Patricia Arvielo: passing on the American dream.

Author:Olguin, Kimberly
Position:SPOTLIGHT - Interview

IT ALL STARTED with the American dream. She vividly remembers gazing at the beautiful mansions of San Clemente as her mother took the freeway down to visit Nana in Tijuana. "Someday, I will have a house like that," she would tell herself, as she often did while envisioning her future. At just 6 years old, Patricia Arvielo knew where her ambition was.

Hard work and saving were always part of the plan. The chores would get done and allowances were rarely spent. She was affectionately referred to as "Mi Coda" for her diligent frugality. By age 12, she officially entered the workforce, eager to earn her $25 a day. Always seeking opportunity, Arvielo advanced quickly in her career after following a lead at age 16 for the best paying job she could find. Little did she know; Trans Credit Union would give her much more than the much-anticipated $6 an hour.

Midway through high school, Arvielo jumpstarted her career. She gradually advanced within the business, breaking into the mortgage industry at just 18, through hard work and experience alone. She didn't go to college since education was not a priority in her family.

"My mom has a fifth- or sixth-grade education," she recalls. Her dad was a facilities maintenance man and mom was a maid, cleaning the houses for clientele that often were Arvielo's schoolmates. Arvielo takes great pride in her upbringing.

She looks back fondly at the success her parents had, despite not receiving a formal education. "My mom was an entrepreneur," she proudly declares. "Mom got to make her own decisions and was always home when I arrived from school, while most of my friends had to wait to see their mothers after 5."

Later on, her parents teamed up to run a business cleaning places at night. Entrepreneurship certainly runs in the family.

The example that her parents set inspired Arvielo as she progressed in her career. She also aspired to be a business owner but was hesitant early on. Like most leaders, Arvielo was further inspired to chase her dreams as a result of her failures. "Every one of my failures was a gift," she says. As a young adult, she made the common mistakes that most people make, but she refused to let them keep her down.

There were many difficult times: a failed marriage, bad finances and many other bumps along the way. Still, she is able to find the positive in all of it. Arvielo maintains that she benefited from making so many mistakes early in her adulthood. Those setbacks ultimately taught her...

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