For Luis Mercado, perspective is everything. Growing up in Milwaukee, he watched as his parents struggled to assimilate and financially find their way. However, they always managed to send Luis on annual trips back to a rural part of Puerto Rico where his extended family still lived – a part of the island that frequently lost power, and didn’t always have access to running water. At a young age, Luis realized he may not have everything – but half the people in the world would trade places with him in a heartbeat, even on his worst days.
That perspective keeps Luis grounded, reminding him things aren’t always as bad as they seem – there’s always a way to have hope and keep the faith, and there’s always a way to use your position in life to lift others up. Luis summarized it perfectly in a quote from fellow Puerto Rican, Roberto Clemente: “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this Earth”.
Suffice it to say, Luis Mercado wants to make sure he’s not wasting his time.
Luis has been with Goodwill Industries for over 6 years in various roles, and recently stepped into a new role as Senior Manager – Supply Chain. He credits the perspective he gained from his youth, along with a strong community support system, for his people-oriented outlook. For Luis, cultivating relationships and regularly interacting with people is key to creating a vibrant working environment and nurturing one’s sense of empathy.
To that end, Luis consistently draws inspiration from the diversity he sees amongst his own crew. When reflecting on Goodwill’s mission to assist the disadvantaged, Luis stresses the importance of enlisting staff members that mirror the people they serve. At Goodwill, many employees have been in the same position as those they are helping. It gives people hope: “You can be successful, you can move forward, you can manage a crew,” encourages Luis, “and if you’re surrounded by the right community, you can get there.”
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Luis encourages other organizations to follow Goodwill’s example: “Diversity is something to boast about, and something they don’t even have to go outside the community to find. We live here!”