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Meyers Nave Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15, honoring the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

At Meyers Nave, we are committed to increasing and promoting diversity among our employees while improving the inclusion and belonging experience.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked our Latinx and Hispanic employees to share what this month means to them and the impact of their culture on their careers.

National Hispanic Heritage Month Meyers Nave

Brenda Quezada, Legal Secretary

Why is your heritage important to you?
Heritage is part of my herencia de vivir and being connected so deeply to my roots and the culture from my parents’ life and history in Mexico has always been important to me. I always remind myself not only of the struggles and sacrifices my parents had in Mexico as well when they came to the United States.

Keeping our heritage and traditions alive is an important way to honor and to show our pride in our culture. Speaking Spanish, appreciating Mexican culture when it comes to music, food and art are part of my everyday life, and I hope to pass that appreciation to my son as he continues to learn and grow.

What impact has your heritage had on your career?
My parents always stressed the importance of working hard, being humble but also offering what you can and learning what you don’t know. I think about the sacrifices they made and the opportunities those sacrifices have opened for me, which makes me proud of my contributions at work.

Who are some of your favorite Latinx/Hispanic artists or authors?
Sandra Cisneros, Frida, Cesar Chavez and Lin-Manuel Miranda to name a few.

Any favorite Latinx/Hispanic local businesses?
There are many great shops in Downtown Sacramento I like to visit such as Casa De Mercado, Kulture Imports and Chulo Baby. When it comes to food, I love Cantina Alley or locating Jefitaz Menudo, a local food truck that does pop-up events.

What are your favorite cultural traditions/dishes?
In terms of cultural traditions, I enjoy Dia de Los Muertos altar and family gatherings where we make weekend carne asadas and tamales during the holidays. When it comes to food, I love chiles rellenos, albondigas and buñuelos during the holidays.

 

Viviana Heger

Viviana Heger, Of Counsel

Why is your heritage important to you?
It’s important to hold on to the history that shaped my grandparents, parents and extended family.

My parents carried on the traditions of their parents and so did I with my children. We grew up with a “Yes you can” (“Si, se puede”) type of upbringing where achievement was viewed as always possible. For my parents to immigrate from Argentina to the United States – without knowing English – took a lot of courage and determination. This type of heritage is important because it helps me remember to strive as much as they did for the benefit of my children and theirs.

What impact has your heritage/culture had on your career?
My parents were very expressive and passionate, and the active level of communication we shared led all of us to excel in school and particularly in language arts. Family discussions could turn to disagreements quickly and then to resolution. This was very different from my American friends, but it helped us appreciate the importance of expression, being candid, being honest and striving to sharpen each other. This level of communication shaped my career immensely because it allowed those communication traits to be honed into skills and later into legal tools.

Who are some of your favorite Latinx/Hispanic artists/authors?
Honestly, Spanish literature is just too wildly complicated having studied more Jorge Luis Borges than I wanted in Spanish Lit; nonetheless, I did enjoy Isabel Allende “House of the Spirits” and “Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Marquez.

Any favorite Latinx/Hispanic local businesses?
My family’s: Grand Casino bakery in Culver City! Any Argentine steakhouse that is authentic, probably Lala’s and Carlito Gardel’s.

What are your favorite cultural traditions/dishes?
Empanadas, faturas (pastries), milanesa, flan and the list goes on.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Not surprising my best career advice was from my parents. My dad could easily see law school made sense for me because I loved legal studies during college. Then, as I started to become more senior in my career, my mother – a strong businesswoman – taught me not to stress over slow periods of workload because work would come. Their advice has greatly helped me.

Tell us about any volunteer activities.
In the past, I volunteered with Christian Legal Aid where many clients were Latinos or low-income and needed legal advice. That was quite rewarding and tearful at times. I’ve also been able to handle special education cases, most notably one matter that kept me busy for about six months and resulted in a successful Individualized Education Program (“IEP”).

My most rewarding volunteer activity was providing volunteer income tax assistance to mostly Latino populations. Volunteering with elementary school-age reading programs has been rewarding. Most recently, most of my volunteer activities are at church with the funeral team, which is really more uplifting than it sounds.

Christina Keegan, Receptionist

Why is your heritage important to you?
My heritage is important to me because simply put, it makes me who I am. My sister and I are first-generation Americans. My mother was born and raised in El Salvador; she grew up very differently than we did. Listening to stories of her past was always interesting to me. I wish I had asked more questions.

What impact has your heritage/culture had on your career?
My culture has absolutely helped my career in that I can communicate with people in Spanish (and German) when they call or visit our office. Our household growing up was trilingual, my parents would speak to us in their languages, and my sister and I would answer in English. Now that I am older, I wish I would have used my languages more, but I can get by pretty well with what I do know.

Who are some of your favorite Latinx/Hispanic artists/authors?
If I had to pick a favorite Latinx artist, it would be Carlos Santana. My husband and I enjoy going to rock concerts. I have yet to see Carlos Santana, so I will need to put him on our list.

What are your favorite cultural traditions/dishes?
My all-time favorite tradition was on Christmas Eve. We celebrated Christmas and opened presents on Christmas Eve, not Christmas morning. After opening presents at our house, we would get in the car and drive one hour to San Francisco to my aunt’s house to visit our extended family, make tamales and stay up late into the night and then open our presents with our cousins at midnight.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
The best “life” advice I have ever received is from my dad. It’s actually in German, and it’s three words “Immer Weiter Machen,” which means “always keep going.” Often, he will just text me IWM. It’s short and sweet, and truly the best to me.

Richard Macias, Operations Manager

Why is your heritage important to you?
My heritage is important to me because it’s my identity and the foundation of who I am. Not until recently did I know I’m 51% indigenous American – Mexico and 25% Spanish – Spain. On my mother side our ancestors were “Called People of the Land,” on my father side we are descendants’ from the Apache Tribe. Growing up I didn’t know anything about where our family came from other then my grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side were from Baja California. Knowing this information now is very important to me because of some of the traits I have and can now understand from where they came.

Who are some of your favorite Latinx/Hispanic artists/authors?
A few of my favorite artists are Diego Rivera, Salvador Dali, Rita Moreno and Isabel Allende.

Any favorite Latinx/Hispanic local businesses?
I like Molcajete Cocina Mexicana on Webster Street, near our Oakland office, they make killer nachos.

What are your favorite cultural traditions/dishes?
My family makes the traditional tamales for Christmas and Menudo for New Year’s Day (helps with hangovers).

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Someone once wisely said to me, “Be confident in what you are doing and turn your mistakes into a learning experience.”

Tell us about any volunteer activities.
I volunteer for the Salvation Army and deliver food on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. My husband and I are big dog lovers and are always willing to foster them while they wait for a new home, we are considered “Foster Fails” as they wind up staying with us. in fact, we rescued our dog Frankie from Taiwan. He was with us for almost 14 years, and we couldn’t have asked for a better companion.