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Unexpected Superhero: The Story of Cori Gordon

How did an immigrant from Jamaica go on to become the youngest Amazon Delivery Service Partner? Cori Gordon tells her story of entrepreneurial spirit.
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Unknown: Decades ago, you could not walk into a corporate space in a boardroom and be a command and authority with hair like I have, and beads on the ends of the hair. All that matters is what's in here and that's my intelligence. She left a full life in Jamaica and came to the US to make an
even bigger mark on the world focused on transportation. She took positions with cutting edge automotive innovators like Tesla and car Matic, but her vision encompass more than her own career. Determined to pave the way for others, Cory Gordon became Amazon's youngest delivery service partner at 28
years old. She leads Cortoyou a thriving delivery business that employs 50 employees, and maximizes her business and technological acumen. Her success has garnered widespread attention as a leading entrepreneur and role model for young people of color.
Most of the rewards that I've experienced in life I've gotten because I've taken really big risks. Nothing was terrifying to me, I never felt out of place. It just all felt like I was where I needed to be. Her advice resonates with young women, as they break through
barriers to achieve success. Do not explain your credibility. Do not tell them why you deserve to be in the room, or why you are more qualified. shot them with how prepared you are shocker, move how intelligent you are, and just be authentic,
authentic, powerful. commanding. Corey Gordon is a leader for today, who embodies our brightest hopes for tomorrow. Wow, what inspiring story. It is so great to have you join us here at accelerate digital. People may be wondering, why don't we have you here. As you may know, the theme at
accelerate digital is breakthrough and superhero. And we think you are an unmitigated superhero. Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here. Great. So before we begin, there's a few things we have in common, Cory. So number one, were both raised by strong Caribbean parents that stressed education and
entrepreneurship. And number two, we have a deep faith based on our childhood upbringing. So can you share one or two meaningful lessons from your childhood that shaped who you are today? Yes, my dad used to say growing up seeds for choice. And I'm
really happy that he shared that with me because yes, it was important to him that I understood very early on that I could not separate the consequences of my actions, from the choices that I made that brought me to that position. And that's something that I've taken with me in my career, like
there's nothing that is happening to me in my life right now that I didn't have a direct cart and because of the choices that I made, and I think a lot of people struggle with that, right, we like to blame the external factors in our lives. And we like to assign responsibility to other people,
but not necessarily take accountability for the things that we have done that got us to where we are in life. And I learned very early from my parents that I am responsible for shaping my character and for shaping the my life in the way that I want it to be. And that's largely based on the choices
that I've made. I've also learned from my mom the importance of resilience, right? She she struggled a lot to to launch and grow successful businesses, and she's had a lot of failures. But she always stuck to her passion, and remembered why she started in the beginning and surrounded
herself with people who were more successful and knowledgeable in the areas that she wanted to venture into. And so I saw from her modeling, the importance of sticking to what you start with and being resilient no matter what comes your way.
