The First of Her Family

Gabby, manager, process improvement in El Segundo, has achieved many firsts for her family. She is the first generation of her family to be American-born. She is also the first person in her family to become a leader and college graduate.

hispanic woman in a large building

These firsts were only her parents’ dreams for their future children until they decided to emigrate to the U.S. from Mexico in 1986, shortly after welcoming Gabby and her brother, Edgardo, a fellow Northrop Grumman employee who works in manufacturing at El Segundo.

“My parents were extremely hard working, and it inspired me to do better, but at that time, resources were not in abundance for families like ours,” Gabby said. Despite excelling in high school while working as a server and pharmacy technician to help support her family, a college education was still financially out of reach. Then, in 2007, her son was born. Shortly after, she was hired at the Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union (NGFCU). “Northrop Grumman always had a high reputation in my community, and I wanted to create a stable life for my family. I was ecstatic to join the team,” she said.

However, Gabby continued to experience challenges investing in her education while balancing the demands of a full-time job and welcoming a daughter.

In 2014, seven years after starting at NGFCU, Gabby sought and earned a role as an administrative assistant at Northrop Grumman. “That first day was surreal. I was emotional to finally say I was a Northrop Grumman employee. However, I still had a job to perform and I immediately focused on doing it well,” she said.

Within her first week of employment, Gabby was made aware of the Northrop Grumman Education Assistance Program, known as EdAssist, reminding her of a dream she thought was long gone: earning a college degree. “My director, James Smith, and coworkers kept asking me what I wanted to do next. The culture to keep improving myself was infectious,” she said. After six months, she became eligible, applied for EdAssist and quickly enrolled at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California.

This required an honest conversation with her family. “I sat my husband Vince down and told him, this would be a family commitment. After work, I would have to make time for my education, it would be a sacrifice for a better future,” Gabby said. “I don’t think everyone realizes how much determination it takes.”

family portrait of five

Gabby’s schedule quickly turned into a balancing act as her night and weekend classes became routine.

Her efforts paid off. After obtaining her associates in 2019, Gabby began seeking management roles and was selected for her current role in January 2021.

“I feel proud to say I’m a manager at Northrop Grumman, and I got here with dreams and perseverance. However, none of this would be possible without the culture we have here,” she said. “I never felt pressured or guilty for committing to my self-improvement, nor for having a hard stop to attend my classes.”

Gabby continues to pursue her bachelor’s in organizational leadership, this time at California State University-Dominquez Hills.

In the summer of 2022, Gabby will be the first in her family to earn her bachelor’s degree. She has no plans to stop her academic or career endeavors, and said that anyone who is struggling with their goals and success should not be deterred by timelines or detours in their journey.

“Northrop Grumman allows us to have the best of all worlds, and I’m forever grateful for that,” she said.  

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