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“There is a cookie”

“There is a cookie”

“There is a cookie”
April 26
12:42 2018

Richard Montanez was telling his story of success at a gathering that took place recently at Mi Casa Resource Center. Everyone in the audience, including myself, were pretty much holding our breath to see what the next thing was this man was going to tell us. But what is the big fuss about Montanez?

Ricardo Montanez, originally from Mexico, grew up in California working on the vineyards. He eventually got a job as a janitor at the Frito lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga. He would shine the floors like no one else, because, as he explained, his father taught him to take pride on his work and to mop the floors ‘like a Montanez.’ One day, he saw a video of the president of the company asking the workers to ‘act like an owner’. He noticed the indifference of his peers, but he saw the opportunity to do something different. One day, he had a ‘revelation’. He brought home some Cheetos that had not been cheese dusted and decided to dress them with butter, chili and cheese, as an ‘elote’, or street corn. They became a success with his family and friends. He then hustled his way to the CEO and pitched him the idea.

As he explains his story, he pauses to define what a ‘revelation’ is: A revelation is something that is already there, but now you see it, it has been revealed to you. And he continued, “I was given two weeks to prepare a presentation. My wife and I went to the public library and borrowed a book on business strategies. I made bags to put the Cheetos in it. I bought my first-ever tie for $3.” His ‘revelation’ eventually became Frito-Lay’s top-selling product.

Today he is an executive of the company he once worked as a janitor for and spearheads the Frito-Lay Hispanic marketing team. He is the creative genius behind the Hispanic Frito Lay products. His work has influenced how other Hispanic products are sold and marketed. Montanez believes his courage to seize opportunities stems from his humble beginnings. “The antidote to fear is hunger.”

He recalled how once, as a child in school, was told not to go into a specific room. He noticed other kids could get there. He also noticed there were cookies in that room. He managed his way to the room because “There was a cookie there that was baked for me.” He seized the opportunity and the cookie, in the same way that he seized the revelation he had about the Flaming Hot Cheetos.

Today Montanez tours the country telling his story and is a generous philanthropist who helps children in need. The reason he does it? “Because I can, and I know what it is like to be hungry,” he explains. His life story will be captured in a movie that is coming up soon. It is a great thing to hear a story of success like that of Richard. And it is even a better thing that we had the opportunity to see him and meet him in person at the Mi Casa Resource Center in Denver. Mi Casa Resource Center is an institution that provides help, education and support for small entrepreneurs to improve their skills and create financial independence for them and their families. And they also make possible to witness firsthand the inspiration of a speaker like Montanez. What a treat!

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Edición Virtual | #332 | 14 de Febrero 2019

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