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With Compassion, Resilience and Grit, George is Making a Difference

Welcome to the Life at Procore blog! Today’s post features George, a manager of integration program management in the product and technology organization, who is based in Arroyo Grande, California. He has over 20 years of experience in business analysis and project management and is leveraging his skills to help make a difference.

In this monthly blog series, we shine a light on Procorians across the globe who are living our values of ownership, openness and optimism as we work to improve the lives of everyone in construction. They are Groundbreakers in every sense of the word, and these are their stories.

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I was born and raised by my grandparents in Zamboanga, a city in the Mindanao region of the Philippines. After my grandfather died, I emigrated to New York City at the age of eight to live with my mom. Compared to the Philippines, New York was a huge transition and frankly a bit scary. Learning a new language and assimilating into the culture was extremely challenging. I attended Xavier high school in Manhattan and played football and rugby, which was a big commitment since we didn’t have a field and had to commute to practices by chartered bus and subway. After high school, I went on to attend Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, for three semesters before I transferred to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey and graduated with a degree in history.

In 1990, I married my best friend and soulmate, Lora. She’s been my spiritual, moral and ethical North Star ever since. We reside in Arroyo Grande, California, and have two beautiful children together, who we are incredibly proud of. Our firstborn, Julia, got married last year and owns and operates a restaurant business with her husband. Our second child, Valerie (Vee), recently shared her true authentic self as a trans woman and graduated from San Jose State with a degree in anthropology.

I consider myself to be a very compassionate person and I’m deeply committed to my family and relationships. I love meeting new people, and at my core, I just want to make a difference somewhere in the world.

Can you describe your path to Procore?

After graduation, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career, so I got into the insurance industry and did business analysis work with American International Group. I then moved into consulting for companies such as Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Credit Suisse First Boston. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, a lot of consulting work dried up, so I built a painting contracting business from the ground up. It was a chance to wear many hats, and I learned a lot about what it takes to make a business survive. It was exhausting work but something I’m still very proud of to this day. I ultimately realized that running my own business wasn’t my passion, so I sold everything and went back to consulting.

The next chapter of my journey took me to the Bank of New York as they were merging with Mellon Financial Corporation. I joined as a business analyst and eventually became a project manager at a time when there was a lot of integration work due to the merger. I was there for 12 years until they underwent significant downsizing, and I was laid off. Being let go was scary, but it also pushed me to envision my dream job and company. I knew I didn’t want to work at a giant corporation where I felt like just a number again, and that’s when Procore found me. I was recruited on LinkedIn, did my research, read Tooey’s story and fell in love with the company. It made me realize, “Wow, Procore is a place I can call home.”

What has your Procore journey looked like so far?

In July of 2019, I started with Procore as a project manager for the information technology department. After two years in that role, I joined the global talent organization (GTO) as a senior project manager. This month, I transitioned into my new role as a manager of integration program management with the product and technology organization, specifically to build out the project management arm that’s focused on mergers and acquisitions integrations. Deciding to leave the GTO team was really difficult, but I’ve always had aspirations for management and building teams. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and I’m really excited to see where it leads.

Project management is fascinating because, as project managers, we bring disparate groups of people together to work towards a collective goal and land a metaphorical project plane. It’s also where Procore's values of openness, ownership and optimism come into play because those same values that make a great company also make successful projects. You need optimism to overcome roadblocks, ownership to stay on top of tasks and step up if you drop the ball and openness to communicate with stakeholders or ask for help. In a nutshell, project management is a great blend of science and relationship building. I hope to also bring an element of fun to the table—I believe communication, collaboration and innovation improve when people are engaged.

After George Floyd was murdered, I took a long, hard look at myself and where I was responsible for senseless acts such as this that are taking place. I realized that I wasn’t involved enough—I stayed on the sidelines; I stayed safe and wasn’t more vocal about the injustices in the world. After a lot of introspection, the opportunity arose to partner with Procore’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) team as a project manager. I decided this was a chance to help make a difference and join forces with some incredible folks. Together, we’ve brought many initiatives to life, such as the True to Your Core/Wellness Week Off, the Internal Diversity Report, the implementation of Benevity (a volunteering and charitable donation-management platform that’s coming soon), as well as initiatives with Procore’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

I love what’s been happening, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it. I will continue to stay involved with Procore’s ERGs, particularly the API (Asian and Pacific Islander) and PRISM (Pride, Raising awareness, Involvement, Support and Mentorship for Procore’s LGBTQ+ and allies) branches, and will continue to support the DEIB team’s journey as a fierce ally.

George decked out in personal protective equipment at a Procore customer’s job site walk.

