Habib Isaac is a Renewal Manager at Blue Yonder. Based in Monterrey, Mexico, Habib gives us a peek inside his career journey along with lessons learned after his team was moved entirely remote due to COVID-19. Habib also shares valuable advice for individuals just starting their career journey for the best way to learn and navigate their career with zero experience.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in a small, rural town in Mexico about a 90-minute drive from the U.S. border. After that, I lived in Texas for a few years and then I moved to Monterrey for high school and college where I got my Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering. I’ve been living in Monterrey for 15 years now. Most of my friends and family are locals from Monterrey and I currently live with my fiancé, our daughter, and her two cats.
What are three key words you would use to describe yourself?
Analytical, driven and reliable.
What was your first job at Blue Yonder? How did your career progress from there?
My first role at Blue Yonder was as a renewal specialist. I joined in the summer of 2017 and I performed that role for almost two years. About a week before my second anniversary in that role, I was promoted to lead the renewals team out of the Monterrey office – a role I’ve had since July 2019. My career has progressed from being an individual contributor to learning to lead and gaining experience managing and mentoring a team. It’s my responsibility to ensure they fulfill their potential through progress and results.
What did you find most challenging about transitioning into a leadership role?
The most challenging piece, I believe, is that empathy is easier said than done. It’s definitely a value that we need to take into consideration and as leaders, we have to remember to put ourselves into other people’s shoes to truly understand where they’re coming from. Communication skills are very important. My communication and message to the team has to be tailored so it can be received well for everyone. And that’s a standard measure – knowing some people work well with one form of communication and others prefer another form of communication. It’s my job to make sure I reach everyone and that was something I learned along the way.
Why did you choose a career in supply chain/tech?
From as early as I can recall, being in the tech industry was a trend and always an interest and objective for me. In college, I took some supply chain classes and developed an interest in the supply chain field. My first job out of college was in the tech world already, so moving to Blue Yonder was a no brainer when the opportunity presented itself.
What’s one piece of advice you would have given your younger self?
Always trust your gut and don’t second guess yourself so much. Another one would be to always seek out a mentor.
When you’re young, you have a lot of potential, and a lot of drive and ambition to move forward and learn. It’s a smart thing for people starting their career to always seek out a mentor because you need that guidance and empirical knowledge from someone else’s experience as you navigate through your career to find out where you want to be. If there is one thing that you’re lacking whenever you’re starting your career, it’s experience, and if there’s one place you can learn from experience, it’s with a mentor, so that’s naturally the best way to seek growth and guidance.
Do you have any goals or resolutions you keep track of all year? What are they?
At the higher level, my goals are built upon the foundation of experience and knowledge that 2020 left me. I believe 2020 was an odd year for most. It required a lot of change in my way of working professionally and personally. Professionally, one of my goals is for my team and I to deliver better results year over year. And personally, I have a goal to make the most out of my family time with my fiancé and my daughter by being more present and intentional.
Tell me about a workplace scenario that taught you inclusive communication skills.
2020 was a year full of experiences and learning. Being forced to work remotely, communication with my team was of the utmost importance. In order to remain a cohesive unit, I had to find the best way to reach those that don’t speak up as often as others. Many times, I ask open-ended questions and pause when having conversations with my team. This gets the ball rolling and allows those that don’t normally speak up to give their point of view. From there, I begin threading the conversation – touch on things that were mentioned, topics of discussion and steer the conversation where you want to go.
What do you think are biggest obstacles of diversity in the workplace?
I believe the biggest obstacles for diversity in the workplace are emotional intelligence, for starters, and that most people are not too fond of change. I can also attribute it to the absence of cultural sensitivity. There is a wave of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and a resistance to change is one of the biggest obstacles with emotional intelligence right behind it because people are scared of change.
What female leaders do you admire and why?
One female leader I admire is Jacinda Arden, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. I believe she has an overall strong sense of humanity and urgency for acting as quickly as she did to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. Regardless of where you’re from or political affiliations, the leader of a country having that much focus on protecting her people and getting rid of something so deadly is something to admire.
What’s one fun (or surprising) fact about you?
I’m an avid soccer fan and love supporting my local team Rayados de Monterrey!