Spotlight: Leandro Bolaños
Degree: Hospitality and Tourism Management
Position: BMW Genius at BMW Pembroke Pines
It’s easy to say to people “go do what you love for a living,” but for many, it’s not that simple. Lucky for you, I’m here to tell you about someone who recognized what his passion was and went after it without hesitation.
Born in Cali, Colombia and raised in South Florida, Leandro never failed to take advantage of where he grew up. A popular destination with a wide range of opportunities, Leandro decided to study Hospitality and Tourism Management at FIU. (Yes.. we studied together)! Although he didn’t always dream of working for BMW, keeping an open mind throughout his life has helped him in more ways than one.
Prior to being a Genius at BMW, Leandro spent some time at the Hilton Doubletree where he was a front desk agent. One day, one of his co-workers and good friends had asked him why he wasn’t working with cars. She always noticed him researching cars and saw that he was genuinely interested in them. Leandro never gave it much thought at the time, but after thinking about it, he decided he would give it a shot.
“I am now a BMW Genius at BMW of Pembroke Pines. My role there is to be able to explain and help customers with the features and functions of any BMW vehicle- anything from pairing your phone to Bluetooth, to teaching them how to let the car park itself.
Normally, when a customer purchases a new vehicle we go with them to their new car and help them get acclimated (this is called a Delivery). Customers also have the option to come back and sit with a Genius if they have any further questions, as some people do once they have had the car for some time (this is called an Encore).”
There is an award system in place that is available to all employees in their respective departments, called Profiles in Achievement. It is based on their overall performance for the calendar year. There are three tiers to the award, the lowest being Bronze, and the highest being Platinum. In 2017, Leandro received this award for his department at the level Silver, after working there only ONE year! Tell me this is not a guy who loves what he does!
“I have not always wanted to work here, I know I have always wanted to work with cars and the new technology but I never set a specific brand that I’ve been dying to work for, not even Tesla. Now that I’ve been here for a year, I find myself loving the brand, their culture, and hope to stay and grow with them.”
How would you define a “dream job?”
“My definition of a dream job is doing something that not only you really enjoy, but also something that you find yourself doing even while you’re not working. For instance, my job is to know everything there is to possibly know about BMWs. This naturally requires a lot of training and research, so much that I had to go to South Carolina for a week for BMW training. Even with all of the job training, one would think they’d be mentally exhausted, but not me. I find myself hungry for more information, learning new things, and researching about BMW as well as other brands who compete with them.
I am getting a real grasp of the industry as a whole and seeing what’s trending and what’s not. If you look at my YouTube account, all of my recommended videos are about car comparisons, new technology, and reviews. Once you realize that you find yourself doing almost the same thing as your job, I think you’ve landed your dream role!”
Although you’ve landed a dream job, what are other ways you are improving yourself?
As far as improving, I would like to have more exposure to BMW of North America (Corporate)- whether that’s being involved with competitions that they have for Geniuses, or even reaching to them for help. For the most part, I’m content where I’m at but in the near future, I’d like to see some movement towards corporate.”
What would your advice be to young professionals who believe a dream job doesn’t exist? And to those that do?
“For those who don’t believe a dream job exists, I think you’re in the wrong field. The first question you should ask yourself is whether or not you even enjoy your job. Not your co-workers, or because your boss is cool, but because your actual job title and position is something you thoroughly enjoy. If not, I would contemplate what you like to do when you’re not working. Something that you know you can possibly work in.
Sometimes you may not even realize it, like me. I only decided to go for it after my friend mentioned it to me. That’s when the spark came. Sometimes all you need is to be pointed in the right direction. For those of you who believe in one, I think you’re already in the right direction. It’s just going through the experiences and finding out what you enjoy and what you don’t. This will be a learning curve as you gain experience. Time will tell, so don’t give up.”
Who would you consider to be your role models/mentors? What inspires you?
“What inspires me is seeing people who love what they do and seeing their emotion pour out of them as they talk about it. I remember in my marketing class in college, my professor would invite guest speakers who really loved what they do and just hearing them speak about how they got there and where they’re at now inspired me to go after what I love doing.
All of the guest speakers had one thing in common. All of them said, “do what you love and the money will come.” This has proven true to me over the course of the last year and a half. My wage has increased by 50% ever since I have gotten into something that I have loved doing. That class has always been the most influential course I’ve taken in my college career.”
“I’ve been fortunate to work with bosses that have been able to guide me and give some advice here and there that have shaped me into the professional I am today.”
Aside from being a Genius at BMW, Leandro is a beast on the soccer field He still plays in his free time, and recently started mountain biking as a new hobby! One of the first ways we became close friends is because he coached my sorority soccer team for three seasons. Extremely thankful to the game, it really does bring people together! We also spent many, many hours studying and doing homework for our accounting and finance classes and attending different events and traditions within Greek life at FIU.
Spotlighting Leandro was an easy decision. From the soccer field to the classroom, Leandro was a constant throughout undergrad and I am glad to consider him a friend. We may not see each other every day or every week, but when we do get together, we pick up where we left off. Being friends with someone who lives out their passion every day is inspiring and I am happy to share his story with you all!
Thank you, Leandro!
Your lil’ sis,