Striving for Ganas
Story By: Christina Catalano
As the daughter of two immigrants from Uruguay, Catherine Gonzalez Pack came from humble beginnings. She went on to push boundaries in the field of broadcast television, now holding one of the highest positions in the industry as the Assistant Vice President of Video Operations for AT&T.
CATHERINE GONZALEZ-PACK is a powerful woman behind the scenes, and one of the most powerful players in broadcast television. She oversees the teams that produce sports, live events, internal broadcasts for IPTV, satellite, and mosaic channels. Basically, Gonzalez-Pack is in charge of all things television. What makes Gonzalez-Pack unique is that she has used the inspiration from her childhood world to navigate her way through the world of television.
She is the daughter of immigrants from Uruguay, whom immigrated to America and settled in Orange County, California. No one in her family spoke English when they first came to the United States (including Gonzalez-Pack herself), but that didn’t stop her and her family from learning English. Why? They wanted to succeed.
Her father attended night school, and Gonzalez-Pack and her mother learned English by watching American cartoons. As Gonzalez-Pack says, “My parents took a chance, moving to a country where they had no family, no built-in support system and made sacrifices along the way to get a chance at the American dream. They taught me and my two younger sisters to work hard, dream big, and never forget our identity.” Quickly learning English to navigate her way through America was a part of Gonzalez-Pack’s start to excellence.
Gonzalez-Pack brought this tenacity into her passion of sports. As a young girl, Gonzalez-Pack always loved sports, and wanted to share her love of sports with the world: “I want viewers to feel as though they’re at the stadium. I’m passionate about the sports experience and it has led me to where I am today.” This type of passion fueled Gonzalez-Pack’s desire to be innovative and forward thinking. Clearly, it has allowed her to quickly excel. With her hard work, Gonzalez-Pack has gone on to receive two Sports Emmys for Outstanding New Approaches in Sports Event Coverage for NFL SUNDAY TICKET and for Technical Achievement.
To her, adversity is something we all fight against every day.
Through it all, Gonzalez-Pack believes that adversity can not only be faced, but overcome. Gonzalez-Pack points out that she has not only been the only woman in a room, but the only Latina in the room. She recognizes that Latinos have to work harder to gain an even-level playing field, but that it can be done by bringing in the passion of one’s heritage into his or her work because, according to Gonzalez- Pack, “it will make the person stand out.”
That does not mean that Gonzalez-Pack thinks overcoming obstacles is easy - she believes in being in competition with oneself every single day. She also stresses the importance of thinking about what success means and striving to emulate it; when asked about her definition of success, she stated, “This question makes me think about my legacy and what I want that to be. I want to be thought of as someone who grew with each new experience, courageous enough to take risks, and each time was able to inspire others to see something through to fruition.”
At work, Gonzalez-Pack still uses the inspiration from her childhood that got her to where she is today. She has high expectations for her team, but understands the value that their family, heritage, and upbringing bring to the table; she recognizes that the family ties make the team a team: “we are people first – husbands, wives, daughters, sons, children – these are the roles that are most important in our lives. It changes our perspective when we are reminded that our lives outside of work matter.” In return, she expects her team to use those perspectives to be inquisitive, hard-working, and last but not least – passionate.
Gonzalez-Pack instills cultural pride in her personal life as well, and is excited for her next chapter. She recently got married this past September, and proudly talks about her new role as a bonus mom to her husband’s 16-year-old daughter. As a wife and bonus mom, she promotes the value of family, working hard, and love of culture. Gonzalez-Pack also brings this ganas attitude in her charity work as a board member for Merging Vets and Players, which is a charity that assists veterans and professional athletes transition to civilian life.
Gonzalez-Pack plans to keep working with ganas, strive to inspire by her cultural roots, and to make her family proud.
What’s one of the most valuable pieces of advice that Gonzalez-Pack has ever received?
“I’ve been with DIRECTV for almost 18 years. An old friend once told me, ‘know who the players are.’ I’ve never forgotten that advice and I tell my team the same thing. If you know who the players are, you can navigate through pretty much anything.”
It’s safe to say that Gonzalez-Pack is one of those key players.