#TeamTuesdays: Meet Our Ocean Export Manager Hilda Negron
Working as a global logistics company means we’re lucky at iTN Worldwide to have a multicultural team that reflects the many destinations we service.
Our ocean logistics department manager Hilda Negron is a native of Puerto Rico, and in 2017 when hurricane Maria made landfall, we knew it was time to step up for one of our own and the many customers and partners we service through our daily flights to the island.
Her career in logistics began unexpectedly, but she never looked back.
“I’ve been in the logistics industry for about 13 years. Like a lot of people, I came into it by chance. When I was in my last semester of college, I became friends with a classmate who owns SOL Moving Group in Puerto Rico. My major was Business and Finance, and my friend ended up offering me a temporary job, while I found something more permanent in my planned finance career,” Negron said. “This ‘temporary job’ turned into six years of experience in international moving services. I loved the dynamic of the industry, that you interact with people from all over the world, that every shipment is different, and that you are continually learning about different industries, countries, and cultures. During this time, I obtained my MBA at the University of Puerto Rico, majoring in Operations Management. I went on to work at a customs brokerage company and then to the NVOCC side at EcuWorldwide before joining iTN Worldwide.”
Negron quickly climbed the ranks at iTN. Her desire to learn granted her the ability to move around in distinct roles and learn different areas of logistic practices.
“I joined iTN as an inside sales rep assisting with pricing, quoting, and customer service but my growth has been rapid. I upgraded to accounts manager responsible for implementing and developing VIP relationships. Last year, I was promoted to manage our ocean export operations department. I find iTN unique because it’s an environment where people are encouraged to think outside the box and to bring new ideas,” Negron said. “This happens through all ranks of the company. We have clear set goals as an overall organization and at the different department levels, but we are also given the flexibility to come up with and implement new ideas that will contribute to meeting those goals.
Negron said she likes that iTN encourages employees to advance their career and experiment with different roles.
“Personal development is encouraged, and there is a commitment to helping everyone with their professional growth. We are challenged to think about our next step, and whenever there is a new position available, we look within our company first, for opportunities to promote our team members. My journey at iTN is a testimony to this.”
Last year when the hurricane devastated her homeland, Negron quickly turned her logistic knowledge into her passion sending aid and emergency supplies to Puerto Rico. People were lining up at iTN daily to send generators, diapers and all types of first aid and canned goods to their loved ones. For Negron, this was no longer a business, but a lifeline to her loved ones.
“I will never forget the angst and desperation of the first six days after hurricane Maria. I was without any communication with my family and seeing the devastation in the news and not knowing how they were. Then, it was the feeling of impotence knowing the daily struggle of long lines for ice and fuel, shortage of food and supplies, especially those first weeks. My family is in Ponce, which is in the southern part of the island, so even when the airport opened, there were no truckers available to deliver supplies,” Negron said. “It was an emotional time. There were desperation and sadness, but I also felt hopeful of the outpouring of help from all the Puerto Ricans here on the mainland that organized to collect and send supplies. I saw strangers come together to help others to communicate with their loved ones on the island and helping them receive goods. It was a stranger, who coordinated with me to deliver the supplies I sent to my family.”
“I also felt grateful and blessed to work with so many special colleagues, who prayed for my family, asked me about them daily and even came by my office with items to add in the care package I was preparing to send.”
Her bond with her team has grown significantly, and she credits the culture and team-first attitude encouraged at iTN. They also strategize and have group meetings to set intentions and catch up on work updates.
“The ocean manager role came after an unexpected vacancy of this position by the previous manager. To avoid any possible service interruptions to the accounts, I began to assist the operations team in the handling of shipments. Eventually, I applied for the position and went through the interview process,” Negron said. “This is the most challenging position I’ve had, involving not only being responsible for the operation to run smoothly but also because it means managing a group and being accountable for our budget. Every day is different, with something new to learn. Luckily, I have an excellent team, and with their support, I’m confident that we’ll continue to reach our goals.”
To stay in touch with Hilda, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about our Ocean Export services email us at email@example.com.
Written by: Christian Portilla