Fast fact: A former Walmart Inc. executive, Moralez, a national speaker and executive coach, is Upskill NWA’s founding chief executive. It’s a job skills initiative of the Excellerate Foundation launched in 2021.
What is the best business advice someone has ever given you? Invest in your people. They are your greatest asset. It has proven true throughout my 30-year professional career.
How significant to you is developing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) culture within your organization? Growing up as a Spanish-speaking minority in rural Texas, I had first-hand experience in inequitable systems. Professionally, I have spent the last 10 years in the DEI space; as a leader in various resource groups, as a partner at Serve2Perform, and now as the CEO of Upskill NWA. Providing equitable opportunities for all is a personal mission. It is vitally important that I create the same culture within my own organization. One because it is the right thing to do and completely in line with Upskill NWA’s own mission, vision, and values and because it is a matter of personal accountability to do what I say.
What are your thoughts on working from home? I am a proponent of working from home. I have greatly benefited from working in a hybrid environment that allows me the flexibility to be present for my family’s important events and offers a beautiful and supportive environment for me to develop the organization.
What’s your favorite movie or television show? “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki is a family favorite. Chihiro and her indomitable spirit as she tries to save her parents after they have been turned into pigs has served as an inspiration for each of my children.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why? My husband, Tomas. For years, he gave up his career to be a stay-at-home dad and raise our four children so he could support me in my career. He’s remarkable, an unsung hero for all the time he invested in raising good human beings.
Which skills do you think are most important when it comes to leadership? I’ve been in this role for two years, and I feel like I have been learning new skills every day. And there are specific skills and competencies that have allowed me to put Upskill NWA is a strong position, like having a heart for people, servant leadership, relationship building, community building, entrepreneurial, negotiations, strategist, big dreamer, risk taker, honesty and candor.
If you had $1 million to give, what would you support? Northwest Arkansas is filled with incredible leaders and nonprofit organizations that are providing much needed services to our community, including Upskill NWA, which takes nontraditional students and pays for tuition, books, fees, and supplies and provides a career navigator for each participant. I would invest in growing our program so that we could serve more of our NWA residents.
Do you think artificial intelligence (AI) can take jobs in your industry? I have seen the benefits of AI to this type of industry. Assessing client needs has improved with the addition of this technology; however, Upskill NWA values the person-to-person relationships necessary to build deep relations with those we serve. In short, there are improvements that AI can bring, but our people remain at the heart of what we do.