John Kane Cruger, Jr.
Manager, Business Analysis and Member Experience Branch Operations
Walnut Creek, California
When you think about Diversity and Inclusion, you probably think about one’s religion, country origin or skin color. But this is only part of their story and may have little to do with their journey in life. When you look at me you might only see a middle aged white man, but my diversity has more to do with my life experiences than anything else.
My journey really began at 16, when I left my home and family in Poughkeepsie, New York to live in Cupertino, California. I worked several jobs to pay for my own apartment while I was still in High School. When I was going to college, I worked as many as 5-jobs at one time. I lived and slept in the backseat of my 1963 Volkswagen Beetle for the better part of my freshman year. By the time I earned my Bachelor's degree, I had worked for more than 30 different employers. I earned my Masters Degree while working full-time for IBM, and part time as a waiter, and I graduated with a 3.9 GPA. Fast forward twenty-four years later, I had operated 5 of my own businesses, worked in Retail, Restaurant, Hospitality, Travel, Finance, Banking, Technology and in Public Utilities.
My life experiences is what makes me diverse. When AAA recruited me more than 6-years ago, it was the first time a company sought after me instead of the other way around. In my first week here, I saw something in the people that work here that I had never seen before, and everyone had it – no matter how old they were, where they were from or what color they were. In fact, I wouldn’t know what to call that secret ingredient until I had to look up a word in the dictionary that I didn’t know the meaning to. That word is “Altruism”. That’s when it dawned on me why this place makes me so passionate, and why I’ve called AAA family for so long, and why I still work here. When your work has one goal and that goal is to lookout for the welfare of others – in my opinion, there’s no nobler job than that – and trust me I know, because I have had all the other jobs!