When you read the story of Christian Rodriguez, two words that will likely come to mind are inspiring and motivating. It’s a story not many tell.
“I was born in New York, but spent my early childhood years in the Dominican Republic where we did not have access to running water or electricity,” remembers Christian. “When I was six we moved to Texas. I don’t really know my father. My mother was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for drug trafficking when I was 12. After that, I went to military school and lived with different friends and family members. It was not easy. But when I was a high-school sophomore, I was adopted by my football coach. I still consider him to be my father figure.”
Through pure determination, hard work and ability, Christian did not let those early life challenges define his life. He was accepted to Texas A&M University where he used his four years of NCAA Division I football eligibility to not only play elite college football as a star linebacker, but to get a bachelor’s degree in marketing in just three years. He used the fourth year to earn a master’s in human resource development. He’s currently working on his PhD in educational leadership.
“When I moved to the (United) States as a kid, school was hard for me,” remarks Christian. “English is my second language and I also have dyslexia. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could succeed academically.”
Christian did more than just succeed at A&M. After graduation he was signed as a free agent by the National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts. He was injured during his third preseason game and decided it was time to move on to the next phase of his life.
“Through a family friend, I got connected to Bank of America and landed a job as an assistant to a loan officer there,” says Christian. “I was there for 11 years, first as an assistant, then as a loan officer. I eventually worked my way up to become the National Sales Executive – leading the entirety of the mortgage call centers for the bank. There’s a lot to be said about working your way up in life. It’s a very humbling experience.”
Nearly seven years later, Christian leads Charles Schwab Bank’s bank sales, lending products and strategy, diverse markets, and Community Reinvestment Act teams. In addition, he serves as the president and chief operating officer of Premier Bank – one of the three bank charters and two trust companies here at the firm.
What I love about working at Schwab, in my heart of hearts, is that we keep the client at the center of what we do. Lots of firms make that claim, but at Schwab, actions speak louder than words. It’s in our DNA. It’s our North Star. And it’s one of the parts of Schwab I appreciate most.
- Christian R., Senior Vice President, Charles Schwab Bank
Remaining committed to his own diverse background, Christian also works hard to support diversity and inclusion at Schwab and serves as the executive sponsor of the Employee Resource Group – Black Professionals at Charles Schwab.
“It’s a personal passion of mine to make sure employees and clients are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of background. I want to do my part to help construct a culture here at Schwab that supports those values.”
It’s the mark of a good leader - a good person - when that individual is able to translate difficult experiences into personal and professional inspiration.
“My motivation in life is to make sure I lay a strong foundation for my wife and my four-year-old son, something I did not have growing up. The breaking up of my family ends on my watch as the patriarch of this Rodriguez family. But I also want to use my experiences to help others in my professional life as well. I want my legacy as a leader to be viewed as someone who worked to help others achieve their goals and aspirations through our mutual partnership.”