From jobs in hospitality to car sales to organizational leadership, Carlos Sanchez has shown a bent for business. He joins us to tell of his own professional trajectory, including falling in love with an American along the way. Today, he uses his passion for talent development to share his vision for creating Latinx opportunities in his adopted West Michigan home.
Back in Mexico, Mercedes Lopez-Duran got important advice when she started as a restaurant dishwasher: You are the one responsible for your own career trajectory. Taking that guidance to heart, she worked her way up to cook and moved with daughter Paola to the United States. When a Mexican restaurant came up for sale, the intrepid duo took a deep breath, leapt into the void, and never looked back. Today, El Granjero Mexican Grill celebrates 10 years of good cooking in the Bridge Street neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the process, they created a place for locals to feel like they belong.
Amanda is a Spanish teacher from West Michigan. Guillermo is a businessman from Campeche, Mexico. They met and fell in love in...Spain, of course! They join us to talk about intercontinental romance and life in a bilingual, bicultural world.
DACA recipient Kevin Vazquez talks about what it means to live in the shadows of the United States, his adopted homeland. As the Trump administration moves toward deporting 800,000 Dreamers, fears grow in the immigrant community. One young man's personal story.
David Castro understands hard work. Arriving in the United States, the Mexican native spoke little English but knew he had to work. Luckily, the manager of the Sears men's department was kind and gave him a job stocking clothing. And helped him learn English. Moving from retail to the catering business, David maintained that same work ethic, moving from Server to Supervisor to Manager. Today, he is the President and Partner of Applause Catering, the largest catering company in Grand Rapids, MI.
An immigrant child, Ana Ramirez-Saenz was raised in West Michigan by a single mom who worked long hours in a pickle factory. During her days at MBA school and at work in the banking industry, she saw first hand the lack of diversity in leadership and its cost on morale and the bottom line. Today, as President of La Fuente Consulting, she guides companies towards more inclusive practices and more powerful decision making. An exclusive chat with an insightful leader.
With a vision of something better for their children's futures, Elisa Perez-Arellano's parents did what countless others have done before: immigrated to the United States, a land of opportunity. They stressed traditional Mexican values: hard work, family, and staying in school. Those values paid off. Today, Perez-Arellano is a college graduate--with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Social Work--working tirelessly to support those she preceded on the journey: immigrants without insurance, without a knowledge of the system, and those without hope. Her after-hours advocacy extends to supporting the Latino LGBT community as it looks to overcome stigmas and stereotypes. An inspirational woman with the wellbeing of her adopted community in her heart!
If you ever needed convincing that Arturo González Vargas was passionate about the power of non-profits to transform lives, spend just five minutes with this young man to dispel any doubts. For 18 months, the Grand Rapids Community had the privilege of sharing his wisdom, energy, and optimism for all things empowerment. An Atlas Fellow from Monterrey, Mexico, Gonzalez Vargas worked as a tireless advocate for Kids Food Basket, an organization providing daily nutrition to thousands of school children in Western Michigan.
Maria Erazo tells of her life of poverty in Mexico and how she and her mom sneaked into the U.S. to look for work and a father who had left years earlier for the United States and then disappeared. She talks about the fear of living undocumented in the U.S. and how she eventually became a citizen, business owner, and community volunteer in the Latino community.