What is your reaction to being called a Groundbreaker?

It’s an honor. I’ve never felt this kind of belonging and appreciation in my long corporate career, but it’s such a great feeling. It’s one of the reasons why I love Procore and want to work here for as long as they will have me.

What is your daily source of inspiration?

There are three pillars I live by every day, both at work and in how I relate to people in my life. The first is a quote by Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.” The second is from Brené Brown’s book, Dare to Lead: “I know my life is better when I work from the assumption that everyone is doing the best they can. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” The third is a yoga mantra that Lora taught me: “Thank you, I’m sorry, I forgive you, I love you and I’m grateful.”

Put another way, everyone has good and bad days, and that’s okay. It’s important to remember that and strive to be supportive of folks who are dealing with life’s ups and downs. Life is about more than just work; our relationships and the way we treat others and make them feel matter. We can accomplish so much together, and it all starts with compassion.

How do you give time, care, or service to others, whether family or community?

I’m a board member of the San Luis Obispo Gala Pride & Diversity Center, which is an organization that supports and empowers people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions to strengthen and unite California’s Central Coast community. It was a door that opened for me shortly after my trans daughter, Vee, came out to us about who her authentic self is. I wanted to dive deeper into how I could support her, and out of the blue, a friend invited me to join the board of directors. It’s been an incredible experience so far. Together, we’re doing outreach, building relationships between Gala Pride and Santa Barbara’s Pacific Pride Foundation and working to create equity and inclusion for all members of the Central Coast LGBTQ+ community.

Procore recently sponsored Gala Pride’s 3-day festival, Pridefest. It was the first of its kind and a huge undertaking, but the level of feedback we received from the community for making a safe space was everything. We’re continuing to do outreach, and Procore is part of that process from a grassroots level. Focusing on DEIB at Procore and out in the world is so important to me, and I’m proud to be a part of a company that supports this work.

George and his coworkers volunteering at a Procore beach clean-up event in Santa Barbara, California.

What excites you outside of work?

I love spending quality time with my family and going on adventures. My wife has been my best friend for over thirty years, and we enjoy wine tasting, hiking, exploring the Central Coast, spending time with friends, going out to dinner, exercising, skiing and all the simple stuff in between. This year for our anniversary, we’re traveling to Paris, London and Amsterdam, a first for both of us.

I’m also very passionate about my alma mater, Rutgers University. I’ve been following their football team since I graduated, and even though they don’t win all the time, you’ll often find me decked out in Scarlet Knights gear. Our current coach, Greg Schiano, has this leadership philosophy he calls “F.A.M.I.L.Y, Trust, Chop,” which has become the pillar of the Rutgers football program. F.A.M.I.L.Y. stands for: Forget About Me, I Love You and describes a sacrificial, unselfish mindset. Trust is about 100% honesty and showing up to do what you are supposed to do. Chop is for chopping down a tree, which requires intense focus, physical and mental grit, and perseverance. F.A.M.I.L.Y, Trust, Chop is a philosophy that deeply resonates with me and is something I aspire to model in my life.

George and his family on Christmas Day. From left to right: son-in-law Joe, Pugsley, daughter Julia, sister Genie, Lora, mom Elsie and daughter Vee kneeling with Tiki.

What advice do you have for your past self?

Love yourself more. Trust yourself more. Keep taking the road less traveled. You will make the right choices in your life to help make a difference. Forgive yourself.

If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I love a plethora of food, but if I had to pick just one, I’d say my wife’s eggplant parmesan. It’s so scrumptious and such a treat. Her Italian cooking is fantastic.

Any tips for aspiring Procorians?

From my experience, there will always be bigger companies, and the grass may look greener there, but Procore's commitment to our values of openness, ownership and optimism and our close-knit culture provides an environment of support and belonging that’s rare in corporate America. Our mission to improve the lives of everyone in construction motivates me and gets me up in the morning. If that also resonates with you, then come on board! The opportunity to bring your authentic self and passions to work to help make a difference in people’s lives is incredible. Procore has allowed so many opportunities to materialize for me in my short time here, and it feels good to be a part of building something big together. Whether you’re implementing new systems, leaning into DEIB work, providing world-class customer support, launching marketing campaigns, etc., there are so many different ways to help bring it all to life. I believe in Tooey’s dream, and I’m so grateful that the twists and turns of my career path led me to Procore.

Conclusion

A big thank you to George for sharing his story!

We’re always looking for Groundbreakers like George to help us continue to improve the lives of everyone in construction. Explore a career with Procore today or join our Talent Community to stay connected.