Are there any Hispanic women who have inspired you and what impact have they had on you?
There are many women I’ve admired for paving the way after facing challenges that would have made many others quit, such as Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut in space, Rita Moreno, the only Latina with a PEGOT (Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court, and Celia Cruz who made a name for herself in a mostly male-dominated salsa world. However, the main woman who has consistently inspired me has been my maternal grandmother. She is the most resourceful person I know.
After coming to the US with only a fifth grade education, she managed to work full time as a seamstress for a designer, maintain an alterations business on the side, and cook Colombian tamales on the weekends and holidays to bring in additional income. She had side hustles before the term was identified! With no formal guidance, she knew saving was important for the future, so instead of buying clothes, she tended to make them and dreamed of buying a multi-family house. After accumulating enough cash for a down payment, she and my grandfather bought the home they currently live in and eventually were able to buy the home next door as a rental property. As I got older, I was encouraged to not pay anyone’s mortgage other than my own. These homes have funded my grandparents’ retirement for decades and will eventually pass on wealth to my mother and uncle. My grandmother’s foresight to push against my grandfather’s belief that “real estate in New York is not a good investment” changed the trajectory of my family’s experience. I’m forever grateful to her ambition for a better life. – Lynnette D., Americas Internal Sales Support and Client Services Manager