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7 Questions with Emmanuel Escobar Rivera
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7 Questions with Emmanuel Escobar Rivera
Name: Emmanuel Escobar Rivera
Current title: Executive Communications Director
Current organisation: Rock Bridge Community Church
I am passionate about developing leaders and connecting them to higher ideals that generate better performance and deeper personal connections within their teams. As a proven leader, I love to encourage managers to lead with an "Others First" mentality that enables organizations to experience the power of a positive culture.
With experience serving in the private tech sector, non-profits, and religious organizations, I pull valuable lessons that I get to share during speaking engagements in colleges, churches, businesses, and civic meetings.
Proudly from Mexico, I am bilingual and love having a great time. I firmly believe that Life's purpose is to be enjoyed and spent in the service of others.
I currently live in Cleveland, TN, with my wife and son, and I enjoy spending time outdoors or in comic book stores.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
As a leader of an organization with multiple physical locations, the biggest challenge I have found is ensuring that we are building a team of teams and not a group of isolated kingdoms. Casting vision so that all locations move to the same goal is crucial and addressing any sign of discontent or un-alignment is crucial.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
By saying YES!
No project or mission was too small or too scary. If I were given an opportunity, I would take it. Coupling a willing drive with a desire for the well-being of others helped me stand out.
I did not receive my bachelor's until I was 30 years old; I had to pursue a secondary education while also building a career and being there for my family. The easy thing would have been for me to settle into a safe job and ride it out, but fortune favors the brave, so I took the hard road, worked hard, and became an asset to all the organizations I got to be a part of.
One of my favorite quotes is, " Calm seas do not make skilled sailors." If one wants to achieve great things, we have to look out for others, take big risks, and continuously build our skills.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am a big believer in systems that help maintain my busy life organized. I use Google calendar for everything. If you looked at my calendar, this is what you would see.
I spend the first 30 minutes of my morning in meditation of the word of God. Nothing crazy and deep; it is often as simple as reading a single piece of scripture and prayer. I then proceed to get pumped full of coffee before my commute.
My commute is about 40 minutes long; I ride a motorcycle, so this commute allows me for some pretty refreshing mental space; I often listen to a podcast or audiobook on my way to the office.
Upon arrival at my office, I keep most of my meetings for the afternoon to focus on the prep work for those meetings in the morning. There are plenty of coffee walks and other interruptions in between. I prefer a structured but fluid day. This aids the flow of creativity and creates space for those small things that might spark inspiration for a campaign or branding project we might be working on.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
To value the need for delegation. I grew because of opportunities that were given to me by leaders that were delegating. Yet, one of the hardest things for me to do as a leader is to pass the ball. This comes from a cultural place in my Latino upbringing; it is shameful to be the person that passes the buck and my personal shadow self that needs to control things.
Being aware of this, and actively fighting against it by delegating, will make you a better leader, give you time to be strategic, and open doors for others to succeed by owning the projects you give them.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero
This powerful book has helped me understand what the author refers to as your "Shadow Self," also known as the selfish, scared, insecure, angry side we all have. And helped me manage it to better lead a team. If you ever worked for a horrible boss and said to yourself, "I do not want to be like that person," then you must read this book. Trust me; your team will thank you.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
By identifying a coach that can speak into your blind spots. This oftentimes comes from a senior member of your organization or board. Pick someone who regularly sees you with your team and give them the freedom to speak into your life constructively. My leadership capacity has grown exponentially because of coaches in my life that have helped point out what I could not see for myself. During my time at Bellhop as a National Manager, a team manager would often speak into my leadership skills and challenge me. I appreciated his direct and objective advice; I would not be half the leader I am had I not given him the space to speak into my life.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Since we began to live stream our services on Sunday mornings, a small group of people in the country of Ecuador began to meet up in a home to have a "Watch Party" every Sunday morning.
One of the ladies that attended this watch party got involved, dedicated her life to Christ, and requested to be baptized by our pastor in Dalton, Georgia, USA.
Upon receiving this request, the communications team coordinated with our production team to find ways to make a virtual baptism happen. Many emails and pitches later. We came up with a solution that allowed our Senior Pastor to baptize the lady in Ecuador while remaining in Georgia. Not only that, but we set it up so that the whole staff could be present in our auditorium to witness the event.
The day of baptism came, the call went live, and it all went smoothly. There was not a dry eye in the room. It was an amazing example of teams coming together to make the seemingly impossible happen.