The City Magazine April 2024

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April 2024


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HOW TO REACH US 518 W. San Antonio, Suite A El Paso, Texas 79901 (915) 217 - 0723 | Cover Design By: Ernie Sanchez Creative Letters addressed to The City El Paso Magazine become the property of the magazine, and it owns all rights to their use. Letters may be edited for space. All rights to the contents of this magazine are owned in full by the magazine and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the Editor in Chief. Views expressed herein are those of the authors and advertisers and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the ownership or management of the magazine. All rights reserved. AT YOUR LOCAL WALGREENS Pick a copy of To Subscribe go to JOIN US THE CITY MAGAZINE GO ONLINE FOR MORE! CALENDAR GOT
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From the

rowing up, all I wanted to do is everything that I do right now. I wanted an adult life full of stories, fun, and one where I’m able to make a difference each and every day. As an editor / reporter / mentor, I have the privilege of living out my girlhood dreams every day, and it’s my goal to shout from the rooftops that others can achieve their dreams too.

Welcome to the wonderful world of women in business!

This month, we’re highlighting local business women who are shaping El Paso while also inspiring (and facilitating) growth for younger generations, quite literally growing a garden of girlhood smack dab in the middle of the desert.

As we were putting this lovely issue together, we began noticing themes with each editorial and profile: all of these women have blazed their own trails that are now shining the light for others and have meaningful ties to the community. Our cover queen, the fabulous Linda Wolfe, is someone I’m so excited for readers to get to know.

As the CEO of The Great Khalid Foundation – and mother of the great Khalid! – she’s known for her philanthropic work that advocates for education and opportunities for children. As a woman and a leader, she carved out a career in the military that took her around the world in service to her country while her children were growing up at home. We don’t always realize the sacrifices that military members and their families make for our freedom, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Linda and the other brave soldiers for their selflessness.

“In time all girls will be able to grow up believing that there are no avenues closed to them simply because they are girls,” writes Margaret Atwood, and the women in these pages are pioneering the local effort.

From women in construction that you’ll read about in SPACES, who are building homes, reimaging iconic structures, and bringing the future to life. With so many women working in construction and leadership positions, there are fewer glass ceilings to shatter and more opportunities for women to be elevated.

But that’s not to say it’s easy.

Our first editorial, written by the spectacular Charity Vizcaino, explores the complexities and intricacies of women’s mental health with shocking statistics that made me all the more in awe of the women included in this issue.

More than anything, this issue showcases the multifaceted nature of identity that celebrates our differences, talents, and unique approaches to life.

These ladies know girls don’t just want to have fun. They also want to have fundamental rights, autonomy, and creative expression.

Let us slay.

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15 April 2024 APRIL 2024 VOLUME 120 contents Features Here and Now 16 Exploring the Complexities of Women’s Mental Health By: CHARITY VIZCAINO 66 The Wolfe Inside By: ERIN COULEHAN 90 Secrets of a Mommy Mogul By: YOALI RODRIGUEZ 60 Inside Amaldeux’s ‘Sinfully Innocent’ Dollhouse By: ANNABELLA MIRELES 96 Local Film Shines in ‘Illusory’ By: AMBER LANAHAN 22 Celebrate Whole Body Health By: JANACE L. GRIFFIN 66 16 90


We know it’s not easy to be a modern woman in the world. In recent years, discussions surrounding women’s mental health have gained significant momentum, shedding light on the multifaceted challenges and nuances faced by women across the globe. From cultural stigmas to systemic inequalities, the landscape of women’s mental well-being is intricate and often misunderstood. In this article, we embark on a journey to dissect and explore the complex questions surrounding women’s mental health. By delving into the interplay of societal expectations, biological factors, and individual experiences, we aim to unravel the layers of this critical issue, fostering a deeper understanding and dialogue to promote holistic support and empowerment for women everywhere.

Research suggests that women are more likely to experience certain mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety compared to men. What do you think are the underlying factors contributing to this disparity?

One of the primary reasons for this disparity is the difference in hormonal fluctuations between males and females. Hormones play a large role in regulating emotions. Puberty starts earlier for girls than it does for boys, meaning girls are more likely to begin experiencing mood changes at a younger age than their male peers. These hormone changes often continue throughout a woman’s life, making her more susceptible to emotional distress.

Beyond the sex differences, and hormone fluctuations that females experience, women are statistically more likely than males to face poverty, discrimination at work, harassment, domestic violence, and sexual assault. The National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that 1 in 4 women have experienced domestic violence, and 1 in 5 women have been raped. The physical, emotional, and mental consequences of such abuse often cause financial concerns as well. It’s estimated that up to 60% of women in DV situations lose their jobs due to repeated absences. The NCADV states that women lose up to 8 million dollars in paid work per year due to this. The gender gap has significantly closed; however, women still are not making the amount of money that men are. Due to caregiving of loved ones, pregnancy, and maternity leave, women often lose out on opportunities that their male counterparts do not have to pass up.

