As the Prime Group of companies prepare for an onslaught of demand for flowers in recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re highlighting one woman in business who has not only made significant contributions to the company’s success but in global logistics as a whole.
By her example, Cristina Moscoso, Station Manager of Prime Fresh Handling-LAX, is paving the way for emerging female leaders in air cargo and international importing and exporting—fields that historically have been dominated by men.
It is fitting that we talk with Cristina in the weeks leading up to International Women’s Day (IWD), which serves as the anchor for Women’s History Month. This is the time of year much of the world takes a pause to recognize the accomplishments of women and to recognize their strengths in business, at home, and in every aspect of society.
As the universal symbol of IWD is flowers, it is even more appropriate that we have a chat with Cristina as a representative of a segment of global logistics that handles millions of fresh-cut flowers a year. So let’s get started with this curious question:
Q. Over the years, women and men alike have continued to give the gift of flowers to show their appreciation for the strong women in their lives. Are you expecting a big bouquet this year?
CRISTINA: Well, I would not quite say I’m expecting it. But I am certainly up for buying flowers for myself regardless of any celebration.
Q. What do you plan to do to acknowledge Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day?
CRISTINA: Let’s hope COVID-19 allows us to have at least a small gathering to acknowledge the valuable women that I have on my team. It always amazes me that on top of this job, which is fast-moving and 24-7, they still find time for their many other responsibilities as mothers working around the house, cooking, and especially now, homeschooling. Their energy, resilience, and commitment simply astonish me. I so admire these women.
Q. With a sizable proportion of female workers among the ranks of Prime Group management, we wanted to explore why you believe that is the case here—especially since this industry has historically been dominated by men?
CRISTINA: Fortunately, our leadership, consisting of Roger Paredes and Omar Zambrano, think very highly of us, and see us more as loyal and responsible beings than labeling us as women and men. It’s also worthy to note that although we were founded in Quito, Prime Group has been operating as a minority-owned business here in the U.S. since 2004, so diversity and cultural awareness have long been part of our culture. Women’s equality goes hand-in-hand of course.
Q. What advice would you give women struggling in a male-dominated industry?
CRISTINA: Look for mentors and invest in relationships. Be authentic, but see things through another lens. And don’t settle. There’s no position too challenging for women. Speak your mind, always!
Q. Please share with us who your female role model is, personally and professionally—or both.
CRISTINA: There are so many female role models I’d like to call out, but I must mention Maria Hinojosa (the journalist) and AOC—she is awesome. And the very brave women who revealed their stories and atrocities through the “Me Too” movement, of course.
Q. How can women better enable each other instead of competing? What needs to change in your opinion?
CRISTINA: We need to create an environment where we can all achieve our aspirations.
Q. What advice do you have for rising businesswomen?
CRISTINA: Get trained, be prepared, and work hard. Show confidence but also be humble and open to learning. Also, listen closely, because customers simply want you to understand their needs. Be honest and set expectations from the beginning.
Q. What is one piece of advice to all women who are juggling between home and work?
CRISTINA: Set your priorities and look for a balance. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
Q. How can women develop a long-term career plan? Who do we talk to? Get advice from?
CRISTINA: It’s important to be open to new challenges that you never had on your plan. Use your mentors, but also be clear about YOUR aspirations. I heard a quote somewhere along the line that stuck with me: “If you dream it, you can do it.”
Q. What do you think helped you get so far in your career? How can we mentor young girls to dream bigger?
CRISTINA: I had great support from my family and other terrific people, influences like Elizabeth Suarez, my boss back in Ecuador, who believed in me always. I must also thank the leadership team of CEO Roger Paredes, COO Omar Zambrano, and CFO Juan Galarraga who were also supportive on every level. After moving to L.A., I remember calling them when I felt lonely in a new city and I just needed to talk.
Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
CRISTINA: Ask for help and don’t be afraid to change your mind. Nobody expects you to have your life figured out from the beginning.
Q. Do you feel that you have achieved what you wanted to?
CRISTINA: I have achieved more than I ever dreamed of, but the ultimate goal is happiness, and I feel I’m following that path.
ABOUT CRISTINA MOSCOSO
A native of Quito, Ecuador, Prime Fresh Handling Manager Cristina Moscoso first learned about the Prime Group in 2001 while working in her home city. At the time, she was a sales agent with one of the cargo carriers that PrimeAir represented as a General Sales Agent (GSA) at Mariscal Sucre International Airport.
Flash forward to 2014, when Moscoso’s life and career took an exciting turn for the better by signing on with the PrimeAir Ecuador team as a sales manager. It wasn’t long before the company recognized this young woman’s talents and hand-selected her to open the office in Peru as a manager, where she relocated in 2016.
Upon discussions with Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes in 2017, it was determined that her next move up the corporate sales ladder would be to launch the company’s presence on the West Coast of the U.S. The plan was to replicate the successful model of operations Prime Fresh Handling had in New York City – she has since done that with great success as West Coast Sales Manager first and as LAX Station Manager now.
“Super excited” about the prospect of moving to Los Angeles, Moscoso’s first step in planting Prime Group’s westernmost flag was to secure a suitable location, which she did just a few short miles from the international cargo hub at LAX. Upon hiring a small start-up team of five staff members, the company’s newest operation was now up and running, operating a modest three shipments a week.
Three years later, Prime Group has emerged as a well-known and respected brand all across the West Coast, handling primarily perishable commodities, such as fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, organic produce, and many other products including pharmaceuticals and related medical equipment.