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Kyocera Solar director pursues calling to help humanity

Cecilia Aguillon is the director of marketing and government relations for Kyocera Solar Inc. Staff photo by Laura Hansen

When Cecilia Aguillon, director of marketing and government relations for Kyocera Solar Inc., immigrated to the United States from El Salvador as a teen, she grew into a young adult with a lofty goal in mind: to save the world.

Her journey to a now multi-decade career at Kyocera was an accelerated one, placing her, as she sees it, in line toward accomplishing that goal without much delay. Following her completion of high school in Los Angeles, she began the journey at UCLA, where she studied political science and international relations.

Already a native speaker of Spanish, and an adopted speaker of English, she wanted to learn another language that would not only broaden her vocabulary, but provide an advantage in the worldwide market.

“Japanese seemed so foreign to the Romance Languages, and I wanted to study something that was different,” Aguillon said.

It was easy to pronounce, for a Spanish speaker, she said, and its perceived beauty to her further bolstered her desire to learn it.

So she did, adding to her credentials in with some time in Japan following the completion of her undergraduate studies in 1993.

In her time there, she didn't just learn the Japanese language. She learned of the Japanese culture also, including how they view caring for the environment.

From then on, she knew working for a multinational Japanese company would be of interest to her after graduation.

“I wanted to do something that was good for the environment, while at the same time helping developing countries, like El Salvador, to develop sustainably,” Aguillon said. “It was so natural to get into it, because at the time, Japan was the only market really viable in solar energy.”

When time came for graduate school at UCSD in 1995, she decided halfway through to again visit Japan for a year to study more in Tokyo.

“I knew Kyocera when I was there,” Aguillon said.

In fact, it was recommended by some even in those days for her to seek employment there, but she didn't consider herself a good fit at what she viewed as such a high-tech company.

But Kyocera’s presence in San Diego, where Aguillon returned to study, and connections she had made within the company by then, made a difference after graduation.

While many of her friends gained employment in the months following graduation, Aguillon passed up five offers from various companies, holding out for a more perfect vision of what she wanted to do. Just as she began to feel the decisions to hold out weighing on her, she received an offer from Kyocera six months after graduation from UCSD.

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