Profiles in Empowerment
For Jeaneth Gutierrez, Empowerment International has been a part of her life since childhood, and now she finds herself back at EI coming full circle, today as one of its principle staff empowering the next generation to achieve success.
Jeaneth’s first contact with the organization was in 2003, when Anielka Gutierrez, who at that time was the director of EI, arrived at her home accompanied by a mother who already belonged to the program. The home visit was to evaluate if she and her sister would fit with EI, in that year she was in the ninth grade. That same year she and her younger sister began with EI.
Her determination, ability and with the support of EI saw her complete high school and begin studies in university. Through a difficult homelife that saw her considering leaving school, and even leaving the country, Jeaneth found support in EI from Kathy and Anielka, and she persevered. She was determined that the most important thing for her was to finish studying and become the professional she knew would secure her future and achieve her independence.
During her time at university she continued to tutor younger children in EI, maintaining her connection with children in the community and giving back to Empowerment International.
In 2012 her university internship led to a job with the same Hotel Dario in Granada. She was now able to leave home, have a more stable emotional health and develop professionally.
For three years she worked in Hotel Dario, the only 5-star facility in Granada at the time, growing personally and professionally, receiving promotions and recognition.
A year later, Jeaneth finished her studies at the university, “my dream came true! I had a mixture of feelings that did not fit in my chest, all the effort, my dedication, and the people who supported me all the way had finally borne fruit”.
Hospitality and tourism in Granada were booming at this time, and Jeaneth found employment opportunities with a tour operator, and later with a major hotel.
The political crisis of 2018 precipitated a major economic contraction, and no business sector suffered more than tourism, and Jeaneth was not spared. The downsizing in the tourism sector led to widespread unemployment that persists today.
Empowerment International had become aware of Jeaneth’s setback but, knew that the with her university degrees, and skills/experience acquired working, she was ideal for a position that had recently opened, at EI.
In December 2018, Jeaneth started with Empowerment International again. Although the work that she’d done in a hotel is very different from her role now, where she is responsible for maintaining communication with our donors, her “customer service” experience and the humanity she brought to the role serve us all well today. She notes, “our donors are the engine for this program to work, they are the light in the lives of many people in our community, especially the students, who each have a story similar to my own, and who aspire to become next generation professionals with their own bright futures”.
“Much of what I can contribute to EI today I feel is linked to interpersonal relationships. I believe that when I interact with a student I can give examples from my lived experience and thus transmit many positive things.
For a while I also had the experience of sponsoring a child from this organization, it was like giving a little of how much I had received. Today, although I cannot continue to make an economic contribution, I consider that the work experience and the desire to support others also has a great value, to encourage all those students who feel that they have something to do”.
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