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Get to Know: Carmen Bermudez

Airdate: January 26, 2017
Carmen Bermudez, founder and CEO for Mission Management & Trust Co., was a popular bullfighter in Costa Rica and Mexico City and is now one of the highest ranking Latinas in the American Financial Services Industry.

Guests:
  • Carmen Bermudez - Founder and CEO for Mission Management & Trust Co.
Category: Business/Economy

Keywords: finance, bullfighter, Carmen Bermudez,

View Transcript
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO HORIZONTE. I'M JOSÉ CÁRDENAS. YOU'LL “GET TO KNOW” AN ARIZONA WOMAN WHO WAS ONCE A BULLFIGHTER AND IS NOW ONE OF THE TOP LATINAS IN THE FINANCE WORLD. PLUS, IN SOUNDS OF CULTURA “S-O- C”, WE'LL TALK ABOUT CROSSFADE LAB, HIGHLIGHTING INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN LATINO AND LATINA ARTISTS. ALL COMING UP NEXT ON ”HORIZONTE”.
VIDEO: "HORIZONTE" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF AZ PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: IN TONIGHT'S GET TO KNOW SEGMENT: SHE WAS A POPULAR BULLFIGHTER IN COSTA RICA AND IS NOW ONE OF THE HIGHEST RANKING LATINA EXECUTIVES IN THE AMERICAN FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY. I SPOKE TO CARMEN BERMUDEZ, FOUNDER AND C-E- O FOR MISSION MANAGEMENT AND TRUST. YOU ARE HONARY HONOR -- HONORARY COUNCIL FOR COSTA RICA. I NOTICE YOU GIVE MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKERS AND TALK TO GROUPS. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR OWN LIFE STORY THAT YOU THINK IS INSPIRING?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: I LIKE TO TELL THEM BY EXAMPLE YOU HAVE TO STAND FOR YOUR OWN RIGHTS. IF YOU DON'T FEEL SECURE IN WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO PEOPLE ARE GOING TO WALK ALL OVER YOU. SO I LIKE TO GIVE THEM CONFIDENCE AND I LIKE TO TELL THEM THIS IS HOW I DID IT. WHY CAN'T YOU DO IT?
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: MOST OF YOUR EXPERIENCES HAVE BEEN IN WHAT MANY PEOPLE REGARD A MAN'S WORLD. BULLFIGHTING, THE FINANCE BUSINESS AT LEAST WHEN YOU STARTED IN THE '90s. WHAT DO YOU TELL THEM ABOUT PUTTING THEMSELVES INTO THAT KIND OF AN ATMOSPHERE?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: WELL, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE ESPECIALLY WOMEN THEY DO A LOT OF OVER-THINKING SO IT DOESN'T MATERIALIZE. I AM SORRY TO SAY I AM CRITICIZING THE WOMAN GENDER BUT BECAUSE THE WOMEN ARE SO CAREFUL AND THAT IS WHY MEN HAVE SUCCEEDED IN BUSINESS BECAUSE THEY ARE GO-GETTERS AND THEY DON'T BELIEVE IN THE CONSEQUENCES, YOU KNOW? THEY JUST GO FOR IT. SO IF MORE WOMEN WOULD TAKE MORE CHANCES TO BE ABLE TO STORE THE POTENTIAL THEN THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO ADVANCE.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: HAVE YOU SEEN THAT CHANGE OVER TIME? WITH RESPECT TO MEN, WE ARE NOT AS MUCH OF THAT KIND OF SOCIETY AND WOMEN ARE MORE OPEN TO OPPORTUNITIES AND YOU HAVE THEM AS 50% FOR LAW SCHOOL STUDENTS IN THIS COUNTRY, FOR EXAMPLE. SO, DO YOU THINK THINGS HAVE IMPROVED SO THE ADVICE YOU GIVE IS DIFFERENT THAN YOU WOULD HAVE GIVEN 15 YEARS AGO?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: ABSOLUTELY. ABSOLUTELY, YEAH. I BELIEVE THAT TODAY'S SOCIETY HAS A SEPARATE TALENT OF A LOT OF WOMEN AND BECAUSE THEY HAVE PROVEN THEMSELVES TO BE CEO'S WITH GENERAL MOTORS AND PEOPLE LIKE MERKAL BEING THE PRIME MINISTER OF A COUNTRY LIKE GERMANY AND SO MANY OTHER WOMEN BEFORE HAVE LEFT THEIR FOOTPRINT. SO, TODAY IT IS APPRECIATED NOT ONLY BY WOMEN BUT BY MEN.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: YOU GROUP UP VERY POOR IN COSTA RICA AND DIDN'T COME TO THE UNITED STATES UNTIL 15. TELL YOUR EXPERIENCE AS AN IMMIGRANT, A POOR IMMIGRANT, SHAPED YOUR LIFE? -- HAS YOUR --
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: WELL, IT WASN'T EASY BUT I CANNOT COMPLAIN BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW ANY BETTER. I DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING THAT I COULD COMPARE IT TO. SO COMING HERE AS AN IMMIGRANT AND SEEING THE OPPORTUNITIES I GOT WAS VERY REFRESHING BECAUSE I NEVER THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS A WOMAN OR AN IMMIGRANTS. I THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS A PERSON WHO WAS STARVING FOR OPPORTUNITIES.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: BUT WHEN YOU BEGAN YOUR CAREER AS A BULLFIGHTER YOU MUST HAVE RUN INTO PREJUDICE? WE HAVE A COUPLE PICTURES OF YOU AND THE BULL WE WANT TO PUT UP AS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS PART OF YOUR HISTORY. WERE THERE ANY OTHER WOMEN FIGHTING IN THE BULL RINGS IN COSTA RICA AND LATER MEXICO CITY?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: NO.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: WELL, I HAD THE SPOTLIGHT. YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH THAT BECAUSE THE ONLY THING I HAD TO PROVE WAS HOW GOOD I WAS WITH THE BULL.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: WERE JUDGED MORE HARSHLY BECAUSE YOU WERE A WOMAN? IF A MATADOR WASN'T HAVE A GOOD DAY THEY WOULD SAY IT WAS AN OFF DAY BUT WERE PEOPLE SAYING WITH YOU "WELL-, SHE IS A WOMAN?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: NO, WHERE -- NO, BECAUSE I PROVED MYSELF. I WAS GIVEN FREE DRINKS EVERY DAY AND MEN AND WOMEN WERE IMPRESSED I WAS IN THERE WITH THE BULL. I FELT HONORED.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: SO WHY DID YOU LEAVE IT?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: WELL, YOU KNOW THAT IS A VERY GOOD QUESTION. IN MEXICO CITY WHEN I WAS FIGHTING I BECAME VERY, VERY FAMOUS. AMERICAN TELEVISION WAS CALLING ME TO APPEAR AND WANTED ME TO APPEAR ON TELEVISION SHOWS. WHY I WAS PARTYING BECAUSE I WAS INVITED BY THE JUDGE TO GO THROUGH A PARTISAN -- PARDONED -- WE WOULD GET UP AT 4:00 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING AND THE BULL WAS SLEEPING. HERE I GO INTO THE RING WITH A HANGOVER. NOT A GOOD IDEA. SO I MISSED THE TRAINING, THE DISCIPLINE THAT IT TAKES, AND THAT IS WHY ATHLETES HAVE TO STAY FOCUSED IN WHAT THEY DO AND THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE AGENTS AND THEY HAVE AN AGENT AND THEY DON'T HAVE ANYBODY TO TELL ME HEY, YOU BETTER GET YOUR REST, YOU BETTER GET YOUR FOOD. NO, YOU CAN'T DRINK 48 HOURS BEFORE YOU FACE THE BULL. I DIDN'T HAVE THAT KIND OF DISCIPLINE. I WAS JUST ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT OF IT.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: DID THAT LEAD TO INJURY?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: YES.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: SERIOUS?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: NOT TOO SERIOUS, NO.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: BUT ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU THINK YOU NEEDED TO CHANGE SOMETHING?

