Conversation with Ric Estrada

Conversation with Ric Estrada

A Conversation with Ric Estrada

Ric Estrada shares career tips with Loyola students

At the Baumhart Center’s most recent Kelly Tyrell Conversation, students enjoyed an intimate dialogue with Ric Estrada, president and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services. Estrada, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola, began the conversation by explaining his personal career path. As someone who returned to school to receive an MBA, Estrada noted how important it is for students interested in socially-oriented professions to have marketable business skills and to understand how to run an organization effectively.

Estrada came with plenty of advice for the students. Here are his top five tips for students seeking to lead in the social impact sector:

1. Polish your sale skills

Estrada asserted that the “most critical skill for every profession” is sale skills. He explained that he started out painting houses for extra money as a young student and he had to sell his capability. He added, whether you’re in a very technical science field and trying to sell a proposal for an experiment, or a nonprofit representative trying to sell your mission—sale skills are vital.

2. Find strong mentors

Establishing solid mentor relationships early-on in your career is vital, according to Estrada. After beginning at the ground level within a nonprofit, he said that mentors played a critical role in helping him to find and succeed in leadership roles in human services, philanthropy and government.

3. Foster community

As the leader of more than one thousand employees, Estrada spoke about how important it is to maintain a cohesive staff and foster a sense of community within an organization. In his opinion, any leader must have the ability to effectively communicate their thoughts, ideas and goals—but most importantly, “be willing to be wrong.”

4. Know how to lead and be led

Estrada shared a quote from one of his mentors that an essential part of leadership is knowing when to be “a leader of leaders and understanding when you need to be led.”

5. Hire great people around

Estrada said that much of his job as CEO is to raise money for Metropolitan’s critical work and that means he needs to “hire the best possible people on [his] team to lead the [internal] organization.”