The Mexico City native recently realized that at some point in her life, she had made the United States her home by becoming a link between newcomers and the established community.
“When I got here, it was a little different in terms of learning the language. I had to learn English first, so I studied linguistics and I always was translating to people.” Gonzalez says.
Gonzalez currently works at Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care as diversity manager. Her role is to help with developing, implementing, and promoting diversity at Agrace, which is a place for patients and families to improve quality of life in the end stages of terminal illnesses. Gonzalez also helps with fostering an inclusive, family-like environment for patients, volunteers, staff and many others.
“Family doesn’t necessarily mean the traditional way like having a mom, dad, and siblings,” she says.
Gonzalez’s definition of diversity is also not the typical one — to her, diversity includes the ways in which we are both different and alike, and increasing diversity should include acceptance and respect. A lot of people think that diversity just has to do with race, when it’s not just only that.
Brenda Gonzalez was born in Texas but grew up in Mexico, mainly in Monterrey and Mexico City. Gonzalez finished her undergrad in social psychology at Metropolitan University in Mexico City and after that, she moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to further her education.
She started her career assisting Spanish-speaking parents at an elementary school. About a year later, she interpreted for a few health and social services organizations. After a while working as an interpreter for a few companies. She moved to a place to where she coordinated again as the interpreter services for a large health care system which was breaking linguistic and cultural barriers between health providers and patients. She was also a Deputy Director of New routes to Community health, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson foundation.
People who she has always looked up to were her parents.
“I look up my parents because they have supported me through a lot of things in my life,” she says. Her parents have always told her two things she never forgets: “Always treat people with respect, and always be open to new ideas.” Gonzalez has used those words to continue life through giving other people respect and also for how far she has gotten in life, she has been open for new ideas. Her idea of being open to new opinions is connection on a personal level. As she is open to those ideas, she learns things and facts that she thought were different and then helps with others with opening up her ideas to others and hoping that they will listen.