Video: Dr. Mayra Olivares-Urueta

Video Transcript:

[Moderator]:  Welcome to our final of our four El Centro Presidential Candidate Community Forums. 

My name is Rick Walker, Starlink director at our LeCroy Center location, and I'll be serving as your moderator for today's community forum. 

I want to thank everyone for joining us today, and for taking part in this important opportunity to interact with the highly qualified candidates for the role of president of our El Centro campus, here at Dallas College. 

We're excited to learn more about them. 

Now in normal times, as I've mentioned, we would've gladly hosted each candidate on campus so everyone could interact with them face-to-face. 

However, as we all know, these are not normal times, and we must exercise caution and safety during the pandemic. 

So I want to thank our candidates, our panelists, and our virtual attendees again, for your flexibility as well as your attendance. 

Just a couple of house items, here. 

We are recording this session. 

For those who miss it, we can share that with them later. 

So this is being recorded. 

Also, during today's virtual community forum, we will direct a combination of live questions from our virtual audience, and prepared questions from our panel of community representatives to our candidate, Dr. Mayra Olivares-Uruetaa. 

Now, we do have a chatroom. Let me draw your attention to the chatroom. 

If you are a -- an attendee and you'd like to ask a question, then please feel free. 

Type your question into the chatroom. 

Now, I am privileged to introduce our community member panelists today. 

They are Harrison Blair, president of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, Kourtny Garrett, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Incorporated, and Rick Ortiz, president and CEO of Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

Now before Dr. Olivares-Urueta shares her opening statement, let me provide you with a brief recap of her background. 

She currently is vice president for student development services at the Tarrant County College northeast campus. 

Her work as an educational administrator is framed by awareness of community cultural wealth, funds of knowledge and critical race theories. 

She works to create an environment in which students feel safe and cared for. 

She has served as a recruiter, student-life coordinator, academic instructor, registrar, researcher, and executive administrator. 

Additionally, she has held administrative roles for research projects through the University of Texas' Latino Family College Access program, and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. 

Her research focuses on the success of minoritized students, with an emphasis on latinx students. 

She understands that community service is a vital part of giving back. 

She has served on the advisory board for the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center School of Health Professions. 

She is president of the state board, and chair of the state conference planning committee for the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, and a board member for Campfire Fort Worth. 

It is my pleasure to introduce to you, Dr. Mayra Olivares-Urueta. Welcome.

[Candidate]:  Thank you, Mr. Walker. 

It is definitely an honor to be here with you, and I know it's the last one, so hang tight with me. 

I also want to thank the -- my hosts and the panelists for your time and attention. 

And I'm just really excited to be able to share with you my vision for where we will work together -- how we will work together to help improve such an important part of the Dallas area, the areas served specifically by El Centro.

[Moderator]:  Well, it is an honor having you here. 

We do appreciate you giving us your time, and we've got a wonderful set of panelists, so we're going to jump right to the panelists. 

And we'll start off with Harrison Blair, president of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce. 

Harrison, go ahead. 

[Panelist]:  Thank you, Rick. 

Dr. Olivares just wanted to start by saying thank you so much for spending all this time with us. 

I know it's been a marathon, but we appreciate you so very much. 

And my first question is what is one big initiative that you would like to implement with external partner organizations as the incoming president at El Centro College?

[Candidate]:  Yes. So I think, you know, pressing in my mind as I'm sure it's in the mind of many of our community leaders, is ensuring that we can help our community rise out of the economic depression that has come from COVID-19. 

It is not a secret, Dallas Morning News, all over the place, we're seeing all of the information and the data about job losses, about the decline. 

Even in the participation of students, not only in the K through 12 system, but obviously also in colleges. 

Data for enrollment is not looking good, and a pandemic is definitely a good reason for people to be prioritizing other things over schooling. 

So I think for me, it's going to be how are we going to work together to reinfuse in our community the importance of upscaling. 

Obviously, doing a review of the programs that we have at El Centro and among the Dallas Colleges to see, you know, what are those micro credentials that we can help folks get so that we can get them in jobs. 

What are going to be those short-term certificates, again, that we can get to parents who want to be able to provide for their families and to you know, maybe recent graduates who because of the downturn are having to look to other areas for employment. 

So that's really the thing that's most in my mind right now, is how do we help our siblings in the community rise up from what has been a hugely detrimental economic recession. 

