From Paralegal to Vice President of Administration, Carolina Gutierrez Has Been Given the Opportunity to Grow at Mercury

From Paralegal to Vice President of Administration, Carolina Gutierrez Has Been Given the Opportunity to Grow at Mercury

Carolina GutierrezAt some point or another during their time at Mercury Air Group, most employees will come into contact with Carolina Gutierrez, the Vice President of Administration.  She’s been with Mercury for close to 20 years, and currently provides Human Resources leadership and services to more than 800 employees for Mercury as well as responsible for corporate governance, legal resources and contracts administration. 

Before launching her career with Mercury, Carolina worked as a paralegal in a law firm.  The law firm was one that specialized in representing plaintiffs in civil matters, and “to go to a corporate legal department [at Mercury] was new, and I learned a lot,” Carolina said. She joined Mercury in 1998 as a paralegal under Wayne Lovett, the General Counsel for Mercury at the time.

“Wayne, along with other members of Mercury’s Leadership team, have been very good mentors and provided many opportunities to achieve cross functional skills in the areas of legal, compliance and the administrative matters,” she said.  Currently, Mercury Air Group has more than 24 subsidiaries, and she found the corporate governance variety of tasks associated with dealing with these companies – such as maintaining maintenance of corporate books and records, corporate policy implementation and supporting complex transactions - very exciting, she said.

Carolina worked as a paralegal for about ten years before the business changed: Mercury downsized, which resulted in some department reorganization. The legal department began to provide more administrative and support duties to the company’s risk management, where she handled insurance matters, including the worker’s compensation claims. It was through working with the worker’s compensation claims and the employees that she discovered she enjoyed working directly with the employees. 

“I was helping them, making sure they understood their rights and making sure they felt that their job was still secure,” she said. English is a second language for many of Mercury’s employees, she said, and “I like being able to clear up things for them and translating things for them,” Carolina said. She credits her segue into employee relations to this early work that helped establish good rapport with the employees, to the point where many would call her directly with questions.

In 2010, Carolina accepted the position in the company’s Human Resources department, and she became the Director of Corporate Services. Over the years, with the growth and success of the company, she is now the leader of the full spectrum of human resources for the company’s operations. “I enjoy working with, and helping employees and finding solutions and challenges,” she said.

“There’s a lot of matters that come up and I enjoy finding a resolution and being able to resolve or attempt to resolve the issue, and I like the challenge of problem solving,” she said.

Since she’s been head of the HR department, employees are now able to gain online access through an HR Online human resources management system allowing them to manage W-2s, check stubs, personal information and benefits. She was also instrumental in the reimagining of the HR department by implementing automated processes such as document management, an online application, or automated open enrollment, helping to improve companywide consistency and data accuracy.

“I’m constantly looking to modernize and present new ideas that will help the employee, but also help achieve Mercury’s goal to have a company that people feel proud to work for,” she said.

When asked what’s kept her with Mercury for so long, Carolina points to some of the other long term employees, many of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years, and have moved up in the ranks to become leaders and supervisors.  

“I think it’s important to say this because Mercury provides that for us – the opportunity to grow within, with hard work and a willingness to learn,” she said. “It is why I remained loyal and confident in taking on those challenges, because I was allowed to do that,” Carolina said.

She also appreciates her coworkers and the leadership at Mercury. “It’s like a family, seeing them, and I think everybody would agree, because most of us have been here a long time” she said. “It’s become like a home,” she said.

Outside of work, Carolina enjoys spending time with her husband of 22 years and family. She has two daughters – 21 and 14 years old - and has found herself enjoying the role of proud parent spectator at many of their soccer games, tournaments, or other school activities over the years. She also enjoys spending time with her parents and her siblings who live in the area and their families, getting everyone together for a barbecue. 

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