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Community Highlights: Meet Carlos Noriega of LEAP Interactive Media Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carlos Noriega.

Hi Carlos, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Have you ever heard of being in the right place at the right time? I’m that guy. My wife compares me to the “Slum Dog Millionaire” character that goes through life jumping from adventure to adventure. My mother immigrated to San Antonio from Reynosa Mexico in search of my father. He’d come here many years earlier and the letters and money had stopped coming. With an address in her hand and three kids, including me, the oldest at 4 years old, she brought us to a new country where everyone talked funny and we were not allowed to play outside. Growing up in San Antonio’s West side and living in the public housing project represented a fork in the road for me. I could either walk down the worn-out path and join one of the many gangs to choose from or I could run as fast as I could down the less popular path and take the verbal and sometimes physical abuse that came with not having any affiliations. Lucky for me, that right place right time (RPRT) kicked in shortly after high school when I had an opportunity to join AT&T’s new bilingual center. That led to opportunities in event marketing, global solutions marketing and a career in selling and developing and selling IT services. A chance meeting with the owner of a small long distance/tech company in El Paso, Texas, I had the opportunity to learn first hand about entrepreneurship and running a business. With the emergence of the Internet and the marketing opportunities that represented, I started focusing on helping to level the competitive field between small business and their larger competitors. In 2002 I started my first marketing firm and that evolved into what is now LEAP interactive media group.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The challenges started early. I was an immigrant dreamer before the term had even been coined and having to look over my shoulder even as an elementary school student was just a way of life. The mindset of having a feeling that you don’t belong 100% here in the US or 100% in Mexico is a real thing and it can either wear you out or make you stronger and I really think that in my case, it made my skin thicker. The hunger to create my own path became stronger when I got married at the early age of 19 and became a father at 20. I remember in an interview, a hiring manager asked me why they should choose me for the position and I explained that failure was not an option for me. By then, I had my 5 daughters and if I failed, they didn’t eat. This focus on success is something that has become an instinct for me and I carry that into every client meeting as the approach to resolving their business challenges.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
LEAP interactive media group, or LEAP interactive for short, is a marketing firm that focuses on developing and growing brands for small and medium-sized business owners and organizations. We constantly seek out the latest cloud-based technology and software to help our clients gain a competitive advantage. Although many people know us as a graphic and website design firm, the design and programming is only the conduit we use to communicate our client’s message. I think what sets us apart from other firms is that we don’t ask our customers to adapt to our process. Instead, we approach each project with an open mind and armed with our library of capabilities, design a results-based solution that makes sense for that particular client. Some of our latest accomplishments include designing two car wraps for NASCAR competitions as well as the development and launch of several international cosmetic and skincare brands. Recent work with the US Air Force has proven to be very rewarding as we’ve had the opportunity to help our military families increase their quality of life through recreation.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Although not formally my mentor, I learned so much from Ross Dahman, the President of Huntleigh Technology Group. I was lucky, again, right place at the right time, to have spent eight years by Ross’ side during one of the most challenging times in Huntleigh’s history and the lessons I learned along the way are lessons I use weekly now at LEAP interactive. My recommendation is to find someone that is doing what you want or aspire to do and approach them. Successful people are surprisingly willing to share their formula for success and want to see others succeed. We also don’t want you to make the same mistakes we made and those lessons are worth more than any certification or degree.

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