And again, also helping folks to get back to health, and not only economically, but physically and emotionally there's a lot of work that we got to do together, and I look forward to partnering in that. 

[Moderator]:  Excellent. Thank you so much. 

Our next panelist is Kourtny Garrett, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc, and good morning. 

Kourtny, you've got the next question. 

[Panelist]:  Good morning. Thanks so much. 

My question has to do with community engagement. 

So I'd like for you to talk about your approach to community engagement, particularly with diverse constituencies. 

[Candidate]:  Sure. So it's not very different from my approach with any relationship building, which is you know, who is the friend of a friend that I know, right, that can provide that soft handoff, that introduction. 

Certainly, you know, I pride myself in having a good network of peers and colleagues in the area, as well as the state and nationally. 

So certainly, you know those networks would be ones that I would be tapping into, of course, to ensure that I can make those smooth connections with primary partners. 

Obviously, you know all of the panelists here, are going to be crucial in helping me, I think, also ensure that I connect intentionally and specifically with folks that are vital to our work together. 

Again, this is a web of support and resources, and I know that through El Centro, we play a big role in the education and upscaling of our employees. 

But it's also going to be a matter of, you know, how can I come in to meetings, potentially with you, as there are folks who are considering moving their enterprises, their businesses to our area. 

Obviously, the conversation and the question about how we're going to educate the folks that they will want to employ is going to happen, and how we're going to help to keep their workforce viable and up to speed based on the work that they need to do. 

Certainly, that's something that I would expect to -- and rely on you for that type of work. 

With our chamber colleagues, also, you know there's very specific goals that we have to have, and that I will have to set along with you for some of our specific minority groups in the area. 

It's no secret that black and Latino communities have been the most impacted by the pandemic, and even before the pandemic. 

Our educational attainment hasn't been what it should be, our inclusion in [inaudible] and in high-paying jobs has not been what it should be. 

And when we're looking at a Dallas up by 2050 is going to be 80% Latino and black. 

I'm going to absolutely rely on my colleagues Mr. Blair and Mr. Ortiz to also, you know, work with me so that we can together, again, be helping the small business owners and large businesses that are rising from our black and Latino communities, again to ensure that they have what they need to be able to successfully launch their businesses, learn the management and other skills that they might need. 

But again, you know, I haven't -- I don't meet a stranger, I can tell you that. 

And I make it a point to be open about myself, about who I am, about my vision, and just the things that personally drive me, and I find that often that also is a way to find commonalities with those that I'm working with. 

So definitely relying on that as a characteristic that I think is going to help us continue to build great networks for the community, with the community, for the benefit of Dallas, obviously, and our El Centro students. 

[Moderator]:  Excellent. Thank you so much! 

We're honored to have Rick Ortiz serving on our panel. 

He is president, CEO of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

Good morning, Rick. 

You've got the next question. 

[Panelist]:  Thank you, Rick. Good morning. 

Dr. Olivares-Urueta, how are you this morning?

[Candidate]:  Great, thank you. 

It's good to see you again. 

[Panelist]:  Good to see you, as well. 

You kind of started answering some of the questions that I was going to ask, so now I've got to come up with something else now. 

Actually, no. 

I'm glad that you touched on small businesses and the underserved, or historically disenfranchised communities that we serve as chambers and as organizations. 

What role do you see entrepreneurship playing in your plan for El Centro, if I may ask? 

And how much of that do you see working with organizations like Chambers and other external partners in helping these businesses scale so that they can create those jobs -- and since they do hire in those communities. 

And how much of a priority is it for you?

[Candidate]:  Well, it's certainly, again, a massive priority. 

I think for the person that joins Dallas College as president of this campus, there's going to be a lot of uniform number ones, again, especially because of the situation that we find ourselves in right now. 

This is a massive priority, too. 

So the role of entrepreneurship, I mean I think -- you know, and this happens to me. 

I know higher ed. 

I know the trends. 

I know enrollment trends. 

I know, you know, some of the things happening in our communities. 

Obviously, I keep up with the things that I know most directly impact our students. 

But certainly, I'm going to, like our students, you know depend on the chambers and the resources that you have, and the research that you access to have a good understanding of what the entrepreneurship opportunities are that we should be helping our students have their sights on. 

We don't know what we don't know. 

