Ten Leaders to Know: Ofelia Rumbo (Full Profile)

August 14, 2023 | Ten Leaders to Know

Human Resources Director

Merrill Manufacturing

Birth City
San Pedro Del Gallo, Durango Mexico

Current City
Storm Lake, Iowa

How did you get where you are today?
Through hard work and determination and with the help of a great support system; family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and others. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for those who have believed in me and challenged me to work at my greatest potential.

What excites you the most about the business you work in?
Manufacturing plays such a pivotal role in our economy and is constantly evolving. I get excited about where the industry has been and where it is going. I’m particularly proud to work for Merrill Manufacturing. For almost 75 years, Merrill has provided job opportunities, ignited creativity and innovation, and fostered economic growth in the Storm Lake area while serving many customers across the globe.

What do you see as the next big trend in your industry?
I think the next big thing will continue to be robotics for human augmentation. I look forward to improved future technologies that will continue to aid us humans in doing less demanding physical work while increasing productivity.

Where do you look for inspiration or to generate new ideas?
I get inspired by my children. I often think of what the future could look like for them. Every time I need to generate new ideas, I ask myself, “wouldn’t it be cool if?” It seems to work!

What does effective leadership mean to you?
An effective leader influences and inspires. They value people for who they are and what they can contribute. An effective leader encourages diverse ideas and is a true listener.

What is your favorite thing about Iowa?
I love its people! Our family is surrounded by such a great group of friends and community members who have welcomed us and supported us. They are the reason we call Iowa our home. But I also enjoy the work opportunities available in our state. You would be surprised how many of our relatives have emigrated from other states to come to live and work here!

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Be intentional about doing the things you love and take the time to learn as much as you can, not just in your area of study. You will be surprised how much that helps as you grow in your career.

Why are you a member of ABI?
I enjoy having the opportunity to network with other ABI members. Having an outlet to talk to others who may be experiencing the same struggles and who are willing to share best practices and support is priceless.

Who do you look to for mentorship?
I tend to gravitate towards other leaders I have had the pleasure to report to or work with as they are incredibly kind, bright, and knowledgeable individuals. If they were reading this, they would know who they are! I have learned so much from them and consider them my mentors.

As a business leader, what book would you recommend for personal or professional growth?
One of my absolute favorites is the book Culture Renovation: 18 Leadership Actions to Build and Unshakable Company, by Kevin Oakes. I enjoyed reading it as it includes valuable, actionable steps sprinkled with some humor. I believe the concept of keeping what’s working and only changing what needs to be renovated should be considered by all business owners working on improving their culture for the long term.