I am excited to introduce our readers to amazing and caring people who live, work, play and do business in our community and city. Learning about people of every lifestyle, talent, and personality that I think would be interesting for our readers to enjoy. San Diego has wonderfully diverse individuals that make our slice of paradise the greatest place to live and enjoy each other’s uniqueness.
How did you end up in San Diego and what do you love about it?
Like many San Diegans, I chose to make San Diego my home; once you move here, it is really hard to leave! I moved here in 2009 to attend SDSU and I fell in love with the unique neighborhoods, the beaches and the diversity in this wonderful city. There are so many things I love about San Diego, it’s really hard to pick just one; if I had to choose, I would say it is the people that make San Diego so special. From community leaders, activists, elected officials and members of our community, San Diegans make this city beautiful and one of a kind!
What gets you most excited about life?
I like being outdoors: the beach, hiking, sailing, kayaking, and biking. I love to cook — mainly French and Mexican cuisine, but I like to fuse different styles of cooking; lately I’ve been doing Italian and Mexican-fused dishes. I love the theater — there is nothing like watching a live performance; you can feel the emotion through the acting, the energy from the audience and the reverberation of the live singing is exhilarating. I really enjoy reading, I’ve always been a big reader ever since I was little. You could find me with two or three books on me; when I was misbehaving, my parents would threaten to take my books away instead of grounding me — it worked every time! I really like design and aesthetic — making things look nice whether that’s making a floral arrangement, designing a tables cape or putting an outfit together for a special occasion, I love every aspect of design. I grew up with music so I sing — nothing outstanding but I like doing it. Of course, traveling — I live for new experiences. I also enjoy the little things: snorkeling, spending time with friends and family, a good brunch, dancing and working out. I also like hosting dinner parties, nothing like a good meal, wine and friends!
As a business person, what makes your job stand out and how has it changed your life?
I am lucky enough to work for the first Person of Color elected to the mayor’s office and the first openly Gay mayor of San Diego: Mayor Todd Gloria. My official tittle is senior advisor. I have always felt a calling to public service. I am lucky enough to serve my community and work every day to make this city a better place for all San Diegans. My life immediately changed for the better when I started working for Mayor Gloria – then Assemblymember Gloria. Seeing an openly Gay man and Person of Color serving as an elected official broke open doors for me that for so long I had assumed were closed. Working in an environment with a mentor like Mayor Gloria uninhibited my inhibitions and allowed me to become my true self. Working every day to make San Diego a more equitable place for everyone to be able to work and play is the reason I wake up in the morning and why I love my job.
What small act of kindness were you once shown that you’ll never forget?
I will never forget how my best friend Jessica in middle school and high school constantly defended and was relentless in ensuring I was never bullied. She constantly hushed the whispers the moment anyone even insinuated I may be Gay. This was not a small task and she did her best to make sure I didn’t know what was going on — even though I did. I know this was not a small act of kindness, but a huge feat! In hearing so many different stories from my friends in the community, I know my experience was rare and I have her to thank for that.
If the universe could grant you one wish, what would you wish for, and why?
If I could be granted one wish, it would be that people had empathy for one another — if we could be more understanding of one another, I think a lot of the problems we face as a civilization would be better dealt with. Everyone has their own unique journey; we deal and face adversity, trauma, privileges which dictates our behaviors and reactions when dealing with conflict. Being understanding of others would allow for a more compassionate and loving society.
If you were given the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, and was able to take one person with you, where would you go, who would you take and why?
If I could travel anywhere in the world, it would be to Australia with my mom. I love adventure! Being outdoors in nature and out of fluorescent lights is my happy place. Growing up my mom has always been my biggest advocate and supporter — her and my dad worked to constantly ensure my siblings and I were able to accept any opportunity that came our way. One of the greatest joys I have in life is seeing my mom as a friend and parent, not just a parent. We are able to talk and share opinions with one another and have in-depth conversations on how we view the world. She is also just as adventurous as I am and a great travel partner!
If you had a chance to spend $1 million on someone, or any group of people, who would it be and how would you spend that money to better them?
If I could spend $1 million, it would be to help our homeless service providers with outreach to those living on the streets. Resources and compassionate outreach connecting those living on the streets would help connect them to services and into permanent supportive housing. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; every individual must have wrap-around services to ensure they matriculate into permanent housing.
If you could give someone advice about your art, hobby, or business, what would you tell them?
If I could give advice to someone about working at the city, it would be to keep an open mind and always listen. I am constantly learning! My job at the city is to use policy to solve problems. I work with and listen to community members, community leaders, business owners, those in the nonprofit world and experts to identify and remedy problems within our community. Keeping an open mind and listening to all ranges of opinions ensures we do not stay stagnant in our thinking. When the community engages and participates, it gives us an insight as to what we can do to help improve the services of the city and how we can effectuate proper change with the policies we write. The public should always know that we here in the mayor’s office are always accessible! Please reach out for a meeting, or leave a comment during public comment; if you are not available, we can always be reached via email or phone — we can even correspond via snail mail. We want to hear from you.
Loving yourself is so important to becoming the best of who you are. Please write a couple sentences to describe your loving self and how you want to live your best life?
Loving yourself is extremely important and it is something I am and have had to be intentional about. There are many ways I practice self-love, this includes: alone time — a wise friend once told me doing nothing or having alone time are plans you have made with yourself. Honor that and go through with it. Spending time with my family and friends — this is a great way to recharge for me personally as time with loved ones for me is always filled with laughter and lots of love. Self-care is another way I ensure to make time for myself whether it is my monthly massage, manicure and pedicure, going to the gym or getting a facial, I am intentional and schedule them monthly as it allows me time to decompress. Finally checking in on my mental health, this is something most people I find don’t talk about, but it is extremely important to living your best life — speaking to a therapist has changed my life and has given me the tools I need to really love myself.
Gratitude is so important in each of our lives — what are you most grateful for, and how do you pay it forward?
I am most grateful for my community! Being able to stand on the shoulders of courageous leaders within the LGBT community has allowed me to become my true authentic self and live my life. So many members of our community had to deal with harassment, violence and constant degradation not only in their everyday lives but within the confines of the law, and in the media. We still have so much work to do, but we must also acknowledge that we have made significant progress. I have been lucky enough to have my chosen family to always defend and support me through any situation and I am eternally grateful for that.