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Working since she was 10, Martha Nino went from delivering subscriptions on porches to selling high-tech cloud subscriptions globally.

Discovering Her Skills

The first job Martha learned in the US was short-lived, forming mud into molds to make ceramic lamps. She didn’t have the knack for the job. Fortunately, the company’s owner saw potential in Martha and asked her to work with her in the office, filing and answering the phones. Entry through that office door revealed a different world for Martha, one no one in her family had ever experienced. She learned how to do accounts payable and receivable and took a typing class in high school to learn how to generate letters, and invoices, further expanding her office skills.

Juggling school and a job were challenging. There was no time for homework, so Martha’s grades and attendance suffered. On the first day of her senior year, she was called into the office and was told she could not attend high school and needed to enroll in a continuation school.

Fortunately, one counselor took the time to look into Martha’s situation and helped her come up with a plan to accelerate a year’s worth of schoolwork down to four months, which she did, and she was able to graduate on time.

The Art of Being Adaptable

The company where Martha worked moved their manufacturing facility to Mexico. Martha’s father had recently passed away, so she felt it was best to stay with her family in the United States. Although she was now without a job, she had something that turned out to be more valuable, a support network.

One of her former co-workers got Martha a job at a furniture company building office cubicles in Silicon Valley. After a couple of years, the company experienced financial issues, and Martha was among several employees laid off. She was five months pregnant then, so she was out of work for the remainder of her pregnancy.

Her next job was through a temp agency, installing sound equipment in the identical office cubicles she had built! It seemed serendipitous. Again, not having any skills for the job, Martha learned by example and instruction.

After a couple of years, Martha realized she was at a disadvantage because she didn’t have a college degree, so she quit her job and completed her degree. That investment in her education enabled her the opportunity to be hired at Adobe, Inc., where she still is today, more than eighteen years later.

Martha’s Nuggets of Knowledge

  • There is value in kindness, and it helps build connections to create your network
  • Realize your network has value and use it
  • Focus on what you know, and be adaptable and willing to learn
  • Ask questions, especial those who know the business
  • Do what feels right to you
  • People want you to take work off their shoulders when looking for a job. Find out what you can do to make their lives easier
  • Employers should treat their employees like family. When a place feels like family, your employees will want to stay
  • We can’t do it alone. Be humble and realize that sometimes we all need to ask for help
  • Immigration and education go hand in hand. Educating the immigrant population will show them how to be successful in the US and break the cycle of poverty