Written by Sylvia Munoz, Easterseals Risk and Safety Director of Training
From Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the influences and contributions that Hispanic Americans have made to the United States. In this blog post, Easterseals associate Sylvia Munoz, Risk and Safety Director of Training, shares about her background growing up in California as a Mexican-American female and how that plays an integral part in who she is and what motivates her.
My Family History
In 1945, my grandfather Francisco and his brother Juan, who immigrated from La Piedad, Mexico to the U.S. in 1917, purchased land to farm and build homes for their families. In addition to corn, tomatoes and squash sold in grocery stores and local vegetable stands across Southern California, the farm grew watercress that the Campbell Soup Company used in V-8 Cocktail Juice; a partnership with Marquez Farms that lasted over 50 years.
While neither of my parents were able to attend college, that did not prevent them from being successful in life and business. They worked hard raising their six children while working the farm and family restaurant.
I worked with my siblings in both businesses from a young age and even while attending UCLA. During Christmas, we would help my grandmother make about 1,500 tamales for the family and field workers so they could enjoy a specialty from their Mexican heritage.
Between my four sisters and a brother, we earned six bachelor’s degrees, five master’s degrees, and two PhDs. I’m proud of our accomplishments, but even prouder that we each make it our mission to encourage and mentor others to do the same.
How My Family’s Heritage Has Influenced Me
Because I personally experienced the benefits of having advocates in my life, I’ve taken on roles to do the same for others. As a Gold Shield Alumni member at UCLA, I mentor students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s a privilege to support them as they discover their strengths while finding their place at UCLA.
I’m also a graduate of the HOPE Leadership Institute, which is the first and only statewide leadership program for professional Latinas. Their goal is to train Latinas in leadership and advocacy skills to create fundamental change within our own counties across California. This allows me to advocate for issues of concern for people of color with county and state government officials, as well as work with high school and college-age Latinas in building their confidence to advocate for their community.
My Easterseals Experience
My personal life experience drives me to bring my authentic self and experiences to work. At Easterseals, I’ve had the privilege of advocating for our associates as an HR Director, HR Training Director, and my current role as Director of Training for Risk and Safety. As part of the safety team, my greatest pleasure is helping people stay safe at work, home and in the community.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
My celebration of Hispanic Heritage goes beyond just this month. I celebrate my culture year-round by participating as an advocate and seeking out cultural enrichment opportunities.
If you are looking for a way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, check out this local self-guided mural tour local self-guided mural tour in Santa Ana, CA. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about our history.
Learn about Easterseals commitment to diversity and inclusion through our RISE (Respect, Inclusion, Self-Awareness, & Equity) initiative. RISE encompasses all of the elements we aspire to embody as an organization to support our participants, our associates, and our community.
Check out our careers page to discover new opportunities at Easterseals.