A Family’s Legacy Of Rewriting Invisible Rules To Make The World More Equitable
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” – Sir Isaac Newton
Toiling in the unrelenting heat in southern Texas as a field hand earning nine cents for every pound of cotton, Olivero Everett had a plan. It was the 1950s and the industrious high school student in San Diego, TX was earning money as a day laborer for his family and for his future. His future would not be held back by a set of invisible rules… invisible rules that made it nearly impossible for a young, smart, and ambitious Latino to rise out of that hot, dusty field and into a college classroom and ultimately own his own business. But Olivero was rewriting those invisible rules.
I am where I am today because of my grandparents. My grandfather worked his way up from those fields of South Texas to becoming his high school valedictorian and then on to the hallowed halls of the University of Texas where he studied to become a pharmacist.
He opened up his own business in Corpus Christi, Texas. Even as a successful business entrepreneur, he still faced bias and discrimination that came with being a Latino in the 1960s and 1970s. But he kept on rewriting those invisible rules with his wife, Aurora, at his side.
Olivero and Aurora’s son Carlos is my father. Carlos learned from his dad about the power of determination, hard work, helping others, and pride in your heritage. You see, my grandfather was not just a role model for the family. He was a role model for the community. Pharmacists are an integral part of the fabric of every community. They make our lives better. My dad witnessed that impact every day.
It’s no surprise that my dad went to the University of Texas as well, where he met my mother and became a doctor. He succeeded as “he stood on the shoulders of giants,” as Sir Isaac Newton once said.
Similarly, Oscar and Rosa Sanchez grew up in Juarez, Mexico, and worked hard to support their family by opening up small businesses in Los Angeles and El Paso before ultimately settling down in Laredo, Texas. They instilled in my mother, Ana Rosa, the values of hard work, resilience, and giving back to the community. With a dedication to her studies and the full support of her family, my mother was the first in her family to attend college and ultimately become a pharmacist.
This is the family I was fortunate enough to be born into. This is the lineage of hard work and success that’s baked into my DNA. Proud Latina, Tejana, and Mexicana DNA that doesn’t believe in invisible rules that can hold us back from achieving our goals.
So when I too went to the University of Texas, I carried the legacy of my family with me. Unlike my two brothers who went into the medical field, I chose a different path and became the first one in my family to enter the corporate world.
Upon graduating from the University of Texas, I joined Goldman Sachs and spent 12 years rising the corporate ranks. However, there was always a part of me that wanted to help rewrite the invisible rules that were holding people back from financial equity.
In 2021, I joined a fintech startup called DailyPay whose mission statement really hit home with me. DailyPay is dedicated to rewriting the invisible rules of money and creating a new financial system that works for everyone through the power of on-demand pay. At its core, it’s about providing important financial services to communities often underserved. Communities that deal with the same bias and prejudice that Olivero dealt with in Texas in the 1950s. Rules that hold us back from achieving our dreams.
Hispanic/Latinx individuals have a place and huge opportunity in the Tech and fintech space. I am thrilled that DailyPay has launched the employee resource group, DailyVida, with a mission to cultivate and inspire the network of Hispanic and Latinx employees and allies, in an effort to promote the cultural diversity and professional development of its members. I truly believe in the power and impact that employee resource groups can have in fostering a community and network, developing talent and future leaders, and paying it forward for the next generation. We are here to share our stories and push each other to excel and continue to make a difference in our professional and personal lives.
Today I feel like I honor Olivero, Aurora, Oscar, and Rosa’s legacies by working to make the world a better and more equitable place. A place where you can have access to your pay as you earn it to pay bills on time or to save or invest on your own schedule. And now, for my 2-year-old son to show him that he too can “can stand on the shoulders of giants” where anything is possible.
Celebrating My Hispanic Heritage As An Industry Leader Changing The Fintech Game
My first language was Spanish. During my elementary years, I attended a Baptist school where the main language was English and this forced me to learn English at a young age. My dad is from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and my mother is from South Texas. They met at a carnival near a border town and once they married they moved to Houston. Growing up, my dad was a preacher at a nondenominational church and I had a very conservative and strict upbringing. My mother was a stay-at-home mom and my memories of her from a younger age are of having a home-cooked meal every day.