CARMEN BERMUDEZ: I GOT REALLY HURT, MY EGO, MY BODY AND FINANCIALLY BECAUSE I WASN'T PERFORMING IN MY STATUS WHY I WAS HIRED TO. I WASN'T GETTING THAT MANY BOOKING INS.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: YOU GO FROM A SPORT THAT IS ALMOST ENTIRELY MALE DOMINATED TO AT THE TIME YOU WERE INVOLVED IT WAS MOSTLY FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS. WHY?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: BECAUSE I WANTED TO SEE THE WORLD. I WANTED TO SEE WHAT WAS OUT THERE BESIDES LOS ANGELES, COSTA RICA AND MEXICO CITY. THE BEST WAY TO DO IT WAS TO BE A FLIGHT ATTENDANT. I STARTED BEING A FLIGHT ATTENDANT AND THEN I STARTED THINKING IF I AM FLYING FROM NEW YORK TO PARIS MAKING THIS MUCH MONEY AS A FLIGHT ATTENDANT I COULD MAKE MORE IF I WAS A PURSER SO I WANTED TO BE A PURSER SO I BECAME ONE.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: YOU WORKED YOUR WAY UP THE MANAGER CHAIN.
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: YES, YOU SPENT THE TIME HOURS JUST NEED MORE RESPONSIBILITY. SO WHAT? MORE RESPONSIBILITY IS MORE FUN.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: AND I THINK THE ARTICLE I READ ABOUT YOU MENTIONED YOUR PASSION FOR CAR RACING. YOU WERE NOT A CAR RACE DRIVER BUT YOU LIKE THE SPORT.
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: I LOVE ENGINES. I LOVE THE WAY THEY SOUND. AND I USED TO DATE A RACE CAR DRIVER. AND AS A MATTER OF FACT, I WAS DRIVING WITH A FRIEND AND HE WAS TRYING TO DRIVE FAST AND I SAID ALL THE RACE CAR DRIVERS I SAT AS A PASSENGER IN THE CAR IN THEY DROVE SLOW COMPARED TO YOU.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: BULLFIGHTER, FLIGHT ATTENDANT FLYING ALL OVER THE WORLD, YOU LOVE CAR RACING. BUT YOU COME TO ARIZONA AND GET INVOLVED IN FINANCE. WHY?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: BECAUSE WHEN I WAS WORKING WITH MY HUSBAND IN HIS COMPANY, FINANCE, ASSET MANAGEMENT COMPANY IN LA JOLLA, COMPANY. I OPENED A TRUST COMPANY BECAUSE HIS COMPANY NEEDED A TRUST COMPANY. I COULD NOT GET A LICENSE FAST ENOUGH IN CALIFORNIA. SO HE KEPT HIS COMPANY IN LA JOLLA AND I LOOKED IN NEIGHBORING STATES SO I COULD DO THE CUSTODY FOR THE CLIENTS THAT NEEDED MANAGEMENT. SO I LOOKED AND ARIZONA WAS A VERY WELCOMING STATE. I CAME HERE AND I OPENED MY COMPANY AND EVENTUALLY MY HUSBAND, AFTER TWO AND A HALF YEARS, HE MOVED HIS COMPANY AND WE INTEGRATED INTO A HAPPY FAMILY.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: AND YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL AS A BUSINESS WOMAN AS EVERYTHING ELSE. WE HAVE A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT. LET'S TALK ABOUT POLITICS. YOU WERE A DELEGATE TO THE 2004 REPUBLICAN CONVENTION. WE HAVE A COUPLE PICTURES OF YOU THERE. YOU LED THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. HAVE YOU CONTINUED TO BE INVOLVED IN POLITICS SINCE?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: NO.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: WHY NOT?

