04 Jun Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2004 Scholar Carlos Solorzano
Boettcher Scholar Year: 2004
Hometown: Denver, CO
College/Degree: DU, BS Computer Engineering, MBA, MA Higher Education
Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?
I’m the champion of our customers at StarRez. My official title is account manager, and StarRez creates housing and conference management software for universities and property managers (many Scholars have likely used it to select their rooms and roommates!). I’ve been with the company for over four years now, and my favorite aspect of my role is helping customers take their organizations to a higher level of performance. Not being stuck behind a desk all day is a close second though, as I’m lucky enough to travel throughout the U.S. and Canada to connect with my accounts.
What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?
The Boettcher program has provided me numerous opportunities to develop my skills beyond my major / job title. For example, the Boettcher coaching corps not only helped me to better understand my own professional aspirations, it has also helped me grow into a mentor role within my department and has given me the confidence to act more boldly and take risks that I would not have otherwise taken. Because I spoke up and challenged the process, I have been brought into more strategic conversations at the company that extend beyond my account manager title.
Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.
When I am not traveling for work (or fun), I volunteer my time with the Denver Dumb Friends League, representing the organization at special events. I also serve as a mentor at alumni events at DU’s College of Engineering and Pioneer Leadership Program, as well as the Boettcher Foundation. Finally, as a more creative outlet, I have taken up photography.
What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field?
The best advice I have ever received was understanding that true learning happens when you are in a state of discomfort. This concept has helped me to develop my resiliency and encouraged me to choose the path of greatest return, instead of the path of least resistance.
My advice to others is to have a goal of where you want to end up, but not a strict path on how to get there. Those detours often help build your skills and perspective in a more holistic way, and that in turn better sets you up to tackle your end goal. My journey to working at StarRez started with writing code as an engineering student, and moved to creating business plans in business school, and finally working in student affairs at universities and academic programs across the globe before arriving at my current career. Each of those experiences helped me to more effectively collaborate with my colleagues, leadership team, and customers at a global software company.
If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?
I would love to pick Anthony Bourdain’s mind. Like him, traveling and food are easy ways into my heart! But more importantly, I would love to talk with him about how he used these mediums as ways to talk about social justice and global awareness.
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