Thanks to support from her loving family and the Goodwin community, Elena is on her way to achieving her dream career in construction management. It’s a journey she started years ago, in her home country of Colombia, and is now within reach as she looks to complete her associate degree in Spring 2022.
We sat down with Elena to learn more about her journey so far and what’s on the horizon.
Goodwin Connections: Thank you so much for taking time to chat with us—we know you’ve got a lot going on, and we’re really impressed with everything you’re doing. What originally motivated you to go back to school as a mom?
Elena: When I was growing up in Colombia, my mom was a teacher. I always loved to learn, so I knew I would want to have a career. I tried many times, but I was never able to finish we don’t have the same opportunities in Colombia that we have here in the United States. Then, when my first child arrived, it changed my life, my personality, and my perspective of the world. I feel a responsibility to be the best person I can, to be an example for my sons. They make me want to be a better person every day.
GC: Why the construction industry?
Elena: I fell in love with the construction industry when I got my first job in Colombia. I got a job as an office assistant in an architect’s office. Between going to job site visits, learning the drawings, AutoCAD, and everything, I loved it. I worked in the industry for around seven years in different areas and departments. When I moved here, I knew I wanted to get back into construction. As a woman in construction, I don’t see many
other women. But where I work now, they are so supportive of women and of immigrant women. Being in a field that was traditionally just for men, it makes me feel I am capable of doing whatever I want. And it’s my passion.
GC: How did you decide the time was right to go back to school? How do you find balance as a student parent?
Elena: It is hard just being a mom. Thinking about being a mom and having to work and go to school, it is hard. But I think that with my kids came superpowers. After you become a parent, you discover things in you that you didn’t know you have. It’s strange. You’ll know that you can do whatever you want to do, because of them.
It has been tough at times, but my husband is a fantastic man and he’s been so supportive. My kids and my family are my priority, but they’ve also been my support. And now, with the support from Goodwin, it doesn’t just help me, it also helps my family. I can go to work or do my homework and my son gets to go to school and learn and socialize with other kids, and then he brings that back and teaches his little brother. It’s a big peace of mind to me and my husband.
GC: What are you most looking forward to? What do you want most for your future?
Elena: I am so happy to be able to go back to doing what I love. You spend a lot of time working so it’s important that you do something you love to do, and I am able to do that now because of the support from Goodwin Connections and from all the people around
me and my family.
But I want to have a life balance. I love my work, but I love my family and there has to be a balance. I want my kids to grow up and see me as a successful person who pursued her dreams—and that I was able to accomplish them.
For my sons, their education is really important. I never had easy access to education, and I think it opens doors like nothing else does. I want them to go to school, to be successful people who are happy and love what they do, because life is short. Time goes faster when you have kids, and I want to be an example to them.