And typically, you know, in my positions thus far, if I'm not doing the research myself, I'm not really going to get access to much, other than what is put out in the public eye. 

So certainly, you know, I'm going to depend on you all as the experts to help me see, you know, have the foresight to see what's coming down the line, 20, 30 years that we now need to be working on at El Centro to help our students set their minds to. 

And you know, this whole -- this whole notion, again, of we don't have -- all the jobs that our students and their children are going to be employed in, there's many that don't exist at the moment. 

So again, I'm going to depend on that partnership with you, and our colleagues on the panel to help me see what the future is looking like, and to again help, then -- help us with our colleagues at the district level, reshape and rethink what we need to look at academically to ensure that, again, we're helping folks get to what we don't know yet about the future of entrepreneurship. 

Also, side note -- like many women, I love to shop. 

And one of the things that I do is also, you know on Instagram, I am quick to be promoting the small businesses from whom I am purchasing items. 

I know that the holiday season is coming up, and those businesses need our help and our support more than ever. 

So certainly, on a personal level that is something that I will pride myself in, is helping to promote Dallas-owned businesses, obviously West Dallas businesses as much as possible. 

But certainly, to help stimulate the interest in that because it's through that, that our communities are going to be able to be better fortified and successful. 

[Moderator]:  Great. Thank you so much, and if you have a question for Dr. Olivares-Urueta, please go to our chatroom and type in your question, and we'll get to them as best as we can. 

Appreciate our panelists serving, here. 

And we're back to Harrison Blair. Harrison?

[Panelist]:  Thank you. 

My next question to Dr. is all around, some of the challenges. 

You've talked through some of them for students, but just want to hone in on that. 

If you could talk about some of the biggest challenges that you see, and some of the needs facing the students of Dallas El Centro College, and what is some of your strategies to handle some of those?

[Candidate]:  You know, that's an awesome question. 

Strategy wise, I think it's going to be -- and I know, my order is interesting but I'm definitely going to depend on a lot, for sure I think, on Kourtny's insight about housing. 

And the reason I'm talking about housing is because we know that evictions are horrible and getting even more terrible. 

And as an educator, I also have the knowledge that if our students don't have stable housing, education is going to be the first thing to go out the window. 

And we know that without education, they can't progress economically. 

So you know, there's certainly some social pieces in the city that I'm highly interested in. 

And you know, I'll certainly have to learn about what involvement can be given, given the role of the president. 

And of course, you know, the work of the district. 

But those are -- that's one of my huge concerns, is how do we help our community members be in housing that's stable? 

And again, that seems like -- it might seem out of place for a president to worry about, but again, it has a very important impact on our students' ability to engage educationally. 

And so I did do -- some of the reading I did to prepare, America's Future Workforce is one of the pieces that I read by Anthony Carnavale and he talks about specifically for the Latino and the Black community, 72% of Latino students enroll in two-year institutions, open enrollment institutions. 

And 68% of African Americans enroll in two-year colleges.  

The earnings, lifetime earnings for people who complete a two-year degree, and we know that about half of our students don't complete, so they enroll and don't leave with a degree, the lifetime earnings for the students that do is about $1.6 million. 

When you're looking at selective four-year institutions, in the enrollment at those institutions for Latinos are 13%, and for African Americans is 9%. 

You're looking at a 2 million -- 2.3 to 3.7 million earnings over a lifetime. 

So my concern is ensuring they have places to live and study, and also helping them to see opportunities in the short term which El Centro can most definitely help prepare them for, as well as planning out for their lifetime. 

For the long term, right? 

So we can help provide those certificates, and credentials, and eventually lead them to what I like to -- you know, I like to see this conveyor belt where we have them all, and they all stay. 

And we don't lose them until they get through their academic associates degree, whatever they choose for that to be. 

But to help to keep them, while employed because we know they can't stop working. Right? 

They still have to help and support their families. 

How can we also help them? 

And this is where I will depend, too, on us as a community to come up with how this looks. 

How do we help them, then continue to progress through baccalaureate and bachelor's degrees, and beyond? 

And I know, and I had to come to terms with the fact that not everybody will get a bachelor's degree. 

And not everybody will go beyond that, but still, everybody has an opportunity to complete some type of college credential. 

So how do we help them get there?

