Hiram Araoz credits his mother’s grit as his inspiration for pursuing a higher education and “not to stop until a degree was obtained.” An only child, he was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, and recalls many times when his mother struggled to put food on the table, often skipping her own meals to be able to feed him. When he was ten, she had to leave him in the care of relatives so she could take a factory job, elsewhere.
They weren’t able to reunite until he was 18, and they continued to struggle, financially. Following his mother’s example, he managed to juggle two jobs while finishing high school. “I know courage and determination run in my veins,” he said. “After all, I am the son of the strongest woman I know.”
He began his higher education at East Los Angeles College before transferring to Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, where, with the help of an HSF Scholarships, he graduated with a BS in Business Administration and Management.
He says that, at the time, his HSF Scholarship brought much needed financial “relief.” Today, he sees HSF’s impact from an even broader perspective. “I now realize the mission of HSF is one that helps create bright futures for its [scholarship] recipients,” he said.
His education led him to a career in the banking industry and his current position as a transformation program manager at City National Bank. Prior to that, he worked for Japanese bank and financial services holding company MUFG for six years, in the roles of Senior Program Manager/Risk Transformation Consultant, Associate Director, and Business Process Improvement Consultant/Change Manager. Before joining MUFG, he served in various analyst roles for Union Bank and Bank of the West. He is certified as a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, a set of techniques and tools for process improvement.
In 2017, during his time at MUFG, he earned the President’s Award, the Inclusion and Diversity Business Unit Council Member of the Year, and the Regional Employee Resource Group Leader of the Year for Adelante.
A proud HSF Alum, he has attended several HSF events, appreciating more than ever, what an HSF Scholarship can do to transform the lives of today’s students.
For those about to graduate college and enter their chosen professions, he passes along the well-rounded guidance he received from the father of a good friend: “Work hard, play hard, and learn a lot of new things.”