My dad was the first of his family to move to the U.S. He knew very little to no English and would have friends help him translate when he interviewed for jobs. As you know, if you live in Texas, it’s likely that you work in oil & gas. It’s where the money can be made. He started as a helper and through years of hard work and dedication eventually became a Safety Director and later retired after 40 years.
Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of working hard for the things that we wanted. Nothing was given to us. We earned it. My parents also didn’t believe in debt, even having a 30-year mortgage. Instead, my dad worked extra hours and paid off their home within 10 years. If you didn’t have money, then you didn’t buy it. I grew up thinking the same way, I paid cash every chance I had. I bought my very first townhome at age 26, on my own without the help of my parents. My dad had instilled in me how to be confident and proud of who I am, and work hard to achieve the things I wanted without validation from anyone.
Oddly though, I didn’t know the meaning of saving. If I had an extra $100 in my pocket, I would go shopping and then have zero money until payday. Fast forward to my first sales position and ironically I was selling 401K plans to small businesses. Although I learned the importance of saving money at a later age, I knew it was important enough that I truly believed that every employer should offer a 401K to their employees, or the power of saving!
Present day, as a Sales Director at DailyPay I help employers offer financial wellness benefits and make earned wages available to their employees daily! No debt, but empowering their employees to pay bills on time and avoid payday loans, overdraft fees, or high-interest rates on credit cards.
My culture and upbringing empowered me to be an independent person. I do not take anything for granted and I feel blessed to have the knowledge and opportunity to meet with companies who have the power to make a difference in their employees’ lives by providing resources and coaching so that they can learn how to save now, and not wait until later in life as I did.
From El Mamey, La Vega To Finding A Home in Fintech; Honoring My Family’s Legacy By Supporting The Working Class
Being part of the first generation of Dominican-Americans in my family and growing up Latino in a city that never sleeps, has come with many challenges and countless blessings. My lineage and surroundings have molded me into who I am today, and I still learn new stories from my family that serve as an inspiration for my creativity, personality, and other aspects of my life still yet to be discovered.
I am the youngest of three, with two wonderful older sisters, Yesenia and Jasmin. My parents Milagros and Miguel met and married in the Dominican Republic in a small town in the “Cibao” El Mamey, La Vega. They immigrated to the United States in the ’80s and resided in Harlem, New York, where I was born and raised. My grandfather led the way as he was the first person in our family to migrate to the U.S. in the ‘70s. He first resided in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
My mother worked eight to ten-hour shifts in a factory, and my dad managed a laundromat and later ran a bodega in Perth Amboy, NJ. My parents worked very hard to make sure my sisters and I had the best path forward and always reminded us what it meant to be Latino and with transparency- to preclude us of the challenges that we would face ahead.
Being Latino comes with many responsibilities, experiences, and challenges. Many countries fall under the “Latino” umbrella and every country has its own challenges to face. We also all have our own unique cultures. We have our own cuisines, music, and slang unique to each country. From the Rancheros of Mexico to the Bachata of the Dominican Republic, to the delicious mofongo from Puerto Rico; our cultures are enriched in many areas.
I first heard about DailyPay while working as a Director of Placement for one of our current partners in the homecare space. I was super excited that such a benefit and tool were being provided to help a workforce that is essential to our society. I said to myself, I want to work there one day.
After a stint managing partnership at one of our channel partners HHAeXchange, I then found a home in FinTech when I joined DailyPay in July 2021. Along with an active music career, I was looking for the next exciting challenge in my career. I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization that brought true value to the end consumer, and where I can be unapologetically myself. As Latinos and Hispanics, we are often accustomed to not finding comfort in our workplaces, and carrying that chip on our shoulders. DailyPay is not only the innovator of on-demand pay, but it has also built wonderful offerings to society and developed an incredible culture within the workplace.
Now I wonder, what if my working-class parents had a benefit like DailyPay? How much easier their lives would’ve been. The access to their earned wages would have alleviated so much stress in their lives. I am passionate about our offering because I know how many lives it impacts. From those working in manufacturing companies to those working in storefronts just like my parents did.
Decades removed from when my parents met, in a whole new country, proudly in the words of the legendary Merenguero Fernando Villalona; “Dominicano soy, de mis raices, nunca voy a olvidarme.”
PS: I want to dedicate this article to my father Miguel Peña who passed away last June 2021 from cancer. Te adoro Papi, nunca te olvidaremos.