Patricia Uribe
Patricia Uribe | Foto: Patricia Uribe

Getting to the Heart of Patricia Scarlet Uribe

Por: Karen Limón

23, November, 2021 en Luxury Trending

Sophisticated, elegant, and daring, Patricia Scarlet Uribe, has the looks of a princess: flawless skin, rosebud lips, luscious brunette locks, and gorgeous doe-like eyes. All of which can be attributed to the extraordinary beauty of her mother, Miss Mexico 1979, Blanca Díaz Tejeda. Captivated by a broad spectrum of subjects from film-making to french cuisine, Uribe is well-traveled, straightforward and educated, having lived in Europe and attended schools in Switzerland, London and Paris. It comes as no surprise that she has a degree in International Business, graduated from the award- winning French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) in New York, and speaks several languages – three of them fluently. When not enjoying the breathtaking ocean view from her home atop the highest hill in La Jolla, California, Uribe can be find alternating her time between Mexico, making million dollar decisions as the President of the Enerser Group, entertaining friends in her VIP box at San Diego Padres’ games, or enjoying a weekend getaway in Los Angeles.

While the world’s eyes have long been focused on the lifestyles of the rich and famous and their offspring, Patricia has remained relatively private, a quality instilled by her engineer father, Alejandro Uribe, CEO of Grupo Enerser – an oil and gasoline group that has extensive experience and operates a large network of service stations in Mexico. The family is reserved, and somewhat press-shy, but Patricia comes alive when talking about her love of family, cooking, traveling, tennis, the family’s baseball team the Tijuana Toros, and her six dogs.

She is genuine and unfiltered, speaking openly about anything from her appreciation for beautiful clothes to only recently embracing her identity as a businesswoman and her role as the President of a major corporation, to the delight of throwing dinner parties, to the possibility of owning a restaurant one day. It only takes a second after meeting Uribe to fall under her spell. Engaging, enthusiastic, and passionate about life, work, and the power of connections, she quickly creates an impression as we sit down for a wide-ranging conversation. Here with Luxury Trending, this 30-year-old powerhouse opens up about taking the leap into business and her new life in the boardroom spotlight.

Patricia Uribe
Patricia Uribe

Having lived abroad for several years and been immersed in new cultures, what was it like moving back to California and taking over the family business?

I moved back home to California in 2014, so four years ago. At the beginning, I was terrified. It was something I knew nothing about. I had been living abroad and faraway for so many years. All of a sudden, reality hit. I had finished all the courses. I had explored every interest that I had, and it was just time to come back home and start applying it. First off, it is the oil industry, and its in Mexico. Although my parents are from Mexico originally, I have never lived there. Just learning how things go about; the rules, the regulations, company policies. Owning a gas station in Mexico is not the same thing as owning one here in the states. For example, in Mexico you still have full service and people pumping your gas for you.

It’s such a massive, male-dominated industry. Did the transition into your new career go smoothly?

I came into it at a time when a historic, game-changing transformation was occurring in Mexico. After almost 80 years, Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, is not a monopoly anymore and companies are free to choose other oil companies. Our group, Enerser, owns GasMart, and GasMart has the best reputation as a chain of gas stations. It was important for us to have exclusivity of a well-known, reputable American brand, so we chose to collaborate with Chevron. We’re very pleased with this partnership with Chevron and hope to continue with the expansion of the brand in Mexico. It will only strengthen and raise the standards of quality and service in the service stations of the country.

How has this changed your priorities in life?

I would say I prioritize my time differently. First of all, I am the founder’s daughter and to some it would be easy to leave and go on vacation. I don’t. I am always reminded that I have to set the example, so I don’t take it for granted in that sense. Of course, I do give myself the luxury of going to Europe for two weeks in the summer. Then when I come back, it’s back to reality just like anyone else.

You are very close to your family. How did they influence who you are today?

I am the youngest of two daughters, and we are all very close. In the Latino culture, our identity is typically and strongly defined by close-knit family ties. Respect for elders, fulfilling duties and expectations, and deference to parental authority are valued, and we have a strong sense of community and coming together to eat and have fun. My parents have had an important role in my life giving me the energy to move forward, the ability to fight, confidence and strength. I am definitely like my dad. He is so great, and I appreciate everything he has done for me. Being in business with him, is my way of giving back.

Patricia Uribe
Patricia Uribe

What’s wonderful about your versatile interests is that you have ability to convey optimism in even the most difficult situations – without sugar-coating anything. Do you think you deal with adversity well?

I think so. Every challenge that I have put myself through, I have been able to get through it pretty well. Well, what I mean by that is I have studied very different things in life. My bachelors degree is international business. I did that because I knew eventually I would be where I am right now working with my father. Also, you can apply it to so many other areas. I have studied film. I studied art history. I went to culinary school. I studied restaurant management. These are all very different things, and yet I feel like I was able to persevere and dominant each of these.

Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up? And what you did instead of giving up?

I think the biggest challenge was culinary school – the French Culinary Institute in New York – and thank goodness I knew French. I had studied in Switzerland and knew enough French, because a lot of the terminology was French, so that helped me. But the cooking aspect was another ballgame. The school really is for people with cooking experience, and I had no experience. It was like borderline military school and not necessarily fun. At the truly serious schools, you are under a lot of pressure. The chefs are very intense, and they don’t have a lot of patience, They can make you so nervous to where you mess up, and then burn your self or something. I am happy I did it. It was a big challenge for me. There were days I would come home and just call my parents. I would tell them, ‘I can’t anymore.’ But I got through it, and now I know what I am capable of. It helped me in that aspect, and now I am jumping into my dad’s business and trying to follow and understanding and learn new thing.

