Our culture takes much pride in being a hard worker. Sandra Ortiz, store manager of McDonald’s on Tezel and Culebra, is the epitome of *La Trabajadora, forever committed to achieving her goals, not just for herself, but for others as well. Journeying from a small town in Monterrey, Ortiz found her way to San Antonio in need of work. Due to the language barrier, work did not come easy, but she did not give up. Now, years later, she has *trabajadores of her own whom she guides on their own path to success.
Coming from a family of five siblings, Ortiz was resourceful. Though her English was limited, Ortiz did not allow that to stop her from interviewing for work. In the early 2000s, she was able to give her interview in Spanish at McDonald’s, which was thus a saving grace and an integral part of her professional career. It was not about what she could not do, but about what she could do.
“I came from a country with no knowledge of culture or language…but I feel so welcome,” La Trabajadora states as she reflected about her first position at the eatery. As a crewman who worked in the kitchen, Ortiz recalls how her managers at the time continued to challenge her, with the expectations for her to meet those challenges, sending her to classes for management as she continued to work on the language aspect. Now after years of working in a community where she served food to many familias, those same customers have become her employees throughout her time there.
Ortiz is continuously giving back to her comunidad offering jobs and skills to those who may not be able to find one elsewhere. If you do not have your high school diploma, Ortiz will make sure you are in the Archways to Opportunities program to accomplish that task. If you want to go to college, she will guide you as she was guided. If you don’t speak English, not a problem. La Trabajadora will make sure you take the classes offered by the Archway programs and offer her experiences. Throughout the Pandemic and even this year’s Winter Storm, Ortiz continued to find ways to help her community by assisting with work and even making masks for her employees and customers.
In a land where her father ate his first hamburger after being arrested by border patrol, Sandra Ortiz is now the one making the burgers for her gente. “I want to give opportunities to others like me,” later adding, “It’s a sense of pride to help someone in my own language.” Let’s continue to take pride in what we can do instead of what we cannot. *Orgullo, gente!
*La Trabajadora- the hard worker