Celebrating the Richness of Hispanic Heritage Month 2016
"Anyone can succeed, they just need the tools and the opportunity.
And your job on earth is to help at least one person - just one individual -
and make sure she/he has the tools and the opportunity."
- Hyram Montero
Meet Rafael Cruz
When Rafael Cruz's great-grandparents left Puerto Rico, they brought along a popular saying that's endured through the generations: "
El que sabe, no muere como el que no sabe." Roughly translated: "Those that know, do not die like those that do not know."
In other words - knowledge and education are the cornerstone of a successful life. That idea was the catalyst for Rafael's American dream; through education, hard work, and the belief that everyone deserves a fair shot, he's built a rewarding, successful career - and helped countless others to do the same.
Born and raised in New York's Spanish Harlem neighborhood, Rafael saw his fair share of discrimination and prejudice, but he never let it shape his core beliefs about the values inherent in American culture.
For Fabiana Estrada, fear isn't an option. Now the director of ACCION East -- a nonprofit dedicated to helping micro entrepreneurs obtain affordable small business loans -- Fabiana has spent the last 16 years building a career from the ground up after leaving her old life behind in Argentina.
She and her family came to the U.S. in 2000 after her husband was offered a new position. It wasn't easy for the family of four to leave their friends and family behind, but they saw it as an opportunity to pursue their American dream.
Fabiana also had to leave her career behind. In Argentina, she had a successful career as a lawyer, but her qualifications didn't translate to the U.S. legal system. Starting from scratch didn't scare her, however. Instead, Fabiana saw it as an opportunity to pursue new and different dreams.
Eventually, she started working in the mortgage industry. Later, she landed a job with ACCION, and over the years she worked her way up from loan consultant to director.