Ali Rosario-Guerrero loves watching motivational speeches and looking up quotes, but his life story is so inspiring that he might as well become a speaker himself.
Today, Ali is Assistant Retail Manager at Eisenhower Medical Center. Though only in his twenties, he describes his life with a peculiar word—“lengthy”, and rightly so because he had packed so much work and life experience into a few years. At age 9, Ali got his first taste of working when he went door-to-door selling homemade tamales and posole as well as extra fruits he received from relatives. Young Ali enjoyed selling food as he found it a great way to avoid waste and make extra allowance, and developed an interest in food then.
A couple years later Ali’s parents separated, which made him realize the need to start working. Ali had met a firefighter when he assisted his father with landscaping, so when the firefighter passed by in front of his house, he reached out to ask for work—and successfully landed a construction job that he kept until he began working at Subway at 14.
At Subway, customers loved Ali—they would specifically request him to wrap their sandwiches and ask about him in his absence. Yet Ali’s coworkers didn’t take him seriously because he was so young, and he felt that he didn’t have a say in an environment where everyone was in their twenties or thirties. “It was either their way or the highway,” he says. Sometimes after Ali’s shift ended, he would stay to help with rush hour and other projects—without getting paid the extra overtime.
Instead of feeling discouraged and detached from work, Ali continued to perform his best and help out whenever needed. Eventually, his potential shone through the customers who sang his praises. They asked the owner to always have him at the store and even advocated for his promotion. At 16, Ali became the store’s assistant manager, and that’s when his coworkers and manager started to believe in him more.
“I gained credibility by always being 15 minutes early: you never know what’s going to happen. If you have to leave late, it’s okay—you learn something from leaving late. In life, you gain so much getting there early and leaving a couple minutes late.”
His advice for young people is to prove themselves through their work. “Managers, directors, whoever’s above you will notice if you keep doing the right thing,” Ali says. We should treat coworkers with respect regardless of their age because young people have great ideas, just as old people might possess “secret sauce” that the young can learn from.
Ali had three jobs in high school that continued into his college years, and one of them was working at his current hospital as a catering to you associate. He went on to become a dishwasher and then a cashier, gaining an understanding of how the café operated from different positions. The Business Administration major had three free hours between his jobs and school, and he would use them to study instead of sleep. A big part of his motivation came from his daughter, whom he had when he was 17. Ali claimed that he was really lucky because he would always get A’s. “It was really crazy. I don’t know how I had so much energy back then, because I don’t have it now.”
Hardworking he might be, he is human after all. Eventually Ali got to a point where he struggled with balancing life so much, he turned in his resignation letter at the hospital. That’s when his director offered to help out. Ali quit the other jobs and got an internship as a manager, and the rest is history. “I’ve been really blessed. I have no complaints about my life.”
Both in life and at work, Ali always tries to respect others, even when the respect is not always reciprocated. Because Ali has worked in the same hospital for years, some people who knew Ali as a dishwasher still anchor him to his previous role, seeing him as an inexperienced youngster. “Some people take longer to respect you but if you show them respect, people will catch on and respect you.”
One of Ali’s personal rules is to respect others’ time, and thus he never bothers his coworkers when they are on break. Another one is not to embarrass them: he always tells his reports that he will never yell at them in public for doing something wrong. Instead, he will talk calmly with them in the office and resolve the issue, because he does not like being yelled at either. Essentially, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
If you talk to Ali, he may remind you of an inspirational speaker because of his unfailing optimism. While he still has room to grow in the company, he believes each day he’s a step closer. “I pray and hope that one day I will be up there and if I’m not, I’m okay—I’m happy. Always be happy. Don’t let nobody take that from you because that’s the only thing you really have possession over, your happiness.”
Hailing from a Mexican family, Ali is a staunch believer in diversity and inclusion. One of the things he learned is that we can learn so much from working with people from different cultures. He currently works with coworkers from Russia, different parts of Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Guatemala. “They have so much to give, so much knowledge to offer,” Ali says. “That’s what you absorb and how you learn to treat people.”
From a company standpoint, there are numerous reasons to promote diversity and inclusion. To name a few, a more inclusive environment can build a unique reputation for the company, foster innovation, improve team morale and attract different talents, skills and experience. Ali says his hospital treasures and invites diversity, so he has no complaints.
Ali loves and lives by quotes, so it’s no surprise that he creates his own to stay inspired, like this one: “Let the fire within you burn brighter.” His devotion to this mantra is evident for even after a long shift, Ali maintains a bright disposition, which bewilders people. Some have asked him why he always looks so happy.
“I tell them, ‘Why wouldn’t I be happy? You have another day to live life, to make a difference, you should be happy.’” Burn and never let the fire go out because that’s our motivation to keep going, he says. Indeed, Ali might be fire in human form that continues to light up people’s lives.
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Ali Rosario-Guerrero chose Compass One Healthcare and Morrison because of the opportunities he has to touch the lives of patients and staff. Morrison is a proud part of Compass One Healthcare and Compass Group USA. If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, be sure to check out team member or management opportunities to join the Morrison family through Compass Group Careers.