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Leaving Peru, Revalidating My Degree and Finding My Passion

Gabriela Loayza
Executive Relationship Manager
New Albany, OH
Pronouns: She/Her

Choosing industrial engineering

Growing up in Peru, I’d wanted to be an engineer since middle school. I liked numbers and enjoyed learning how things work. Later I decided to pursue industrial engineering because it offered flexibility with the variety of industries I could work in. However, when I arrived to the US, I couldn’t work as an engineer because my degree wasn’t valid. I had to go back to school.

Validating my degree

While I validated my degree, I worked as a collections representative for Discover. I worked full time in the second shift, and despite working late hours, I woke up early to get my homework started in the morning. I also had to take care of my daughters who were 3 and 1 at the time. After my girls woke up, I had to shift my attention to them. On the weekends, my husband would take the girls out to play, and I would submerge myself in school work. I was efficient with my time because it was extremely limited.

Self-advocating

Working that job in collections taught me a lot about the US financial system. I shared my career aspirations with my director at the time and she helped me get into the rotational summer program at the Discover headquarters in Riverwoods, Illinois. That internship gave me exposure to our headquarters and helped me secure a promotion into Riverwoods.

I’m most proud of going back to school to validate my degree and obtain my MBA. It was extremely hard and I’m very proud of my effort. The day I finished, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and have been enjoying the payoff that this effort is producing up to this day.

Best of both worlds

I’m currently an executive relationship manager for the emerging teams in payment services. In my opinion, it combines the best of both worlds. I get to work with some of the newest and coolest technologies, while managing relationships with our clients.

Peruvian heritage

I like being a Latina woman and the heritage that comes with it. I like cooking our Peruvian food (it’s so delicious by the way), listening to Latino rhythms, such as salsa, bachata, merengue, and reggaeton. I also enjoy speaking Spanish with friends and family, and celebrating our holidays. I am proud of being descendant from the Incas and all the great work that they did with its empire.

Servicing others

One of my personal mantras is that each one of us has a unique set of talents that we should put to the service of others to make this world a better place. I live by that and like to volunteer and share my talent with everyone around me. For example, I became a board member for a bilingual charter school that mainly serves the Latino community. The board appreciates my ability to understand financial reports, but also my knowledge of the school system, since I am a mother of three and have always been involved with the PTA (parent teachers association).

 

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