Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Global LT's Founder

Global LT's founder of corporate language training and intercultural training

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This week is about stories of strength, kindness, and integrity mixed in with a few tales of shenanigans and rescued animals.  At Global LT, we proudly celebrate the life and legacy of our founder, Hortensia Albertini.   

Hortensia was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. She was no stranger to hard work or odd jobs but found her passion and gift as a Spanish teacher. She taught in such a way that motivated and encouraged learners, and their new language became relatable and exciting.  Her students encouraged her to start her own business and opened doors for opportunities within their companies.  In 1979, working out of her kitchen with a phone and filing cabinet, she founded Global LT.   

Her business philosophy was simple.  She said, “I have never read a book about business, and I have never taken a business course.  The key is respect, dignity, and human relations.  You do for the other person what you would want them to do for you.”   In the next few years, business multiplied under her strong leadership. She recruited a large network of teachers and expanded the languages and services offered.  

I first met Hortensia over two decades ago when I joined Global LT.  Hortensia had a spark about her that is hard to describe but is instantly felt. She was warm, charismatic, and engaging. She also had an incredible sense of humor and laughed often, many times at herself. I have never known anyone with her kindness and compassion, and I witnessed this every day as I worked closely with her.  Hortensia valued relationships and built countless, all based on respect and honesty.  I accompanied her on many client lunches that were much more than business discussions.  She believed in getting to know clients as people first and then fully understanding their needs and the best way to serve them. I don’t think she ever left a meeting without learning about their families, hobbies, favorite foods, and their pets' names.  She remembered these details too, because her interest was genuine, and people were important to her.  

Two women walking together in a hospital discussing workplace language training

Her caring extended to everyone she encountered.  I saw this as she baked treats for teachers’ dogs, threw baby showers for employees, and helped a delivery driver’s wife find a job.  Hortensia’s daughter, Lisette, recently shared a story I hadn’t heard before. She noticed a ring Hortensia often wore had been missing from her hand.  When she asked where it was, Hortensia casually told her the lady who took care of her order at the deli admired it, so she took it off and gave it to her.   It was not unusual for Hortensia to do something like this.  Nothing delighted her more than bringing joy or comfort to others. 

Hortensia loved animals as much, if not more, than people.  She rescued and gave forever homes to at least ten dogs and four cats, in addition to supporting many animal charities.  When employees had work commitments that prevented them from getting home in time to take care of their pets, Hortensia would go to their homes to feed or let them out.  When the opportunity came to move into a freestanding office space, she encouraged employees to bring their pets to work with them.  She loved making the rounds to greet and get to know each four-legged family member.    

the founder of Global LT's language training with a brown dog

Hortensia’s life ended all too early in June of 2013, but her legacy and influence lives on.  In twenty-plus years, I have seen many changes, such as our expanded global team and improved technology, but I am so proud that our core values remain unchanged.   “Be Human, Stay Human” is in our company DNA and our foundation because of Hortensia.  She built an inclusive environment where everyone was treated with respect and kindness before “DE&I” was part of the corporate lexicon.  

An expat herself, she understood the challenges and rewards.  We continue to hire expats and provide our clients with superior service because of this.  We value teachers and recognize their importance to our students' success.  After all, we were founded by one of the very best.    

As important as her business contributions and many awards are, she is most remarkable because of her kindness and generosity to so many, including me.  

Her legacy is profound. Aside from her daughter being a champion for the company she built from the ground up, Hortensia would be proud of the six global offices Global LT has, the 15,000 teachers in our network, our ability to meet learners where they are (either through face-to-face or virtual lessons) and the expansion of cultural training through our interest-based and immersive Experiences. She’s touched the lives of millions of language learners, and we hope that every time a student sits down for a lesson, she’s smiling at the impact she’s made on their lives.  

Thanks for being a part of her journey and ours.

This blog post was written by Karen McDougall, Vice President, Experiences & Culture.

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