Claudia Camacho, SHRM-CP, was raised by her grandmother in Mexico for the first five years of her life, while her mother worked as a housekeeper and nanny in the U.S. That’s how long it took for her mom to save up enough money to send for her.
Camacho didn’t have much growing up. But she was aware that her mother spent whatever she made on her daughter and son, never on herself.
Knowing that, “I made a decision that I absolutely had to make her sacrifices for me worthwhile,” she says.
That’s what drove Camacho as a young mother with four children to return to school. She became the first person in her family to graduate from college (Park University in Parkville, Mo.), and she ultimately earned an MBA from Webster University in St. Louis.
Her mother’s struggle also made Camacho realize the importance of helping others. She is a past president of the El Paso, Texas, chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and currently serves as the workforce readiness chair of the San Antonio Human Resource Management Association Inc.
“I know that whatever way I can, I need to give back,” she says.
What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today?
The chief obstacle was my own self-doubt. I realized a few years ago that I was the only one holding me back from becoming anything and achieving anything. We’re our own worst critic the majority of the time, and it’s important we recognize and push through that.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The first is “Never take a business decision as a personal attack.” The second piece of advice I have carried with me throughout my career is “Don’t take yourself too seriously!”
What’s your favorite business book?
Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change (McGraw-Hill Education, 2013) by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. More than ever, as a leader in today’s workforce, we need to adapt quickly to new working conditions and learn how to influence and motivate our workforce and ourselves.
Photograph by Inti St. Clair