Far West Capital’s Freight and Trucking Factoring division, based in El Paso,TX, has grown from two employees to an office run by 16 women. Lorena Bolivar, Senior Vice President, joined Far West in 2008. Here, she shares what she has learned along the way as well as advice for women in the industry.
When Lorena Bolivar joined Far West Capital almost ten years ago as an account manager, it was just herself and her boss at the time. Her sister, Brenda, then came onboard, and they have been growing ever since.
“In 2010, Cole Harmonson, Far West Capital’s CEO, asked me if could handle the office and sales. At that point, didn’t know anything about sales. But, I like balance and I thought, ‘I don’t think that could be that hard.”
Bolivar was managing the office, and, at the same time, looking for new clients. Currently, the El Paso office has around 160 clients.
“Three of my sisters work with me. Brenda started about a month after did and is now our operations manager. Ericka, a senior account manager, has been here for six years and Susana joined us a couple of years ago and is more on the accounting side. I’m the first born of seven, with five sisters and one brother…”
“All of my life I’ve been around women, and my mother always taught us good values and to care for one another. I think that is what makes the difference between just looking at a client like a number or a true relationship – which is how we see our clients.”
“…Many people wonder, “How can we work together?” Sometimes when family is involved in business it can be complicated, but we make a great team. They treat this company like it’s theirs, and their clients as if family.”
Bolivar says she never would have imagined herself running an office, let alone one consisting of 16 women.
“I have interviewed a few men, but it just hasn’t worked out. We make such a great team. The ladies are awesome, responsible and they know what they have to do.”
Bolivar notes there is a strong office camaraderie often with the entire office going out to lunch for birthdays, for example.
“Everybody gets along well. I think the most important thing is every employee respects each member of this team and their beliefs. We are a real community.”
Bolivar estimates 90% of Far West Capital’s El Paso office clients are local, and the entre El Paso staff is local and fluent in Spanish, which is the first language of most of their trucking clients.
“We’re able to develop that relationship and have face-to-face contact with them,” Bolivar added. “Trucking Companies will get paid the same day they deliver, or when they are back in El Paso, without having to wait up to 45 days to receive payment, whether it’s to pay their drivers or for fuel and company expenses.”
Bolivar attributes her success to having the right attitude, moreso over knowledge.
“When started in the factoring industry, I didn’t know what factoring was, not in Spanish or English, and didn’t have a degree,” she said. “So, for me, it was something totally new, but had the hunger to learn and do my best. I started from the bottom and little by little, I learned. I would Google and read as much as I could on factoring. I always tried to be better and better. It doesn’t matter if you know or don’t know what you’re doing, but give it the best of you. Always try and continue growing and learning. Always push and fight for your dreams. Everything is possible,
“Women are not only intelligent, but we have so many values that we use in the work world,” Bolivar added. “We’re kind of like Super Woman. We work, we may have children and manage a household, and other roles, all at the same time, all while being great professionals. So I think we have what it takes to be great leaders in this industry.”
As the El Paso office continues to grow, Bolivar stressed she looks for potential employees with a hunger to learn and work.
“I can usually tell within 10 minutes if someone will be a good fit here or not.”
The theme of community will continue for Far West Capital, as the company recently formed the Far West Capital Women’s Club, meant for the FWC team office and wives of their clients.
“The goal of the club is to support and bond with women who have the same dreams, fears and challenges that make us get up every morning looking for better opportunities,” Bolivar explained. “In March, we had our first quarterly event and it was a success. There were 50 women present and the guest speaker was a psychologist discussing managing stress in your professional life and household. We had dinner and margaritas to relax and everyone enjoyed the evening.”
This article was originally published in The Secured Lender as written by Eileen Wubbe and republished with their permission.