We had the good fortune of connecting with Betzy Valdez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Betzy, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am a proud Mexicana from the beautiful Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. I’m a mama to three gorgeous girls, a wife, connector, and also, a proud “Dreamer”. My parents, sister, and I embarked on a new journey to the United States 23 years ago. Like many immigrants, we left everything and everyone behind as we were in pursuit of the well-known American Dream. Unfortunately, due to our financial situation, we came to this country undocumented. This was no easy decision for my parents but one they knew they had to make to give my sister and me a better life. I know such actions are difficult to understand and accept, but one thing I have learned through all this is we shouldn’t be so quick to condemn without understanding the whole story. Be willing to listen with an open mind and heart, always. Growing up undocumented was difficult. There was a part of me I hid because of my status…I couldn’t let others know. Thankfully in 2013, I had the opportunity to become a Dreamer, a DACA recipient – This was a new policy that gave thousands of individuals who had come to the U.S. as children, the opportunity to remain in the country we call home. Even with many restrictions, this opportunity gave me hope, it gave me purpose and it allowed me to believe once again in the American Dream. It allowed me to come out of the shadows and no longer live with fear. In recent years, DACA has had many setbacks which have created chaos and uncertainty in the lives of many recipients. There are many days I can tell you it might be easier to remain quiet, sit back, and throw in the towel because of the many current challenges. But more than anything, being a Dreamer has sparked something else in me, it has sparked the desire to serve, transform, and lead. My story as an immigrant, as a Dreamer has inspired me to be a better leader for my family and for those around me. I created Empowered Leader.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being a Dreamer (DACA recipient) has inspired me show up differently in life. It has sparked the desire to serve and transform. I am the creator of Empowered Leader – This is my ongoing vision to create and provide various opportunities for growth, connection, and community involvement. My mission is to inspire and empower others to serve, transform, and lead in their own lives. Creating leaders who lead with heart and passion is the goal. This project is one that has evolved as I continue to know and embrace my story, who I am, and what I’m capable of. There’s been a lot of learning, failing, and growing. It hasn’t been an easy, quick, or simple journey but it is one I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for the connections, for the opportunities, and for the many lessons along the way. I have learned that I alone can only do so much but as a community, oh boy, we are powerful. I see this often when volunteering, together we can make such an impact in our communities. It is a reminder that we are not meant to do life alone but rather, with people who will be by our side to support, encourage, and uplift us along the way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Greeley – It’s quickly growing and expanding. There are definitely a lot of new spots in town but I must say that the best place to hang out has to be the Downtown area. You can find it all; restaurants, boutiques, bars/distilleries, event centers, etc. It’s a nice place to go with friends or family. You cannot miss the AMAZING murals painted by our own local artist Armando Silva (Artmando). He is an incredibly talented artist and we are lucky to have his art around town. You definitely have to have a tour to check out all his beautiful work.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow! Well first and foremost, my parents deserve all the credit and recognition! They sacrificed everything they had to give my sister and me a better life. They had a vision and they went after it. I am forever grateful for their love, their passion, their dedication to our family. Los amo mamá y papá. Gracias por todo! My daughters and husband for being my rock, my motivation to continue to lead even when times are hard. You keep me going and I love you! My sister, friends, and mentors: Osmara, Chalice, Stacy, Mary, Angela, Sarah, Lori…so many of you who have believed in me. Your support, encouragement, and love is something I hold with me always. I admire and I’m inspired by you to be a better ME. Thank you. An organization: The Latino Leadership Insitute – what can I say? Thank you for accepting me into your program. This fellowship has changed my life for the better. I can proudly say I am a better leader (both personally and professionally) because of the LLI, because of my Cohort 9. I am grateful for you FamiLLIa.
Illuminating Images Latino Leadership Institute