When I was 24, I came to the United States to improve my English. My original plan was to complete the program and return to my home country, Peru. However, things changed when I met another student and fell in love. What I thought would be a temporary stay, turned out to be the beginning of my life story, which brought me a family and led me to my dream career.

Once I decided to stay, I knew that I had to go back to school – I have always believed in the power of higher education. Although I already had a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from Peru, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in marketing research.

For me, it was extremely important to turn all those years of studying into a meaningful career. After eight years in the technology industry, I had the opportunity to move to Seattle and join Microsoft as a Senior Customer Marketing Research Manager.

I’ve always been inspired by the triumphs of others. As a Latina, I understand the courage needed to attain these accomplishments; I understand how we must continue to strive for success in a way that we do good not only for ourselves but for the community as well. Ever since I joined Microsoft, I got an extra dose of inspiration, by learning through so many meaningful stories. This pushed me to go above and beyond.

Being Latinos also means familia. I constantly encourage my family to stay true to our heritage, not only by speaking Spanish at home but also by teaching them about the importance of giving back. I want my kids to grow up knowing that giving back is much more than a donation. It is about making a difference.

I knew the only way for me to accomplish this was leading by example. I took the opportunity and pushed through. Today, as the HOLA co-chair – the Microsoft employee resource group for the Latinx community – I have the chance to inspire others to push their boundaries and achieve their full potential.

It’s our time. We are a strong community, and we are ready to make a change and be the drivers of impact. To all my fellow Latinos, let’s take this chance.