Chris Rubio of Wells Fargo in Napa Valley has won one of North Bay Business Journal’s Latino Business Leadership Awards.
Tell us your story and that of your organization:
My family is from Chapala, Mexico. I am the oldest of eight children and grew up in Tulare, California. At a very young age, I worked in the fields picking prunes and walnuts. As I was the oldest, I helped my parents take care of my youngest siblings and with the chores. I learned about hard work and responsibility early on in life. From Tulare, we moved to a cattle ranch in Wooden Valley, California. I attended Napa High School and became President of FFA.
At age 18, I was drafted into the Army and served in combat in Vietnam as a Sargent E-5. After Vietnam, I become more involved in my community. In 1981, I married Pam and as she was also very involved in the community, we became the dynamic duo.
While working at Beringer Winery, I introduced the winery to many nonprofits, which they supported. At the age of 45, I went back to college to pursue a BA in Business Management from St. Mary’s College while having a full time job. I was active in T-Ball, 4-H, Chamber of Commerce, the Boys & Girls Club, Napa Valley Fair Livestock Board and the Kiwanis Club.
After earning my degree, I went into banking and joined Wells Fargo as Business Development Officer. I continued my community outreach. I joined the American Legion, volunteered with the Veteran’s Home and counseled returning veterans. I joined the Wells Fargo Advisory Board along with other community leaders. I was able to continue to be active in the community in large part to Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo prides itself on identifying and supporting programs that strengthen the communities it serves because when our communities succeed, we all do. In fact, last year Wells Fargo gave more than $1.8 million to schools and nonprofit organizations in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano and Mendocino counties. Wells Fargo has allowed me to do what I do best every day which is giving back to my community
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?: My wife and I just celebrated 17 years working at Wells Fargo.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?: At the age of 45, I decided to go back to college and graduated from St. Mary’s with a B.A. degree in Business Management.
What is your biggest challenge today?: Keeping up with technology
Words that best describe you: Dedicated and loyal
As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?:
I would say separating the business from the personal. However, by staying active in my community, I strive to become the face of my business so that when people think of banking, they think of me
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: I think technology will be everywhere in the workplace and people will be doing everything online and probably less in person visits. Everything can be done online now, think how it will be in 5 years from now?
Who was your most important mentor?:
Greg Morgan, region bank president for Wells Fargo. Greg encouraged me to be active in the community because he knew that was my strength. He would go out on business development calls and guide me as to how to be successful at what I was doing. He was supportive, patient, responsive and always available.
Tell us about your community involvement: Although I mention it above, following are some of the organizations I have been affiliated with: St. Helena Boys & Girls Club, American Legion, Napa Valley FFA, Napa Valley Livestock Association, Kiwanis Club Board, St. Helena Chamber of Commerce Board, St. Helena Ambassador Program, St. Helena Elementary School and the Wells Fargo Advisory Board.
What advice would you give to a young person today?: Stay true to your values and priorities. For me, my family always came first. In order for people to trust you and respect you, you must be dedicated, loyal and lead by example.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Congressman Mike Thompson, who is also a decorated Vietnam veteran.
Current reading: I read the Wall Street Journal daily, Art of Happiness.
Most want to meet: Dalai Lama.
Stress relievers: Watching movies on the couch with my wife of 37 years and our dog, Bear.
Favorite hobbies: I love to fish.
Anything to add?:
I would like to thank my wife and my son Christopher for all the years that they have supported me and have been there for me. Life hasn’t always been rosy, but they have always been there for me! I would also like to add that my son, Christopher married a wonderful woman last year, Veronica, and we can’t be happier with her being part of our family.