TAMPA, Fla. – A woman who has gone from working in the fields to the boardroom is an inspiration to create a better future for everyone who comes to America.
“I grew up in Hillsborough County, a small town called Vimauma in Florida. My parents brought us to work in the fields when I was probably seven years old. So we lived in that small town and we moved to Michigan and Indiana. Just raise crops,” said Rocio Smith remembered. “When you’re with your parents, when you’re with your family and you’re all together, you’re traveling, you’re together. So in that sense, as I say, it’s a really happy adventure.”
Rocio is now the market vice president at Achiwa Credit Union. As she reflects on her childhood, she is grateful for the experiences she brought here.
Not all of her childhood adventures were happy. Her family had to move from city to city in search of unjust wages, long working hours and work.
She says her experiences prepared her to face the difficult and the world.
When Rocio was 16, she took that work ethic in high school, got some scholarships, and went to the University of South Florida. She earned a degree in psychology and became a mental health consultant.
“I think it’s a ticket. I knew I could help [my family] more if I got that education. I knew early on that I was going to help and give back. And so I’m very grateful to my parents. Yes, ”she explained.
She remembered a time in her childhood when her mother took her to the bank and the teller could not touch her money.
“When you pick a tomato, you get all those green pasty remnants. And that woman won’t touch her money. I remember that. It stuck in my head and I said, ‘One day I’m going to, you know, work in the banking industry. Is doing. “Rocio said.
She never forgot that experience or her dream of working in a financial institution and helping the less fortunate.
“If you work hard, if you study hard, because education, at the end of the day, is the key to everything. That’s where you can make a difference. That’s where we’re going to give back. That’s where you’re going to help your parents financially,” she said. “I failed a lot, but nowhere in those values did they make me a stronger person. And so you’re going to fail and that’s fine, you’re going to struggle. And so basically it’s permanent, of course. At the end of the day, you keep running towards it and you reach your goal. “
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