Events

Spotlight Series ft. Gladys Gordon

Senior Executive Assistant, Holt Logistics

Gladys-Picture-CACC

CACC: What is your connection to Chile?

Gladys Gordon (GG): First and foremost, I was born and raised in Chile. In 1990, I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chile. During my third year at the Ministry, I was assigned a foreign mission that involved representing my country in the local Tri-State area via the Consulate of Chile in Philadelphia. When I traveled to the United States for my foreign mission, I became the first person in my immediate family to travel outside of Chile. And while foreign missions often involve temporary assignments, I ended up working at the Consulate of Chile in Philadelphia for over 20 years—at first serving as Consular Officer before eventually becoming the Chancellor of the Consulate. Throughout my time with the Consulate, I worked closely with the local Chilean community, forging lasting relationships that continued beyond my employment with the Ministry. On occasion, I continue to work with the local Chilean community through the Consulate whenever my assistance is requested. Of course, my involvement in and support of the Chilean community extends even further through my personal, unaffiliated efforts.

CACC: How did your experiences lead you to your position at Holt Logistics?

GG: Working at the Consulate of Chile in Philadelphia was incredibly rewarding—both professionally and personally. My work involved helping many Chilean individuals and families through challenging—and periodically dire—circumstances. It also afforded me the opportunity to interact with many extraordinarily accomplished individuals from the worlds of academia, government, politics, art, and business. I will forever cherish my time working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and—more specifically—working at the Consulate of Chile in Philadelphia. Notwithstanding, I remember going through a period of concern and uncertainty regarding my own future, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chile deliberated the possibility of permanently closing the Consulate in Philadelphia. After living almost half of my life in the United States in service of my country, I had developed a great affection for the United States. I was also married to an American and had a son that was born in the United States. And while my husband and son both adore Chile, we all wanted to continue living in the United States. Aware that I might be assigned a different foreign mission if I remained employed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I decided that it was the appropriate time to consider retiring from the Ministry while I diligently searched for work in the private sector. Interestingly, all that I had learned and achieved throughout my two decades of dedicated service to Chile and the local Chilean community didn’t seem to attract much interest. While the local business community appreciated my service and accomplishments at the Consulate, it seemed that no one could envision how my skill set would translate to the private sector. Admittedly so, this was quite a scary time for me. I started doubting my skill set, my ability to adapt, and—more importantly—myself. But let this be an important life lesson; all it takes is one person to believe in you. And for me, that one person was Leo Holt.

Last May, I celebrated my fifth year working at Holt Logistics. I primarily work in the Executive Offices at the Corporate Headquarters of Holt Logistics—often lending support to the Marketing Department. I can’t imagine working for a more amazing and conscientious company—which is not only dedicated to the welfare of their employees, but is truly dedicated to the entire community that it serves. Holt Logistics not only facilitates commerce between our local area and Chile—as well as my other parts of the world—but it also promotes and financially supports Chilean cultural events that are considerably important to the local Chilean community.

CACC: What is something you want the Greater Philadelphia Region to know about Chile? 

GG: As the people of the world struggle to navigate, confront, and adapt to this unprecedented challenge to public health, it is hard to see beyond the borders of our confinement. Nevertheless, we still maintain important connections to the rest of the world. And one of the more significant connections—particularly to our region of the country—is the connection we still have with Chile. In our region, a large percentage of the fruit we consumed during the winter and spring continued to flow from Chile—despite the logistical challenges and occasionally supply chain interruptions caused by the pandemic. Advanced IT—critical to the continued function of businesses straining to keep viable—also continued to flow from Chile. While any of us can be excused for not noticing this important connection during this extraordinarily difficult moment in our lives, Chile remains an important and active partner in our region—as well as to the rest of our country. And once we feel safe enough to travel abroad, there is no better place to start than amazing Chile. As an intrepid visitor, you can explore and learn more about Chile through its wine, gastronomy, film festivals, art, and unparalleled landscapes. These landscapes include deserts, forests, mountains, lakes, beaches, volcanoes, ice fields, and glaciers. In Chile, you can truly ski, hike, swim, and sightsee to your heart’s content!

CACC: What makes the CACC a special and valuable organization to you? 

GG: The CACC is one of the most active and vital Chilean Chambers in the United States. The Chamber’s ability and determination to foster and maintain a vigorous trade relationship between the Greater Philadelphia region and Chile has been integral to the steady flow of products and services needed in our area—particularly in this unprecedented time of crisis. The Chamber sponsors and organizes a wide range of events designed to promote the businesses of their members. And while I was working at the Consulate of Chile in Philadelphia, the CACC was always there to support Chile during moments of crisis—such as those caused by natural disasters and, of course, the 2010 crisis involving the trapped miners in Copiapo. The CACC also supports Chilean cultural events that are important to me and—more importantly—to the local Chilean community.

CACC: Where is your favorite place in Chile? Why?

GG: As a young teen, my favorite place to visit was Bahia Inglesa. Although I grew up in Santiago, I spent my summer vacations with my relatives who resided in northern Chile. Bahia Inglesa is located in the north, about 10 kilometers from Caldera in the Atacama region of Chile. It was quite a physical challenge traversing the mostly rocky shoreline—but it was always an adventure. And since I was particularly adventurous in my youth, I was never bothered by the occasional injury caused by the rugged terrain. During this time, my cousins and I would explore Bahia Inglesa, as well as many other interesting and remote places in the surrounding area. I vividly remember the nights in the north. Parts of the north were so remote and dark during the evenings that you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face! But the sky was utterly spectacular. It felt like you could pluck the stars out of the sky like wildflowers in an endless meadow. But the most awe-inspiring sight in the night sky was the hazy-white band of the Milky Way, which can only be viewed by the naked eye in the total absence of the light pollution. And while I love all the amazing regions of Chile, northern Chile will always produce a heightened sense of nostalgia within me.

Muchas Gracias to Gladys for sharing her inspiring story!

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