There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Monica Betancourt | Luxury Miami Realtor

I was born in Bogotá, Colombia where my family is from, and I grew up in several countries in South America due to my father’s career with an international company. The moves gave me the advantage of becoming fluent in three languages, and also imbued me with an understanding of the significant — and often subtle — cultural differences of various nationalities, along with the ability to navigate them with ease. This multi-cultural personal experience has been a key asset in my career as a luxury Realtor in South Florida, which has long been a prime destination for international relocations and second home purchases. Read more>>

Gilza Fort-Martinez | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

I am a child of political refugees from the Cuban revolution. My parents were middle-class but educated, and they were quite progressive for the late 1950s early 1960s, especially regarding education for all. This was something that they highly valued and encouraged since they had to start their lives over upon arriving in the United States, including their careers. Read more>>

Beatriz Ayala-Muñiz | Connector, Music & People, Founder & CEO

I love this question because it makes me think about identity and how we get to choose and define who we are as we change and grow; for me, never the same yet always rooted in one truth. I am from Puerto Rico, a fact I am proud of. There’s a lot to be said about being from a tiny island in the middle of the Caribbean with one of the most complicated historical contexts and current reality. Yet, I will keep it light: I owe my entire essence to this place. The way I speak, eat, walk, dance, relate to others, the way I feel; passion forward, resilient, edgy, warm, la música por dentro, a mix of idealism with brutal truths and the belief that we are capable of reaching the impossible. Nothing was ever given to us, Read more>>