This blog post is dedicated to all of the women bosses I’ve had a chance to work with in my life.
First of all, thank you. Thank you for believing in me in a way that I did not believe in myself at the time.
Generally, I am a very confident and determined person, but sometimes my anxieties and fears get the best of me. For the longest time, I was persuing the wrong career path and was feeling extremely defeated. During this time, I took up a retail job at H&M where the manager, a women, took a chance on me and my “fashionable” mind. I worked this job for a short period of time, but never during this time did I feel belittled or like my voice could not be heard. My opinion, and the opinion of my coworkers, always mattered. She was a great leader.
After I left this job, I moved on to becoming a writing assistant and switched my major to Environmental Studies. While being at this part-time job, I applied for a summer internship with the Latino Heritage Internship Program after my best friend sent it to me. The internship would be in Everglades National Park. I never thought I would even get an interview…I had failed so many times before in my engineering career that I didn’t think anyone could see past my low GPA. Turns out, I never put my GPA in my resume and never got asked about it during my phone interview. I think what gave me a higher change during this interview is my passion. The passion I feel towards being able to educate anyone who wants to hear about ways we can make people care about the earth and our environment.
Weeks later I heard back from the LHIP contact letting me know I had gotten the job. I could not have been more excited. It was in something kind of different, education, but something I had been doing for some time. My writing assistant job was basically teaching kids how to write, so I could do this, right?
Yes, I could do it. And I did. Thanks to the two incredible, intelligent, kind-hearted women who gave me the chance to prove to them and myself that I could do it. I never once felt belittled or like I could not speak up. It was quite the opposite. They made me feel so welcomed and at home. Our team, though it had some men in it, was mainly women. All women who have and continue to inspire to be better. This internship taught me that no matter your background or how long it took, my goals could always be accomplished as long as I am passionate about it. I remember vividly during my last-day presentation that I couldn’t even express everything I wanted to because I started getting choked up. I knew I was going to miss the entire team and the little family we created during the summer. I will always be grateful and thankful. Thanks to my two incredible bosses, I validated that women can do anything and everything, even when the room is full of white men. I will forever be grateful for them and for the chance they took on me.
My second internship came not long after this one ended, where I was recommended to another Girl Boss in the administrative branch of the Everglades. She was in need of an intern who could do a lot of things: reception, help other employees, and anything else that needed to be helped with. At first, I didn’t think I had the time or the emotional energy to do it, but she did everything she could to make the job work with my busy school schedule. She got me a laptop so I can work from home. She let me come in late some days because I had class in the mornings. Everyone in the office always told me: If you ever need anything from her, she will find the solution. Everyone made her seem like THE woman to talk to. And she was. I will always be grateful to her. For always boosting my ego and telling me how valuable I was to the office. I will always be grateful for the other women I was able to work with, who also helped build my confidence and made me feel more validated. They helped me understand that even though I have my insecurities, I am a hard worker and intelligent (sometimes I forget that I am).
That internship led to another internship. Working with giant snakes, nonetheless. On Fridays, while at the administrative internship, I would help out some invasive reptile scientists with some work. And one Friday, I was asked if I wanted to work with them. I had never in my life been interested in snakes, but I learned early on to take any opportunities that are offered to me. I started working for them in May. My boss was another Girl Boss. She created the Ultimate Girl Gang, plus Austin. Not once during my time at this job did I ever get comments about me being a girl. Not once. She taught me to stop caring about what I think people are thinking. To stop limiting myself because of my gender. I know sometimes the gender limitation is a real thing, but I had been creating it for a while in my own head. They all taught me to do what I love no matter what. I will always be grateful for the opportunity that she gave me. That they all gave me. She took a chance on a girl who had never worked with reptiles or anything like it. I didn’t have research experience besides what I did in my classes and she still took the chance on me. I will always, always, always be grateful to the team. As I write this, I have tears in my eyes. Not sad, sad tears, just “I miss you guys” tears. I have never loved driving an hour to work more than I did with this group. Everyone welcomed me and everyone boosted each other up. We all worked hard all of the time. Some days were harder than others…it’s not easy getting pooped on by snakes every day, but I always went home feeling accomplished.
All of the jobs in this national park, thanks to these incredible boss women, I have the job I have now. Not the same Girl Boss energy, but still grateful for the job I have. I get sexist comments almost every week from civilians and sometimes I don’t feel the most welcome, but I am still grateful that because all of the women before gave me a chance, I have a chance now.
Thank you to my H&M manager, Allyson, Yvette, Jackie, Jill, and Charlotte for believing in me.