Recently during a dinner at Mile High Stadium, I was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from my alma mater, Johnson & Wales. The whole experience was great… yet the back story to all this is what I really want to share.
From Portugal to the United States
I am first-generation Portuguese-American. My parents immigrated to the United States a year before I was born.
They worked in textile mills in South Boston and worked very hard to put food on the table and provide a home for my siblings and me. My father expected me to finish high school and then work in a textile mill and pay rent to contribute to the household (just like my siblings did).
But I never had this same vision.
My junior year (without my parents knowing) I applied to colleges and started looking into financial planning to get into college. When senior year came, I rallied some family friends who had daughters in college to help me convince my father to let me go.
Much to his dismay, he finally approved of the decision and I became the first in my family to attend and graduate college. I think he was so impressed with my determination that he even helped contribute some of his savings to pay for my tuition.
It was one of the best decisions I made for myself.
Receiving the Alumni Award
So this weekend when they introduced me to the stage, I shed a few tears. The tears were an acknowledgement of my parents’ sacrifices to provide a life for me in this great country and for believing in myself!
Anything is possible!
Have a great week believing in yourself!
Author: Nancy Bodnar
A seasoned people leader with more than 12 years of progressive human resources and leadership experience, Nancy is dedicated to assembling, motivating and retaining talent, as well as teaching others to do so effectively. As a first-generation Portuguese-American grateful to parents who sacrificed to give her opportunities they never had, she ensures that intention and purpose is behind everything she does.
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