I am not a politician. I strive to be a good mother, wife and friend. My parents, who immigrated to this county, shaped my values. They taught me the value of rolling up my sleeves and working hard to solve problems and get results. Their life lessons made me who I am today - the right leader for Berkeley Heights right now – hard working, determined, working to creatively solve issues our town faces. Just like you, I know how hard it is to earn a living and raise a family here. My family taught me how important it is to earn respect and I promise to work just as hard for Berkeley Heights as I have my whole life.
My mother and father are Peruvians who immigrated to the United States. They worked hard to make their dream of a better life a reality. My father and his brothers had to put higher education on hold after the loss of my grandfather to work to support their working mother and four siblings. Life was difficult, so he immigrated to the United States dreaming of greater economic opportunities. My mother’s father was a pulmonologist who dedicated his career to treating patients in the community with tuberculosis. My mom watched him endlessly care for his patients battling this terrible disease. This inspired her to pursue a career in the medical field and she came to this United States at the behest of her father, who felt this country could provide her with more opportunity.
My parents met in the US and raised me and my sisters in a family that wholeheartedly embraced American traditions, while preserving our Peruvian culture and customs. So, in our home, we spoke both English and Spanish. When I started school, I remember the teacher telling my mother I could not speak English. My mom simply laughed, assured her proudly that I was fluent in both languages and said, “Just give her a few days and she will fit right in.” And I did.
What my parents sacrificed for our family was extraordinary. They worked hard, were dedicated to their family, and put their education on hold, to focus instead on providing us the best possible life they could.
When it came time for college, I will never forget my dad realizing, and taking the time to explain to me, that they had limited financial resources to pay tuition and I would have to work to contribute. I knew this was one of the hardest things in the world for him to say, but having learned the importance of perseverance from my parents, I was determined to succeed and make him proud.
Despite the financial challenge, I worked hard to find and earn scholarships to a number of schools determined not to put a big burden on my parents. I chose Manhattan College for their excellent business program and proximity to NYC so I could find a job to establish my career and to help fund my education. My father was so proud he made wallet sized copies of my scholarship letters and showed them to all of his friends -- embarrassing at the time! I worked hard while in college sometimes holding down two jobs to help pay the bills.
After graduation, I landed a job as an auditor at Price Waterhouse where I began my career in Finance. My husband Stephen and I were married and settled in Berkeley Heights over 15 years ago. My boys are my pride and joy and we feel fortunate to raise them in this great community, teaching them the same values of perseverance and determination we learned from our parents.
I am using the lessons of hard work, resilience and dedication my parents taught me for our residents. Living in Berkeley Heights was a dream come true for me and my family, and through personal commitment and diligence that dream became a reality. I know the value of a dollar earned and will treat our tax dollars with the same scrutiny I use in our budget at home.
I feel so blessed with a beautiful family and a career that I enjoy. As I am out and about town with my mom, who recently moved to Berkeley Heights, I am reminded of the long and arduous road we took to get here and live in this incredible community. That is why I will work hard for you, our residents, to make a difference and help to preserve all that makes our community one of the best and safest places to live in the Country.