By Jailene Adorno
You know a leader is multidimensional when they can go from being a Marine to a teacher, and then to an entrepreneur. And that’s the case for Chris Gonzalez, President of A-G Associates. A-G Associates is a service disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) that works closely with businesses to help them with organization development and strategizing for success.
Gonzalez started A-G Associates in 2008 with his mother Peg Anthony. Anthony had been doing similar work with companies for over thirty years and decided to start something new with her son. Prior to A-G Associates, Gonzalez was an eighth-grade social studies teacher.
“I really enjoyed working with kids from different backgrounds, whether they were different socially, economically, or ethnically,” says Gonzalez.
While in college, Gonzalez searched for his sense of purpose and one year, during spring break, he found a way to join the Marine Corps Reserve without having to miss out on his college education.
“[I joined] partly for the challenge, and partly to figure out what I wanted to do with my life,” he says. “It was one of the top three decisions I’ve ever made.”
Joining the Marines taught Gonzalez a lot about being on a team, and he’s been able to apply his experiences with the Marines to teaching and starting his business.
According to Gonzalez, part of being a successful leader involves self-reflection on your strengths and weaknesses, and another part involves modeling the behaviors you want to see from your associates.
“If you expect someone to be a hard worker, you need to be the hardest worker in the room,” he says.
What motivates Gonzalez to be the hardest working person in the room is that he has the opportunity to work with his mother. His success is her success. He is thankful that he can mentor kids and create opportunities for veterans and those less fortunate.
He advises younger generations of men to “embrace being different”—whether you’re the only man in the room, or the only person of color—embrace what makes you, you.