Ezequiel Guzman is a Continuous Improvement Program Manager for Zoetis, he previously was a Pork Production Specialist. He holds a master’s degree in Animal Science from Chapingo Autonomous University in Mexico, which gave him a strong foundation for his career dedicated to improving pork production, but he learned some equally important lessons in his grandparents’ “classroom,” a small farm where they raised crops and chickens, cows, goats, and always shared good company with many dogs and cats. It was on this farm in southern Mexico where Ezequiel’s love for animals was sparked. However, he didn’t only learn responsibility in his daily tasks on the farm, he also gained invaluable life wisdom from his grandparents.
Ezequiel says his grandmother inspired him to be more empathetic and curious about people. “My grandmother always encouraged me to withhold judgment against people who I didn’t understand. Instead, she advised me to be observant and try to learn from them. You never know what someone’s backstory is,” he said. This advice from Ezequiel’s grandmother seems especially relevant as we celebrate many important themes in October such as Hispanic Heritage Month and Global Diversity Awareness Month. An empathetic and curious mindset has served as a rudder for Ezequiel as he’s navigated moving his career from Mexico to the United States, a journey that began eleven years ago. It also grounds his daily work partnering with pork producers to help them continuously improve their herd’s health.
Ezequiel has a unique insight into the Zoetis customer experience because he once was one. His first job in the United States was with one of the world’s largest pork producers as a herd technician. His curiosity led him to seek an opportunity with the company in research and development, which provided the opportunity to interact with many external members of the company – among those were a Zoetis account manager and a veterinarian, who he would later call colleagues when he joined us as a Pork Production Specialist over eight years ago.
In his job, Ezequiel applies his years of practical experience to help our swine producer customers uphold and apply the highest standards of animal care. He uses a Lean Six Sigma approach as his toolbox in supporting the continuous improvement of their operations, coordinating critical field research trials and generating key information to advance their solutions. On our customers’ farms, Ezequiel’s cross-cultural awareness and bilingual training facilitation has played an important role in helping his customers and their employees. As part of his job, Ezequiel is also involved in internal projects at the Business Unit level to drive inefficiencies out of processes.
Adapting to working in English when he came to the United States was a challenge at first. He recalls: “I thought I was proficient in English, but that was tested when I first heard expressions like ‘Howdy!’ ‘Hit it out of the park!’ and ‘It’s raining cats and dogs!’ My only reaction was to put on my WHAT face and nod. I would think to myself, ‘Wow, it rains differently here in the U.S.” It’s not surprising that Ezequiel’s “continuous improvement” mindset led him to take actions to keep bettering his English. His involvement with Toastmasters International has helped him gain better understanding and confidence in the language – and its many colloquialisms, idioms, and jargon.
Ever keen to learn from the people around him and develop himself, Ezequiel said he’s also grown a lot by having a strong Individual Development Plan and the Zoetis Mentoring Program. And he hopes to help those around him, too. Last year when Zoetis was getting started with its Colleague Resource Group LaZos, which is focused on Hispanic and Latinx colleagues across the organization, Ezequiel decided to get involved. In yet another development role, he volunteered to serve in the role of Communications and Marketing for the group. He said that drawing from his own experience, he wants to help build a foundation that will continue to advance Zoetis Latinx colleagues and the company. With his commitment to personal and professional development – we’re excited to see what he achieves for other Latinx colleagues and in his career helping pork producers.