As first generation American and the daughter of hardworking Mexican immigrants, Nubia Martinez-Caro’s path to a successful career in banking wasn’t always clear. Growing up in the rural town of Craig, Colorado, Nubia was disadvantaged both socially and economically. But her parents, Crispin and Eufemia Martinez, encouraged her to focus on her education, knowing that was her best chance for success.
Without a mentor or another adult to demonstrate the path to college and a corporate career, Nubia struggled early on. But though she has encountered obstacles, she has learned that hard work and self-advocacy are key to success. From her early years in high school, she was never afraid to raise her hand to become involved in something she believed in, or to ask for help when she needed it. Nubia applied for and earned several scholarships—enough to pay for two-years at the University of Northern Colorado with a major in business. During her junior year she was selected for a paid internship at Wells Fargo Bank. Loyal to the company, she stayed on and had her first job as a teller.
From there she sought other opportunities within the bank. She became a personal banker and in 2006 she navigated her way to the private bank division serving wealthy clients as an administrative assistant to senior investment managers. Nubia credits these managers who recognized her talent, business acumen and ambition by encouraging her to learn the skills and obtain the educational credentials to earn a relationship manager position. This meant a shift from administration to advising clients—a huge career leap. To further her growth, knowledge, and credibility, she earned an MBA from CU Denver.
From her earliest days in the bank, Nubia was aware that as a Latina in the predominantly white, male world of banking, she was going to have to work harder than most to achieve. She knew that if she was going to get anywhere in the business world, she needed mentors. She reflects that perhaps the best piece of advice came from her first mentor, a woman who worked on the teller line and told her if you do nothing else, put money into the 401(k) plan. At the time, she didn’t know what a 401(k) was, but she followed the advice. Now 16 years later, she understands the importance of starting early to build personal wealth.
Memorable and valuable advice came from a strong, Latina woman mentor who Nubia says, “was always brutally honest with her.” She taught her how to conduct herself professionally and other soft skills like how to dress. These skills did not come naturally to Nubia because she hadn’t grown up seeing these skills in action, and unfortunately career readiness hadn’t been discussed in any college classroom. Her mentor taught her that in the work place she should “Pay attention to your brain and not your body. Be professional. Don’t be afraid to be a woman but know the boundaries. And always, be an advocate for yourself”.
Nubia is thankful for her career growth and opportunity—and the people who have encouraged her along the way. She has embraced her Latina culture by becoming a leader and advocate of the Wells Fargo Latin Team Member Network—an internal organization to promote diversity and inclusion within the bank. She is very sensitive to walking into a meeting of peers as the only Latina female, but she is gutsy and outspoken. Though she often feels as though she still must try harder than most to go further—she continually rises to the occasion.
In 2018 Nubia set her sights on another role that would for the first time, put her in a management position. Not only would she have direct reports, but she could be influential in the hiring process. Nubia brings a new set of eyes and openness to the hiring process. First and foremost, her priorities are on qualifications and business fit. She also has great sensitivity to the office culture—with awareness of her own biases. As of today, she has already brought on 3 new hires that bring unique dimensions to the team and other managers have stated they admire her capabilities.
From the beginning, Nubia has been pushed and challenged by people who believe in her. She now feels a great sense of responsibility to “pay it back” and encourage those who are starting their careers and looking for someone to champion them. She offers this advice:
1. Believe in yourself.
2. Decide what you want and clarify exactly what you need.
3. Plan your short- and long-term strategy.
4. Express yourself clearly. Get comfortable with saying “I am really good at my job”.
5. Ask for help. Seek out mentors.
At only 36, Nubia is Client Service Manager of Investment and Fiduciary Services at Wells Fargo Private Bank. She has come a long way, and through the power of mentorship and self-advocacy, hopes to inspire other women to forge ahead on the path to career success and financial freedom.