One action I took while I was District Superintendent that I was proud of occurred in Laredo, Texas. We had a big manual office there with about 130 some odd operators. The operators were backed up by “service assistants” who in turn were backed up by an assistant chief operator. We had a vacancy in the Assistant Chief Operator group and after much thought and consulting with the Chief Operator I decided that Aurora Gonzales was the best candidate by far. There was one problem; she was Mexican American not Anglo. No Mexican-American had ever been promoted into the management group.
I sent Aurora name in as the new Asst. Chief and got a quick call from my boss’s office. “You can’t do this, it will disrupt the whole office and you will have a revolt on your hands and the boss will not tolerate that. Then the boss calls and tells me it won’t work. I refused to back down. We went back and forth for several days and finally they approved my recommendation but said it would be my responsibility if disaster happened and the Mexican-Americans there refused to follow one of their own.
Aurora did great; the people loved her and responded to her leadership. The results of the office improved and labor complaints disappeared. Shortly after I was transferred to Dallas the Chief became ill and had to retire. Who was the new Chief, Aurora!
About twenty years later after I had left the Telephone Company and was on the farm in McKinney and I got a call. It was from a management person in San Antonio and she said Aurora Gonzales the Chief operator of the San Antonio office was retiring and she hoped I would come down to her retirement party. I said when and where, I will be there.
San Antonio was the third largest and most prestigious office in the state and Aurora was the Chief operator there. Even I was amazed. At the retirement dinner there were a lot of speeches. Several of the “big shots” told how they had given Aurora a chance when she was first made management and they could see what a great Assistant Chief Operator she would be. Aurora looked over at me and smiled and sort of shook her head.