 And again, some of the pieces that, you know, our city leaders are dealing with such as eviction, poverty rates going up, homelessness, food insecurity. 

All of those pieces show up at the college, and so we find ways for that to be addressed at the college. 

And so what are ways that maybe we can help each other? 

You know, maybe scale up some of those solutions because again, all of those pieces are going to have a huge impact on how much and how many of our students we can successful transition out with degrees and certificates. 

[Moderator]:  Excellent. Thank you so much. 

Kourtny Garrett has the next question. 

[Panelist]:  Thanks, Rick. 

And that's actually these -- all these points are a great tee up to my next question. 

Building off of what you talked about related to the importance of housing and working with the city, there are some really critical points that are happening in the planning world of our city, right now. 

We are developing new housing [inaudible]. 

We are developing new economic development policy. 

So -- and it's my understanding that this position is intended to be pretty external and involved in those civic efforts that are going on in the city. 

So talk a little bit more -- you talked about the importance of working with the city, but I want to hear a little bit more about [inaudible] in terms of your experience or goals working with elected officials, key city management, and so on, folks who are really down in the weeds in getting these important projects done. 

[Candidate]:  Sure. Well, very honestly, you know in the positions that I've held currently, those have not been pieces that have been under my purview or places -- or pieces that I've been drawn into. 

As I noted a few days ago, the president for whom I work right now is amazing and a wonderful mentor in that she has actually helped to bring me into some of those areas more as a listener. 

Now, obviously to kind of see and learn about the parameters and dynamics. 

Hi, baby. So -- 

-- it's all good. 

Please know this happens to me all the time. 

I get it; totally get it. 

At least they were clothed, because I've had them show up without clothes and that's even worse. 

[ Inaudible ]

So one of the things, one of the ways in which I have found opportunity here, and I'll talk about a program that we did. 

We hosted Kirsten Melton from Austin and she does a lot of work around human trafficking and sex trafficking. 

And it was actually an event that was hosted by my division, by health services. 

And we have seen, I'm so proud to say, that we have seen this specific project and program actually be elevated to a city level because of our president, obviously, and her support of us hosting understands that this is a direct impact in how we help to uplift the community. Right? 

So we're looking at -- and we were having some great conversation just a few days ago about, again, this event we're hosting is going to include leaders and PD, police departments from 12 municipalities, from 12 cities. 

Because again, we want to be able to ensure that they know what to look for, and also to see the college as a place that not only will welcome the people there helping to get out of those, those horrible cycles and that horrible life. 

But again, you know that's where I'm being able to see the actualization of the benefits of what happens when we're working with our city leaders. 

I mean, something as simple as inviting them to events like that, and then assessing how we are working together, or what the efforts are being done at the city level to address something as crucial as that has rendered amazing fruit and amazing outcomes to where again, you know next month there's going to be a session that includes 12 cities. 

And again, we're in the works. 

We're planning how, again, TCC will be very intentionally positioned to welcome the survivors of these -- I don't even know what to call it, of sex trafficking and human trafficking -- so that they can learn other ways, they can see other ways that they can earn incomes and have stable lives for themselves, for their families. 

That's one example, again, that again, you know, I'm thankful that I have a president who has the foresight to see how the things that sometimes you know -- we do this work and you're just like, "I'm just doing it. It's another thing we have to do." 

Of course, it's a great opportunity, but having the foresight, and again you know, I pride myself in having that, but I have seen how it happens in a really fantastic way, and I'm pointing out that way because her office is down the hall. 

But how that, then, can be elevated to be a really amazing effort with our city leaders is great, and you know that's one way. 

I have many other ideas. 

I watch many documentaries, and read many things, and know a lot of opportunities we have in the area. 

But that's one concrete example that I can share. 

And again, it's been a little limited, but I am certainly taking advantage as I noted, too, with the connections with the chambers here, to ensure that they're also partnering with us; very intentionally, specifically on my end with helping our students who are homeless find temporary housing that is affordable to them as well. 

So I'll stop at that. 

[Moderator]:  All right. The chatroom is clear. 

If there are any questions, feel free to put them in the chatroom. 

So for now, we'll toss it back to our panelist Rick Ortiz. 

[Panelist]:  Thank you, Rick. 

So staying with that same theme, there, talking about the challenges that come with a new role, that's really going to be a departure from the traditional president's role, and understanding, you know, that you're going to be playing this role and sort of learning on the job. 

