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From the desk of the CEO

Lydia Gutierrez

Lydia Gutierrez

By Lydia Gutierrez
Special to the Michigan Citizen

I’ve had to make very difficult decisions in 2013 — the kind that challenge you and make you feel uncomfortable. That’s how real leaders grow. Last year, I had to work extra hours every day, including Saturdays. I can’t remember ever working this long or hard. I’ve had to jump into the role of CEO and then as putty to fill in the gaps wherever needed.

Yes, 2013 was quite the journey, but I wouldn’t have changed any of it. Through this most challenging time I’ve grown to love this business even more. I have a deeper appreciation and connection with it and the people I employ. My faith has also strengthened. I am in the potter’s hands as He molds me into a whirlwind of intricate design.

It’s been difficult, both in my career and in my personal life with the loss of my late husband’s youngest brother, Mark, who passed away in May, and the passing of my father, Pastor Daniel Bermudez, the man I admired and respected the most in this world. I am thankful my parents cared about spiritual things and taught me all they knew about love and thus, health of soul and mind.

It’s those Bible stories where great men and women faced challenges and believed and trusted in God from which I draw strength: Daniel in the Lion’s den; Joseph betrayed by his brothers; David defeating Goliath. I am encouraged and determined to continue to grow this business and to plow my thoughts forward.

We all face challenges, but we must never give up. I start 2014 with a new slate. Isn’t it wonderful that we have an opportunity to begin anew? Now is the time to begin to clarify my entrepreneurial goals both personal and business. Sustainability is important not just to me but to my community and the city. We will create new products and diversify our existing product line.

Tortillas are not one size fits all. Just in our corn line products, we manufacture more than 15 types of tortillas some unique to taqueria or food truck businesses. We also manufacture tortilla chips in school colors and national sport team colors. IN 2013, we began serving our tortilla products to Detroit schools, it’s a great win-win — a Detroit based company selling to Detroit. The Canadian market continues to show lots of growth opportunity and we are creating brand awareness by making exceptional products right here in Detroit.

I will be riding with a driver each week in January until I personally see and visit each of our customers. Relationship is important and staying connected with your customer is vital to long-term sustainability. As I reflect on 2013, I become more deeply engaged and passionate in all areas of my life.

I welcome 2014 with open arms. Let’s see how we can work together in 2014 and show the rest of the world just how powerful Detroiters are. We’re in a city, to which if we commit, that will give us so much more than we expected. Happy New Year, Detroit! Adelante!

Lydia Gutierrez is CEO of Hacienda Mexican Foods, Detroit.

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