Business Woman Spotlight: Margie Hildreth

Margie Hildreth
Owner/CEO Guardian Investigations

What do you do?
Private investigations.

Length of time at this job:
17 years.

What is it that you like best about your job?
I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life and building relationships with them in order to help answer questions.

Texas Tech University/general studies.

What career path led you to where you are today?
The FBI hired me at the age of 18 years. I started in a data entry position and through their training became an Intelligence Analyst. I was first assigned to work on the investigation of the murder of Federal Judge John H. Wood. I worked for the FBI in San Antonio for 10 years and was then transferred to McAllen, where I worked for seven years. I worked mainly profiling drug-trafficking organizations and in money-laundering investigations and investigation analysis.
After leaving the FBI I opened Hildreth Investigations with a partner in 1996. Hildreth Investigations was the only investigation team to work on two of the Enron cases. In late 2010 I returned to San Antonio, where I opened Guardian Investigations.

When did you know that you were in the right place in your career?
I have always enjoyed the investigative process, especially interviewing people. The art of detecting deception is one of the most interesting parts of my job. Women tend to be more intuitive than men, and I feel that intuitiveness gives me an edge in this industry.

Would you encourage your children to go into the same field?
I feel that the FBI was a great career that has given me the tools to succeed in the private sector. I would encourage anyone to go into this field.

What person do you most admire?
Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have recently taken up watercolor painting. I find it very relaxing.

What’s the best movie you have seen in the last year?
Lone Survivor. It gives you a real appreciation for our armed forces.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life personally and professionally?
My grandmother, Herminia Cruz, has been the biggest influence in my life both personally and professionally. She owned and operated her own custom drapery business here in San Antonio for 45 years, retiring at the age of 90. It was a home-based business that opened in the 1960s, a time when few women owned their own business. She made drapes, bedding and upholstery for many of San Antonio’s most elite homes. Her entrepreneurial spirit and grace will always be an inspiration to me.

What brought you to San Antonio?
I was born and raised in San Antonio. I returned to San Antonio in late 2010 after living for 20 years in McAllen.

What community groups or not-for-profit groups are you involved with as a volunteer?
I have volunteered for Guide Dogs of Texas. I am a Quillin member of the Witte Museum, I am on the membership committee at NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) as well as the membership committee of the San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and I am a member of the Texas Association of Licensed Investigators.

What is your favorite relaxation strategy?
I find that I don’t sleep well unless I am working out regularly, so I try to get in a workout at least four days a week.

What is the best advice that you have ever received?
To always be yourself in business and never make promises that you cannot keep.

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