Berkeley Grad Shares Lessons in Leadership

Ramon Taveras graduated from Berkeley College in 2005, and returned to his alma mater recently to speak at a Leadership class taught by one of his mentors, Chris Christiansen, Assistant Chair, Management, at the Larry L. Luing School of Business®. Mr. Taveras discussed his path to a successful career in Human Resources and Benefits management and the lessons he has learned about what it takes to lead. According to him, it takes:

  1. Confidence. Mr. Taveras urged students to practice confidence-building techniques such as networking with other students in class and contributing comments in the class. “Take time before class to network,” he said. “Get to know the person sitting next to you, and sit in the front of the class to make yourself visible.”
  2. Bring your voice to the table. What you say matters. “If you cannot speak, you will never be heard. What you say matters. It starts with the little things – ask questions in class.”
  3. Know your predecessors. “Your predecessors are huge contributors to your success. They have walked before you and will guide you along the way. These include your teachers and bosses.”
  4. Motivation. Motivation comes from within. “When you motivate yourself, no one can take that away from you. If you cannot motivate yourself, you cannot motivate others.”
  5. Fear. Fear is a very powerful tool. Fear entices you to become better at something. “You are going to have moments when you don’t know what you are doing. You will figure things out.”
  6. Discipline. Discipline is what gets results.
  7. Style. What is your personal style? How do you behave and present yourself?
  8. Respect. You can get your message across without talking down to somebody.
  9. Authenticity. You build trust through honesty.
  10. Integrity. Integrity encompasses being true to your values.

“When you teach someone, that person becomes better able to teach someone else. That’s what leadership means to me,” said Mr. Taveras. “Leadership is about motivating and empowering others to lead.”

Mr. Taveras is Director, Benefits at XPO Logistics, one of the top 10 providers of global logistics and supply chain solutions, based in Greenwich, CT.  His first internships were with the English headwear company Kangol and The New York Times in Human Resources. His first job was as a Human Resources Coordinator at Pfizer, a global biopharmaceutical company.

“I entered college thinking I wanted to be an accountant because I was more of an introvert and I was good with numbers,” he said. “Keeping hats in order for celebrities like LL Cool J introduced me to marketing and networking. My internship at The New York Times in Human Resources taught me about managing people and led me to the career path I am on today.”

Mr. Taveras said he keeps in touch with a group of friends from Berkeley College and managers from previous companies where he has worked on a regular basis.

“These friendships and connections are valuable because I surround myself with like-minded people.  We are goal-oriented and we strive to create our career paths. Seeing their success throughout the years makes me proud to know them, and I am truly happy for what we have been able to accomplish,” said Mr. Taveras. “We always remind each other about where we started.”