What is your Hispanic Heritage: Colombia, South America
What area of Florida do you live in: Fort Myers, Florida
What is your profession: Architect, Urban Designer, Green Building Consultant
Meet Diana and other Lideres at the Hispanic Heritage Celebration at 3rd Annual FORD Taste Of Latino Festival!
Latin Times Magazine: Tell us about what you do for a living and how you got into it
Diana: Living my best life working as an architect in the field of urban design and sustainable development which includes green building and energy efficiency. I always had passion for sustainable community development, from site design to building the most eco-friendly/efficient buildings. I had the opportunity to work as a construction quality control auditor in Colombia, and here in the United States for Habitat for Humanity over 20 years ago, then moved on to work in government here in the State of Florida in community development; this journey gave me the experience and the opportunity to begin my career as a consultant and owner of E3 Building Sciences and Community Development Reimagined.
I also founded a non-profit in 2012, Streets Alive of SWFL and our vision is to recreate safer places for cyclists and pedestrians in SWFL , a work of love for solving a big challenge in our State. As a bicycle crash survivor, I can take my experience and generate positive impact for those in my area and be a catalyst for needed change.
Latin Times Magazine: In your industry, what would you say separates you from your competition
Diana: So many things! I am an out-of-the-box professional! I believe that my experience and perspective of over 20 years in combination with my passion, leadership skills, enthusiasm, creativity, and, good energy, sets me aside from anyone. I strive for quality in all my projects and in building great relationships, it is about making a difference wherever I go, with the people I engage with, and living a purpose driven life.
Latin Times Magazine: During Covid-19, tell us about your Biggest Challenge/obstacle and how you overcame it/or are overcoming it
Diana: Personally, isolation was hard, I made sure to prioritize self-care physically, emotionally, and mentally to work through those times and hold on to my faith; the times of self-reflection have made me stronger, but it has not been easy.
Professionally, it was challenging and still is to an extent with the limitations of networking and social gatherings; lots of creativity to get around just virtual meetings and finding new ways to engage with clients.
Latin Times Magazine: Tell us about your biggest achievement, and how you achieved it (Covid or non-related)
Diana: I want to say maybe there is more than one. The experience of being the first Latina running for Fort Myers City Council and raking in the polls close to winning the position is a big achievement, putting Latinos in our area on the map and showing the resilience and greatness we bring to the table.
Creating the nonprofit and making significant changes in our area for bicycle and pedestrian safety from system change to outreach has been huge, we are the only nonprofit in the area focusing on these issues.
Last but not least, being a Minority/Women owned certified business.
Living the American dream and being a role model!
Latin Times Magazine: What is next for you? What can people expect to see from you?
Diana: That is a loaded question hahaha. Continue to evolve with my businesses.
I know my purpose is to serve and I will continue to do so through all aspects of my life. I am engaged in different boards where I can make a difference, as Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry and Board of Trustees at Hodges University; I hope to leave a footprint in these organizations and many others in the future.
In the future, I look forward to other opportunities to pursue political office.
Latin Times Magazine: What does being a U.S. Citizen mean to you?
It is a meaningful demonstration to my commitment to this Country and having the opportunity to represent my native land, honoring both.
The ability to provide my son and my family with opportunities that would have been more difficult otherwise, living the American dream, and being an example of a Latina leader.
Latin Times Magazine: What is your opinion of the state of affairs in our nation?
Diana: That is a heavy question. I believe we need to start thinking about the future of our humanity and put asides our differences and all the hostility. Political parties’ ideals have been taking a detour disregarding humanity, our planet, and common sense. We The People, deserve must more than lip service and divisive lingo.
Latin Times Magazine: What words of encouragement can you offer?
Diana: Let’s all work towards the change. We can start with ourselves and those immediately around us. It is not possible to be part of the much-needed change if we all think is someone else’s business, we all take part in the future we need, we have the ability to make a difference wherever we are regardless of our jobs, political positions, etc. We are the catalysts for change.
Latin Times Magazine: Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to share?
Diana: Arriving to this country and making life happen has not always been glamorous, I left my country as a single mother with my clothes only, enough money for one semester of college to learn English… with all the ups and downs, it has taken tears, defeats, hard times, good times, determination, and faith to get to this side…I hope I can inspire someone.
Latin Times Magazine: What is YOUR comida Latina favorita?
Diana: Lechon!!! Arepas, Ceviche, Ajiaco…now I am hungry hahaha.