Brick Wall

spotlight | September

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Sergio Prieto

CTO, Managing Partner

This month's recommendations from Sergio Prieto are:

Movie

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Rush
2013  |  R  |  2h 3min

Music

In this new edition of our spotlight series, we are excited to introduce our leader Sergio Prieto, Mayan Technologies’ co-founder and Managing Partner, and expert in our industry.

His vision, experience, and negotiating skills have absolutely been instrumental in the continuous transformation and innovation strategies, to deliver the best customer experience to all our clients and build a strong brand. From navigating partnerships and communicating with stakeholders to overseeing all components of our business model, his holistic view, foresight, and expertise will undoubtedly lead Mayan Technologies to the next level. 

We are grateful to have him leading our company, as a business and as a family, for all our stakeholders.

Professional

Sergio Prieto was born in Monterrey, N.L, and got his degree in Computer Engineering at Universidad Regiomontana (UR) in 2006. He worked for EPICOR for 4 years and later he moved to San Diego, where he worked for one of EPICOR’s partners. Then he and his family moved to Texas, where they lived for 7 years up to the present time.

What do you do at Mayan Technologies?

I am the Managing Partner at Mayan Technologies; my main role is to oversee the company's daily operations and I also do some consulting work for our clients. Every day is different, I can be booking a flight for a consultant at one point and looking for ways to promote our company, and defining our team's growth path the next. I do the job that is needed, and I contribute wherever I can. This makes my job very interesting and dynamic; it keeps me on my feet and learning something new every day.  

What opportunities or challenges did the founders envision when the company started out?

I don’t believe we envisioned all that much, to be honest.  We didn’t start out with a formal business strategy or long-term plan. Everything happened organically. I started this company with Jessica, my wife, and Grant, my business partner. Each of us brought something different to the table. I came from a background in consulting and had worked at ERP software companies for several years. Jessica had a background in technology and had worked at both an ERP and an IT Management software company. Grant had a strong financial background and I had already worked with him on projects in the past. 


The biggest challenge we knew we would face, and continue to face to this day, is growing our team. Finding the right people, continuing to develop our team, and retaining talent is and has always been a challenge. However, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our recruitment and employee services. 

How would you describe the company culture?

Our main concern was to create and promote a professional and committed work culture while at the same time, encouraging teamwork and a friendly, stress-controlled environment based on trust. As a company, we have high-performance standards and are driven by respect. Respect not just as a way of communicating with others but in fulfilling commitments and deadlines, being on time, and having respect for the time and work others put in.

We promote a professional culture, by being formal in our work commitments because this is all our livelihoods, therefore it is imperative to be operative, functional, and impeccable at what we do, to work effectively and efficiently, and to deliver quality and value.

Can you tell us about an accomplishment that helped shape your career?

I think the biggest accomplishment, even sounding a bit sentimental, is that my family remains together and well, even after everything we went through with Axel's medical condition.

 

The fact that we were able to survive that experience and that the company is doing well, is the greatest milestone. That experience shaped my career and made me change my perspective of life 180 degrees; to have more empathy toward people; to understand when someone can't work late, or if they have to leave for a personal emergency, to give people a little more freedom.

 

On the other hand, I have also become more determined and assertive in letting people go when they are not performing accordingly to our quality or service objectives because we know they aren’t the right fit for Mayan and vice versa.

Where do you see Mayan Technologies in the next 5 years? 

In general, I would like to build a stronger, more robust company, acquire more accounts, and become leaders in outsourcing and ERP consulting, with a strong team to support all our areas.

My goal is to be able to build a team of 50 people. Before we started the company, I visualized a big company with 300+ employees, however, as we consolidated operations, I realized that growing the company too quickly has a real impact on company culture and affects the level of quality service we pride ourselves on. So, five years from now, I see Mayan Technologies growing organically to reach our team goal of 50 people and afterward, being able to maintain this size successfully while conserving our company identity and values intact.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How did you overcome it and what did you learn from it? 

I have had two main challenges in my professional career – regaining trust in people after it was lost in me and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

In MayanTech’s early years, I misplaced my trust in former work associates and friends who, while working at Mayan Technologies, caused the company and me to lose the trust and respect of customers and companies I had been working with for years. I trusted they had the company's best interest at heart, which wasn’t the case. It has been hard to recover and heal old wounds, continuously apologizing and building back relationships, however, this situation has taught me to separate business and personal associations and not to assume everyone has the same vested interests.

