I am a first generation Latina born and raised in California. My early life was based in Southern California where my immigrant parents raised me and my two older brothers. During the first six years of my life my family lived in East Los Angeles, Watts, Pasadena and Temple City where our family home remains to this day. We were one of a handful of Latino families in the 1960s that went outside the barrio to live in a fairly middle class, white neighborhood. It no doubt created an early awareness of being different and that social class, culture, race and place matters. My family could afford to live in the suburbs of Los Angeles because my father came to the US as a skilled machinist and the 1960's still enjoyed a robust manufacturing economy based inside our borders. Unlike the neighborhoods just 15 miles away from our home, Temple City enjoyed safe streets, strong schools, and access to good jobs. The opportunity to see other parts of Los Angeles where my extended family lived and to also travel to Mexico gave me an accurate picture of my heritage and identity and it is undoubtedly the reason I pursued study in the social sciences.
I am a graduate of California State University Long Beach and the University of Texas where I received degrees in psychology (BA with Distinction) and community psychology(PhD) , respectively. I finished my doctorate at age 26 in 1985 and took my first academic post as the Assistant Dean for Special Programs at a small liberal arts college in Northern California in 1986. Four years after joining the campus, I became familiar with the painful experience of "hitting the glass ceiling". It is one of the loudest thuds a woman might never hear. I felt fortunate to recognize the politicized nature of my work and left the academic experience in 1994 to become an entrepreneur. I started consulting in the field of diversity and inclusion because it seemed an obligation to tell this story and to do the work of creating awareness, effective reform and policy even if it might be one organization at a time. As a consultant and entrepreneur, I found enormous freedom to build my knowledge, leverage it to empower and engage others in the hard work that change requires.
Since 1994 I have worked with over 150 organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors providing customized training on a wide range of topics, change management, executive development and strategic planning. The most rewarding projects have been working with entire management teams who want to define their mission and vision and align their staff with their strategy. It has also been exceptionally rewarding to support executive teams as they launch and manage large scale change in an ever demanding global marketplace.
In addition to my consulting, I've also had the good fortune to be a commentator for KQED FM Perspective Series and Latino USA and to write for Latina Style Magazine. My blog Latina Cubicle ConfidentialTM appears in several websites as well (www.newlatina.net www.latinalista.com www.svlatino.com) These have been wonderful outlets to share what I see in my journey and to reach a broader audience about workforce issues, immigration, women entrepreneurs, and the increasing presence of Latinos and Latino culture throughout the United States. I have been told that my story is witness to the "browning" of America and it is a story that needs to be shared.
If you are interested in learning more about hiring me as a consultant or a guest speaker, visit the page CONSULTING TO ORGANIZATIONS in the upper right of this site or to see samples of my writing, you can click on Writings to learn more.
I leave you with my favorite quote: Well behaved women, seldom make history. I hope to join many of the Latinas before me who broke the rules, spoke up when no one asked us to speak, and made a difference.