THE LAST CANDIDATE WAS MITT ROMNEY AND HE IS THE ONE I WOULD HAVE SUPPORTED A LOT AND HE IS NOT A CANDIDATE.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: DID YOU SUPPORT ANY OF THE CANDIDATES ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE THIS LAST ELECTION?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: NO.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: AND YOU KNOW, OF COURSE, THAT WE NOW HAVE PRESIDENT TRUMP. NOBODY THOUGHT HE WOULD WIN THE PRIMARIES. HE NOT ONLY WON HE WON VERY EASILY. TOUGH PRESIDENTIAL BATTLE. ANY CONCERNS ABOUT HIM AS PRESIDENT?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: YES. I BELIEVE HE IS CLOSING THE GATES OF UNITED STATES AND THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES IS GOING TO EVENTUALLY FIND THAT WE NEED BRIDGES. WE DON'T NEED GATES. SO I BELIEVE THAT -- I HOPE EVENTUALLY HE OPENS HIS MIND AND I HOPE HE CHANGES HIS MIND.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT HIS CONCERN ON IMMIGRATION. ANOTHER PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IS HIS ATTITUDES TOWARD WOMEN. YOU HAVE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL IN MANY MALE-DOMINATED AREA. IS THAT A CONCERN FOR YOU?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: IT IS A CONCERN TO ALL THE MILLIONS OF WOMEN WHO MARCHED ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT DOESN'T GO AWAY. IT IS HERE. IT IS HERE TO STAY. MANY CAN NO LONGER BULLY WOMEN.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: AND YOU THINK THAT IS WHAT HE HAS DONE?
CARMEN BERMUDEZ: YES.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: YOU HAVE LED A FASCINATING LIFE. IT WAS A PLEASURE MEETING WITH YOU. COMING UP NEXT, A SERIES HIGHLIGHTING INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN LATINO AND LATIN AMERICAN ARTISTS FROM ACROSS THE WORLD.


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