How did you get where you are today?
The list is endless. That’s the beauty and magic of growing up in Taos, where the meaning behind “it takes a village” rings so true. But, primarily my family. The support and encouragement I receive on a daily basis from my husband, Carlos, is tremendous, he is my backbone, and believes in me and encourages me in whatever I take on.
My children, Jordan, Camryn and Chloe, have always been and will be the drive and reason behind everything I do. My parents, Rudolph and Theresa Pacheco, who instilled essential moral values of faith, respect, humility, discipline, kindness and responsibility.
Especially my mom, who has sacrificed and continues to sacrifice to ensure I have whatever I need to accomplish what I set out to do, watching my children so that I could focus on my studies and now work or coach.
Extended family of amazing Taoseños, teachers/professors, religious leaders, friends, coworkers, and coaches including Lisa Abeyta-Valerio, who coached me throughout high school and continues to inspire, support and influence me today.
How many years involved in your various endeavors? Of what are you most proud?
I have been a Registered Nurse at Holy Cross Medical Center here in Taos for 16 years this May. I have worked the majority of my nursing career and am currently working in the Labor and Delivery Unit, but have worked the Medical Surgical floor, and Pre- and Post-Surgical, and Endoscopy units as well.
I have been a coach for Taos Xtreme Allstar Cheerleading teams for eight years, working with Taos youth ages 4-18; and just completed my first season as Head Coach of Taos Middle School Cheerleading team.
The accomplishment I am most proud of is my family. I became a mother at 18, and along with my husband, and the help of our “village” have raised and continue to raise three incredible young humans.
I am also very proud to be able to give back to my community which continues to give so much to me, in working with our youth, giving them support and an outlet through cheer. Being able to support Taos women, some friends, family, in the vulnerable journey of labor and birth, and as they navigate their new role as a mother. It is just as empowering for me as it is for them, and it’s wonderful to be a part of the magic of Taos’ “village” as it goes full circle.
If possible, what advice would you give your teenage self?
Be yourself, unapologetically. Don’t rush into what you think or what others think your ideal life should be, but instead be patient, take life as it comes, enjoy the journey of getting to know yourself and appreciate those who love and help you along the way. You have a lot to learn and experience.
How do you create a sane work-life balance?
Sane? My husband (who also works at the hospital as a surgical technologist) and I are fortunate the hospital and our coworkers are supportive of a work-life balance, allowing us to have semi opposite work schedules. We prefer one of us be with our children as much as possible, except for a couple of days a week when we’re blessed to have my mother, Theresa, or my mother-in-law, Marbella Trujillo, help watch our daughters while we are at work.
As a nurse, I am able to work three 12-hour shifts a week, the majority are weekend days, which gives me four days off during the week for my family and coaching duties.
My husband works Monday-Friday, and ends his work day in the early afternoon, only to rush home to be with our 2 1/2-year-old, while my 13-year-old and myself rush off to cheer practice Tuesdays-Thursdays. Sundays are family days, a day we are all off together.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women right now?
Navigating career and motherhood. Juggling all of life’s demands during this pandemic while giving our best effort to the many hats that we wear. So many women are working full time, taking responsibility for their children’s virtual education, household chores, giving their all to be the best mom, wife, employee, friend, etc. Not an easy thing to do.
Who are your real-life heroes?
My husband, who has completely turned his life around and works tirelessly and endlessly for our family.
My mom. She is the most selfless person I know. Always giving of herself, of her time, of whatever she possibly can.
My grandmother Ernestina “Tita” Pacheco, who is strongest woman I’ve ever met.
All of the essential workers in our community – doctors, nurses, nurse’s aides, housekeepers, pharmacists, grocery store workers, EMS, police – putting themselves and their families at risk to show up for our community, I know that isn’t easy.
What has the COVID-19 pandemic made you be more aware of than ever before?
What’s really important in life, time, family, health. All of the little things. How wonderful it is to slow down and enjoy all that we are blessed with.
What is the main message you want Taoseños to hear coming out of this pandemic year?
Do the little things that bring you joy and be present. Do things that preserve your mind, your peace, your health.
Watch Jennifer Ortiz's 2021 Taoseña Awards acceptance speech