Sisters Maritza and Cristina Rangel open up about their Mexican Heritage and working in Field Sales at Mondelēz International
Thursday, April 01, 2021
New Jersey - For years, sisters Cristina and Maritza heard stories from their parents about all their struggles back in Mexico. Cristina, the youngest Rangel sibling, recalls how their parents would get emotional as they’d talk about grandma selling fruit and vegetables in order to feed their children. "It helps me push through at work, to be able to support my family". The sisters, who have worked together at Mondelēz International in field sales for the past two years, cherish all of their wonderful childhood memories while also having present all the sacrifices their parents made to make their "American Dream" come true.
Julian and Eugenia Rangel migrated from a little town in Puebla, Mexico in 1970. From very early on, they instilled in their three children the value of hard and honest work. Cristina remembers how her father had three jobs at one point. "They struggled a lot, but they were chasing that dream just like a lot of immigrants that come into this country".
After being in New York for a couple of years, Julian landed a decent job that helped him provide for his family, and they moved to New Jersey. As Maritza remembers, he would work long hours, "he'd be out from six in the morning until six in the evening". And though he would come back tired, Julian always made time for his kids, "he would still take us to the park after work. He was exhausted, but he always did that for us".
As it was common for a lot of Latino families, Eugenia stayed at home taking care of the kids. Cristina recounts that their mom "had some odd jobs she was able to do at home when we were small". As soon as Cristina started kindergarten, Eugenia joined the workforce to help her husband provide for the family, "they both worked constantly".
Julian and Eugenia raised their daughters to be strong-willed and independent. The youngest Rangel retells how her dad taught her and Maritza how to mow the lawn, fixing the boiler and deal with potential car problems. She did not understand it then but is thankful because "he taught us to do everything so that we did not have to depend on anybody else".
At the age of four, Maritza unexpectedly lost her voice, and she did not get it back until three years later. Though she was little, she remembers her dad taking her to different doctors to help her get her voice back. "I’m thankful for my dad as he went through a lot of trouble just to get me to speak again". Her doctors recommended that she only learned English as she was getting her voice again in order to avoid confusion. "It’s hard to communicate with my mother because she does not speak any English, but through the years I’ve been able to pick up words, and though I mess up sometimes, I keep trying". Cristina quickly adds that she’s "always correcting her" (laughs).
Seeing their parents thrive has positively influenced their own work ethic. For Cristina, currently a Field Sales Representative, she’s glad she inherited her mom’s perfectionist personality, "I like things done right. Whether it’s one of my merchandisers or myself, I always make sure we’re providing our customers with the best service". For her solid contributions and innate leadership, Cristina is well-regarded as a high potential employee, and has been selected to be part of her company’s Region Leadership Program, where she’s been able to expand her network and gain new skills.
Just like her dad, Maritza describes herself as a "hands-on" employee. Before joining Mondelēz as a Full Time Merchandiser, she had many years of experience as a Technician for Verizon Wireless, and she usually was the only female among forty technicians. "I may be small, but I can do anything I set my mind to. I always think of my dad; if he works as hard as he does, then surely I can do it as well". Maritza’s direct manager refers to her as "reliable, thorough and extremely efficient", and has become very essential on her team.
As a Latina, Cristina feels she has had to work even harder to gain respect from her customers over the years. According to a 2018 from the Network of Executive Women (NEW), the retail and consumer goods sector is one of the most male-dominated industries, however, the 37-year-old feels that she’s succeeded in gaining trust with her stakeholders because "they see how I always do right by them, I deliver on my word and I know how to present myself in a professional way". Cristina always manages to deliver strong results against her objectives because she leverages fact-based selling to increase her Points of Sales/Displays across all her stores. "When I sell in a program, I show them all the numbers, growth opportunities and their potential profits, and that has helped me strengthen my relationships while also earning their respect".
The Rangel sisters consider themselves lucky that they are able to navigate the workforce together. When Maritza joined Mondelēz on September 2018 -two months after Cristina was hired-, they did not want to let people know they were sisters, but, as Cristina says, "it was hard to hide it! Everybody says we look alike". Initially, she did not want other merchandisers to think that she would favor her sister, but they do a great job separating their business and professional relationships. They look after each other by exchanging best practices and having tough conversations when necessary. "We do have each other’s backs, so if I see something that she’s not doing correctly, I point it out so that she hears it from me, and she does the same thing with me".
They want to make sure that they instill the same work ethic and values in their own children. Maritza, who’s a single mother, wants her three daughters to see her and know that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. "Like my father always said, ‘nothing in life is free’, and I want them to see me working every day, so they grow up to be responsible, but to also be respectful towards others". The tenacious 42-year-old always remembers her parents’ sacrifices and how that has motivated her to better herself, "if my girls see that mom can do it, then they can do it too".
For Cristina, she’s currently expecting her first child, due later in the Fall. "My sister has three daughters, so this will be the first boy in the family. My mom is ecstatic because this is finally the first boy of her grandkids" she says as her sister laughs in the background. She wants to be a role model not only for her son, but also her nieces. "I want my son and my nieces to be proud of their heritage. They are Mexican, and I want them to celebrate that".
Cristina recently graduated with a Bachelors’ in Molecular Biology from Montclair University, and she hopes her own journey serves as a source of inspiration for her nieces and son. "It wasn’t easy. I left a couple of times because I needed to work and pay the bills, but I finally did it. Education is something that no one can’t ever take away from you, and I need to lead by example for them".
The Rangel sisters are thankful that they work for a company that celebrates their culture and encourages them to succeed. Cristina never forgets where they came from, as it’s the motor for all their accomplishments. "We are Mexican-American, and that can’t be taken away from us. Our parents never had anything handed to them, so they raised us to be just like them, and I’m proud of it."
This blog post was created by our Sales Recruiter Rubén Colón Velázquez (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rubencolonvelazquez/)