Many people at Trueline know Victor Martins as a chart-topping salesman, a devoted family man, a sports aficionado with a competitive personality—whether he’s on or off the court in a pick-up game of basketball with his coworkers.
But where does THE drive come from?
What many don’t know about this integral Trueliner, who joined the company in 2009, is the story behind the story: Martins was the firstborn son of Portuguese immigrants who came to Washington, D.C. in search of the American Dream.
The joy of starting a new life was soon eclipsed, however, when Martins’ mother, Amelia, died. He was only 11 years old. Jose remarried when Victor was 16 to “Mommy Rosa,” as Victor calls her. Jose and Mommy Rosa had two daughters (Diana and Sandra), whom Victor adores.
Determined to devote his life to his young son, Martins’ father, Jose, moved the family back to Portugal, where Victor was surrounded by the love and support of his extended family.
“My dad sacrificed his life here to go back home and hit the reset button,” Martins says. “Everything he did was in my best interest and to make sure I was OK.”
The lesson Martins learned early on was the importance of family—something he’s brought to bear during his 10-plus years at Trueline.
“There are things you can’t do on your own,” he says. “With aunts and uncles giving us love and attention, we got back on our feet.”
Life in the Lisbon suburb of Odivelas wasn’t easy, but it sure was interesting.
While his parents grew up with no electricity or running water in their traditional stone house, (which often required a trip out to the back lot of the barnyard to use the facilities) Martins and his father lived in a typical 2-bedroom apartment.
Not being able to speak or write Portuguese, Martins was immersed into Portuguese schools. When he wasn’t studying, he played endless soccer in the streets and ate traditional local fare, heavy on codfish, including a dish called “Bacalhau a Bras” as his favorite.
Soccer became his golden ticket, his way forward once they got back to the states. Jose made sure he made every practice and never missed a game. The hard work paid off years later when Martins was awarded a soccer scholarship to Southern Connecticut State University, earning a degree in corporate communications—and a 1992 Men’s Soccer National Championship title to boot. He was also the first person in his family to graduate from high school and college.
“Nothing is given for free,” Martins says. “I knew I wasn’t 6’2” and 200 pounds of muscle. What I had was a work ethic. I was not going to lose. I knew no one could outwork me.”
As Martins tells it, he set up shop in Silver Spring, Maryland. Happily married to wife Jackie and with two daughters—Alegria and Madelaina—he found a sweet spot working as a media consultant at Yellowbook.
That’s when the phone rang.
It was a guy named Haj Carr, a former Ameriquest Mortgage Company manager who was starting a media company. He needed a top advertising salesperson to promote three business trade journals—US Builders Review, US Business Executive and Canadian Business Executive—and found Martins’ resume online.
By all accounts, it was an odd interview. Carr asked Martins to develop an impromptu sales pitch to sell him a pen. It was a horrible exercise. Instead, he told Carr to give him a concrete plan to execute—and he’d do it. The deciding factor for Martins was whether he could put his family first. Turns out, he could—Carr had young kids of his own.
“I could tell he was a driven person,” Martins says. “After some back and forth, I ended up interviewing him and we struck a deal.”
In no time, Martins delivered, hitting his sales quota 39 months in a row, which is still a company record. The Bethesda, Maryland-based business—despite being founded during an economic downturn—gained traction and eventually moved to Portland, Maine. Working remotely from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, Martins came along for the ride.
These days, Martins says his family is his hobby. With COVID-19, it’s a bit of a Juggling act with three cats, a wife who is a teacher and daughter’s Alegria (13) and Madelaina (11) all working/schooling from home. But he wouldn’t want it any other way.
At work, his joys as a senior content coordinator are mentoring the next wave of superstars, leading by example and telling people to be “real.”
“My goal has always been to surround myself with people who are successful; I don’t go somewhere to be average. I make a point to surround myself with the best,” he says.
“I want to spread my wisdom and work with people who want to work with me. Greatness comes from within. Opportunities may present themselves, but to become great, that has to be in you.”
On the home front, he strives to be a better person every day—and the kind of father his own dad would be proud of. “I’m a big believer in karma,” he says. “I want to spread my wisdom and work with people who want to work with me. Greatness comes from within. Opportunities may present themselves, but to become great, that has to be in you.”
First Rock Concert: Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Big Daddy Kane and LL Cool Jay at The Capitol Centre.
Dream Job: If not at Trueline, he’d be a sportscaster—or a TV sports anchor.
Bucket List Trip: A huge Dodgers fan, he wants to take his family to LA to see a game at Dodger Stadium, go to Hollywood with his wife Jackie and take the kids to Disneyland.
International Man: He’s been to six countries and speaks four languages.
What you’d never guess: Victor has hated cheese since age 6, and consequently, pizza. Scared of heights, he drives in the middle lane when crossing a bridge.