Tell us about yourself. Include where you’re from, what you do, how you’re thriving, and anything else everyone should know about you.
I’m from Houston, Texas, baby (Beyoncé voice)! I also lived in Mexico as a child. We would go to visit my grandpa in the small town of Los Herreras, Nuevo León, where my grandpa taught my sisters and me about hard work and respecting “la madre tierra.” I am a senior accountant/office manager/whatever-needs-to-get-done person at a small oil and gas company in Austin. This year I’m planning to sit for the CPA exam. I’ve submitted my letter of intent! I’m also a tax center volunteer with Foundation Communities, and I volunteered for Super Bowl LI. It was in Houston, only a drive away, and my family lives there, so I’m always there. I love to laugh. I’m always full of random ideas for a business. I hope that in 2017 I can get one of them off the ground! My theme for 2017 is to be fearless – I came to slay. I need something positive in my life after all the commotion surrounding politics lately. As a result, I’ve thought about running for political office by 2018... one thing at a time. I’m also a part of team Spiridon! I’ll be running the Denver half marathon in May and the Chicago marathon in October. I’m still contemplating the San Francisco half. I want to run across the Golden Gate Bridge.
How do you identify culturally?
Mexican-American. Proud Latina! I was curious about my heritage and actually purchased the National Geographic Geno Project DNA test. As it turns out, I’m 30% Native American, which I’m really proud about, even though I’m 36% Southern European.
What inspires you and who do you look up to?
I’m inspired by people who overcome challenges. I look up to my parents, and my grandfather most of all. Santos Lopez raised my mom and her brother by himself after my grandmother passed away when my mom was only four years old. He respected the animals and the earth. He was a rancher/farmer. He taught my sisters and me how to milk goats, shear sheep, farm the land, and other random things. He was a kind man and in his own way showed us how much he cared.
How has your Latinx background informed your decisions, successes, failures? What do you do when things go wrong?
My dad taught me value of perseverance. He always had a quote for inspiration, and it has stuck with me. He would say, “Intentar algo es signo de inquietud, realizarlo es prueba de caracter.” He had an anecdote to go with it: he told me that when we lived in Piedras Negras, he went to immigration day after day until they gave him a visa to go the US.
My mom is the strength in my life. I saw her sacrifice so much so that we could have things. I could see her tell my dad that she wouldn’t get something so that my sisters and I could have it. She always took care of us. She is the reason I believe in the power of kindness.
My Latinx background has taught me that failure is a part of life – it is where life lessons are learned. I could definitely say that I base my decisions on making my family proud. I don’t think I’m successful yet – I think I have a ways to go, but I’m lucky to have the support of my family.
When things go wrong, I pray. I’m definitely not a religious person; I did go to church as a child, but was never forced to believe in a religion. I remember my dad telling me I had to believe in God, but not religion. So when things go wrong, I ask the Universe/God for guidance, strength, and patience. Thank my mom for that list. I think that my grandfather is looking down on me and that he’ll guide me. I try to stay positive and find a way to make things go right. There is always a way – that lesson is definitely from my dad.
Your best piece of advice for anyone who’s struggling?
Haha, it’s probably what they don’t want to hear, but it’s what needs to be done... Stop. Take a step back and go for a walk. During the walk think about the things you want to achieve. Think about how you can achieve them, and tackle it again tomorrow. Things will get better. I think you have to start there. Believe things will get better. It changes your state of mind. It gives you just enough comfort to keep going. Look for signs. On long runs I look for pennies, I usually find one or two and I take them as good signs. I also believe that seeing a Cardinal is a good sign, so it’s little things that keep my hope alive that things will get better.
Future goals and aspirations?
2017: Become a CPA, run Denver half marathon and Chicago marathon, become more involved in the community, and get one business idea off the ground.
2018: Run for public office or be more active politically, aka “stay woke.”
One thing people should know about the Latinx community?
The Latinx community is diverse. It is full of life lessons from our ancestors. We were all raised differently, but highly value our families. We are here to bring about change. We will continue to influence American culture and politics.
*** Sorry I couldn’t pick just one. We are amazing!
Your favorite Latinx owned business in Austin and why they are your favorite?
Taco Deli, well, because they have tacos! Seriously, the people at Taco Deli are always happy—I appreciate the customer service! At first I didn’t know it was co-owned by Roberto Espinosa; my boss knows him and told me that he was from Mexico City.
Where can people find you on the internet?
Latinx Voices is an online photo and interview series spotlighting Latinx peoples in our communities. We want to amplify those voices–reminding people that we are not only surviving, but thriving.