NextGen Collective spotlights Bawi Agua Fresca co-founder and CEO Victor Guardiola. Read on about his work, daily routine, and more.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Monterrey, Mexico, but I was raised in a suburb of Corpus Christi, Texas. It’s a small town named Portland that had about 15,000 people for most of my life.
What do you do today?
I am a co-founder and CEO of Bawi Agua Fresca. Bawi is trying to bring more health-conscious representation to the Latino beverage category.
Who inspired you the most in your life growing up?
As a first-generation Mexican immigrant, my parents inspired me greatly. Starting over and working for a better life, one I knew my parents dreamed of having, really informed my perspective on what I could do. It really painted the picture to me that nothing was out of the cards for my future. I was always quite cognizant of the sacrifices my mother had to make to take care of us, and the effort my father had to endure to make sure all our needs were taken care of. If they could do all of these things, then why wouldn’t I try to go after everything I’ve ever wanted?
This, paired with an insatiable curiosity and sense of wonder about the world, really pushed me to explore. Even in failure, I was not going to accept that the entirety of my life and ambitions would be constrained to my small, conservative hometown.
What lesson did you learn early in your career that still serves you today?
You never know if you don’t try. Anyone close to me professionally knows that I will send absolutely anyone a cold email. I will tailor that email specifically to the recipient for up to an hour. After several years of doing this weekly, I’ve ended up connecting with C-Suite executives, politicians, subject matter experts in fields I’m trying to improve in my business, and even new friends. Relationship capital is incredibly important, especially if you come from a minority background where traditional sources of capital and networks would usually come from friends and family members.
What podcast or lifehack can you not live without?
Using a life planner. I’ve been using Notion to organize my life for the past several years. It allows me to examine my goals from a macro perspective and really track my progress over time. I’ve also been journaling in Notion daily(ish) for the past several years. If you have a lot going on in your life, and you still want to stick to your goals, I highly recommend making some sort of operating system. Managing your life and your time needs to be easy. Find the system that makes reaching your goals easier, and the goals will feel much more attainable.
What is part of your daily routine that you look forward to every day?
I run and lift weights. Nothing clears my head like exercise. In addition to that, I’d say having a clean living space is really important to me. Once my place is nice and clean, I’ll plan my day and journal.
When you get a new idea what’s the first thing you do with it?
I use Notion to organize my life. It’s quite thorough to be honest and covers my mental health, personal goals (for example, dating and friendships), and business, of course. I’ve kept an Apple Note now turned Notion database to outline all my future business ideas.
What behavior or personality traits do you attribute to your success?
Tenacity, discipline, and love. These personality traits encompass the way I view most aspects of my life. I think that I work toward my goals tenaciously and I’m always willing to learn and iterate on my assumptions. I truly attempt to act on a great deal of intrinsic motivation and love.
Which causes are you passionate about?
There are many. I’d say equal access to opportunity is something that’s been driven into me since starting Bawi. I believe that corporations with DEI initiatives will slowly make wealth more evenly distributed. However, DEI initiatives are quite slow, and will take decades to see a significant increase in minority populations’ average wealth. I think the true equalizer is access to entrepreneurship. White-owned businesses have the privilege of borrowing against household wealth, usually tied up in home ownership. Without diving into the macroeconomic impact of how owning long-term assets allows you to access entrepreneurship, I’d just say that I would like to invest and mentor minority entrepreneurs once I have the means to.
Your theme song.
Disco Man by Remi Wolf