Hello Team GSMP: Adriana Cruz
This month, we're talking to Adriana Cruz, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership. Adriana has been a big part of modern Texas economic development, from her time at the Governor's Office to successfully working on projects like Facebook and Apple with the Austin Chamber and Amazon and Best Buy with GSMP.
A native of Laredo, TX, Adriana has lived in the Austin area since her college days at UT Austin. She's the proud mother of three children, two of whom have remained in Central Texas and one who is working in Orlando, FL. She and her husband Rik are active members of the San Marcos regional communities.
What do you like most about your job?
AC: I love working with a diverse group of people and stakeholders to bring prosperity to our region. From small business owners to university leaders to elected officials, it’s wonderful to see everyone come together for a common goal and purpose.
What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?
AC: I’d have to say the Amazon fulfillment center, which announced they would create 1,000 jobs but actually exceeded that amount and have hired 3,000 permanent, full-time positions! Driving by that facility and seeing it is just so special – to know that it wasn’t there when I got here in 2013! And also to see the new events we’ve started and the attendance and attention we’re getting from national media. Also, being recognized by ABJ as a Central Texas Woman of Influence and as one of the Top Women to Watch in the U.S. by BizJournals made me extremely proud as a woman working in what is generally a man’s world. Personally, I’d have to say my family: being married to my husband for 30 + years and being a mom to three of the best human beings on the planet!
What does a typical day look like for you?
AC: There is no easy answer to that one! Each day is different. One day it’s back-to-back meetings with partners, investors, prospects and stakeholders. Another day we’re hosting a major international delegation. Another day I’m sitting in the office meeting with Team GSMP and strategizing on solutions for a particular issue, or sitting at the computer answering email. Every day is different!
What three words would you use to describe your role?
AC: Leader. Change-Agent. Coach.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
AC: Making time for everything! I hate to say “no” and try to fill as many requests as I can. Sometimes you have your schedule all laid out, and then a prospect calls and says they are flying in for a site visit, and then everything changes!
If you could choose anyone, whom would you pick as your mentor?
AC: I’ve been fortunate to have some wonderful mentors, including tech leaders like Pike Powers. I guess I’d love to sit down with Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook and pick her brain!
What advice would you give to aspiring economic developers?
AC: Be trustworthy – your word is your bond. Be flexible – things change from one day to the next. Be honest. And be humble – Economic development is a team sport and it takes a lot of people working together to land a deal. Be patient – sometimes successful projects take a while.
What’s the most recent app you’ve downloaded?
AC: Work-related, I downloaded Guidebook. GSMP uses it for some of our signature events to keep all of our out-of-town guests on the same page regarding schedule and contact information. Non work-related, I downloaded Pigment which is a great coloring app! I had forgotten how much I love coloring!
What is the last book you read for fun?
AC: Chrissy Hynde’s autobiography “Reckless"
What’s your next Netfilx binge?
AC: I’m a serious Netflix binge watcher, much to my husband’s dismay! My husband and I are up to date on a lot of the popular shows (Marco Polo, Stranger Things, House of Cards). We watched Season 1 of a Turkish historical drama of the Ottoman Empire called “Magnificent Century” and got hooked! Now I can’t wait for Season 2!