Friday, December 30, 2011

Martee Pierson >

Martee Saldaña Pierson, Director of Diversity Programs, Liberty Tax Service

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Absolutely. Often, Hispanic programs, and diversity programs in general, are created by well-wishing professionals who really do not understand the experience of the Hispanic immigrant. The adage “It takes one to know one”, while cliché, holds true when one is investing in in-culture programs or marketing. This personal understanding allows for much more vested program plans that will resonate with the Latino target group, and, most importantly, it ensures that the messaging is written in a way that is easily comprehended so that it can be embraced appropriately. As we all know, Spanish-language messaging involves much more than merely translating English slogans or messages. To be successful, it requires inherent understanding of the Latino psyche in order to ensure resonance and clarity of message. 

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
That’s an interesting question. The reality is that life in general is full of adversities. If we were to give up every time we met a roadblock, we might as well stay in bed and never leave the house! Believing in what you are doing is key to having passion. And, if one is passionate about her work, then only extraordinary results will suffice. As Confucius once said, “Find something that you are passionate about and you will never work a day in your life.” 

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
I really don’t measure challenges in terms of which is the biggest. A challenge is simply a challenge. I view challenges as an opportunity to help those who are “misinformed” become more enlightened so they too can support the goal. Even if you are not successful in having your plan approved, it is now your challenge to still make the plan that was approved as successful as possible, using the knowledge and/or foresight you might have that others may not. When I was a child and my parents would say “no”, I simply thought, “well they just don’t understand, let me try another approach!” It seems the hidden message here is tenacity.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I have had a great life and I fully intend to continue on this route. I really cannot see anything I would change since each event affected the person that I have become. But if I had to arrive at a choice, I would have loved to have had the intelligence to have invented a way to eliminate all disease, prejudice and hatred in the world.

What was your childhood ambition?
I always wanted to be a teacher. And while I did teach for one year, I quickly realized that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I was fortunate to have found my direction early and have had a great career that has involved teaching to an extent, but also strategizing on how best to approach an opportunity.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
There are so many people I admire, and I meet more on a near daily basis. If I must choose only three, they would be:

My mother was an unbelievable powerhouse and somehow always made things better in spite of any adversity. Her enduring choice to continuously view the best of a situation will always live with me and my sister.

Mahatma Gandhi would be my next choice because of his gentle approach to much needed hardline reform. He was a shining example of the effectiveness of persistence and the power of peaceful tenacity.

Abraham Lincoln, who showed great compassion while deploying steadfast leadership in a war that should have taught us all the importance of respect for humanity, regardless of color.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I’m a morning person, so I prefer breakfast meetings.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I have had to learn how to balance business and personal enjoyment. While I am not always successful at achieving this balance, I have been fortunate in that I have really not been aware of any actual “sacrifice” on my personal life. There have numerous compromises that I have had to make, but I would not view them as sacrifices.

What is your favorite quote?
I have a couple of quotes that I live by, and I believe they are both anonymous:

In order to succeed, you must be willing to fail.” (Life does not promise a safety net, in my opinion.)

“Pick the hill you want to die on.” (Making every decision a battle will not get you anything but exhausted. Be strategic. Ask yourself if this is really that important or is it ego or pride that is really driving the “fight”.)

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Anyone who knows me would argue the point that I am a shining example of “unconventional”. From my career choices to my basic personality, I have never had the desire nor felt the need to bow to convention.

Biggest mistake made?
Every mistake is always my “biggest mistake”. I take each very seriously and hold true to the ideal that one indeed does learn from their mistakes.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I strongly believe in innovation and therefore, I strive to be an innovative thinker. Without innovation, processes become stale and the view is that it is a “one size fits all world”. We, of course, realize that this is not a viable reality for any success-driven professional. Being able to embrace innovation is paramount to the livelihood of any company and must be part of the corporate culture in order for it to be successful.

About the Company
Liberty Tax Service (www.libertytaxespanol.comis the fastest-growing retail tax preparation company in the industry’s history. Founded in 1997 by CEO John T. Hewitt, a pioneer in the tax industry, Liberty Tax Service has prepared over 8,000,000 individual income tax returns. With 41 years of tax industry experience, Hewitt is the most experienced CEO in the tax preparation business, having also founded Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (NYSE:JTX).

Each Liberty Tax office offers customers audit assistance, a money-back guarantee, and free tax return reviews. An elite group of Hispanic Services Seal of Excellence Certified offices also provide assistance in Spanish and offer many special services geared toward our Hispanic population free of charge, across the nation.

The Liberty Tax Service franchise opportunity is #7 on the list of fastest-growing franchises in Entrepreneur magazine’s “Franchise 500” list for 2011, and was selected as one of the top 25 Franchises for Hispanics by PODER magazine.

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