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Our Vital Fam Shares What Their Hispanic Heritage Means To Them

by grace gavilanes - September 10, 2021

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15) – which celebrates the history, culture and contributions of the Hispanic and Latinx communities – Lively is highlighting a few members in our Vital Proteins® family.

I am lucky to identify as Hispanic and Latina. As a first-generation Ecuadorian American, I believe being Hispanic is my superpower. I attribute my strong work ethic and ability to dream big to my parents, who emigrated from Ambato, Ecuador to Queens, New York a few decades prior. Everything I do in my career is done with them, their sacrifices, and our culture in mind. Whenever I feel like giving up, I hear them saying, "Si lo puedes lograr." You can do it. It's what always motivates me to keep going.

grace gavilanes

Keep scrolling to read others' experiences and thoughts on what it means to belong to the Hispanic community.

What Does Being Hispanic Mean To You? 

luis vargas

Luis Vargas, Associate Director of International Product Development & Commercialization

"For me, being Hispanic means I have a huge blend of cultural influences. I am very adaptable to change and not afraid of challenges. I arrived to this beautiful nation a decade ago to pursue graduate studies. As a first-generation college graduate, I always had the privilege my parents didn’t have and the honor to be a good example for my younger brothers and parents. The lesson: Every sacrifice has its rewards!

During these 10 years, I've had the opportunity to grow as a professional and as a person. I’ve met people from all over the world, I've known and experienced the sacrifice of being 'away from home,' but always blessed and grateful of my new home. I'm proud of my culture, and to be the only Panamanian almost everywhere I go. A motto that me and my lovely wife learned when we met in Honduras (and live by it): Labor Omnia Vincit (Work Conquers All)."

mariana barros

Mariana Barros, Associate Content Editor

"Being Hispanic, and specifically Peruvian, means to embrace both the familiar and powerful aspects of my roots — such as our world-renowned gastronomy and beautiful landscapes — while also recognizing the sacrifice my parents made by coming from a world and a life that was theirs to a place foreign and unfamiliar. As the daughter of brave immigrants, I hold deep pride for the place of my ancestry while also recognizing the privilege and opportunity I have in bringing more honor to Peruvian culture here in the United States. Being Hispanic to me means keeping one foot in both ponds and having my life and my work be the bridge between the two for future generations of Hispanic and Peruvian people."

sergio garcia

Sergio Garcia, Vital Influencer & Breakdancer 

"Being Hispanic to me means putting a purpose behind all that I take on. Whether I am competing on a stage or executing a business deal, it all has a purpose of proving that coming in as the minority only motivates us to thrive in any situation. My mom swam and my dad built a raft to escape Cuba, and because of their courage to chase a higher purpose, I get a shot at chasing mine." 

hispanic heritage month

Olivia Peláez, Training & Education Programming Manager

"To me, being Hispanic and family loyalty go hand in hand. In my big Mexican family (I have six siblings!), we were always raised to believe that family comes first. I saw this exemplified in my father, who came to the US from Acapulco, Mexico, and would do anything to provide for and support his family. As he would say, 'la familia sobre todo.' Family above everything." 

marisol lozano

Marisol Lozano, Packaging Production Designer

"I credit my heritage for grounding me in gratitude. Latinx culture represents hard working people who love to celebrate life with family. Witnessing my father's sacrifices in pursuit of a better life has taught me humility and resilience. The essence of Latinx culture strengthens my motivation." 

hispanic heritage month

Marco Mandujano, Corporate Barista

"[Being Hispanic] means that I am part of a culture of people who persevered and worked hard to succeed and live the American dream. My parents came to this country from Mexico poor and with very little to look for a better life. Because of them, I'm able to have many opportunities that they couldn’t have. I’m very proud of where my family has come from because they've taught me so much about family pride, faith, hard work, loyalty and passion. I've tried to apply these traits to my personal and professional life. Today, I know that a large part of my success and drive comes from the morals and values from my family and culture, and I never want to lose sight of that."

Keep an eye on this page as we continue to update with additional quotes from our Vital fam.