COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Editor’s Note: The Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month each September. We are highlighting employees of Hispanic heritage throughout the month in honor of their enduring contributions to the agency’s global mission of logistics support to America’s warfighters.
What is your position title and role?
I’m a Demand/Supply Chain Analyst. The team I’m in works data analysis for long term contracts and my role is to apply supply expertise to long term contract data.
What do you think about when you hear Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate, share and educate about Hispanics’ contributions to the United States’ culture, politics, science, education, arts, entertainment and innovation among other important areas.
Who are some people of Hispanic heritage you admire?
I wanted to give you a big name, someone famous, but my honest response is that I admire my friends and family that I’ve seen over the years work hard and raise a family with love, respect and moral values that transcend any generation.
In your opinion, what challenges remain for Hispanic Americans today and how can understanding history help us to overcome them?
Hispanic Americans face many challenges, and those challenges can be specific across groups and individuals. But one that I identify with is the challenge of losing one’s identity when away from your homeland. When I came to the States, I was no longer a Puerto Rican, I was Hispanic. There was a sense of lost identity. For instance, when people would think I was from Mexico because that is a predominant Hispanic culture here. Another example is that in Latin America we’re named with both of our parents’ last names. When I moved here, I was told to drop my second last name for everything. When I married, I had a lot of pressure to change my last names to my fiancé’s English last name. It was very difficult for me, but I agreed out of love. I still miss my Spanish names and the fact that I didn’t pass my first Spanish last name to my children. The pressure was too much for me to fight the last name issue for the rest of my life.
How long have you worked for the federal government including military service?
17 years and eight months.
How long have you worked for L&M and how did you get your start here?
I’ve worked at Land and Maritime my entire career. I was hired in 2003 for the DLA Corporate Intern Program. DLA had sent recruiters to Puerto Rico to conduct interviews on the spot. My best friend was already working in DLA six months prior, and thanks to the Hispanic Employment Program, she knew this was happening and encouraged me to go interview. I was surprised to hear right after the interview that they were offering me the item manager position. I asked, “what’s an Item Manager?” They also had three other tables for each DLA location Richmond, Philadelphia and Columbus for relocation information. They asked me where I wanted to go, and I said Columbus because my friend worked here, and my mother lived three hours away in Indianapolis. I was given a link to the questionnaire and a couple of months later I was given the formal job offer to arrive at work in about a month. It was a big move for me, starting my first real job, getting my first apartment, first car, and being away from the place I called home for the past 22 years.
Who would you say was your greatest influence in choosing your career?
Need. I didn’t choose DLA, DLA chose me, and it was a good fit.
What is your favorite thing about your line of work?
I was brought up in DLA in the supply world, so all things supply-related make me shine a little. Item management – making sure we’re buying what the warfighter needs on time. Logistics!
How has your family’s Hispanic ancestry/origins influenced your life?
Puerto Rico has a rich influence from Spain as it was one of its colonies for a very long time. When I visited Spain for the first time last year, I was so amazed to feel almost at home. The architecture, the food, the language and slang, but what most impressed me is how friendly the Spanish people and Catalonians are. They treat you like family, just like the people of Puerto Rico.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?
Early on in my career my then supervisor told me the phrase, “you have to choose your battles”, which has stuck with me ever since. Sometimes we want to fight every little issue but letting ourselves do that can be destructive. It takes humility to stand down and allow things to work themselves out; pray and let God work on our behalf. And it takes wisdom to know when and how to fight an issue.
What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the family that my husband and I are raising.
If you could learn to master one thing, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to write songs!
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
When I was a child, at one point, I said I wanted to be a pastor. Later on, I knew I didn’t want that, probably because I grew up in church as a pastor’s kid and saw it is a very difficult and sacrificing job. Not a lot of boundaries were upheld in the church environment, unfortunately. When it came time to go to college, I first applied to the arts and humanities program with the goal of getting a plastic arts major. I let myself be steered away from that when I was told I might not make a good living out of that degree. So, a short time before classes started I applied to be transferred to the business administration program with a major in marketing. I was hoping that maybe someday I’ll have my own business of some sort. That degree led me to my DLA career and for that I’m thankful, but I still think about what kind of career I would’ve had if I followed my original choice of education. Nevertheless, I let my creativity flow through my hobbies outside of work in making cakes for my family and friends, making jewelry and singing at church and at a community choir I joined last year.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
I’d spend the day in Puerto Rico with my old friends, maybe go to the beach and walk around Old San Juan in the evening.
What’s the most thrilling/adventurous thing you have ever done?
I’m not one to do adventurous things but what can be thrilling to me could not be as thrilling to another. It was a time I snuck with a friend to see the sunrise at El Morro, the fort in San Juan. We climbed the wall that had a wide ledge overlooking the ocean and we sat there waiting for the sunrise. It was the most breathtaking sunrise I’d ever seen. The colors were spectacular, the wind was refreshing and the sounds and the smell of the ocean morning was the most calming experience. It felt quite magical.
If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be?
Life gives us experiences and events that we may or may not be able to control, but we can certainly control our attitudes; so I would say that my motto could be something like: “Our attitude defines the tone of our lives.”