Tell us a little about yourself and who you are? First and foremost, I am the proud mother of two amazing children. My son, 22, who is in the U.S. Army and currently deployed in the Middle East serving our country, and my daughter, 17, high school Senior, who aspires to become a nurse. They are my greatest accomplishment in life, my world. From a very young age, I was interested in medicine and fascinated but the human body and all its complexities. Perhaps it was all the mishaps I had due to my daredevil stunts. My poor mother! I've always been in love with nature especially the ocean, animals spending every waking movement outdoors. I'm very spiritual, fascinated with the human mind, and love cooking. I was born in San Juan, PR, and moved to my grandfather's dairy farm in a small town closed to Ocala called Oxford with my mother and siblings. It was a bit of a culture shock to go from sandy beaches to acres of pastures and cows. Needless to say, country living wasn't quite cutting it so we moved to Winter Park, Florida where I've lived practically my entire teenage and adult life. In high school, I was selected and had the amazing opportunity to attend Rollins College and would've continued my studies but the Universe had other plans for me. One day while working at a dealership to help pay for my studies, I was taking a vehicle for repairs when I was rear-ended by a semi tractor-trailer. I suffered some injuries that although not life-threatening, they were debilitating. There I was, 17 years old, not only did I have to endure extreme pain and the challenges of the injuries but also I had to fight for proper medical care that I was righteously entitled to but denied of. I had hit my face during the collision causing all ligaments and cartilages in my temporomandibular joints to be completely torn. Unable to eat, barely speak and in excruciating pain, I had to become my very own advocate. Those that know me well know determination is one quality I do not lack of. I spent hours and hours at the public library before Google was a thing, learning all the Work Comp laws, my rights as an injured employee as well as the liability laws. I was very much involved in the entire process from both the work comp and liability aspects. From conferences, holding those involved accountable for jury selection during my civil trial. I did reach a point during this ordeal in which I felt defeated, frail from malnutrition, and weighing only 75-80 pounds. I became angry and resentful at how things turned out for me yet I somehow managed to find the strength to keep fighting for me and the faith that the Universe had a plan. Everything happens for a reason and at the right time. Looking back, I am thankful for the many lessons and knowledge. It's because of those years of endless struggles, pain, numerous surgeries, and let's be honest, hunger, that I am who I am and do what I do as a profession today. I've also been able to teach my children that anything is possible with determination, endurance, strength, and faith. The only thing that stops us from overcoming any obstacle small or big is our minds.
How does a day in your life look like these days? My days start with meditation and good strong coffee as my workdays are usually very hectic and long with overseeing all the day to day WC operations and relations for the entire orthopaedic surgery group as well as merger proceedings with one of the largest hospital system and Level One Trauma in Florida. We handle over 800 calls and 500 emails/faxes weekly.
What makes you unique? Aside from my determination, I'd say my honesty, loyalty, positivity, a dash of sarcasm with a big heart, protector of those I love, a friend for life. I'm also a workaholic that thrives to meet not only my goals but help others meet theirs.
What is your “why?” What inspires you every day to do more/better? My children. They only have me to look up to. I share with them all my struggles, how I'm able to overcome them as well as my victories and accomplishments as it is through them that they learn valuable life lessons.
Tell us about your career and how you got started? Unknowingly, I covered in my long paragraph above.
What are your future goals? I help my children reach their full potential. I'd like to in the future be able to dedicate more of my time to humanitarian and environmental causes.
How do you empower other women? I love to support them and their goals whether it is with positive affirmations, words of encouragement, or by simply by sharing your struggles/victories in a positive and inspiring way so they may learn from the lessons.