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MEET PROSPERA'S ENTREPRENEURS

Interview with Daniella Preisler

"Latina Power means being prepared to re-invent your self a million times. We have the capacity to be resilient, to be connected, to be community. Women are capable of generating huge energy, all by themselves. In our countries of origin we have lived difficult things. And women are always ready to make things work for families, for the community. I think its power without limits. Limitations are placed by the circumstances that we are exposed to. It’s not because we don’t have more. We face whatever comes our way and we move forward. We are creators, creative. It’s resilience, a force without limits."

How are you connected to Prospera?

I came to know Prospera when they were WAGES and incubated Home Green Home. I am one of the worker owners of that coop. I just graduated from a yearlong fellowship program at Prospera and now I am also working as a consultant supporting other coops. For me Prospera offers an opportunity to connect with other women who also want to form new coops and want to learn about cooperativism. It has been an opportunity to share my experience as a coop owner, to connect with women who want to advance in their development, to be financially independent with other women. The fellowship was a great learning opportunity for me. I have become what I am now thanks to this opportunity. Not just learn new things but also apply the learning. Prospera is a place where I can process and apply my learning to support other women. What inspires you most about Prospera’s mission? That it’s targeting my community. That they offer tools and education for women who are looking for a different future. Providing guidance in that path. To me that is the most important part.

Tell me about your immigration story?

I came to San Francisco in 2012 from Santiago, Chile. It’s interesting because I felt privileged because I didn’t have any problems with documentation or the language. But I could not find work all the same. I was in the same situation as other immigrants in this country, even with more privilege. I began to work in stores, cleaning houses, taking care of kids…I first came in 2001. My daughter was born here and then I went back home. I wasn’t thinking about coming back here. But I wanted my daughter to learn English. I couldn’t find a job because I didn’t have anything show for in this country. It wasn’t easy so I started out like most immigrants do. Little by little I got jobs, first taking care of a woman then teaching Spanish. I had the opportunity to work at Home Green Home and everything started to change for me. That was the beginning of a new phase of my immigrant experience. I became passionate about coops and I grew a lot. I had a lot of personal problems and while I missed my friends and family back home that also helped me grow. I came to this country thinking that it was about my daughter’s education and it turned out to be about my education.

What does Latina power mean to you?

It means being prepared to re-invent your self a million times. We have the capacity to be resilient, to be connected, to be in community. Women are capable of generating huge energy, by themselves. Y in our countries of origin we have lived difficult things. And women are always ready to make things work for the families, the community. I think its power without limits. Limitations are placed by the circumstances that we are exposed to. It’s not because we don’t have more. We face whatever comes our way and we move forward. We are creators, creative. It’s resilience, a force without limits.

Name a Latina who has made a difference in your life? Who is she and how did she impact you?

I have two, actually three. The first one is my best friend, a sister. She had an accident when she was 16. I was going to be in that car but for some reason I didn’t go. It wasn’t my time. She became paralyzed from the waste down in that accident. I think for me that was the first big moment where I questioned everything, justice, religion, family, society, my school, everything. The truth is that I was very angry with life, with the world. I blamed myself for that accident and all I could think of were things she couldn’t do. Ne day she said to me, look, if I could go back and choose I would choose to have the accident all over again because I am the person I am today because of that accident. I would not have the same values if it hadn’t been for the accident. That changed my perspective completely. From then on I understood that there are many things in life that cannot be questioned. Then there was another woman who showed up at a time in my life when I was very angry and hurt. She helped me find myself, to discover my values and to confront difficult things in my life, to find answers myself. She gave me the right tools.

If you could wave a realistic magic wand, what would you wish for Prospera and the Latina entrepreneurs we work with?

I would like it if we could do this on a grand scale. To reach the most women that we can. I would also like to be connect to many more resources. I think that the women who are guiding the development are very capable. I would just like to have more women in the program.

How do you see yourself contributing to this magic?

I have that magic wand! I am the one with that magic wand in my hands (laughter). I see myself as a channel. A vehicle for this work. I know that I still need more experience but I have a lot of energy and a lot of motivation and that is what’s needed to reach more women.