That's going to require you to have influence. Right? 

And it's going to have -- require you to have an open mind. 

So could you please describe a situation in which you embraced a new system, or process, or technology, or an idea at work that was a major departure from the old way of doing things, or how it's always been done?

[Candidate]:  Sure. 

So certainly, I'll out higher education in my field, and specifically student affairs by saying we don't get any rule books or play books. Right? 

So as far as learning on the job, I think if nothing else, we become experts as people that have to play it by ear and figure it out as we go. 

So that's certainly something I'm not a stranger to. 

As far as learning new processes and new ways to do things, and you know I have to apologize, you've heard me a few -- this is our second time together, so of course I'll bring some of the examples I've shared previously. 

But I don't know that folks outside of higher education have a sense of how different institutions can be, not only within the districts. Right? 

Campuses have their own campus culture, and there are pieces that for better or worse are very different from one campus to the next. 

And then even district-wise, districts can be very different from one to another. 

I worked at a medical -- UT Southwestern Medical Center -- going from a medical center to a community college was a huge shock, for sure. 

And before that, I was at a flagship state university, at the University of Oklahoma. 

Don't kick me. 

But it's my alma mater, too. 

But we can talk about that some other time. 

But certainly, you know, there's been a lot of differences in how you finance and how you move processes and projects forward, certainly. 

And much like Dallas College is experiencing right now, Tarrant County, although we have been accredited as an individual institution for many years, the concept of one college really came to the fore about the last three years, which is the time that I've been back. 

So previous to being in this role, I was at Eastfield College while the district [inaudible], you know accredited by campus. 

So I went from single accreditation, to Eastfield that was independently accredited -- and that was a shock to the body -- to coming back again and relearning TCC because it was different. 

In the short time that I was gone, it was very different. 

So as I shared before, now we have to log step. 

Just because this vice president of student development services thinks that we need to have an urgency assistance grant instituted for students yesterday, doesn't mean that it's going to happen. 

So it's really been an opportunity for me to learn how we are to move things forward now in this new process. 

And after, again, three years of doing it, I think I got it. 

But certainly, it requires a lot of collaboration across the division, district wide. 

So being able to have really open, sometimes difficult conversations about where we think we need to be spending or effort and our time with colleagues who also have their own personal ideas about where we need to be focused and where we need to be going as a division, and for the college. 

So that's been huge. 

And again, you know something that I -- it's taken a few years to learn, but we are getting there and we're really working really well together. 

As far as something new that we've created within learning this whole new culture of one college at TCC within the last three years, it's also been an opportunity to see some things to fruition. 

So I mentioned the emergency assistance grants, it's actually that we were able to implement and incorporate as of fall of '19. 

And typically, you know those things can happen, will come to life and then they're taken up by the district, or they're managed individually at the campus level. 

The vice [inaudible].

I'll sit in a place where you actually have a VP lead, right? 

So even learning and tacking on all these different projects has been quite the learning curve. 

I'm actually in charge of that specific piece. 

But we -- you know, how we sit and where we sit at the campus and the district level has certainly transitioned. 

And again, marrying that with all the different other types of institutions has made for a change not being as crazy as a shock to my system. 

But again, relying a lot on those networks that I will be there, because I know you are ready for this person to come in and to work with them. 

But also, you know the guidance not only of my peers at the district, but also you in the community to help guide where we need to be focused and how. 

[Moderator]:  Thank you very much. 

Harrison Blair, you've got the next question. 

[Panelist]:  And then good, Dr. this question really focuses in a little bit more on what you just discussed. 

It's really about an overall strategy to engage community partners, and how you're going to approach that. 

Just want to know what is your overall strategy to engage more partners like chambers of commerce and other entities to create more opportunities for students of El Centro?

[Candidate]:  Sure. 

So definitely doing an environmental scan of who -- first of all, who all is in the area? Right? 

Who all is part of our community? 

Who do we call our community? 

How has the college already engaged? 

And I know Dr. Adames has done an excellent job in his role and working with community partners, so learning what he has done, how has that been mutually beneficial for the partners as well as for the institution, and also again, you know given the changes of the last 10 months, how are institutions, how are community partners pivoting? 

And for me, very specifically, to see then how we help in that pivoting process, how we help, again, educate and pave that internally and academically to ensure we can help, you know, meet our mutually beneficial goals. Right? 