That is great, great, some great lessons there. So based on this year's breakthrough theme, we're highlighting and celebrating people like yourself, who have broken the mold, overcome obstacles and exceeded expectations. Looking back over the course of your career. What do you consider your first
breakthrough moment. My first breakthrough moment was securing a job at Nordstrom after immigrating to the States, I had tried struggled for about six months to land a job. Before I pursued the opportunity with Nordstrom and there I was presenting myself to the hiring
managers with zero sales experience and training, no exposure to the clientele and their needs and absolutely no understanding of the language and mechanics of fashion and merchandising, now compound that with restrictions surrounding my availability to work the busiest and most lucrative days of the
year because of my religion, and you can clearly see that the odds were stacked together. tends to be one of three of the hiring managers, luckily recognize important soft skills in me that she thought were important components for the job that I was going to be doing. And she thought from the
interview that I had demonstrated a lack of product knowledge. But more importantly, I had proven that I was an experienced problem solver, communicator, team player, and I was teachable. And so for the first six months on the job, when I was doing sales, I dove deep into fashion and
understanding fit and cut and connecting with alterations so I can understand fabric and I was invested in my my clients and built a really strong book. And so very quickly, I became the top salesperson on the floor. And I was bringing in all of the top rewards. So after my six months, I paid for driving
lessons, because I couldn't drive at the time. I got my license. And then I bought my first car the next day after I got my license. And so when I think about this, it's really special to me that this breakthrough moment happens really early in my career, because I feel like it's opened
up a door to a multitude of opportunities that I have now taken advantage of. And they've made me very successful. Wow, what a breakthrough. Thank you, Cory. So one of the things you've mentioned before is continuous learning and being a teachable are incredibly important traits. We hope that
all Puritans embody these traits. How did you develop these trades? And how have you been able to incorporate this into your day to day routine? Yeah, well, you know what that was modeled for me growing up, it was also required of me. And I decided that that was the best
approach for me to be successful in life. And when I say was modeled for me, I think about the mentors that I've had throughout my life, and also my parents, they were insistent on continuing to learn. My parents had me when they were 18, and 20. And so they had a lot of life to live. And my mom, she
always wanted to be a police officer, and also an attorney. And I saw her over the years, even when I was young, just she she went back to school and got her degrees after having me and my dad, he started this company where he would teach and lecture students in math. And he was always learning and my mentors
who eventually led me into a career in business administration, it was the same thing with them. So it was not strange for me to see people devoting their lives to continuous learning. When I started getting opportunities in the States, for me to work in industries that I had no idea
existed. Because of coming from Jamaica, it was important that I was teachable, because that was gonna be the only way I was successful. I didn't have formal training or education, in sales, or auto technology, not even logistics. But these opportunities came my way. And I wasn't gonna say yeah, no,
because they're going to transform my life. So the only way I could actually take advantage of these opportunities, wants to make myself teachable to the people who around me who knew more, so it sort of was required of me, but I also decided that this was the right thing to do for my
life. Wow, really important traits. So you've said in a previous interview that I only show up as my authentic self? Okay, which is very important. How have you been able to consistently do that, especially in an environment where nobody looks
like you? Yeah, well, I think the first thing is to show up as my authentic self, I must first understand who I am at that moment, and I say right at that moment, because I create space for for my personal growth in my evolution, while maintaining my
core values, right? So I'm able to present myself in the most authentic way, regardless of who looks like me in the room, because I've got this profound understanding of who I am, that cannot be altered by someone else's disbelief. So I'm certain of my abilities. I'm confident of the value that I provide. And
I'm I also recognize that just by my mere presence in the room that I'm making way for others who look like me to have this opportunity, so it's not difficult for me to show up authentically. Got it? No, thank you for that. So in the past few years, you've
excelled and grown, and you've gone from being a worker bee to a boss, right? So what are some of the lessons you've learned as an employee that you've taken with you as you become a curb position of owning a company and being a CEO? So at Nordstrom, I think the main lesson I learned was to use
your best judgment in all situations. And if you are familiar with Nordstrom handbook that they give to their employees, that is the only thing that's written in it. And I always thought I was so special and I've incorporated it in my journey with entrepreneurship because what I
found is if you are gifted trust From the very beginning, and you are sufficiently trained, it's amazing the kind of self discovery that takes place, the confidence that you develop in your decision making skills and how empowered your team feels. And all that positivity will trickle down to the customers
experience. So in my current company Cortoyou, I'm insistent on training my employees well, but also given them the space to use their best judgment in whatever situation comes up. And they have unique situations that come up every day. Apart from that my experience at Tesla, yes, yes. My experience at Tesla
really solidified for me that where there's a will, there's a way, I did not know much about vehicle registration and DMV rules, leasing and financing and all the inner workings on ensuring these premium vehicles but I immersed myself in that community. And I was able to learn about the mechanics of the
vehicle and then transition into not only sales management, but operations management for the tri state area. And so in my life today, I definitely make sure that I am immersing myself in whatever experience I'm a part of, because there are lessons to be learned that I can carry with me no matter where I
am. That's great. That's great, Cory. So one of the things that has taken place in the past year is that delivering a package to a neighborhood is become such an important thing given COVID and everything else. And so you become almost a hero to many
folks in the neighborhood you deliver packages to. So along the way, who has been some, some and some inspiring Heroes for you unexpected Heroes for you that were unsung along your journey. There have been several influential people along my
journey, but I encounter two of the most impactful and I guess, unexpected heroes at Nordstrom and a chromatic so the very beginning of my professional career in the states and then the last company I worked for before I started company up Cortoyou. So for me at Nordstrom, Tara Mixon Brown was
the the manager who hired me when everyone else said she should not do that, because I could not work again on the busiest days of the week. And I also did not have sales training, but through her taking me on and taking that risk, she showed me that you can use compassion and intuition and
your decision making skills and still be successful. So for her, she wasn't only focused on strategic and operational planning, she was also very concerned about getting the right people and using her best judgment to make those decisions. And I'm, I'm happy that she took the chance on me
because I would not be where I am if she hadn't. And then lastly, Jason marry from chromatic, he facilitated, you know, my introductions and connections into some of the most elite business networks that I'm a part of today. He was selfless enough in and trusting of me to introduce me into
communities and spaces where I could interact with senior level management and chief executive officers to understand, you know, like strategy. And because of that, I've, I felt confident launching my own company because other people have paved the way for me, and they also believed in me when other people do it.
