Share your stories, and find strength from each other’s struggles and successes. You will find hope and affirmation that all of your dreams will come to fruition”
Veronica Peñaloza Wolfermann is a Femigrant from Venezuela. She works as an Account Manager for Non-Profits at Facebook.
When I interviewed Veronica, I asked her to think about what makes her unique. By the end of our conversation, I found her uniqueness myself. She is a kind and caring daughter at heart who appreciates the struggle of her parents, and works hard to support her family so that they don’t feel regret at leaving everything behind and moving to a new country at the age of 50. She’s thrilled to be working to strengthen and build communities, bringing a genuine perspective of compassion to the tech industry.
As a young Venezuelan, Veronica struggled with her family in finding a sense of peace and hope for a future in their home country. In their 50s, Veronica’s parents made the painfully difficult decision to immigrate to the U.S. The move came with tremendous sacrifice: leaving their family behind, and facing a continued daily struggle to restart and adapt to a new life in a new country. Her mother, met with the challenge of a language barrier in the US, gave up her entire career; her father now worked tirelessly as the primary provider; her brother was forced to completely restart his career. Veronica herself worked to financially and morally support her parents – all in exchange for the possibility of a happy, opportune future for the family.
Today, Veronica has been in the United States for 3 years, and devoted every single one of those years to going after her happiness and her goals with an amazing drive. She started at UT Austin shortly after arriving in the US. Her undergraduate career was a major challenge in achieving her goals: it was colored with culture shock, attacks on her very academic competency based on her Venezuelan accent, roadblocks in being allowed opportunities based on her limited number of connections – all of which led to trouble forming new relationships, finding a sense of belonging, and a deep struggle with depression/anxiety.
While they were far from easy to get through, Veronica recognizes now that the challenges she faced at every step, made her increasingly more resilient, and fueled her to work even harder for her future. What ultimately motivated her through completing her degree were the mentors she met along the way, and the opportunities (like working with nonprofit organizations) that she found herself a home in.
In just the short 3 years she has been in the US, Veronica has by now not only completed her undergrad, but also (right out of college!) landed a rewarding role at Facebook to kick off her career.
As an Account Manager on the Small and Medium Business Team, Veronica gets to work daily with real people, helping them identify and meet their business needs. She helps nonprofits further their mission on the platform and in doing so, develop and strengthen their communities. Just some of the nonprofits she’s had the opportunity to work with so far: The Alzheimer Association, Compassion International and Humane Society.
Veronica gets to see how Facebook builds social value and realizes every day the impact they, together, drive as a company. She feels incredibly grateful that she has found not only a sense of belonging in this role, but that she gets to use this role to bring that feeling of belonging to others as well.
For Veronica, the reward and motivation for her hard work is in being able to create and sustain her own happiness, her own sense of purpose of living a life that consistently holds hope for the future. This, to her, is success: building a life that shows her parents (and her family back in Venezuela) every day that all of their sacrifices, were worth it; that all the dreams they dreamt for their children, have become a reality.
Her thoughts to Femigrants: share your stories, and find strength from each other’s struggles and successes. In doing this, you (like I do) will find hope and affirmation that all of your dreams will come to fruition.
Editor: Arfa Ahmed