Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fabian Gonzalez >

Fabian Gonzalez, Vice President for Multicultural Sales, ING U.S.

Being Hispanic, does it have any influence on your business?
My role is to focus on Hispanic insurance agents and other financial advisors who serve the U.S. Hispanic marketplace. I think it is critical that someone in this role understand the culture of the people that they’re working with. The fact that I’m from South America and have lived in different Hispanic communities in the U.S. (Texas and Florida) helps provide a diverse cultural framework for me. So, while what I do doesn’t differ greatly from my non-Hispanic counterparts, being part of the U.S. Hispanic society has been critical to my success.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I’m very goal-oriented. Keeping an eye on a goal helps me keep focused on what I need to do. While the past year has been a challenge for our economy, I continue to look forward and help our distribution partners help their customers with their insurance needs.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
I thrive on challenge and change. Both allow me to push myself, learn new skills and expand my knowledge. Therefore, I’m not sure that there is one big challenge that I have faced that has been more monumental than something else or that I haven’t been able to overcome.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I don’t have any complaints about my past and nothing particularly comes to mind. Perhaps, I would have asked ING to move me to one of the offices in a warmer climate. (I currently live in Minneapolis.)

What was your childhood ambition?
Like a lot of boys, I wanted to be a fireman. As I got older, I wanted to be an ambassador and travel around the globe. In some ways, I am an ambassador for ING. I get to travel around the United States, which I enjoy.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
First off, my parents are good, hard-working people who gave everything to make sure that my family had a good home, and their children had a good education. I learned a great deal from them, and admire them very much. I also admire people who dedicate their lives or make significant commitments to helping others. One of those people was Mother Theresa who worked tirelessly for the very poor people in Calcutta, India.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I work around what my customers prefer. I probably have more dinner meetings because many Hispanics prefer to really engage in conversation beyond just the business at hand.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Well, this is all a matter of perspective. Some people would say that I sacrifice my personal time because of my heavy travel schedule. However, I love working with people and believe that I have a good balance. Therefore, I’m not really sure that I am sacrificing anything.

What is your favorite quote?
Tomorrow brings a new opportunity.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Actually, working for ING, it isn’t difficult at all because the culture promotes good ideas, hard work and values diversity. Even our brand is a bit unconventional when you compare it to many conservative financial services companies.

Biggest mistake made?
I came to the United States in 1999 when I was 29 years old. I probably should have come earlier.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I do. Being innovative is important because you need to have new ideas to improve and grow. It helps to regularly look at things differently if you want to be able to have continuous growth in your business or personal life. In the business world, my goals get larger every year even if the business climate is not expanding. How do you meet your goals if you’re not bringing new ideas to the table?

About The Company:

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin that offers banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to over 85 million private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 110,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.

In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offer a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which include life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves nearly 30 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit

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