Latin Times Magazine had the pleasure of catching up with well-known Community leader Marucci Guzman recently -Marucci is one of our 2019 Latina Movers N Shakers! Latin Times Magazine: What part of Florida do you live in – are you from Florida? If not – what brought you to Florida?
Marucci Guzman: I currently live in Orlando, FL! My parents brought me to Orlando at the age of 3, looking for better medical and educational opportunities for my older sister.
LTM: Tell us about where you were born and raised and where your family is from
Marucci Guzman: I was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, and raised in Orlando. My father was also born in Puerto Rico. My mother was born in Mexico City, Mexico, to a Puerto Rican mother and a Lithuanian father. We jokingly call her the United Nations.
LTM: Tell me about what you do for a living
Marucci Guzman: I am the proud Executive Director of Latino Leadership, Inc. We are a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization serving the Central Florida area for over 20 years. They say if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.
LTM: Tell me about what organizations you are a part of
Marucci Guzman: I am currently the Vice President of the Orange County Library System. Talk about an awesome opportunity to share with the community the awesome, life-changing programs and services the library provides. We jokingly say “it’s not your mother’s library”. Whether technology offerings or cooking classes, OCLS provides fun and exciting opportunities to grow as an individual.
LTM: Tell us about the biggest highlights of your career
The biggest highlight of my career was becoming Executive Director. As they say, Marucci Guzman: I used to work for food. I grew through the ranks to where I am today. Seeing hopes and dreams develop into the successful programs they’re today, i.e. Santiago & Friends | Family Center for Autism, makes all the sweat and tears worth it.
LTM: As a Latina leader in the community, business or other…what has been your biggest challenge and how have you been able to overcome it
Marucci Guzman: I would say self-doubt. It is a human flaw to compare yourself to others. It can be frustrating to see how hard you work daily and not receive the kudos or financial benefits you think the mission warrants. But, at the end of the day, you put your head down and keep grinding. If our families are well and striving, we are doing what we need to do!
LTM: How important is being a Latina to you
Marucci Guzman: I often say that if I had the choice, I’d be born Latina… again… and again… and again. I love being a Puerto Rican woman. The history; The passion; The respect for those who came before me is inspirational.
LTM: What is your favorite type of musica, and what is your favorite song?
Marucci Guzman: I love country music. I love salsa. I love Frank Sinatra type music. My all-time favorite song is Marc Anthony’s rendition of Preciosa.
LTM: IF you can go back to let’s say 18-21, what are some of the pivotal decisions that you have made that you would do differently
Marucci Guzman: Nothing. Had a made a different decision, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Every mistake. Every right decision has led to my current life. I am blessed with a great job, good health, and an amazing family.
LTM: What do you think some of the best career choices are for young Latinas
Marucci Guzman: Selfishly, I would urge more Latinas to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. We employ BCBAs at Santiago & Friends. We are in desperate need of talented staff. The need is greater than the supply. It’s a field that pays great with amazing job security.
LTM: Tell us about what kind of projects you currently have going on
Marucci Guzman: Currently, I am working with Dr. Sherin in developing and opening a free clinic for uninsured Latinos in Central Florida. Building on his extensive medical background and my community relationships, our vision for Clínica Mi Salud is a special place for health care.
LTM: What can we expect to see from you in the future
Marucci Guzman: Winning Ms. Universe. Just kidding! I would like to continue seeing Latino Leadership grow and mature into a pivotal piece of the Central Florida service provider network. It is truly an honor to give back to my community daily.
LTM: What is your comida favorita
Marucci Guzman: Everything! I love food. I do try to watch what I eat and am guided by Paleo. Natural, non-processed food makes me feel better and more prepared to tackle life. That being said, I will never say no to cheese.
LTM: What famous person do you most identify with and why
Marucci Guzman: I would say no one. I am not big into ‘celebrities’ or famous people. My mother always says that not one person is more important than the next. At the end of the day, we are all made in God’s image. If someone is good, I can always see a little bit of myself in them.
LTM: What did I miss? Tell me something you want us to know!
Marucci Guzman: I need a vacation! Preferably without phone or internet signal. J