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Gilberto Vaquero - Humble, Driven, Involved and Not Slowing Down

Gilberto Vaquero has a very unique story and we were able to sit down with him and hear about his successes, passion for what he does, and gain a little insight into the power of platforms and the world of a social media marketer. Gilberto is out here doing big things for his community, other YP’s, and is really making a difference in our movement. Check out our interview below:

Nearly every attendee we talked to at the Impact YP Conference said we have to meet you, tell us about yourself and how you got into the movement.

Aw, that’s nice to hear! I’d first absolutely like to say if anyone has not attended the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) YP conference you HAVE to go. I made a lot of amazing connections and got the opportunity to catch up with other CU friends I hadn’t seen since crashing the ICUL annual convention in 2018. Staci Hering, the amazing ICUL Team, as well as the YP Committee do an amazing job putting the conference together.

My introduction to the credit union world came shortly after finishing my studies and traveling to Europe and Mexico. I graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in May 2016. I knew how difficult it can get to travel for more than 1-2 weeks once employed full time, so I decided to take the plunge, and buy a one way ticket to Europe. I stayed there until July 5th, (I still wanted to avoid “adulting” for just a little bit longer) and left Spain and traveled to Mexico where I worked for my Grandfather’s company and traveled on the weekends when I could. I stayed there until end of September 2016 and thus began my first big boy job search. I was in between interviews and one of the places was a recently re-branded credit union in Schaumburg. My only connection to a credit union before that was the certificate of deposit my mother and father had opened for me for my college studies.

It was a unique opportunity compared to the other offers. I would essentially be in charge of building and growing what is now Andigo Credit Union’s strong social media presence. It was a task I was fully prepared to dive into and that I knew doesn’t get offered often, so I took the plunge and accepted, and on December 5, 2016 my journey and introduction to the CU Movement began.

That’s an incredible journey, the credit union movement is lucky to have you a part of it. Things are not always easy with starting careers and trying to grow within the industry as a young professional. What are the struggles we have as YPs and how can we overcome them and help each other.

It’s very important to YP’s development that they are able to attend events like conferences, workshops, networking events, etc. I am very proud to work for an organization that focuses on empowering not just its YPs but all of its employees.

My advice for credit union organizations that currently struggle to allow their YPs to attend or don’t see why it’s worth the investment, is to open your eyes to the credit union movement. YPs are the future of the movement, so doesn’t it make sense that one invest in them so they can reach their full potential? Hindering a YP’s initiative to apply or attend CU related events is damaging to the very movement, the credit union’s advancement, and the YP’s personal development. Happy employees equal happy members.

This is a great perspective. Besides empowering YP’s, attending Impact, and your day to day at the credit union what else are you involved in?

Within Andigo Credit Union I’m on the Social Committee. We’re a committee of 7. We’re in charge of creating events at Andigo that help us engage with each other, and foster camaraderie.

Outside of Andigo Credit Union I’m the co-chair of the social committee for the Schaumburg Business Association Young Professionals. Our founding began in January and is a third reincarnation of a group that has now grown tremendously past everyone’s expectations. My duties are to plan social events within the Schaumburg community so that YPs can attend and meet other YPs from around the area. Within the SBA Young Professionals Board we have 3 committees that represent our pillars. (It’s not all happy hours all the time haha.) We have social, development and service. Our other committees also put together events that aim to empower and develop YPs into well rounded professionals inside the workplace and in their personal lives.

I’m into staying active when I can. I’m involved in Stonewall Sports, a Chicago league. I did two seasons this year of Kickball there. I’m also a part of the Andigo intramural volleyball league, #TeamAndigoFlex

On the side, one of my passions is to help small Hispanic businesses grow their digital presence. What I have found happens with this specific niche of businesses is some don’t understand the importance of a digital presence, and others might understand the importance but don’t know how to execute. Once we get the ball rolling and I help educate and walk them through the process, it gives me tremendous pride seeing a business flourish thanks to whatever help I was able to provide.

Living that People Helping People Philosophy to the full, I love to see this. I also recently read about your success with Social for a Cause Fundraiser. Congrats on hitting your goal, tell me more about the event, your role, and how others can get involved.

Thank you! The last SBA YP social of the year took place earlier this month. It was called “Social for a Cause.” I wanted to do a combination of our regular monthly socials, but with a fundraising aspect to it. Because we are a 1-year-old group, we don’t have the funds that more established groups have to be able to host galas or massive fundraiser nights. That didn’t stop us from trying! The event was hosted and sponsored by the Schaumburg Boomers and was held in one of their private rooms.

