Investing in your Future

With the desire for instant gratification nearly embedded into our DNA, it’s no wonder we often overlook the journey – or lose sight of it entirely. Carefully curated success stories and lush vacation photos flood our social media, filling us with unrealistic expectations. What we don’t see is the hard work involved or the less than glamorous day job that pays for that vacation. Suddenly, we feel inadequate and pressured to become as successful as everyone else appears to be. Deep down though, I think we all know that no great success story is generated overnight. Good things really do take time. Emilio Vazquez ’95 is a case in point.

After his high school graduation, Emilio began working as a bank teller. Even at the young age of 18, he quickly realized the wealth of opportunities available within the banking industry. Knowing that he wanted to increase his income, support a family one day and thrive in the competitive world of banking, Emilio decided to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration and started taking classes part-time at FIU.

“I was a commuter student and FIU’s curriculum is great for working people. It was easy to manage at night and on weekends,” Emilio says. “I went religiously, nonstop for eight years after eight- to 10-hour work days.” He never missed a semester.

Thus began his steady and deliberate rise to success.

“The education I received at FIU helped me develop communication skills and team building skills. The FIU management courses provided everything needed for a banker to excel,” he says. “The banker’s role, whether as a teller or as the bank’s president, is to add value to the lives of our clients, to teach them, coach them on their finances and help them build their businesses through cash management and the wise use of credit. My education gave me that people perspective. At 18, you’re not really a people person. You’re a teenager. But it helped me understand other points of view and taught me to communicate authentically.”

Young people today tend to become easily disenchanted. We’ve come to expect instant gratification, but it isn’t realistic. “Tenacity is a big part of who I am. When I have a goal in mind, I fulfill it,” Emilio says. “For my situation, FIU was terrific.”


Emilio is not alone in his love for FIU. His wife Cynthia also graduated from FIU in 1995; his son Brian is a junior studying sports management; and his daughter Emily just began her freshman year and is hoping to pursue a career in medicine. “We’re all Golden Panthers!” Emilio says. “I’m going to be tied to FIU forever. I go to the football and basketball games with my kids; I participate in networking events with the College of Business.”

“As a people person, I enjoy going back into the classrooms during Panther Alumni Week. I’ve been speaking to incoming freshmen for the past three years,” Emilio says. “These young groups are often still quiet and timid. I give them advice on student debt, credit cards and the importance of investing in their education.”

Currently, Emilio is Senior Vice President and Miami Market Executive at Gibraltar Private Bank, a position he finds especially fulfilling. “There is nothing I enjoy more than mentoring, coaching and watching my employees grow and then being able to say, ‘You’re promoted!’ I love seeing them become successful bankers while also helping the people in our community. It always comes back to the people aspect.”


Emilio also serves on the board of directors for Yes Institute.

“In 1999, I was working at Citibank. As part of our diversity program, Citibank picked my office to reach out to the gay and lesbian community. Being a married, young, Hispanic male, I was terrified,” Emilio admits. “Until I met the folks at Yes. I fell in love! It’s an educational organization that strives to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth, but also to prevent bullying and keep all youth safe. There is nothing more terrible for a child than to be rejected by their parents. Keeping families together and preventing suicide made Yes a match for me. Yes helps eliminate fear and shame through education. They’re also doing a great job in the school system. Members of Yes have even been welcomed as guest speakers at FIU.”

From the start, Emilio has loved helping his clients succeed. Banking is “a people business,” he says. And when he says it, you believe him. He also has some great advice for students. “Be consistent, finish your degree. Remember, it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. If you’re patient, if you apply yourself and work toward your degree, success will come. An education is an investment in your future.”

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