When first embarking on a college career, most students will wonder if they will belong
and how they will make friends on their college campus. That’s what happened when
Nubia Martinez-Caro '04 came to the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).
Luckily, Martinez-Caro quickly fell in love with a group of people she would call
friends for a long time.
Having received mail from the César Chávez Cultural Center welcoming her to UNC, she
checked out the center on her first Saturday on campus. Unfortunately, she hadn’t
realized it would be closed on the weekends. A few sororities and fraternities happened
to be hosting barbecues close by and invited her to stay. That’s how Martinez-Caro
met some of her first friends on campus.
“I remember calling my mom and telling her ‘Mom, there’s people like me here,’” Martinez-Caro
reminisced. “In my high school graduating class, there were only about four of us that were Latinos, in a class of 207 students.”
Seeing an entire center dedicated to Hispanic and Latinx-identifying students and
Lambda Theta Nu, Sorority Inc., a multicultural Greek sorority on campus, Martinez-Caro
felt she really could belong at UNC.
With a little trial and error, Martinez-Caro also found the right fit for her academic
Enrolling as a Political Science major, Martinez-Caro quickly realized that it wasn’t
where her passion lies. In her first term, she took a political science course, but
it didn’t speak to her like she thought it would despite having what she referred
to as an amazing professor and studying topics she found interesting.
After her first semester, she switched to Marketing. She preferred her new major,
but she still wasn’t sure where it would take her.
Throughout her time studying in the Marketing department, the most valuable lesson
Martinez-Caro learned came from her Sales and the Sales Process class.
“The professor was amazing,” Martinez-Caro remembered. “He would tell us, ‘You’re
always selling something. You’re selling yourself and your skills, you’re selling
a product or you’re selling a service. That’s it. No matter what you’re doing, you’re
selling one of those three things.’”
That’s why Martinez-Caro liked marketing. It applied to most situations. And that’s
how she found herself in the finance industry.
While at UNC, Martinez-Caro was part of the President’s Leadership Program, and the
father of one of the staff at the time was the regional president at Wells Fargo in
Denver. He came to campus to give a talk that ended in a social hour where Martinez-Caro
mentioned her interest in finance to him. He handed her his assistant’s card and asked
her to send them her resume.
Martinez-Caro included her Latin American Education Foundation (LAEF) scholarship
on her resume, but little did she know that Wells Fargo partnered with LAEF to provide
internships. Before she knew it, she had landed herself an internship with Wells Fargo.
Today, Martinez-Caro has been working at Wells Fargo for more than 20 years.
Working as a trust team manager now, Martinez-Caro oversees a team of 11 advisors
from coast to coast. They advise $5 to $10 million clients on estate planning and effective ways to manage their wealth.
Living a life and pursuing a profession she never imagined before her time at UNC,
Martinez-Caro chooses to regularly come back and educate the next generation of UNC
Bears every chance she gets.
Returning to participate in her sixth career conversation, Martinez-Caro will be a
panelist at the upcoming Alumni Career Panel on Sept. 26 featuring alumni of color in business and finance.
“It’s meaningful for me to be able to give back,” she expressed. “It’s meaningful
for me to be in a place where I can be helpful to other people.”
When Martinez-Caro was a student, she didn’t know trust services existed. She wants
to be able to educate students on the life they can have pursuing finance, specifically
serving as an example to students of color that there are paths for them.
“I’m in a position now where I can provide those contacts and opportunities,” Martinez-Caro
said, reflecting on her chance encounter with Wells Fargo when she was a student.
“It's effortless. I get to show up and talk about what I do with students. I get some
great engagement; people ask really intelligent questions.”
One piece of advice that Martinez-Caro would give to a student trying to break into
the finance industry is to make contacts and build connections with people, not necessarily
in the banking world.
“It’s really about who you know rather than what you know,” Martinez-Caro advises,
“Making those contacts, going to networking events and coming to the opportunities
UNC offers to students. It’s really valuable.”
Join Martinez-Caro at the alumni of color in business and finance panel Sept. 26 for
more advice and stories from her more than two decades of experience working in the
industry. All students are encouraged to tune in regardless of their chosen major
or area of study. Visit the Alumni Careers Page to learn about other similar career panels happening this fall.
— written by Tamsin Fleming