Leadership at any level

Marisela doesn’t settle for the bare minimum. “It’s not in me,” she said.

When an employee came into her office to discuss work issues, Marisela didn’t do what she would typically do in similar situations. She did something a little extra.

“I saw an intelligent and bright young woman, and I started talking to her like she were my daughter,” Marisela said. “I believe that a small expression of confidence can inspire people to achieve their dreams. Sometimes people just need to be reminded to go for their dreams now.”

Besides helping her with the issue, they discussed the employee’s dreams going back to school to finish her degree and possibly becoming a flight attendant. Fast forward from that moment to today, both dreams came true. 

“She just needed a little push,” said Marisela. “But she was the one that accomplished her goals with her hard work, sacrifice and determination. She is truly the commendable one.”

“This is just the beginning.”

Marisela Rafuls posing for a photo in front of the Golden Gate Bridge is the Bay Area, California. (Photo courtesy of Marisela Rafuls.)

In a letter written to Marisela, the brand-new graduate thanked her for inspirational words that ‘changed the course’ of her life. A statement that can’t be overlooked.

Marisela isn’t a CEO, vice president or director. Yet, she displayed leadership and became an inspiration for someone else.

On a daily basis, Marisela’s role as the Miami Support Services Investigator is to look into customer complaints occurring at the airport. However, as with many in the aviation industry, she ‘multitasks’ and wears many hats, she said.

She’s also involved in the training process for new-hire employees where she has an opportunity to share insight into the job role and the company — and, well, lead. 

“I always tell them, ‘this is just the beginning. From here, you can achieve anything that you set your mind to,” said Marisela. “If I see them succeed, I feel proud of them.”

Leading is inspiring

Young Marisela and her father. (Photo courtesy of Marisela Rafuls.)

What makes a leader isn’t always the same for everyone. Some have intrinsic charisma and some have to develop the skills it takes to succeed, but a true leader will recognize ‘his or her weaknesses and strengths,’ Marisela said. 

The people who have been closest to her in her life have consistently been Marisela’s source of inspiration. Having gone through a number of hardships and experiencing others’, Marisela said that it has always been her family to step up and support her. 

When she was ten years old, her father lost his leg. Watching him overcome that adversity and learn how to adapt to life, Marisela said that he inspired her to have a relentless spirit.

She also comes from a family of incredible women who taught her that it’s possible to come out of a hardship stronger than you were before. Marisela, 60, hopes that she too has set a good example for her 27-year-old daughter Amanda, as her grandmothers and ‘aunties’ have for her, she said.

“I have had to face many difficult situations, but I was able to endure everything thanks to my husband and my family,” Marisela said. “Hopefully, the inspiration I have given them is to not give up, and to be resilient and strong.”

Not done yet.

Marisela, her daughter Amanda and her husband Alex Rafuls. (Photo courtesy of Marisela Rafuls.)

While she’s happy living in Miami with her husband Alex, she’s not eager to retire just yet. She still enjoys every day working for Envoy and with her Miami colleagues. (Side note: Marisela and Alex met in Miami after she moved to the U.S. from Venezuela 40 years ago.)

“I love everything I do,” Marisela said. “Of course, it is not easy. It is demanding and sometimes stressful, but I honestly can say that I like the challenge. Every day is different and I get to work alongside great people.”

Plus, why retire so soon? That would be doing the bare minimum, and that’s not Marisela. 

Cover photo: Marisela Rafuls with Luis Carrodeguas, MIA Managing Director of Support Services. (Photo courtesy of Marisela Rafuls.)

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