National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. In honor of this, we are featuring Jessica Lopez, Sales Operations Lead, to learn more about she how embraces her heritage.
What is your role at Myrtle Consulting Group and what do you enjoy most about it?
I am the Sales Operations Lead for the Sales department. I can cite many reasons why I enjoy my role. I particularly enjoy that every day brings its own set of duties and experiences. Every day is different. I also enjoy the “people” aspect of my role. In supporting the sales team, I get to interact with nearly every member of the team. This aspect of the role has made remote work less isolating.
September 15th kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month! Why is your Latina heritage important to you and how do you think that contributes to your success today?
My Hispanic heritage is exceedingly important to me. Former family generations made many sacrifices to come to the United States and I am honored to have their blood pumping through my veins. Although I am Mexican-American and further consider myself a “Tejana,” I feel a strong connection to other Hispanic groups such as Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans and Central and South Americans, as we all have Spanish origins. While we all have our own accents, regional words, foods, music and traditions, our origins bond us. Statistics show that the Hispanic population can face some barriers to success, a large one being educational. Conscious of these, I resolved not to be a statistic. I applied myself in school growing up, took college prep classes and decided to go to college.
How do you embrace your heritage?
Embracing my heritage means incorporating as much of the Mexican culture into my adult life as possible. Growing up, the Mexican culture in my house was diluted to a degree. For example, my father’s parents only spoke Spanish in the house, but my understanding of Spanish initially came from school and later from interaction with friends from South America. Aside from basic greetings, I struggled as a child to communicate with my paternal grandparents. My Spanish speaking abilities are decent, but I am resolved to become fluent. I am growing my Spanish speaking abilities by listening to Tejano music more and more and listening for words I am not familiar with. I then “Google” the English translation. The Mexican culture is known for its excellent food. I eat quite a bit of traditional Mexican foods around Christmas and the New Year. Tamales and Menudo are king around those times of year. Realizing that the culture has diluted over the generations, I am gleaning as much of the traditions as I can from my aunts and uncles who experienced the culture more directly. I will then pass down these traditions when I have a family.
Myrtle Consulting Group promotes diversity in the workplace and aims to employ people from different backgrounds and cultures. What does it mean to you to work in a place that actively supports and promotes diversity?
I am abundantly thankful to work for an organization that celebrates diversity. I have worked for organizations that are the antithesis of diverse. At Myrtle, I am accepted for who I am. Myrtle sees me, Jessica, the person. My ethnic background is not part of the equation. This acceptance puts me at ease and allows me to focus on giving Myrtle my best work.
With the challenges in our country today regarding justice and equality, everyone can be a part of positive change, no matter who they are. What can anyone do to help promote the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic and Latino- Americans?
We live in an age where content can be disseminated in a matter of seconds and at mass scale. Public figures are no longer the only ones with a platform. Social media outlets have given EVERYONE a platform to share the history, culture and contributions of the Hispanic community. Mexico’s Independence Day took place on September 16th and social media was flooded with posts commemorating the holiday. This is a beautiful way of using social media to celebrate the Mexican culture. Additionally, if you are a member of the Hispanic community or if you have an interest in the culture, I advise joining a Hispanic-led community organization. This a way to immerse yourself in the culture and make a difference in the Hispanic community.
Who from the Hispanic community do you admire most and why?
I would like to highlight my parents here. I learned the value of hard work from my father and the value of an education from my mother. Born into poverty, my parents worked tirelessly to change their quality of life and ultimately that of their children. My father, a first generation American, spent many of his childhood summers away from home working as a migrant worker. As an adult, he built a career in the insurance business. My mother was among the first few in her family to attend college. She attended a top university in Texas at a time when Hispanic female enrollment was very low. Her example shaped my decision to go to college. My success today is in large part due to the influence of my parents.
What advice would you give to Hispanic women looking to build a career in an industry that is not traditionally diverse.
Be relentless about building a career in consulting. Fight any negative sentiments that may preclude your efforts and deter pursuit of your passion. Take your heritage out of the equation and realize you have merit as a person. The consulting industry needs more women and even more Hispanic women. Be a trailblazer for Hispanic women to enter the workforce after you. They will be encouraged to follow suit.
Jessica started working for Myrtle Consulting Group in April 2017 and reports to the Houston office. She holds a Biology degree from Baylor University (Go Bears!) and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas-Houston. Jessica’s professional career of nine years has involved varied roles. She started as an outside sales representative for Canon Solutions America and later worked in product management for an electrical manufacturing company. Jessica sits on the board for Myrtle’s “WOMEN” initiative and is a member of the Network of Executive Women South Texas. Family is paramount to Jessica. Although her family lives in other parts of Texas and the U.S., she is close to her parents, two brothers, sister-in-law and her four nieces. During these COVID times, Jessica became a dog mom to “King Arthur,” a Shih Tzu puppy. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys playing the acoustic guitar, teaching her puppy new tricks and continuing to learn Spanish.