Hear Her Story: Q&A With Margarita Najera, Plant Manager at Gildan
Margarita, Plant Manager at Gildan shares with us the joy of coming back to work in her native country and her sudden rise to leadership. Here is her story:
Q: Tell us about your career journey:
I studied and graduated in industrial engineer from the Autonomous University of Coahuila. I then went on to get a certification in lean manufacturing for apparel. Today, I have over 23 years of experience in the apparel industry and have worked in Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras and the United States for various large brands in the apparel and swimwear industry. In my current role, I oversee Gildan’s Alstyle textile and sewing plant in Agua Prieta, Mexico.
Q: We heard you were thrilled about your recent relocation to Mexico, can you tell us why?
I’m originally Mexican but had been living abroad for many years. Last year, Gildan asked me to come join the Company as a Sewing Production Manager at its textile facility in Mexico. When the opportunity came up to come home I took it without hesitation! I had lived far away from my family for years and the idea of living in the same country again was impossible to resist. Now I’m only a 10 hour drive away from my family, the closest I’ve been to them in years.
Q: Shortly after you arrived in Mexico you were promoted to Plant Manager, how did you feel when you received the news?
I was surprised and speechless when I found out Gildan wanted me to oversee the entire facility. It was unexpected because I had been working there for 6 months, but I was also extremely pleased with myself. I love my job, I love the people and I work hard every day so the opportunity to move into a leadership position was very gratifying.
Q: What lessons did you learn about team management from your sudden rise to leadership?
I’m very lucky to have the chance to lead an excellent team that works hard every day to achieve our common goals. But managing a large team of people is a difficult job; there is a no doubt about that. As a leader, I have learned to be patient, to value teamwork, to trust and be trusted and more importantly to communicate effectively.
Q: What surprised you the most about Gildan?
I was pleasantly surprised by how organized the company was, by the culture and more importantly on the emphasis placed on operating responsibly. In my 23 year career, I’ve never seen a company as committed to corporate social responsibility as Gildan. Not a lot of companies put this much focus on bringing their values to life, but Gildan does a really good job with that. From a personal standpoint, I take a lot of pride in working for a company like that. It motivates me to work hard because I want to participate in fostering this incredible culture and I want to help bring our vision to life.
Click here to read the other stories of the women featured in this series.