A tenured career at an organization may seem like a daunting task for some, but for Rigo Topete, Area Vice President of Field Operations for the South Valley, it has been a relationship rooted in culture that has grown deeper, more meaningful, and stronger with every year.
Rigo likened his relationship with Comcast to a happy marriage, “Why leave it?” he remarked. “Don’t change something if it isn’t broken.” And that is exactly what he has done for 17 years while working across multiple channels at Comcast including call center, training & development, marketing & events, and field sales.
The determined Oakland, CA native took a moment to chat with us during a Q&A about his trajectory, and here is what he had to say:
What was your starting role, and can you share some anecdotes about your career trajectory?
I was a Customer Account Executive and was recruited while attending college as a sophomore. While I didn’t start out doing exactly what I intended while in school, Comcast was a very attractive company and I have been able to navigate through many different opportunities all these years. There have been many changes throughout my career, and one of those has been how the customer experience has been a key focus for our growth and success. However, there have also been constants throughout the years. The company still feels like a small company – people genuinely care about one another. I have had the opportunity to work with people across three different states, and this has remained constant across the regions. Also, I would say opportunities for growth and development continue to present themselves – you can build a life at Comcast. I am hoping my career continues to evolve and I get the opportunity to run a region and lead multiple functions across it.
What are some of the keys to your success?
Being open to different possibilities and adaptable has helped me succeed. When I first moved to Missouri, it was a culture shock. Being adaptable and open to people who are not like you is what helps you grow, and you must make a genuine effort to connect in order to succeed. When you see leaders that can connect well, that’s what makes them great. I currently work with a team of about 220 employees, and I make the effort to connect with each as part of my commitment to creating the same type of work environment that has kept me here all these years. From calendarizing employee birthdays and sending them a birthday message on Teams, to rewarding employees through our internal points system, I make it a point to create moments to connect. I have also been known to go out into the field and spend time with different teams. I want them to know I care and that I am listening, and that I am there to guide them along the path the company is taking.
What excites you the most in this industry? As a Latino, what is your biggest hope for it?
Comcast went from being a “cable operator” to a technology company. We know Latinos are early adopters of new technology, and it excites me to engage my community in a way that is important and impactful to them. That said, along with BIPOC, they are underrepresented in leadership. This represents new opportunities for us as a company, as well as an industry. I see how Comcast has focused on engaging and reaching the Latino community; it is exemplary of our customer experience approach and a path to our future.
How has being Latino influenced both your career and personal life?
I am very proud of my family background – my father is from the Mexican state of Jalisco and my mother is a second-generation Mexican American who primarily speaks English. I grew up in a bicultural and bilingual home, a home where strong values were instilled in all of us. We were taught to be confident, yet humble, to be determined, and work hard – we were taught to do the right thing. At one point, I recall my mother working three jobs – it was the idea that we needed to work hard to continue to advance. Being a leader means showing up and showing up consistently. I saw this in my mom, and I learned this early on; it has continued to be part of my modus operandi.
What are your hobbies? How do you balance work/life?
I love cars and I am a car collector. Growing up in Oakland, cars were a big part of the culture and in my neighborhood, it became my passion. I still work on my cars and have two motorcycles as well – to this day, I still take them out on the track for drag racing at least once a season. In fact, we have even done a team-building activity on the raceway.
Anything regarding the Central Valley that is unique or stands out?
What stands out about Central South Valley is how much they respect the past. To move forward, we need to bridge the two – it’s important to know where you come from in order to know where you are going next.
What is your advice to someone who says “OMG, you’ve spent 20 years at a company”?
You have got to be determined. You are going to continue to work hard and get better every day.