So I'm grateful to these unsung heroes, as we call them. What great heroes what great mentors, so So how do you hope to help others break through on their journey toward their dreams? This is you have? Well, you know, the first thing is breakthrough to me doesn't
necessarily imply freedom from any kind of struggle, like it can quite literally just mean an experience of significant elevation and advancements in your life. And for me, that's my story, right? I didn't necessarily struggle or had a hard time in life. But I still had many moments in my life
where I broke through, right? So I was living a very comfortable life. And I was I was content, but I had these opportunities to elevate myself. And I feel like a lot of people have that experience. We do talk about successful people who have overcome obstacles in their life. And that's wonderful for
them. But that's not everybody else's experience. So for me, it's important that I share my story. And that because I know that there are people who align with me and the fact that we don't necessarily have these major struggles, but we have this desire to do more in life. And I hope that through my
story, someone will be able to see that if you just believe in yourself, and you create and leverage the opportunities that are presented to you. But you can have many moments of breakthrough in your career. Wow, that's great. So you said that you want to do more
incredible things in your journey so unrelated to your current business. What's the future hold For Cory, so many exciting things. First, back in March, I launched a new tech company called coretec. And we are focused on products to market. Yes, I'm so excited about. Again, this is completely
new for me, I'm branching into branching off into this new industry that I have no experience with, but I've got a lot of ideas for technology and software that will, you know, simplify a process or improve the quality of life and through coretec we're going to be bringing those products to
market. So my team and I are working on that at the moment. Oh, I love it. Quarter. You coretec What an amazing future. So one last thing, Cory so as you may know, I have three teenage daughters. Okay, they're 14 1618 and one of the best things about being a dad to them is embarrassing the heck out of
them in front of their friends. And so one thing I'm going to do is I'm going to bust into a nice dad dance for my daughters. Okay, next week, but I know what I don't know which stands to use so we get your help to pick to pick the right embarrassing dead dance for this Okay, so number one is the right man. We can do
the the sprinkler or we can do the Carlton. Okay, so I'm supposed to be selecting the right backs right dance. Number two, the sprinkler for sure. I like see it. There we go. Cory, it has been such a pleasure talking to you. Your
story is such an inspiration to others, and a great reminder that there are indeed everyday heroes among us. I look forward to what the future has in store for you, and many more. Thank you so much for having me. I think it's really special that you all are showing different versions of breakthrough. And
I'm sure one of these stories will resonate with your audience. So I'm happy that I was invited and I wish you all successful events. Thanks again.
  • Enterprise Applications

Cortoyou is an Amazon Delivery Service Partner responsible for fulfilling the demand for a professional, reliable package delivery service in the Staten Island territory. Their fundamental business goal is to deliver every package with care and on time.

In this presentation, Cori Gordon, CEO at Cortoyou and Arthur Johnson, VP Corp Development, Pure discuss how a Carribean immigrant left a full life in Jamaica to the USA for an education, climbed the corporate ladder, and leveraged those skills to start her own business all before the age of 28.

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