I think all and every goal that I read on all of your websites is not unlike anything that we are trying to do as an educational institution, and as educators in general. 

I like to talk from the I perspective, but I know that all of us that work in education are here to ensure that we improve lives of our community, that people can engage in fruitful and meaningful work to earn living incomes. 

And to be able to have, you know, the life that we all dream about, the American dream. 

But again, you know that environmental scan. 

Who have we worked with? 

What have we done? 

Who have we maybe not engaged as much? 

Because time and resources are limited. 

So then who do we need to be working on engaging? 

Or intentionally again, that we maybe haven't worked with, and how are we pivoting together? 

Obviously, you know, being really well aware of what long-term strategic goals are for those community organizations is also going to be vital. 

And I'm definitely going to be depending a lot on Piper, she's at the district level, I know with advancement and kind of doing some of this work as well to also help guide the work that I would need to be focusing on as an El Centro president. 

But you all are the key. 

I mean, you all are the key for me. 

And again, that historical insight and your immediate goals and long-term goals are going to help also to set the stage for what that looks like. 

[Moderator]:  All right. 

We're a little over the half-way point, and now it's a good time if you are wanting to submit a question then now would be a good time to submit that to the chatroom. 

We've got a couple of more questions, here. 

Let's go to Kourtny. 

[Panelist]:  It is an exciting time for Dallas College and El Centro, in particular, as we look forward to a new campus and new facilities. 

So my question is about visioning. 

And there's been a tremendous amount of work for the direction that this is headed, done over the last year or two years. 

So what was your -- what will be your approach to visioning related to, and incorporating what's already been done, but then also bringing your own fresh ideas and perspectives? 

And engaging the community before [inaudible].

[Candidate]:  Sure. 

So I think it's not going to be very different from what we're doing now, in the sense that you know, I will definitely want to be -- want to be brought up to full speed on what that planning and vision has been thus far. 

And then being and connecting with the campus is going to be super important; learning what their engagement has been, how their voices have played a part in this. 

The student voice. 

And you know, what are they needing? 

How has that also played a role in the visioning for what El Centro would become? 

But most certainly, you know I'm not naïve enough to think that obviously, the engagement that has happened at the community and city level is also playing a humungous role on the impact and the vision that's already been set for what's coming. 

Certainly, you know communication is key. 

So as much as I can provide updates, you know via video, or via you know, mass emails to our campus community. 

But also, you know, engaging with our community leaders and venues such as this. Right? 

So that you have the opportunity to sit with me and discuss together what has happened, your role, and then also you know, where you see things going based on, again, so many of the changes that we are experiencing. 

I think the goal doesn't change. 

I mean, it's pretty clear to me that we're seeking to create a more vital and vibrant community of employees through what we're doing in this work. 

So you know, setting a pretty good schedule far in advance for you all to know when we're going to have time to be meeting together. 

But again, for me to be providing updates to the community, to the campus, but also engaging very intentionally with our neighbors. Right? 

I'd love to learn how that has also been shared with the surrounding community and the taxpayers who are you know, personally investing in these huge and exciting opportunities. 

But I -- yes, I like to talk a lot, as you can tell. 

But also, you know as much as possible, have virtual coffee conversations and be able to build a trust and rapport in which people feel like they can say what they need to say, and ask the hard questions so that we can together chisel out what that vision will continue to be. 

And again, you know, always honoring what has already been set because I'm sure there has been a tremendous amount of work. 

But where we might have opportunities to better engage with our partners, and again with our neighbors, our students, and the campus community, ensuring that I'm able to do that as well and kind of bring all the pieces together. 

Because if we have one out, that doesn't feel like they've bene a part of, or their voice has been heard. 

It's certainly -- it will be my job to ensure that they're brought in and brought up to speed, and that we can ensure all the voices are heard. 

So I'll be at [inaudible] for sure, and learning a lot. 

[Moderator]:  Excellent. Excellent. 

I sure do appreciate our panelists on this community forum. 

And Rick Ortiz has the final question from our panelists. Rick?

[Panelist]:  Thank you, again, Rick. 

So success and failure, that comes with careers. Right? 

And many times, failure is a prerequisite for success, because it requires you to learn how to be successful in something if you don't know. 

