The famous saying, “you are what you think about,” couldn’t ring more true. In my search to collect the thought patterns that make up a successful and confident Latina in the Chicago area, I turned to a colleague and friend, Bacilia Gomez, who I’ve admired for years.
Be inspired, humbled, and amazed as you journey inside the mind of Bacilia, a two-time Chicago Marathon runner, recent MBA grad, and former Regional Director for 15 years in the Retirement Industry.
Don’t worry — I asked her all the questions you probably are already thinking about. Come back to this post and read often. You just may experience sudden symptoms of encouragement, inspiration and motivation as you reflect on the types of thoughts you’ve been thinking lately.
- After so many years in the Financial Industry, what made you decide to take time off from your career to seek your MBA as a full-time student?
A few reasons, the first reason was to gain a global perspective. I wanted to learn about different cultures and attend courses being taught by international professors. Second, it has always been a personal goal of mine to earn an MBA degree.
- What has been your best experience completing this degree?
The best experience by far was the international experience. The countless conversations with students and professors from around the globe are priceless. I learned so much about others’ perspective of us.
- Do you feel it was worth it? What inspired you to go back to school?
Yes, it was worth it. The time away from the work force will be about a year and a half. Talking to friends and family about my desire to travel overseas inspired me. The more I talked about it, the more I began to think that I could do it, and I should. There was really nothing stopping me. I just had to ensure I met all my financial obligations.
- What makes you confident in yourself?
The small victories that add up. Knowing that I have a strong support system of friends and family. It’s having a positive attitude, being optimistic and having passion.
- How do you push yourself?
I just picture these little eyes looking at me and listening to everything I say. I am setting an example for my nieces and nephews. I do believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and I have children that are learning from my example. That is all the push I need to get up in the morning, to meet the goals for the day.
- As a two-time Chicago Marathon runner, what made you believe you could do it and what kept you going?
Earlier in the year, I set my goals, one of them was to complete the marathon for my 40th birthday. Well, my birthday is in June, but the Chicago Marathon was in October. I thought to myself, it would not matter as long as I completed the marathon. I have to say that this was very difficult, sticking to a training schedule, preparing myself mentally and physically to run is extremely challenging. This year, I had extra motivation, because my cousin, Al, who also turned 40 committed to run the marathon with me. But what was on my mind was my friend, Tim, who has a brain tumor and is currently going through therapy. I dedicated my run to him and his fight.
- What do you recommend to a Latina professional that knows she wants something greater in life, but doesn’t feel compelled to start or doesn’t know where to start?
Develop mentors and talk to them. Make sure they are from different industries. Determine what is missing in your life and develop a strategy and short/long term goals that will help you reach those goals.
- As a previous manager, supervisor, team leader, and board member of multiple organizations, what’s your next step after this? Do you feel you have done it all?
Not at all! There’s so much more to accomplish. During this past year, my self-discover year, I realized how much I missed the Financial Industry, and I wish to go back. I want to continue to mentor young adults, and encourage them to follow their dreams; specifically in the communities where they lack the resources (encouragement, funds, coaching, knowledge, etc.) needed to continue their education.
- On your bad days, what picks you up?
Praying that God will grant me another day that will be better. On a really bad day, where there’s nothing you can do, you leave it up to God. Self-reflection, meditation, and prayer are all very important practices, they come in handy on a very bad day.
10. How do you love yourself and feel fulfilled with life?
I love myself by loving others. Through the strong relationships I have, knowing that people love me and miss me, that’s how I love myself. I try to be the best sister, daughter, aunt, friend, and partner. My life is fulfilled when I feel genuine interest in my life from others and I have interest in others’ life.
Read more about Bacilia here.
Written by Linda E. Alberty, M.A., Latinas On The Plaza Mastermind Leader & Advisory Board Member