As far as balancing my professional and personal life, my greatest challenge has been to deliver my best performance at Mayan Technologies without compromising the commitment to my family, especially to my son Axel, who was born with a medical condition and has had a long and complicated journey. The stress to perform well at Mayan and making time for my son’s treatments is difficult, but the takeaways have been significant, and a turning point to improve in all my life’s domains, as a leader, as a coworker, as a husband, and most importantly, as a father.

Can you describe your leadership style?

I don't know how to describe my leadership style but basically lead by example. I would never ask someone to do something that I wouldn't do first, one way or another. I am always involved with our team, motivating them to get out of their comfort zone and go beyond easy actions.
 
My leadership has changed over the years, to be more of a mentor and to avoid confrontation, when possible, as I handled it before. But most of all, I try to get involved when I can and help where I can without getting in the middle, keeping my distance, but being available to assist in getting things done when needed.

What are you most proud of regarding the company? 

I am proud of the level of service experience we provide for our clients; memorable, approachable, close, empathetic, and based on experience and competence. We deliver on our commitments on time, on budget, and on results, because all the projects and services are closely co-created with our clients and consultants. And the other Mayan distinction, equally important, is the social domain, that also makes our company very proud, which is the Open Heart initiative. Our contribution to the Children’s Health cause makes for Mayan Technologies, as a family, all the difference in the world, for everyone who works here.

Brick Wall

What do you think makes us stand out the most compared to our competitors? 

Customer First

Our motto, Mayan’s is driven by its customers obsession with satisfaction. Mayan puts the customer at the center of organizational decision-making, instead of organizing around products, seeking ways to deliver a positive customer experience consistently and proactively by designing and delivering with the customer in mind.

Purpose-driven Thinking

Mayan follows a customer-centric approach, with a hospitality experience mindset. It’s about doing the right thing for the customer and ensuring everyone in the organization has the mindset to do so, based on understanding our customers and their needs.

End-to-end attention to customers’ details.  

Mayan service is built on experience and the ability of our team to understand our customers' context, circumstances, perceptions, jobs-to-be-done, and expectations

Customer Proximity

Mayan remains close to its customers at all times, and all customers enjoy a point of contact and can be sure to receive prompt responses and expert service.

Wow Moments

Mayan delivers a memorable customer experience, with proactive offerings, impeccable execution, and close follow-up, to guarantee a positive and memorable customer experience.  That commitment to exceeding our customer’s expectations is Mayan’s main reference and testimony, to boost customers' loyalty.

Preferences + Stats

Leadership Style Strategic Leadership

Preferred Dev Methodology - Agile

Recommended ERP - Epicor

+100

+15

+100

Projects

Years Experience

Satisfied Customers

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"Mayan Technologies is not an average company. Our service is not average, and we don't want our people to be average."

Personal

In addition to managing Mayan Technologies’ overall operations, Sergio is also a devoted family man. During this section of our interview, we get to know him on a more personal level; what motivates him, his personal interests, and his dual strengths as a visionary and pragmatic professional. 

What are your personal goals?

To be a great father and husband, and to make sure that Mayan Technologies continues to grow and reaches solid ground as a company. At the end of the day, my main goal is that my wife and son are proud of who I am.

What serves as a guiding principle in your life?

I think my family; my wife and my son are the moral compasses of my life. As a husband and as a father, the simple direction in any action is to imagine them as observers of my every doing, from sending an email or making a phone call, they are my audience who listen and read any message. If I am walking on the street or eating at a restaurant and have an argument with someone, they are always my conscience.

How do you handle work-life balance?

Work-life balance is a very interesting topic for me because, in my opinion, it is borderless, but maybe it’s easy for me to say that since I work with my wife. I enjoy and love my work, but as with anything in life, I also face life and work challenges, but in the end, they are also enduring, forging, and building my character as a person in all my life domains, at work, at home, and socially. 

I believe that your personal and professional lives should be connected to one another, so for example, if I go to dinner with a client, I am connecting as well with a friend that happens also to be a client. For me, it is not to set a fixed schedule to work 100% followed by another fixed time to be with my family 100%, because if my son needs my attention at 10 AM I will stop what I am working on and take care of the situation at hand, or other times I will keep working until 10 PM or 1 AM if needed. Every domain needs a situational analysis. It’s knowing how to prioritize events when they happen.

What book or article have you read recently that has had an impact on how you think?

I read a book recently, "Relentless" by Tim Grover, who was Michael Jordan's personal fitness trainer. It is a very insightful leadership book. I also read “Shut up and Listen” by Tilman Fertitta, who is a restauranteur and the owner of the Houston Rockets and Bubba Gump restaurants. Fertitta’s book was interesting to me because his whole approach to business is similar to mine, in terms of the purpose regarding service and hospitality. So, all he talks about is service, service, service. 