Do you find you have a certain management style?

I am very direct and opinionated, where my sister is tends to be political and reserved. If I don’t like something or see something that is wrong, I completely point it out and I say it. Occasionally, I worry that I might be seen as maybe being a little bit too harsh and that I need to tone it down, but that’s just how I am. If I don’t like something, I’ll tell whoever I need to tell. It’s usually about making something better or going to the next level or stopping something that isn’t working or is ineffective. I like to act quickly. Some people are conservative, and some people it takes them a while to make a decision and execute it. I like things to be done quickly and of course carefully.

Being able to act on your decisions is a strong asset. There are a lot of people who they make decisions, but they go nowhere with them, because they fail to follow it up with action. Is there something that you gleaned from the culinary school in respect to business?

Absolutely. I admire what chefs do. Part of the training was also in restaurant management and making the most of your resources. For example, the importance of filleting a fish perfectly in order to get all the yield – all the meat off the fish. I learned the importance of details and just everything that goes into keeping a restaurant filled.

What about opening your own restaurant?

That is something I have always wanted to do. In fact, I am getting into that now, there is a 95% possibility of me being partners at restaurant in NYC. A friend I went to boarding school with, and have known since I was 13, invited me to participate in a restaurant project he is planning.

Patricia Uribe
Patricia Uribe

Do you have an idea of the type of cuisine it will be?

It’s going to be a high-end Mexican concept. The idea is to expand to other major cities. I really like the concept.

Do you have a favorite restaurant?

I love Born & Raised in Little Italy. They serve my favorite plate of Beef Wellington. It’s a dish you don’t really find it in San Diego.

Let’s talk fashion for a minute. Who is your favorite designer(s)?

Balmain. I love Balmain and the Kooples.

What is one thing we would never find in your closet?

Nothing pink! No bows either!

Being someone who loves fashion and shopping, did you change your wardrobe after becoming the president of Enerser?

I am very conscious of it. I feel like I’m two different people with two different wardrobes. When I go to the office, I am completely in business attire. Then when I leave, I have a bit of rocker style. People are often surprised when I say that the industry I’m in is OIL.

How do you spend your time when not at work?

I go to a lot of Padre games. I like the social aspect. We’ve always had the best seats in the house, and our seats there in this area that has a nice formal restaurant where we can eat before the game. There is also an informal area too with hot dogs and other ballpark food of course, and they deliver the food to your seats. I’m not as passionate about baseball as I am about tennis, but the experience is fun. It’s fun to invite friends. Tonight, I’m going to see my team play, the TJ Toros. Today is the last day of the regular season, and they made it into the playoffs again. We were the champions last year.

Isn’t GasMart the name of the professional baseball stadium in Tijuana?

Yes, we also have our own baseball team. Mexico has its own baseball league, La Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB). I would say that the level of play is at the Triple-A level in the states. In fact, we just lost one of our best pitchers to the Japanese league. It’s a great stadium, and the games are always fun.

Do you have any hobbies?

I’ve played classical guitar since I was a child. For me, it comes really easy. If I want to learn a song, I just go on You Tube and the tutorials are so easy. As a child, I just developed the ear for it. I also love tennis., and at the moment, I’m watching the US Open. I just enjoy being at home with my 6 French poodles. Then on the weekends, I like going to see friends in LA. I actually don’t have many friends in the San Diego area. Most of my friends are in New York, London, and LA. I’m also a traveler. I like traveling.

Patricia Uribe with black outfit
Patricia Uribe with black outfit

Favorite place to travel?

Must definitely, Mykonos, Greece. I love the white architecture. I’ve been going there the last ten years. It’s special to me, and I have so many memories. It’s a place where you can party it up, or you can completely relax. It’s just a place where all of my favorite people in the world meet up.

Who or what is your inspiration?

My dad. He is such a visionary. He completely transformed the way we looked at a gas station in Mexico. Before there was not any differentiation between one station and another. They were not service oriented. They weren’t attractive or clean. Just not a pleasant place to stop. He completely revolutionized the way we see a service station. 25 yrs ago he was the one that inspired everyone to be at that level. That’s how GasMart developed the good reputation it has today. We were the first group to get things right, and then everyone else got on board. Then everyone stepped their game up. My dad is receptive to my input. He listens.

Do you have a favorite quote or quotes?

Yes, I have two favorites: ‘Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting,’ and

‘Don’t be sad because its over, be happy because it happened.’

Lets say we finish this interview and you walk outside and find a $10 million winning Lottery Ticket. What do you do with it?

I would give some to charity, then buy myself a nice yacht. I would probably have it in Miami, in order to be able to go to the Caribbean. I love being next to the ocean. My house is on the highest point in San Diego overlooking the ocean. I can’t imagine living in California and not be next to the ocean.

What was the last thing you watched on television?

The US Open, but as far as a series, I’m pretty obsessed with The Handmaid’s Tale. When I finished the second season, I was like now what? It’s a shocking and brutal series with intense, heavy subject matter, but so good.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

When I arrived, I really pushed for us to step up our game when it comes to technology. Now for example, there is an app people can use before they get to the station. They can purchase gas, additives, recharge their phones, buy cinema tickets, whatever products we offer. You can look for further expansion of Chevron stations throughout Mexico as all the GasMarts will be converting to Chevron. Of course, I am looking forward to opening a restaurant in NYC and possibly doing something with the movie industry. I studied film production, so eventually I’d like to get into that – but the movie industry is even riskier than the restaurant business, so we’ll see.