Employee Spotlight – Gabriela Rebeca Santa Cruz Salazar
Gabriela joins the Nexus PMG team as a project developer, bringing experience in business and project development from conceptual design, technology assessment, permitting and procurement to construction, commissioning, and operations. Before turning to project development in sustainability-focused projects in waste management, regenerative agriculture, and renewable energy, she worked in quality engineering in the aerospace industry. She is also the co-founder of a social enterprise in Bolivia. Gabriela holds a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering at RIT, Rochester NY, MS in Environmental Engineering at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, where I lived until I moved for college to upstate New York at 18 years old. I immediately fell in love with the snow, the all-you-can-eat cafeteria with rows and rows of food always full to the brim, with the access to gigantic libraries with all the scientific papers ever published, the fully equipped laboratories, the grand auditoriums, theaters, clubs, gyms — it was easy to fall for America with all the comforts, abundance, and opportunities.
Within a year of living in the US I developed various allergies, skin and hormone unbalances which led me on a journey to investigate all the products and foods that I was consuming. What I found was astounding, and it sparked a passion for organic, local and sustainable food production. I learned that behind all the abundance that had initially enchanted me there were unimaginably wasteful practices, based on systems that destroy the environment and are only affordable because the cost is paid by underprivileged communities.
Since then, I have devoted my working life to figure out and develop better systems in agriculture, food production and waste management.
What sparked your interest in Nexus PMG?
It was clear to me since I learned about Nexus PMG that it is a company focused on solving some of the most pressing problems we face as a society. The combination of great technical capabilities and experience with a clear and innovative vision focused on creating a better world was inspiring from the get-go.
What’s the best career lesson you’ve learned so far?
That the key for solving problems is finding the delicate balance between technical solutions, economic feasibility, and community support.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
A science fiction novel of a society learning to move past individualism towards identification with the whole of life as the basis of self-awareness and growth.
What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?
What is your favorite meal?
Black bean burger with fries.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Play a musical instrument
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me requires first the ability to visualize the end-goal and the skill to clearly communicate it in ways that inspire people to follow. Then, continuously figuring out what is needed to continue the path towards the goal, breaking it into smaller pieces and attracting the right people to work on each piece, ensuring they have all the necessary inspiration, resources and information to succeed. It requires patience, optimism, charisma and perseverance.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
Spending as much time in nature as possible. I love hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, exploring remote wild landscapes.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
If there is a will, there is a way.