And where I'm going with this, is can you talk about a time when maybe you failed at something in your career, but you learned from that and used it to accomplish something successfully?

[Candidate]:  Sure. Certainly, there are work examples and I know I shared some. 

For me, my personal development and ensuring that I am as up to speed and as educated as I can be is certainly a priority. 

So I'll talk a little bit about personally, and it deals with the profession, too. 

You know, there's this very -- there are many fellowship opportunities out there for aspiring leaders. 

And many more people applying that those who get it. 

I can tell you about it, and I think this will also be reminiscent for our students, times that I have applied, and I thought, "man, like I have all this stuff. I've already got all this great resume." 

And no, you don't. 

You know? 

It turns out that maybe you do, but the way you present yourself isn't how it needed to be. 

So there's one particular one that I applied for three times, and it was painful every time. 

But I got it, thankfully, at the end of the day, you know, I was able to make it. 

Third time was a charm. 

And in work, I mean, I feel like all we do is be told, "not like that", or "not yet", or "not that way". 

So I try to see the -- that says, full of rocks, but with ability for sand to get in there. 

So you know, with the emergency grant, I know I keep talking about it, but it's so vital right now. 

That was something that we had been discussing and talking about for quite some time because of the research, and we know the need, what's out there. 

That's one that, again, because of the amount of money that it required and the amount of staff that potentially could be part of that, there was hesitation, for sure. 

And we still don't have the staffing that we need to be able to keep that running as it should, but we're working on it. 

We're devising other ways. 

The Equity App that I know is something Dallas College is using already. 

But I guess all that to say, every day that I work, there are no's and there are opportunities to do something and more, better for our students. 

So it's kind of our daily bread. 

As far as, again, personally speaking, there's just been times where I've had to try again, and try again, and try again. 

Especially, again, as it's been with jobs. 

You know, applying to jobs and not getting that job can be a huge blow. 

And then, you know, at home. 

I'll talk a little bit about being a perfect mom, and being a perfect professional, and all of that. 

There's no such thing. 

I've had to learn to give myself grace, especially in this time. 

And when my kids show up in the back of the room and are playing with their Barbies and making all kinds of noise, you know being okay with the fact that I won't be what my vision is of the perfect professional at all times because I am a multi-faceted person. 

And it certainly, it has shown while I've been working from home. 

But it's just a part of life. 

I have survived my father being dead, and being new to a country, and not speaking the language here. 

And then going to another one and not speaking the language there. 

And so I think, you know, in the grand scheme of life, we make it. 

And so the bumps that we achieve, or that we encounter, on a day-to-day at work are just that: bumps. 

And how do we get ourselves up? 

Shake it off, and keep it moving so that we can reach the goal. 

[Moderator]:  Excellent. We have a few minutes left, and we finished our scripted questions from our panelists. 

We don't have anything in the chatroom, but I'll just open up this to our panelists. 

Any follow up questions from any of the panelists?

We good?

[Candidate]:  Tips on parenting while working? 

I mean I'll take it. 

[Moderator]:  Well, I was going to say Kourtny's son wanted me to ask: DC versus Marvel, which one is better? 

But I don't.

[Panelist]:  Figure out the magic, let me know. 

[Moderator]:  Well listen, we are about finished but we want to give you the final words, Dr. Mayra, so what would you like to leave us with?

[Candidate]:  Well, again, I just -- I acknowledge and I know that the work of our panelists is massive, lifting up a community and a city is no small task. 

I'm excited for the opportunity to potentially be lifting up our city together, our region, and again, the community that El Centro and Dallas College serves. 

I just wish you the very best. 

I know we have -- we're doing a lot of hard work and have a lot of hard work ahead of us. 

So just prayers and excellent thoughts to all of you. 

Thank you again for your time, and to all who are here and everybody from Dallas College, just thank you. 

And it will be my honor to be able to serve you in this role, should I be selected. 

[Moderator]:  Well thank you Dr. Mayra Olivares-Urueta. 

It has been an honor, a privilege. 

Thank you also to our panelists, Harrison Blair, Kourtny Garrett, and Rick Ortiz. 

You guys have been troopers through this. 

We appreciate you and all of our community members for your participation in this forum. 

And this will conclude our El Centro presidential candidate community forums. 

Thank you, guys, have a great day. 

[Candidate]:  Thank you so much.