Javier Moreno understands the meaning of community. He grew up in a small town in the mountains of Puerto Rico and spent his time in the coffee fields and at church. His father was a United Methodist minister. Moreno has fond memories of harvest season with his father. It was a time of year when they had to depend on the kindness of strangers who volunteered their time and energy to the harvest. It was the only way that running the church was possible. 

“It was such a beautiful lesson right for a little kid that was just … trying to find his place in the world,” Moreno told Local Profile as part of the Local Leaders Facebook Live interview series about overcoming adversity. 

Today, at Toyota Financial Services, Moreno is responsible for leading strategic growth planning across the enterprise, competitive and market intelligence, innovation, and corporate development. In December 2013, PRNews named Moreno to its annual list of 30 under 30 People to Watch. Two years later, he was one of only 12 prominent Penn State alumni, 35 years of age and younger, to receive the university’s Alumni Achievement Award.

Moreno sees his journey as one marked by adversity. For him, the keys to overcoming adversity and finding success have been flexibility and adaptability. “Once I’m in it,” he says. “I’ve got to figure out a way to survive.” True resilience, he believes, is the ability to thrive, no matter what. 

Highlights from Moreno’s journey include: 

  • Support matters: “I wanted to pursue certain things and I actually credit my parents for that, for the environment that I grew up in this [environment of] constant counselling and advising and coaching from my mom and my dad.” 
  • Keep your options open: “I owe it to myself to keep my options open, to keep my eyes wide with an array of opportunities … day by day I all have those little things that I’ve got to get done.  I also keep these longer term goals: where I want to go. I understand that 10 to 15 years from now, my future may be very different than where I am today. And that’s okay. 
  • Life is short: It’s is a little bit of a cliche but it’s so true. Sometimes it’s easy to get in your head and think, ‘Oh I’ll get to it tomorrow’ or ‘maybe I’m not getting that,’ or ‘maybe, I don’t know if I can accomplish that. I’ve never done that before.’ When you’re reminded that life is so precious and so delicate but we don’t know if we’re here tomorrow, then you have to take a step back and say, ‘I have to live now, I’m gonna plan for the future, I’m gonna have goals.’ 

Local Leaders by Local Profile is an ongoing video series featuring incredible local leaders sharing their best leadership insights. Going beyond business, Local Leaders aims to inspire and motivate you to become the best version of yourself. It broadcasts LIVE via the Local Profile Facebook page (click here.)