It’s not everyday Olympic athletes visit your office. The highly decorated Jon Santacana and Miguel Galindo, the Spanish Paralympic skier and his guide, stopped by to speak with our team in Madrid and share their story about how they’ve become the fastest pair in the world.
At eight-years-old, Jon was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, an inherited juvenile macular degeneration that causes vision loss. Jon began skiing competitively when he was 17-years-old and in 2000, he joined the Spain national team along with his guide, Miguel, who is always by his side.
The biggest takeaway for HomeAway employees was their example of humbleness and dedication. Also, a positive attitude and believing in yourself while pushing the limits means everything. Sonia Carro, Talent Acquisition Specialist, said, “It was interesting to hear them discuss how everything they do is possible because they work together and there is confidence and communication between them.”
“I don’t know if I am able to achieve everything, but for sure I am able to try it!” - Jon Santacana.
Jon and Miguel shared an inspiring story about how to overcome issues that can work in all areas of life. In the early stages of their careers, they noticed that they were doing well in competitions that required technique, but not in the competitions that required speed. Their first step was to identify what was hindering their speed. They soon discovered communication was the issue and they started to investigate how they could solve the problem.
Through an iterative test and learn process, they found a solution that improved their communication significantly. They grew faster over time and eventually won gold in the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Paralympics. Team HomeAway loved this story specifically because it was a great example of how they embraced Scientific Mindset, one of our core values.
Jon said he feels lucky despite the limitations he faces every day.
"I feel like a lucky person because I have the disability that I have. I know that what I am saying might seem a bit strange, but it’s true. I don’t mind continuing to suffer from this disease. If the medicine evolves and a cure arrives, great, but I feel fulfilled despite the limitations that I have.”
Jon emphasizes trust as a fundamental value, in himself and in his guide Miguel, who he refers to as his “other self.” Of course there is an amount of fear that comes with moving at 120 kilometers per hour with only 5% visual acuity, but Jon assures that these adversities can only be broken down based on trust.
“When you’re facing a challenge, you can only do two things, stay there or go ahead.” - Jon Santacana
"Trust, first in me, that I can get things that seem difficult and then, from that moment, projecting that trust on others - my environment and my work team.”
This value is, in his opinion, the most decisive when reaching for your goals.
"In the top level sport and in the business world, self-confidence is the key to success."
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