"We are not just ornaments"
Tell us about your current career, how did you get there?
I started my career by studying law. I then pursued a career in international relations and eventually became consulate for Mexico.
What's the most rewarding part of your career for you?
The most rewarding part of my career is being able to help women and represent women that don’t have a voice. It’s very important to me to help and protect migrant women who are working for their families. It is for this reason that I’ve created a window that specifically focuses on migrant women and their needs.
What was your dream job as a kid and why?
My dream job as a kid was to be a dog walker. I love dogs and I wanted an easy life.
What woman currently inspires you and why?
When I was young, the first woman that inspired me by casualty was Frida Khalo. I didn’t know who Frida Khalo was but I went to an exhibit and I saw her paintings. And it was a very passionate way of painting, and because of that I learned about her and I think many girls of my generation discovered who she was at that time. And now I realized, she was a real example for our generation. [She was] powerful, outstanding, and always saying what she thinks.
How have the women in your life shaped you?
Even though [my mother] wasn’t very committed to Feminism and all that, but she encouraged me to be who I wanted to be.
Who were your mentors?
When I started my career, I realized that two of my mentors were two extraordinary professors. One was Dr. Jorge Capiso. He was a wonderful lawyer. One of the most important lawyers in Mexico on constitutional law. Unfortunately he passed away. And the other one was Dr. Hector Cuadre he made me understand that my desire for knowing a little bit more of the world can be channeled through international law.
Who has been the most influential woman in your life?
The most important woman in my life that shaped me was my mother. She had a very strong character and she always told me to follow my dreams.
What does it mean to you to be a Latina in your industry? Do you find yourself to be the only woman or Latina in the room often?
It’s very important because everybody is looking at you. When you are negotiating, for example, for the organization of American states, women need to have a very strong voice in negotiations because it’s not easy for you to be recognized in negotiations and also, when you have to negotiate as part of an embassy where the majority of the people are men. You usually negotiate in a position of disadvantage so it’s been very important for me to work with other women wherever I am so our positions can be really heard.
What career advice would you give to younger women?
There are a lot of barriers but not only barriers, there is the glass ceiling we need to break But also there is a narrow-mindedness of many people that you need to make all those walls come down on those people. Because they still believe that women are just ornaments or just decorating figures they can bring to meetings to convince people. And we want our voice to be heard. But we are not just ornaments, and that’s why we need to work together as women to really let l- not only our peers but also the next generation - to really be strong in their positions.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I think to believe in themselves. To pursue their dreams. To always be confident of their values and as Latinas to be confident of their roots. They have to be proud of their roots. And always work with a commitment to transparency and accountability. I think that’s where women can make a change.
What can be done to increase the number of Latinas in your industry?
I think you need to be strong in your positions. Always say what you think. Never hurt anyone’s feelings but at the same time, help the women that are coming behind you. You need to be mentors of the women that work with you or that work in other organizations. We need to help each other in order to see the next generation really reach the quality that we want for the future.
Any secret talent or hobby? Community work?
I like to refurbish antiques, furniture. I like to go to flea markets and refurbish any type of furniture. I have a lot of old furniture at my house, and my husband doesn’t want any more furniture. On weekends that’s what I do. And I work with the Mexican Cultural Center it’s a civil organization that promotes Mexican culture here in Pennsylvania. It has allowed me to work with the community to really empower the Mexican Culture that is one of the most ancient cultures in the hemisphere.
What song really empowers you right now?
There’s a song I’ve loved from a very long time ago from Chavela Vargas, it’s called, “Macorina.”
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