Ingrid, is someone I have in my Boss Tribe, and can always count on her to serve up some gems. She’s in PR and went to UT like me, but our paths didn’t cross on campus. We actually met after I graduated at conference in Houston. She was a junior at the time, but between her elevator pitch and follow-through, we have continued to keep in touch over the years. I left Houston a few months after we met and moved to New York. Since this was a goal she also shared, she would check-in from time to time as she progressed through college and upon graduation, she started to make cross country moves of her own. Since we met she has been a long distance support system and someone I know I can also check-in with for random questions/requests and get gut checks on things because we work in the same PR world with similar dreams and ambitions.
Tell us a little about yourself…
I like to say I was born in Dallas and raised in my home. I am daughter of Mexican immigrants who didn’t attend grade school, but made sure their 4 daughters graduated university. My family is fairly big so my entire life I was surrounded by strong women. I didn’t recognize it until I was in college away from my family, but they say that you start to appreciate people when they aren’t around anymore.
Balancing college and working at the largest Spanish broadcast TV network was hard for me and I wanted to quit plenty of times, but my sisters kept giving me wake up calls so I didn’t. After graduation, I began working in multicultural media planning in San Francisco for less than seven months. Then moved to New York, where I went back to multicultural PR and it was amazing. Family called, so I decided to move back to Dallas for health reasons which helped me learn a big lesson in life.
You define your success. Ever since I was little, I always felt the pressure to succeed. So, when I had to make the decision about moving back to Dallas I was scared about what people would say. “Oh, Ingrid is back in Dallas she couldn’t make it in San Francisco nor New York.” I had to realize that the because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Then once I was settled in Dallas, I began working at the same PR firm just on a different track and with general market. I missed multicultural work and wanted a job that I could spend time with my family more often. Then I started working at APC Collective as an account manager and loving it. I couldn’t think of anywhere else to work, seriously.
What inspired you to work in PR?
I wouldn’t use the word “inspired”, but more so “led” me. Honestly, it was frustration and fear. I loved math so I entered my freshman year at UT Austin on that career track and was miserable. I felt like the world was going to end! I mentioned to my entire family except my oldest sister that I was thinking of dropping out because school wasn’t for me. However, you know like every Latino household we love our chisme (gossip). My oldest sister found out and called me asking if it was true. I told her yes and that I’m not smart and successful enough like everyone around me thought I was. She then told me that if I felt like that I should quit. At that moment, I realized that I was giving up and didn’t like the feeling. So I walked my butt into the career center and took a personality test which led me to the PR route and haven’t looked back since.
After graduation you moved to San Francisco, then you moved to New York City and now you reside in Dallas. Tell us more about that...
It took a lot of me to make the move to San Francisco. I didn’t know anybody and wasn’t too familiar with the city except for what I could Google. The only thing that was motivating me to make the move was getting to work with a top media company that housed multicultural clients. It was a great opportunity and made me value a lot: my family, home, food, people, friends and driving. I slept in a room with two other girls and paid almost a grand for rent/bills, 6 months into the move I was paying off loans and other bills. I was sometimes left with $50 in my bank account for emergencies after I bought my essentials. I learned about sacrifice and prioritizing.
A couple of months in I learned that I loved PR too much and that’s when the whole “be careful what you wish for” kicked in for me. A friend in New York emailed me asking if I was interested in working with the multicultural team at one of top PR firms in the nation on incredible accounts. Plus, New York was my dream city so I moved. This time I had a great support system waiting for me in the BIG APPLE. It was everything I could ask for and it honestly made me toughen up. Not everyone in this world has good intentions, you can only control yourself.
What is the craziest thing you have ever done to get a lunch/calendar meeting with someone?
I don’t have a “crazy” experience. My sisters and I are the first ones to enter the corporate world, so I couldn’t call any family friends for connections. Every meeting that I have ever had prior to graduating college was through social media DMs/Messages, LinkedIn Stalking & Connections, attending local conferences (how I met Sade), constantly emailing until I get a meeting…the list goes on.
What’s one piece of advice you have for women that are looking to begin a career in PR?
Always trust your gut, no matter what. This is advice for every facet in life: careers, relationships, friendships, etc. If you make the wrong decision, it will help you grow. Then, you mourn about it but not for too long. I give myself a timeline for sadness or disappointment. Those emotions shouldn’t dwell so shake it off and keep moving forward.
What challenges do you face as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges do you face as a Hispanic woman?
After New York, I became really tough. I wouldn’t say mean, but definitely not willing to put up with anything less than I deserve including speaking my mind when I sense something is wrong. I think as a woman, I might come off as too strong at times. However, I’ve learned that it’s not my tone/voice that I should worry about, because I always have the right intentions. Also, I would say I constantly struggle with selling myself short on what I truly deserve. I’m working on that right now as I launched, Soy Texas. I’m still trying to figure it out so I’ll have to share my learnings in 5 years. I’ll be a different person. They say 30’s are your best years, because you care less about what people think. I’m excited, I care too much.
You also have a blog of your own, tell us more about that.
I actually had my blog since freshman year of college, but was never consistent. I started up again this year more consistently, and this past Monday I launched a movement that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s called Soy Texas, a movement and online platform made to showcase Latino voices in Texas, events relevant to our community and much more. I’m doing something for our Latino community and you don’t understand how excited I am. I want us to come together, be prepared with the information that is needed and enjoy our culture.
What inspires you?
The fact that my parents have never stopped working a day in their life. Most don’t know, but my sisters and I sold snow cones at a flea market to pay off their college loans and my used car (instead of a quince). Working at our little business taught me a lot: customer service, sales, budgeting, working for your money and activated my entrepreneurial spirit.
What Quote do you live by?
My dad was teaching me how to get on the highway and I was so nervous. I told him that I couldn’t do it. He told me “you are healthy, you know English & Spanish and you speak English & Spanish…you can do anything”. Since then, when I find myself complaining I go back to that moment. It reminds me that I should never feel incapable to accomplish my goals.
How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?
IMPACT. I make sure that everything I do has a positive impact, if it doesn’t I usually don’t do it. I think we are all in this world for a reason or reasons. My reasons are to connect people, motivate others and help my family.