Jorge Luis Hinojosa

Jorge Luis Hinojosa

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) Mechanical Engineering Co-founder, Rennueva

Jorge studies Mechanical Engineering and is President of the Energy and Environment Society at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Jorge is ISES 2011 and 2013 alumni, and Chair of the upcoming Latin American Student Energy Summit. Jorge also co-founded Rennueva, a startup aimed at developing sustainable polymer recycling alternatives.

We asked Jorge:

The OGM: As you embark on your career path, how important is the culture of the organization you choose?

Jorge: The culture of the organization defines the path to follow on how to achieve its goals, the role of each of its members and the interaction between them, and reflects its ultimate purpose. It is important to work in an organization whose principles and ways align with its members’, and vice versa, so that they feel motivated and comfortable giving their best while working there.

The OGM: Describe the impact work flexibility will have on your career path.

Jorge: So far I’ve worked in multiple associations and projects simultaneously. Although I usually focus more specifically in one or two, it is important to have flexibility to be able to keep up with everything, being able play with the times I dedicate to each one. I do not see myself working somewhere I am not able to do other things I love, both professional and personal.

The OGM: What does a strong cohesive, team-oriented culture at work mean to you?

Jorge: In a team-oriented culture work schemes are defined so that all members can add value and considers that success relies more on collaboration rather than the sum of isolated individual achievements. Cohesive teamwork requires that all team members share the same level of commitment, as well as a vision, guided by a strong, people and result oriented leadership, where all participants are encouraged to be leaders themselves.

The OGM: Is a transparent work environment in regards to compensation, rewards and career development important to you? If so, why?

Jorge: Of course. You need to know how your results, whether fair or poor, can affect your career, where you can get to, and be of huge aid in motivation and career planning. Also, having the certainty that rewards are based on work and results, not personal favor, can strengthen team collaboration rather than competition.

The OGM: How does technology impact your day-to-day?

Jorge: Technology impacts everything. In my day-to.day life, it has its largest impact on the way I communicate and collaborate with other people. Not having an actual workplace where we meet daily, technology is essential in coordinating group works and collaborating with people who study in different universities, work in different cities or even countries, as happens with the Regional Student Energy Summits. The amount of tools available and coming up each day is incredible, and learning to get the most out of them can increase both productivity and flexibility both individually and as a team.

The OGM: What does the phrase, ‘sense of community’ mean to you?

Jorge: Sense of community is where members are seen as people, not as assets, and team members share a vision and interest in each other. Where everyone is free to develop and share ideas, and everyone knows both what that person can do for the organization, but also who she or he is as an individual. As a community you look after what is better for everyone, not specific individuals, since people care for each other and encourage joint individual success as a means of growth for the organization.

The OGM: Are acknowledgment and support an integral component to your career needs? If so, how?

Jorge: It is always nice having our successes recognized. It is also a way of knowing we’re getting our part done right. Having everyone know their work and participation is important for the organization and the fulfilling of its goals, and receiving that constant motivation that keeps pushing us forward. I think support is essential as well because It’s easier for me to care about an organization that I feel cares about me.

The OGM: Tell us about a struggle you faced when transitioning into the workforce?

Jorge: The “real world” is less forgiving than school, the setbacks that make you learn are usually more difficult to assimilate at first. As an entrepreneur, being the only one telling me what to do at first wasn’t easy. I guess I was too used to being told and instructed on what to do. It has required personal discipline, keeping my mind positive and open to learning, and is working thanks to the support received from my colleagues, I can say we’re also learning from each other.

The OGM: For other students just figuring things out, what words of encouragement would you offer?

Jorge: Find out what you love, and get as involved as possible into it: investigate, attend events, talk about it with your friends and family, get together with people who share your interest, start your own projects. If you do not know what it is yet, you’re still in time to find out, but keep on looking! Try new things until you find the right one, or at least start narrowing the path you want to follow or cause you want to dedicate your work to.

The OGM: Did you always know what you wanted to do?

Jorge: Not really. I always new I wanted to do something to help the environment, and since high school I was fascinated in renewable energies and recycling as ways of combining technology with sustainability. They’re still very broad subjects approachable from many disciplines, and even being in engineering I did not know where to focus: academic research, working in a multinational company, starting my own business, government or international agencies… I guess I just new I wanted to make a difference, got involved, and started and have kept on working towards that.

The OGM: Where does/would your sense of satisfaction come from at work?

Jorge: It mainly comes, and am sure will come at a larger scale, from knowing my work is making a difference out there, that the growth of my organization will broaden the impact it will have on the environment and at a social level. Also, knowing what I’m doing is inspiring other students to pursue a similar path as an entrepreneur, and being recognized for what I’m doing at such a young age have been very satisfactory.

The OGM: How important are further education and training to your career development?

Jorge: Actually, one of my concerns from becoming an entrepreneur even before completing my undergrad studies is finding a way to keep making my company grow while continue getting prepared, practicing graduate studies, keeping on constant learning. In an ever changing industry, it is fundamental to keep on learning, staying updated and broadening my capabilities, something I consider fundamental no matter the career path chosen.

The OGM: How did you differentiate yourself in the workplace as a Millennial?

Jorge: I think it starts by looking at things differently. The ideas we have on what can and should be done, and the ways of getting there, provide a positive asset. We tend to challenge the status quo, to question even the most established of ways of thinking and traditions. We’re used to the fast flow of information and trends changing every minute, and the society in which we’ve grown helps us adapt quicker to this.

The OGM: If you could be stuck in an elevator with anybody, who would it be?

Jorge: UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. There are so many areas to work in for the wellbeing of our society and our environment, like healthcare, education, social equity, access to water and electricity, transition to sustainable energy, to name some, that I cannot think of someone else in a better position to lead the development we need in a higher and more global level.

The OGM: Did you pursue University right after high school?

Jorge: Yes, I used the summer time in between to travel but started university right away.

The OGM: Will/Did your University program play a role in your career path? If not, why?

Jorge: Definitely. The problem solving vision from my engineering education has undeniably helped me through. Also, I could not be thinking on developing recycling machines and technology, or on the prospect of a career in sustainable innovation, had I not majored in Mechanical Engineering.

The OGM: What are the three most important aspects you feel an organization should offer to retain a Millennial?

Jorge: Impact. Knowing what we’re doing is somehow making the world a better place to live in.
Liberty. Work where we are not only told what and how to do things, but where we can exploit our full potential by developing our own ideas.
Quick growth possibilities. Be it for good or bad, we’re ambitious and tend not to be very patient.

The OGM: Describe your ideal organization, one that you could grow and develop your career in?

Jorge: It would reunite the characteristics I mentioned while talking about team-oriented culture, the sense of community and the three most important aspects for millenials. A people focused organization, where members are valued and all add value, have huge potential for growth, and is guided by a vision a believe in. An organization that cares about me, about social development and the environment.

The OGM: From a scale of 1 to 10 how important are the following: incentives and rewards, compensation, training and development, global opportunities? 1 being least important.

Jorge: Incentives and rewards – 8,
Compensation – 9,
Training and development – 10,
Global opportunities – 9.

The OGM: Tell us about your most memorable achievement or milestone thus far?

Jorge: I think I would have to choose between being elected as host for and organizing the Latin American Student Energy Summit, or the development and presentation of our expanded polystyrene recycling technology and the amazing industry and media response it has received.


Tina Olivero

Tina Olivero

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