About Gloria Schoch:
- Director of Global Community Affairs at Molson Coors Beverage Company
- Education: University of Colorado Boulder (undergraduate), University of Colorado Denver (graduate)
- EXECs Class Year: 2015
The Colorado Chamber sat down with Gloria Schoch to talk about her experience in the EXECs Advocacy Program. Highlights from the interview are below (edited for length and clarity):
When you were young, did you know what you wanted to be “when you grew up”?
I wanted to be an actress and ballerina. Ambitious, right? Now I look at the unexpected directions of my career trajectory and realize how much my parents influenced my passions, interests and journey.
My dad’s life-long career in city management, community development, and the Peace Corps and fostering public/private partnerships through NGOs in Latin America sparked my interest in working for a global company where I could make connections between different cultures and communities, and come up with creative approaches to solving difficult challenges to help build a company’s reputation while bettering our communities and the planet.
Early on, my first job out of college, I worked for an iconic consulting firm. I quickly realized it was not the direction I wanted to go. I ended up working for a Latin American Art Museum which was something that resonated with me just given my Latina background. Through the relationships I built at the museum, I was able to make the transition from the non-profit sector to corporate philanthropy and public affairs.
One of my instructors from my grad school program at CU Denver worked for FirstData and Western Union. A lot of the work he spearheaded was building public-private partnerships with immigrant communities and governments with the aim of making migration a choice rather than a necessity through cross-border workforce development programs. He recruited me to work for him, to strengthen Western Union’s relationships with their customers and the governments where they were looking to operate and expand in Latin America.
What do you like to do outside of work?
It’s the simple pleasures of life, being able to take a walk in the morning, go on a jog, or escape to the mountains. Schedule that big international trip to recharge and stretch your perspective on what’s happening day to day.
I love taking time off to get away to recharge and experience the world from a different point of view. I grew up straddling two worlds. I was raised in Colombia and in the U.S., understanding how fortunate we are to live here. The opportunities we have in the U.S. are abundant. My parents taught me at an early age that with hard work and determination, there is so much you can accomplish and achieve if you put your mind to it.
Seeing abject poverty in Colombia was eye opening for me. Having the opportunity to work with immigrant communities, like I did at Western Union, to working with under-resourced communities in our backyard to provide opportunities for growth and helping them reach their full potential is something that resonates with me. I realize now that my work today goes back to how I grew up.
What do you wish was on your resume?
I wish I spoke more than two languages. How amazing would that be, especially working in a global setting. As we continue becoming more of a global society and global economy, it’s incredibly valuable to be able to speak different languages – it helps us be more globally minded and create more meaningful human connections.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
I would probably say developing Molson Coors’ Water Disaster Relief Program that I created for the U.S. business and that we’re hoping to expand globally. It aligns perfectly with the core of our business, and the needs of the community when a disaster strikes, like during Hurricane Harvey.
We tap into our infrastructure, talent and network of partners to produce canned drinking water during difficult times. We’re fortunate to have partners like Ball that donate the aluminum cans, and our distributor and transportation partners, and customers that help deliver the drinking water to those most in need.
It strengthens the relationship with our customers, our distributors and our communities and consumers in such a beautiful way. Every partner in that process provides everything free of charge. The power of collective impact to support communities in need when a disaster strikes is a powerful thing.
Which organizations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
I serve on the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Denver Civic Ventures Board – we work together to continue to put Denver on the map as a world class city. I also serve on the board of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. We have a long history with the foundation – Bill Coors was one of the founding supporters in the 70’s. He was incredibly passionate about ensuring that we could build the best talent inside and outside of our company walls. The Leadership Foundation has provided the opportunity to foster a commitment to developing Denver’s civic DNA and to ensuring we are continuing to move the Denver Metro Area forward in a very thoughtful and inclusive way.
What is your opinion of the current business climate in Colorado?
We have an incredible quality of life here in Colorado. People are driven to be a part of it and we have this extraordinary talent pool. I think as our political landscape and demographics change in Colorado, we need to be diligent as a business community to educate our public and stakeholders on the important role business plays in helping communities thrive.
From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, I think there has been much more of a movement and realization that when companies invest in their communities and are looking at the bottom line of their organization, it’s definitely is tied to reducing their environmental footprint and investing in their communities – it’s a win-win.
Do you feel that the Colorado Chamber has an impact on the business climate in Colorado?
The Chamber plays a vital role as a unified voice for business, and shares a compelling story about the important role business continues to play in moving our state forward.
Has the Colorado Chamber’s EXECs program benefited your career? If so, how?
Yes, I think it gave me a broader perspective and more insights into what makes Colorado tick, from agriculture, aerospace, extraction industries. It’s the gift that keeps on giving in regards to building new relationships and deepening relationships with people I already knew.
What was your favorite program tour in the program and why?
The Climax Molybdenum tour. It was such a rare and unique opportunity to go into a mine. It was incredible to see first-hand the human ingenuity and engineering that goes into extraction.
We take for granted our reliance on extraction of all sorts of minerals and things that play such a vital role in how we continue to operate day by day. I think people have a very antiquated perspective of mines, and what was eye-opening about that tour was learning about molybdenum and how it’s connected to a lot of technology that we are dependent upon today.
How have you stayed involved in the Chamber since participating in EXECs?
Primarily through the luncheons – whatever the hot topics of the day are, the Chamber’s done an amazing job of bringing the right stakeholders to the table from a business and policy perspective to have thoughtful discourse and discussions on issues that are impacting our state.
I also stay in contact with the folks that I met through EXECs, sitting down having a coffee, golfing, or continuing conversations with individuals and working together to continue to move our community and state forward.
What advice do you have for future program applicants?
You get out of it what you put into it. It’s really important to shut off your phone and actively listen, be curious and ask lots of questions. Take the time to really get to know your colleagues and your peers because you never know how your relationships will be of value down the road.
I feel very blessed to be a part of the business community here in Colorado and to do the work that I do. I learned from my parents the importance of showing up and doing your best every single day, being as present as possible and being a part of something larger than yourself.