The Story of KARINA PARR

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American Dream Series

The Story of KARINA PARR

By Maria Danniella Gutiérrez- Salem

The United States is perhaps the country with the largest Hispanic community in the world. Mexicans, due to geographical and economic factors, are the largest Hispanic group. By welcoming its workforce, the doors to their cuisine, music and traditions are also opened. Our interviewee was born in Mexico City, but came to the United States when she was only 18 years old in search of her American dream.

Why did you decide to study in the United States? She replied: “I studied the first two years in an American elementary school in San Antonio, Texas. It is very easy for children to learn a second language and my grandmother enrolled us in that school. The rest of my studies I completed in Mexico City. When I was 16 years old, I learned French and I lived in Europe thanks to a student exchange program. After returning to Mexico, I finished high school at a British school, but I always wanted to study at an American university. My dream was Cornell but my parents encouraged me to choose Florida, as I would be closer to them. In 1994, I started studying International Business and Tourism. I finished in 1998 and immediately began my career in a prestigious international hotel chain. Being in constant contact with the staff helped me discover the importance of human resources and that is why in 2001, I decided to graduate in that area. I worked in the hotel industry in various positions, but always in human resources, until 2014, when my husband and I made the decision to have children. We needed to look for a more suitable place for this, trying to find what we enjoyed as a family.”

Tell me a little about your family. With special joy, she said, “My mother is Mexican but my father is Lebanese. His family decided to migrate to Mexico when he was 5 years old due to the political and economic situation in his country. In Mexico, there is a large Lebanese community so it was not too difficult to adapt for my grandfather. He founded a family business selling wedding dresses that supported and employed the entire family. I think that my background helped me to never be afraid of traveling or living in other countries. I grew up in a family where work and independence are highly valued. So I looked for a life partner that would share my desire to excel. My husband and I met during my college days. He is an extraordinary man. In him, I find support, understanding and stability. I greatly admire his patience and what a wonderful father he is. We have a beautiful, sweet, mischievous and very intelligent daughter who has given light to our lives. For us, she is the possible and the impossible: possible because she personifies our love and impossible because we cannot imagine life without her.

What do you do now? With the expression of someone who takes pride in what she does, she replied: “Well, while pursuing that dream job that would allow me to be a mother and a professional, a friend offered me a human resource management franchise. I was living in Weston but one of the Connecticut territories that had not yet been taken was Danbury. A great friend who I worked for many years ago studied the offer; we decided to partner and I then moved to Danbury. We have been offering our services since 2015. It is very rewarding to help people develop in the professional field, and help businesses grow and positively impact their community’s economy.”

What is your final message? “This is a country that offers the freedom to choose whatever dream you want to pursue, putting at your disposal all the help to make it happen. The opportunities are there; we just need to leave our comfort zone to find them.”

Danniella Maria Gutiérrez-Salem practiced law in Venezuela before going after her own American dream to become a writer in the United States.


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October 6, 2016

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