Newsletter | May/Jun 2018

Member Spotlight :: Helen Vasquez
by Helen Vasquez

We spotlight a different OWA+DP member for each newsletter. This time, we hear from the lovely Helen Vasquez, one of the of the OWA+DP steering committee and this year membership/info admin.

Photo Credit: MH Architects

1. What book has changed how you look at the world and why?

A book that I always seem to go back to is “The Cellist of Sarajevo” by Steven Galloway. What resonated with me is the powerful voices each character had whether it be through actions, inaction, emotions, fear, etc. One key topic that I learned from this book is that there are three types of people in the world when under extraordinary circumstances:
1. Those who will become frozen, numb, and unwilling to move when face with fear.
2. Those who will flee the scene, perhaps selfishly, in order to survive or deny what they just saw happen to others.
3. Those who will fight, helps others, and take risks without hesitation or fear that something will happen to them.
I find myself asking: what kind of person will I be?

2. How has someone’s mentoring made a difference in your life or career?

A mentor is very important in someone’s life. It can help one gain the confidence and determination to reach one’s goals that once were thought as unattainable. Someone who is genuinely there for you, supporting, and reassuring your decision making can make a huge impact in your life and career. At least for me, it has made it easier for me to establish and reach goals because I know that I will have someone always rooting for me and reminding me of my goals in times when I forget why I'm doing it in the first.

3. What is your next big goal for yourself, personally or professionally?

My current goal is to finish the ARE exams. I'm halfway there and determined to continue until I pass all 6! Once that is done, (I will have to take the California exam, but once that's over), I will re-evaluate my career and see what the next goal will be.

4. In a parallel life, what would be your line of work and why?

Ever since I was young, I always admired those TV/movie characters that were geniuses and invented all these cool gadgets! in spy movies especially, seeing these inventors know exactly how to create that something just after someone describes the idea made me so happy. Did anyone ever watch Alias? Yea, I always wanted be that character.

5. What has changed since you started in your field?

I feel like I know less! Does that makes sense? There's been so much that I've learned and still learning - new information just doesn't stop. I've been with my company for 7 years now, growing, understanding, and absorbing everything that I can, but knowledge is so powerful that it sometimes makes you feel like you will never get to the end. Knowing that and admitting that you don't know everything is a humble experience. There's a vast of information that I'm still learning which will keep me on my toes for a long time.

6. Has your career path been shaped by being a woman, and how

I've had many women mentors along my life whether it be through school, dance, family, etc. It's always been the backbone of everything that I've done and always gravitate towards empowering women. I think in a subconscious level, I've done things with the hope to show other women that we will not be limited by the societal boxes and cookie cutter ideas they put in front of us. I've always had the go-getter mentality and I am not about to stop now.