Bringing compassionate leadership, advocating for equality
At a young age, I developed a love for playing the trumpet. Growing up in a Barrio my parents couldn’t afford private lessons. But the band director offered us a significantly reduced rate because of our economic situation. This early exposure to music — and compassion — helped form who I am. Years later, at the end of my senior year, that band director commented to me, “Raul, you could have taken the trumpet section to another level if you had taken a more active leadership role.” It was the first time that I could see myself as a leader.
From my earliest memories, my parents, who barely had a 2nd grade education, instilled in me the idea that I needed to go to college, though none of us knew what that meant. This contrasted with the message I got from society that people of my background were generally illiterate, and fueled my drive for learning. I achieved a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, a Masters in Computer Science, and ultimately a Ph.D. in Educational Administration.
Another person to open a door for me was my math teacher. While attending an inner city high school in the mid-1960’s, I asked her, “what is a computer?” She became my advocate by obtaining access for me to use a university’s equipment. This changed my life, leading me to start my software engineering career at Bell Telephone Laboratories and ultimately becoming President of the Southwestern Bell Foundation. In 2003, I moved to the University of Texas at San Antonio where I directed and managed a national K-12 STEM Education program where I introduced new approaches which positively impacted thousands of students.
My leadership experience in everything from technology based corporate work to the non-profit world, supports my work at Longwave where I help organizations prosper through unconditionally accepting and valuing all their people and the perspectives they bring, independent of all that differentiates us. My quest has always been to be an advocate for equality and for life-long learning leading to operational excellence.