#CareerTalk with Carlos Barraza, HR Generalist at rag & bone

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In Braven’s new exciting blog series, we’ll cover people’s inspiring stories, explore their career paths, and share advice they have for Braven Fellows.

Our third guest on #CareerTalk is Carlos Barraza, HR Generalist at rag & bone (and 2015 Braven Fellow). Born to parents from El Salvador, Carlos grew up in the Bay Area as a first-generation American. While pursuing his Business Administration, Management B.A. at San Jose State University, he worked as a Recruiting Operations Intern at Dropbox and developed his passion for human resources. Read about his career journey and how it landed him at notable companies like Sony, PlayStation, Proofpoint, and Dropbox.


Tell us a little about yourself.

I was a Braven Fellow in 2015 at San Jose State University. I am originally from the San Francisco, Bay Area and am a first-generation born American as both of my parents were born and raised in El Salvador. I moved to New York City two years ago to pursue my career goals in Human Resources. I’ve worked for Dropbox, Sony, and PlayStation, and I currently work for rag & bone as an HR Generalist for Corporate and Retail. 


Take us through your career path. What led you to your current career

When I was a junior at San Jose State University, I was contacted by a recruiter from LinkedIn who invited me to a career acceleration program at their new San Francisco LinkedIn building. As I was doing my research before going in, I started to dive into what it actually means to be a recruiter. I wasn’t familiar with the recruiting industry. I immediately felt attracted to the role a recruiter plays within a corporation, and I loved how the job was to essentially market career opportunities to an array of candidates and help them find a career that excites them! 

Since I was recently made aware of the recruiting industry, I started to set up coffee chats with multiple LinkedIn recruiters to learn more about the industry and their day-to-day responsibilities so I could get an understanding of the industry. After numerous coffee chats, I contacted my Braven mentor and told her that I wanted to join a recruiting team. After applying to multiple recruiting internships, my mentor told me about a Recruiting Operations Internship opportunity at Dropbox.

During my internship at Dropbox in San Francisco, I was introduced to all the responsibilities of the Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) team. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the recruiting team, but when I learned about the responsibilities of a Human Resources Business Partner, I knew right away that I wanted to be part of the HRBP team. Since my time at Dropbox, I have expanded my HRBP knowledge at companies such as Proofpoint and PlayStation. I’m currently expanding on this knowledge at rag & bone in New York City. 


Tell us about a failure you’ve had in your career. What did you learn from it? How did you bounce back? 

Early in my HR career, I was in charge of the onboarding contracts. Unfortunately, I accidentally gave the wrong bonus contract to a new hire. The bonus contract contained a higher bonus percentage than the one we were currently using. To solve the problem, we had to honor the bonus agreement for the first quarter of the year. After taking some time to reflect on my mistake, I decided to create a special folder for all the new hire forms that we were using and archive the old contracts for historical purposes. That setback taught me to be more efficient and organized. 


Which people have had the most influence on your growth and why? What is some valuable advice they gave you? 

I have had many inspiring role models throughout college, my professional career, and in my everyday life. In my professional career, Rebecca Seidenstein, rag & bone’s Chief People Officer, has been a great mentor. Since meeting Rebecca, I have admired her fearless leadership and how she leads with passion and purpose. She and I have had so many meetings; one of the most valuable pieces of advice she has given me is to be patient in my career and in the workplace. Exercising patience in the workplace and in my career has allowed me to accept challenges and listen to the viewpoints of teammates and superiors before starting a project. Such advice has been an important skill to further develop my career. 


What advice do you have for current Braven Fellows nearing the end of their undergraduate programs?

First, get comfortable with telling your unique story. We now live in a very competitive world. By being comfortable with telling your unique story, you will be able to set yourself apart from the competition when you interview and build strong meaningful relationships with others. 

My second piece of advice for Braven Fellows is to start networking as soon as possible. Getting a head start in networking will allow you to get comfortable with networking events. By networking efficiently, you will build a strong community of talented people.  


Like this feature on the Braven blog? There’s more where that came from! Check out our recent #CareerTalk article with the Director of Scheduling for the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois!


Learn more about Carlos Barraza