What is your occupation and for how many years?
I am a pre-needs counselor at DeVargas Funeral Home. Prior to that, I have been involved in many community events and organizations. In my early years, I was very involved with Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and liturgy, and the Pilgrimage for Vocations. I was also a banker for many years. In 1996, I became an insurance agent.
I have been involved with Taos Feeds Taos since 1995, when Alice Trujillo recruited me as the coordinator for the basket recipient program. Prior to that, I have supported my husband’s (Francis) work with Taos Feeds Taos since 1986. I take pride in saying that we help 1,150 to 1,200 people throughout Taos County.
I became involved with Taos Historical Society in 2003 with Corina Santistevan. I became secretary in 2005 and [handled] membership recruitment. When I became president in 2009, I continued to recruit members. During my tenure, I’m proud to say that we have come a long way. Our memberships have increased tremendously. We have a full year of monthly lectures, which are held the first Saturday of every month at 2 p.m. at the Kit Carson Cooperative boardroom. We have luncheons in May and December each year, honoring various respected community members.
In 2013, we published our long-awaited history book, “Taos, a Topical History.” This book took 17 years to get published.
I strongly urge friends and families to sit down with your loved ones and tell the stories that will preserve your family’s history. Traditions are passed on by being able to talk of one’s past so they stay alive with our future generations.
How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
My family instilled in me an overriding belief in dedication and commitment.
If you could go back in time and tell your 18-year-old self anything, what would it be?
Being able to make a difference in someone’s life will always bring you great joy.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
My family has always helped support my activities.
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
I strive to live my life with purpose and in making a difference.
What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?
My family and grandchildren.
As an invisible mentor, what is one piece of advice that you would give to readers?
It is nice to be important, but it is important to be nice.
Meet all of the Taos Woman 2020 Women of Impact:
• Debbie Lujan: Community and Non-Profit Leadership
• Michele Hunt: Educator
• Jacquelene McHorse: Entrepreneur
• Yvette Ortega: Restauranteur
• Catherine Strisik: Literary Artist
• Ernestina Cordova: Community Volunteer
• Lisa Abeyta-Valerio: Athletics
• Nikki Ross: Children's Creative Opportunities
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