• Has a collection of Starbucks cups from all around the world

  • Her first car was a race car

  • She attended College at age 15

  • She starred in a six-episode reality TV show

  • She was named Miss Puerto Rico Teen of the Nation, and in the same pageant won both Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic

Maria Gonzalez was minutes into her first tandem seminar as an FPG trainer in the summer of 2016 when she realized one very important, very harrowing thing.

She’d suddenly forgotten the story she originally planned to tell the room. Whatever happened next, she’d have to think fast.

“There were 20 people in the room, all the leaders, the CEO,” Maria says. “It was a really big deal. And when I couldn’t remember my story, I remember looking at (FPG VP of training Phil McShan) and thinking, ‘What did I get myself into?’”

The nerves didn’t last long, and they haven’t been back since. It only took Maria about five seconds to recover, ground herself and deliver her story with a dash of self-deprecating humor thrown in. The room laughed, Maria got on with the training seminar and by the end of the day, she quickly realized she wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Now, Maria is one of FPG’s eight expert trainers relaying FPG methodology and content in fresh, exciting and engaging ways.

Even now, Maria can call back to that day as the moment her true unleashing as an FPG visual virtuoso began.

“All the stage fright was gone,” Maria says. “That’s when I was like, yes, we’re here to learn, but it’s also about having a great time.”

The thread of entertainment has always wound itself through Maria’s life. When she was young, she can remember entertaining her family while they bunkered down for Hurricane Hugo with a small guitar she didn’t even know how to play. One of her four core drivers is even ‘entertain.’ Anyone who’s been in a seminar run by Maria knows this as well as anyone. Maria’s plan is twofold: to unleash you by helping you learn, and to have a boatload of fun in the process.

Another passion supporting Maria’s vision as a trainer is the will to teach. Maria’s had several different job roles in the corporate world over the years, including her most recent stint in digital media. But no matter the job, Maria was always diligent in accessing another one of her core drivers, ‘educate,’ in everything she did.

That’s why training came to her so naturally.

Immediately upon graduating high school Maria developed a B2C sales model for AOL that they used to expand business in Latin America and double their subscription revenues.  Her successes also include winning the AOL Leadership Award, Regional Sales Manager of the Year for HTA, and Innovative Program Winner for YP.

Maria was happy with her digital media career path before she joined FPG, but she found the company’s vision and willingness to really dive into the business of changing behavior best aligned with her calling. FPG CEO Jason Forrest’s final pitch was a 15-minute chat about why the transformative nature of the work at FPG is so fulfilling, and why Maria would be such a great fit.

When Maria told Jason she was still thinking about it and she’d call her old boss back, Jason told her to call him on the other line while he waited.

“At that point, I was like, I’m in,” Maria said. “Because these are my people: the boldness, the assertiveness and the unleashedness.”

Ever since, Maria’s been a star trainer for FPG for the last year and a half. She works with FPG’s biggest clients and even translated a training session into Spanish on the fly for one of FPG’s international clients. Her infectious spirit, daring optimism and engaging speaking style makes her not only a successful teacher, but one heck of a fun seminar host and coach.

But it isn’t just the training that kick-starts Maria’s drive. It’s the content itself. Maria’s all about personal empowerment through FPG’s mission of positive reinforcement, and that’s precisely what she does every day.

“It’s absolutely in line with the way I think,” Maria says. “Everything we teach at FPG comes really easily to me. It’s aligned with my belief system. It’s also the culture and it’s about empowering people, not tricking them into empowerment. It’s truly about changing their work, changing their life, changing the way they see things. It’s really empowering to people who are receiving the message.”

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