Gloria is the Director of Community Engagement at the University of Maryland. Originally from Venezuela, Gloria came to the United States when she was 22 years old to further her education in engineering. However, when she arrived she faced a major barrier. She did not know any English, which was very frustrating for her. Gloria decided not to let barrier define her so she took some English classes at a church, which built her confidence. “I needed this to further my education and to become a member of society.” From this, she was able to go to community college, university, and later grad school at University of Maryland. When she went to grad school, she realized she did not want to pursue fire science anymore. “I saw the large Hispanic population around College Park and I knew from experience the effect of a language barrier so for grad school, I got a degree in business administration and human resources.” Gloria now connects the College Park community with the university in order to ensure unity and resources for everyone in the community.
From a career in information systems to being an interior designer, Teriko is a prime example of pursuing what you love. For the past 25 years she has owned her own interior design business, Expressions of You. Her passion for design started when she was working in management in the corporate world and saw that women had to get permission to be there for their children. It was then that she decided she wanted to get into business for herself. “I did not want to get permission to be the mom I wanted to be so I decided to be my own boss.” Teriko began looking at things that she liked to do in her spare time and she realized that she jumped at any opportunity to design. However, some people were not very encouraging of her. But she did not let this stop her… she encouraged herself. “People are going to discourage you so sometimes you have to encourage yourself.” Teriko’s advice for us is to define success for ourselves, give back, and network.
Deana is the art director at the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, which is a nomadic museum that does not collect art. The art is not just in museums, but it’s all over the city. “By operating nomadically, we are literally able to bring art directly to the people of this city.” Deana attended Rutgers University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Art History and Philosophy. She then went on to receive her Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Curatorial Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Besides her directorship at the Contemporary, Deana also curates independent exhibitions, consults on various public art initiatives, and contributes to cultural publications around the city. As the director of the Contemporary, she has learned how to help others and also help herself. Deana has learned to hire staff and has learned to micromanage personalities, which also kept her personality levelheaded. Deana’s advice to us is to stress strengths and downplay weaknesses on an interview.
At just 23, Andrew is a financial analyst for Morgan Stanley. He credits his success to his parents, the two most influential people in his life. Growing up, both of Andrew’s parents struggled with addiction. His father realized he wanted better for himself and his children so he decided to kick his habit, graduated from Towson University, and later attended law school. Because of this determination and hard work, Andrew was also able to pursue something greater. His first job was as a photocopier, which was not very exciting, but it was humbling. “Being a young naive man, I realized that dreams come with effort and sacrifice.” He worked hard and was able to land the position he has now. Andrew’s advice for finding a job you love is balancing what makes you happy, with what skills you’re good at, and what employers are looking for. “It’s not where you started, it’s where you finish. The journey is honorable and beautiful.”
Brenda is the president of resume and career services where she helps clients package their strengths and talents into a resume so that the resume can speak for them. However, Brenda did not start here. Her first job was with Baltimore County Public Schools as a secretary which paid very little but, with determination and the willingness to learn, she was able to land a job with a Fortune 500 company and continued to work her way up form there. During her time in each position, she observed her managers, how they operated on a daily basis, and read to company literature to have a better understanding. She decided to back to school to increase her skill set and graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Business Administration, which led her to open up her own business. Brenda’s main piece of advice was to learn how to reinvent yourself. Through Brenda’s constant thirst for knowledge, she reinvented herself each time, with each position, which led her to create this company and help others as well.
Darren is the director of the department of surgery at Johns Hopkins University. Coming form a big family, Darren witnessed struggles such health problems, addictions, and abuse. When he attended college he played football and was mainly defined by his athletic abilities. “You’re just a jock,” they would say. These struggles that he saw his family members face and the misjudgment he received is what motivated him to be where he is today. Though there were ups and downs, such as being taken advantage of and learning to be alone, he remained true to himself and stayed humble. After earning his undergrad degree, he worked six jobs over the period of three years in order to complete his graduate studies. After getting his masters with the help of a mentor, he worked at Johns Hopkins. He was noticed by a woman, who went on to hire him as the director of the department of surgery where he is now involved with the community in a variety of ways. Daren’s advice to us is to stay driven, network, stay connected with the community, and to keep a level head. “Never be too high, never be too low. Through difficult times, you have to remember it doesn’t last and at times, you feel on top of the world, stay humbled.”