Yes, You Can! 7 Strategies to Empower, Evolve, and Transform Your Life: Part 2

Yes You Can! Part 2-Opening Doors

September 9, 2016   |     West Now Home

By Linda Garza Kalaf

The content herein is that of the author and does not reflect the position or opinion of Western International University (West). This article is shared with the West community through our collaboration with Prospanica (previously known as the National Society of Hispanic MBAs), Phoenix Chapter.

Part 2 - Careers: Exploring Opportunities & 
Opening Doors with Optimism

Highlight: Pursue your career with passion. This article includes several tools to create your Vision Statement and Vision Board. You will learn about exploring opportunities and opening doors with optimism. You will be asking yourself, “What is my life vision?”

My humble beginning in the family business, and traveling with the family on vacations, left me wanting more. After a few years of working as an orthodontic assistant, and then as a laboratory medical transcriber, a friend told me that a regional airline was hiring. That began my airline career and adventures of flying high!


“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”

                                                                            --Graham Greene

Eventually I moved out west from Detroit, Michigan to Phoenix, Arizona. In 1985, I began a career with a west coast airline, America West Airlines. In those days everyone hired on as a fully cross-utilized Customer Service Representative. After my first year of working as an agent at the airport ticket counter, gates, operations, ramp, reservations and flight attendant, I was ready to work on the ground and was fortunate to be hired as a recruiter. That was my wake-up call: I was hiring individuals with bachelor and advanced degrees for entry level positions--all hoping for that foot in the door in order to move up in the company. Hundreds of people were showing up for interviews! That’s when I decided that in order to remain competitive, I’d better go back to school to complete my undergraduate degree. Within a few months after graduating, a classmate invited me to attend the master’s program with her, and I thought why not? This proved to open many doors for me. 


“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”

                                                            --George Washington Carver

I completed my Master of Arts in Organizational Management, and my thesis was titled From Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity within a Major Airline. (Editor’s Note: This degree was not completed at Western International University.) In 1990, the airline developed a new position, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Manager. I was very thrilled to apply and interview, and received the position.


Obtaining a master’s degree made me realize the value and importance of an education. This prompted me to become a founding member of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Phoenix Chapter in 1993. The organization’s mission to “Empower Hispanic business professionals to achieve their full educational, economic and social potential” and a major goal to provide scholarships was a perfect match. Unlocking doors and providing networking opportunities is important to increasing participation in formal education and empowering individuals of all ages. NSHMBA provides an excellent annual conference and fabulous networking opportunities opening doors to many corporations. I believe an education shows a person’s commitment to higher education and an investment in themselves. An education is something no one can ever take away from you. Lifelong learning is definitely key to continuous success. 

Activities: Vision Statement and Vision Board

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Look for Part 3 — Community Engagement: Opening Doors to Improving Relationships — to post later this month. Watch our West Facebook page, or visit for our latest posts.

Read more of our 7-part series:


Part 1

Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR, is a Human Resources professional with over 30-years of experience in the airline and ground transportation industries and is a Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional and Global Professional in Human Resources. She has a steadfast belief in supporting the community and has served on local, state and national boards related to diversity & inclusion, education, leadership and mentoring, including the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) (now known as Prospanica). She was one of the NSHMBA Phoenix Chapter’s founding members and chapter president, and went on to serve as the national vice chair. She was inducted into the NSHMBA Executive Circle in 1998 for continuous service on the local and national levels. Her mission is to help others with their personal and professional development in order to reach their full potential.

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