Creative Negotiator

Claudia Esthela Granda, 32, is no stranger to making hard decisions. Born in Peru and raised in Ecuador, she moved to the United States at 17 to attend Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. “Looking back, despite the sacrifice it meant moving far away from home, I am confident I made the right choice,” Granda says. Now as an analyst for American Airlines, she manages credit-card partnerships in several countries in Latin America where she has been involved in contract negotiations to renew partnerships and launch new credit cards. “It is an amazing feeling to know that what you are working on will result in a product that will provide such great value to your customers,” she says.

“Having a food engineering background, complemented with an MBA, has given me the tools I need to make a difference,” says Claudia Esthela Granda.

Career goal
To become a leader in a service industry that provides exceptional value to customers.

Education
Master of Business Administration
Southern Methodist University, August 2010
Master of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
(emphasis in Food Engineering)
Texas A & M University, May 2005
Bachelor of Science in Biological Systems Engineering (emphasis in Food Engineering), Double major in Food Science and Technology
Texas A&M University, May 2002

Work experience
January 2011–current: Analyst, AAdvantage International Marketing
American Airlines

 

June 2005 to December 2010: Senior Food Technologist
Pecan Deluxe Candy Company
September 2002 to May 2005: Graduate/Teaching Assistant, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department
Texas A & M University
Summer 2001: Summer Intern
Frito-Lay, Inc.

Role model
Bennie Brigham
My role model is the owner of the candy company I used to work for (Pecan Deluxe), Bennie Brigham. Bennie’s dad started the company and passed away when Bennie was in his early 20s. He worked very hard to build the company that Pecan Deluxe is today, with more than 250 employees in the US and the UK. Despite the fact that the company is growing at a very fast pace and that they work with big names in the industry, Bennie and his son Jay have done a great job in making all their employees feel like family. The Brigham family has taught me that the key to success is to remain humble.

Dream job
My dream job is one where I am able to make an impact. I have been lucky to have two major jobs [with Pecan Deluxe and American Airlines] where I have been able to see the results of my efforts and hard work, so I would qualify them as “dream jobs.”

Define success
Being successful to me means to work hard and enjoy the journey toward reaching results. Whereas it is launching a new credit card or creating a great-tasting candy, the whole process to get there are also part of what I call success.