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12 Rounds with Nicole Sandoval


In our new weekly feature 12 Rounds, leaders will answer 12 questions — some light, some heavy — from our Publisher and CEO Henry Sanders to help the community understand them, what they do, and why. Today: Madison College bilingual recruiting coordinator Nicole Sandoval.

Nicole moved to Madison from La Paz, Bolivia at age 7. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, Political Science and Ethnic Studies from Edgewood College in 2014. Nicole has extensive knowledge on immigration policy through her work as an immigration legal assistant in Chicago. Additionally, Nicole has experience in community outreach, database management, case management, fund development, and event planning from a number of professional roles including her past role as the Program and Event Coordinator for the Latino Chamber of Commerce.

What advice would you give someone who is a person of color not from Wisconsin who is thinking about moving to Madison? I would say that Madison has its set of challenges, but that there are several people who are waiting to welcome them with open arms to help face those challenges. 

Name three songs that accurately reflect how you’re feeling.

-Buscame- Carlos Vives ft Kany Garcia

-Let it Be- The Beatles 

-Good as Hell- Lizzo 

If you could go back in time to any point of life to tell yourself something, what age would you go back to and what would you tell yourself? This is something I think about a lot. I think that everything in life has a purpose and so I don’t believe in going back in time and thinking if any advice now would change the outcome. Without the choices I had made, I would not be the person I am today. I think the only thing I would tell myself is to be more patient. I think as humans, we get trapped in either thinking about the past or focusing too much on the future, and we forget to live our present. I don’t mean don’t set goals for yourself, but I mean just be more intentional about living for today. I was very guilty of this. I think, I would also tell myself to be more intentional about things, situations, conversations etc. 

What did you learn about yourself in 2020? In 2020, I learned that I need to be more self-compassionate. I spent many years with very high expectations of myself, and although I am proud of all my professional accomplishments, I learned that I need to focus on taking care of myself, my needs and things that make me truly happy. My career was one of them, but there were other areas of my life that needed work and 2020 really opened that door for me. Like everyone, I faced many adversities, but with a strong support system and therapy I learned to fall in love with areas of my life that needed much more attention. I found more of a connection with nature and all the beautiful places Wisconsin has to offer. I made new friends whom I appreciate with all my heart and reconnected with those who I had lost touch with. I learned that its okay to say no, and put your personal happiness above anything.  

At this point of your life do you feel you have found your purpose? If so, how did you figure out your purpose? Yes and no. I say yes because, I think as people, we all have that one over arching calling where you our passions. I also say no because every day I grow, learn and evolve. You meet new people and have different experiences. Every day we are changing and so I think as we change so does our purpose. I think that at different points in life ones purpose also changes. Change is good, sometimes scary but good to help you become a better version of yourself. 

There is a lot of division around the issues of race in politics. What can we do to lessen those divisions? Listening is an act of love. I think that we don’t listen to each other. I think that we make assumptions and jump to conclusions without really taking the time to hear one another. We hear each other, but we don’t intentionally listen. We could do so much more if we listened and had open channels of communication. I think we get too caught up in the politics of race in politics that we lose sight of what we are trying to accomplish. We are quick to want to cancel everything without taking the time to really listen. So, let’s be more intentional about listening to each other! 

You used to be the President of the Latino Professional Association. What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in that role? Being President of the LPA was one of the most rewarding and challenging things of my professional life. I took on that role at a very young age with very little experience in terms of leading a board. I was learning and leading alongside the Chair and the wonderful individuals who were part of the board. I had been involved with the LPA since shortly after its launch at various capacities but the presidency brought its own set of challenges. There were many difficult and uncomfortable conversations at times, but very rewarding opportunities for development and growth.  

Name one person, dead or alive, that you would love to meet and have a conversation with. This is a hard one! There are so many people I would love to meet and have a conversation about several topics but the one that stands out right now is Dr. Jordan Peterson. Dr. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto. I recently read his book 12 Rules for Life. Highly recommended if you haven’t read! He has conservative political and cultural views and I’d be very interested in having a conversation with him. 

Chocolate or Peanut butter? Hands down, Chocolate!

What’s your favorite dance of all time? None of the Tik Tok dances. Salsa all the way! 

Would you rather be fulfilled in life, or famous? Fulfilled. Fame doesn’t guarantee happiness, but living a fulfilled life does. 

How would you describe yourself? I would say I am a very extroverted person, with a kind heart that will always go out of my way to make you feel welcomed and help, even if it’s just with a smile.