way of Greater L.A. and to help out in any way that I could.
Describe a typical workday at United Way.
My responsibilities included everything from stuffing envelopes to giving presentations about the organization at local businesses. But the biggest challenge, by far, was preparing and delivering speeches in front of other people. As nerve-wracking as that was, I’m glad I had the opportunity to brush up on my public speaking skills!
What was your most memorable or rewarding experience as a Loaned Executive?
My favorite part was getting to know the staff here. It’s a diverse group of people who each have something special to bring to the table. Everyone seemed excited to come into work each day, which isn’t typical of most companies. It was also great to see the other LEs diving into something new with such excitement and passion.
What would you say to someone who’s interested in becoming a Loaned Executive?
Go for it! Being an LE will challenge you to step out of your comfort zone.
United Way is working hard to improve the overall quality of life in L.A. County with the help of its community heroes. If you were a real superhero, what would your superpower be?
To show people how to be more compassionate; I think both our community and our world would be a better place if everyone cared for one another as if we were all a part of the same family. Too often, we see others in need and just walk right by - but to give someone the ability to really care for others would be extremely powerful.
*For more info on the Loaned Executive Program, please click here.