Defining anecdote: I decided to study abroad in a country that I knew absolutely nothing about: Turkey. I went to Istanbul, and it was amazing. I love jumping into completely foreign experiences and attempting to understand life through living it.
What did you do with Rotaract? A good friend told me about Rotaract [an international service club affiliated with Evanston-based Rotary International] and its international service trip to Ecuador. I decided I would do everything I could to go, so I joined the team and had an unbelievable experience getting to know Guayaquil, Ecuador, and surrounding areas. The best thing about Rotaract service trips, and something that I strove to emphasize when I planned the trip the following year, is the breadth of experience that is present in Latin America. Our focus was on microfinancing opportunities for low-income communities, understanding how different organizations worked and what practices created the biggest impact within communities.
We also experienced the paradoxical dichotomy that is Latin America. We ate with families in opulent mansions and worked in the worst slums, straddling both realities of life in Ecuador. Rotaract allowed us to go to a foreign country, not as foreigners, but as friends. I was able to explore a part of myself as a Latina, not just as a Mexican, but rather exploring the rich diversity and startling similarities within our cultures.
The following year my friend Lauren Coffaro [also a Northwestern senior] and I planned the Rotaract International Service Trip to Guatemala, with a focus on water sanitation and access for low-income and Mayan communities throughout Guatemala
What’s next? Come this fall I will be part of the management development program for the consumer products division of L’Oreal USA, which is a full-time, two-year rotational program to develop high potential talent at L'Oreal, with a focus on brand management. My dream plan is that, after getting a solid basis in branding, I will be transferred to an international assignment or I will go back to get my MBA. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Kellogg!)
How did you land at L’Oreal? With two Northwestern classmates I entered L’Oreal’s Brandstorm international marketing competition where we had to develop a product or a line of male grooming products using the Diesel brand. We created the concept for a full line of male beauty products, from sketched prototypes to specific packaging and a global rollout plan, as well as promotional material. They parntered us with a mentor from L’Oreal, who has become one of my closest mentors at work and beyond. Though we didn’t win the international competition, Brandstorm helped me understand the intensity, challenges and opportunities inherent in brand management. It turns out i fell in love with it.
Something no one knows about you: Ik kan Nederlands spreken! (I can speak Dutch!) In high school I went to Belgium on an American Field Service trip with the hope of finally becoming fluent in French, but I ended up living with a Dutch family and working in the fields in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium [Roeselare]. I had never seen a live chicken. I didn’t know what planting a tomato entailed. I had never really been around gypsies or refugees or worked shoulder to shoulder with them. The experience changed the values I had developed from living in the suburbs, of what a hard day’s work really means.
Favorite form of social media? I prefer real postcards. It's the ultimate thoughtful gesture. I love sending them, imagining their trip around the world, and receiving them makes your day. I’m a fan of collecting them. I used to have them covering my door.