Grover's book focuses more on internal leadership; facing your fears, personal habits, how to organize yourself, getting up early, and being the first and last to arrive at the office. It's more about dedication and determination, and it's a very personal and expressive book. I consider myself a very expressive person when I speak, when I communicate, I am direct and tough, and this man, being a physical trainer, wrote his entire book is very much in that contact style. So, I really liked his message and narrative.

Who are your role models? Why?

I don't really have role models, I mean there are people and authors I read about all the time, but no one in particular. However, speaking professionally, I fondly remember a restaurant owner I met a long time ago when I was working as a waiter at his restaurant. He has stuck with me because I really admired how he carried himself. He was a very kind and caring person in general and always treated everyone with respect but was also firm and decisive when needed. After 10 years, I returned to the restaurant to visit, and he remembered me. That level of commitment to his team is admirable. 

On a personal level, and not to sound cliché, I admire my wife and her way of working, her integrity, and her view on life. She is exactly the same as she was 14 years ago when we met. I don't know anyone else who puts the same attention to detail into everything or loves organizing and making checklists. And above all, the strength with which she navigated and continues to do so, through our son's health journey, while never falling behind on her personal or professional commitments. To me, that is pretty impressive, to say the least.

What do you enjoy doing most during your free time?

I like to read and watch all types of movies and TV shows, to inspire myself from different sources and be exposed to many insightful waves.
 
At the moment, I spend my time gardening at home, planting seeds, and removing and leveling the soil to get the greenest grass on the block. During other seasons, like winter, I try out other activities, like mixology, and preparing exotic cocktails, since I worked as a bartender for several years and enjoy preparing drinks. I find it relaxing. I also have a very heavy interest in paramedicine, trauma, and emergency medical services, so last year I took a course and learned more on the subject

Can you elaborate more on your first responder interests?

I always had an interest in emergency medical services in general, but never considered it a career option because unfortunately, in Mexico, this isn’t a very lucrative profession. When I learned my son would need a liver transplant, I found myself finally investing the time and taking this interest more seriously, as I thought I would be able to better care for him if I had some sort of medical training. In 2020, I took some time to formally get educated as an EMT, although I wasn’t able to complete my clinical rotations, I was able to complete all my curriculum on the subject. One of my goals is to find the time next year to get fully certified as an Advanced EMT and eventually as a Paramedic. 
 
This year I signed up to be part of my hometown CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), this is a program that is heavily regulated, certified, and controlled by FEMA. Once you complete your training, you can assist the FD and PD anywhere in the nation, in the event of a disaster, terrorist attack, or any kind of mass casualty event.

Tips from Our Experts

We have the privilege of working with very talented experts, each in their area. Why not share some of that knowledge. Here are Sergio's best practices when it comes to leadership.

Train yourself to keep cool Stay calm, keep your perspective, don’t be ruled by your emotions, and never make decisions when you’re happy in success or sad in failure. Never make decisions based on how lucky you feel at that moment because most of the time it will not be the right decision since you’re not being objective. It's like a pendulum, sometimes things will go very well, sometimes they will go poorly, and if you make a choice based on one of those two extremes, it won’t be the best one

Know your weight class – Like in boxing, know your own strengths and weaknesses, your actual division, to fight the right battles. Do not judge the decisions that someone who is above or below your weight class is making, because you do not understand what is happening, since you aren’t in that division yet. And until you reach the next weight class, stay where you are.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable - Wake up at an hour that isn’t comfortable, take a cold shower every day, push yourself to learn something new, face your fears. As we become more comfortable with our daily lives and responsibilities, we also become complacent about what we do, so the quality of our all-around performance starts to decline. Learning and pushing yourself to do things outside of your comfort zone helps keep an edge on everything you do, by constantly evolving and improving, or being open-minded in experimenting with new ideas, you will automatically find yourself growing in all areas of your life.

Did You Know?

Here are three things you probably didn't know about Sergio Prieto:

One of Sergio's dreams is to own a ranch someday in the future. 

One of Sergio’s passions is mixology. He enjoys preparing different drinks.

Sergio’s spirit animal would be a wolf because they are loyal animals & diligent hunters.

Thank you  for reading this month's Spotlight article, where featured team members provide insight into their job at Mayan Technologies and detail what their role encompasses while opening up about their personal life. 

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Stay tuned for our next Spotlight article about:

 

MARIANNE HDZ

CAM, Sr. Consultant, Manufacturing Solutions