ALEXShe’s an entrepreneur, advocating for the empowerment through our communities through financial literacy, welcome Natalie to this week’s Immigration MIC!

Born in El Salvador and raised in Inglewood, Natalie takes me through the story of how her family fled El Salvador during the civil war, and grew up in a neighborhood that surrounded by family in California.

This all changed during the LA Riots, which provided her with a first person, eye opening perspective on police brutality and race relations, and how her neighborhood permanently changed as a result. “That happens all the time, it’s just the first time they caught it on video.”

The riots changed Natalie’s upbringing as well – she was placed in private school, and she describes to me the shift from public school to an environment where she was one of the only Latinas.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the behavior of people and money, that’s why I was a business major.”

From cheerleading, to student council, dance, college, running a non-profit (prom dresses for young women), a successful career in real estate development, Natalie finds it exciting to step out of her comfort zone, and take on ambitious roles.

Here’s where we start getting deep – while she was in graduate school, and the pressure of everything she had taken on, Natalie suffered a mental breakdown, and went into a deep depression. She describes the moments in the hospital, dropping out of her course, the way she began to recover, and we share our collective experiences around panic attacks. As a result, Natalie is a very outspoken advocate for mental health wellness.

Natalie founded Financially Fit Latina – an initiative focused on financial literacy, inspired by wanting to provide helpful tips to other people to manage their money habits, and student loans – even writing a short book that captures all these tips in one place.

In this political moment, Natalie believes in the power of sharing stories and representation of our communities in institutions, and is using her platform to help inspire others to find empowerment through her speaking engagements and presentations.

She’s very passionate about the undocumented community and the need to connect students to scholarships that may be available to help them overcome: “these students will come back and do these amazing things – they’re willing to work twice as hard to be seen as equal”

“This is our future, they are our communities – no matter what background we’re from”

Thank you Natalie for pitching yourself to the podcast – you’re a perfect representation of the people we need in our corners as we fight for social justice with all of your wisdom, ambition, and love for our communities!

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