My committee members Riley Anderson and Kayleigh Burnitz and I were in charge of planning everything for the event and of course relied on the rest of the board to help us when they could. All in all we had raffle donations from 18 businesses, food donations from 5 businesses, a hosting site and complimentary alcohol from the Boomers (included in your paid entrance) and a fully committed team ready to raise money for the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance. Our goal of raising $1,000 was surpassed despite the brutally cold night impeding people from attending. We are nearing the end of the year which means the roles might change come 2020 but my year as co-social chair proved to be an amazing, fulfilling, and a worthwhile one! If someone who lives or works in or around the Schaumburg area would like to get involved, they can look for us on Facebook or LinkedIn under, “SBA Young Professionals” or they can reach out directly to me. I’m more than happy to introduce anyone to the group!

Year one of CU Kind was a huge success, I was so excited to see this day of giving expand out of Minnesota and into Illinois this year, what was the most rewarding experience for you.

Credit Unions are some of the most involved organizations with their respective communities. CU Kind was a huge success because it puts CUs on the map. It shows not just our members and communities how involved we are but also shows the world. While donations are awesome, it’s almost more impactful when CUs actually show up. When you walk the walk, people remember you.

While Andigo couldn’t participate in the official #CUKindDay because we were closed, we participated in our own way a little earlier in the month. On Saturday October 5th, we sponsored and hosted the 3rd annual Andigo Adventure Challenge benefiting the Chicago Voyagers. Danilo Nevarez, a fellow SBA YP and colleague was in charge of planning the event. We were able to raise over $20,000 for Chicago Voyagers, the organization we supported that provides outdoor programming for over 400 at-risk teens. Being able to know you made a difference is the most rewarding feeling. It’s always worth it in the end.

You are very active on social media, some YPs struggle with utilizing these platforms and self-branding. What advice can you offer them.

Being genuinely you is key. Doing it for the “clout” doesn’t always mean you’re being true to yourself. We live in a world of people dreaming of being influencers and figuring out what to post next and will my followers like this and share and etc. I found myself becoming an “accidental” influencer after I had started to post and create content as my true self. When I was under the mindset of “I need to post things as what I think people want to see me as” there was no traction. It proved detrimental. To clarify, this doesn’t mean post without tact or create content that doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re self-branding as. It’s using your genuine self, to fit how you want to self-brand on the platforms. People can read when someone is being genuine just as much as they can read people who are being fake, both digitally and in person.

All in all, know what your end goal is for self-branding. What do you want people to know you as? What part of your true being are you branding? How is this going to help you reach your goals? Be proud of being the effervescent young professional that you are and showcase it! Once you have all that down, posting on the platforms becomes easy because you don’t have to over-analyze everything.

What a great way to explain having a solid social media presence. Who are some of the most influential people you follow on social media?

Oh man I follow a lot of people because the social realm is so massive with room for all people and ideas to be represented. I will say one of the people I follow who I’ve always thought did an amazing job was CEO of T-Mobile John Legere. The way he uses social media is so unique from the many CEOs out there using social. The content he puts out is so different. On all platforms I follow a lot of credit unions and connect with a lot of credit union people to see what everyone’s up to and I often get inspiration from them. I like to stay up to date with news so I follow most if not all of the available news outlets on Twitter. I also follow my state representatives on Twitter to see what they’re doing in Springfield and Washington.

If you’re in the social media business or wanting to self brand and self promote, following Gary Vaynerchuk will absolutely have to be on your list. The advice he has you are able to pick from a la carte depending on what you want to accomplish. He’s straight to the point and doesn’t sugarcoat, he’s genuine and that’s why I believe he’s as successful as he is. While I can’t list every single person I follow I tend to follow people and topics from all over. As a creative person I get inspired by a lot of things and I like to be in the loop, so I need to be able to look at things on social like politics, social media, cooking, animal welfare, pop culture, mental health, etc. Social media has allowed us to dive into this sea of all kinds of knowledge. It’s up to us to see where we want to go and how we want to use it. There’s no rule that says you can’t follow certain people or things, follow away and get inspired!

Follow and connect with Gilberto -

Twitter: @Gil_Vaquero

Instagram: @Gilv05

Linkedin: Gilberto Vaquero SBA Young Professionals

CUltivate is people helping people with our mission to spread the word, connect the people, and give an outlet to share your stories. Know someone in the industry we should interview? Drop us a line at


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