In 2023, Hispanic women were earning .79 for every $1 that men were making. For Caucasian women, this number was .83, and for Black women, .80.

How can healthcare providers better integrate an understanding of how physical factors impact women’s mental health?

Mental and physical health are tied to one another. Sometimes, it is difficult for healthcare

providers to tease out the cause of a physical ailment because a chief complaint might not show up in lab work or an X-ray. Somatic issues, such as chronic stomach aches, GI issues, headaches, etc. can be potential signs that there is mental distress taking place. When primary care, and other specialty doctors have visits with women, it’s important to look beyond lab work and information on an intake form. Naturally, healthcare provider’s primary focus is on the patient’s physical health. However, I encourage all healthcare workers to diligently consider the following: Life changes such as martial or job status, stress, family dynamics and home environment, and romantic relationships.

Because domestic violence is so prevalent, it is vital that healthcare workers also pay attention to a woman’s body language at the appointment. For some women in an abusive situation, she will maintain standard doctor appointments but not seek counseling for fear of retribution from her partner. Is she nervous? Does her partner demand to come in with her or request information? Does she have unexplained injuries? A medical provider can help to provide resources if there are concerns of DV or Intimate Partner Violence.

Women often juggle multiple roles and responsibilities in their personal and professional lives. How can workplaces create a supportive environment that accommodates the mental health needs


of women, especially considering the potential impact of factors like caregiving responsibilities and workplace stress?

The National Safety Council found that when a company invests in a mental health program for their employees, they see a return on their investment. Their report showed that for every $1 spent, they had a return of $4.

In the February, “Galentines” article, I wrote about the concept of “mental load”, the invisible weight a woman carries as she is navigating the roles she has. I spoke to a few women in healthcare who shared with me how their employers could support their mental health. These were the commonalities I found in their answers and in my experience counseling women in the workforce:

• Have a daycare on site and/or provide childcare when school is out for holiday.

• Having 3 months paid maternity leave

• A companywide statement on the importance of mental health

• Company policy allowing for an unscheduled mental health day 1 x a month, no questions asked.

• Flexibility and trust to work from home or another location

• Having a therapist on site

Intersectionality plays a crucial role in understanding mental health experiences. How can we ensure that mental health services and resources are inclusive and accessible to women from diverse backgrounds, including those from marginalized communities?

• Community outreach to ALL parts of a city.

• Sending representatives to advocate and provide psychoeducation on mental health to doctor’s offices in rural areas.

• Information about mental health and resources on how to access them at community centers, schools, grocery stores, gas stations, women’s shelters, and places of worship.

• Telehealth options for individuals who do not have transportation.

• Access to have virtual sessions in a private room in a doctor’s office if Wi-Fi is not available.

• The field of mental health needs more professionals from diverse backgrounds. This helps to combat cultural mistrust, and aids in building trust /alliance within marginalized communities who have experienced racism and discrimination.

Societal stigma surrounding mental health can be particularly challenging for women to navigate. How can we work to reduce this stigma and promote open

discussions about mental health within communities, families, and workplaces?

As a society, we cannot undo the messages that have been passed down from generation to generation, however, our power comes when we recognize patterns of language or behaviors that no longer serve us or the life we want to lead. Breaking a stigma like mental health does not occur quickly. The most effective way to break free is to begin talking about it. Fear and shame grow in secrecy. Conversations about mental health should begin at home, and extend to our friends, and colleagues. Acknowledging we struggle or have struggled in the past is not a weakness, it is simply part of being a human.

Women are often underrepresented in clinical trials for mental health treatments and medications. How can the medical and research communities ensure that women are adequately represented in studies to develop more effective and personalized treatment options for mental health disorders?

1. Embed research clinics into community women’s health centers.

2. Provide transportation and have incentives such as gift cards for participation.

3. Engage with communities to provide information about the importance of research and how it can benefit their community.

4. Have study designs that are more flexible.

5. Train investigators on cultural norms, biases, and cultural humility.

6. Investigators who design the study need to be sure methods used in data collection can be translated into other languages and accommodate special needs.

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ABrushing A way T roubles The Healing Power of Art Therapy and Counseling

fter the pandemic, the focus on mental health spiked across the nation since, according to a most recent study published by Statista, back in 2021, over 41 million adults in the United States received treatment or counseling compared to the 27 million over 20 years ago.

Nowadays, there are many ways of receiving therapy and counseling.

In El Paso, the Counseling Center of Expressive Arts offers the community a wide variety of services that accommodate a patient’s needs.

Established in 2001 by Doctor Leah Miller, Ph.D, the center has focused on providing El Pasoans with access to quality mental health. Although the center offers traditional talk therapy, according to doctor Miller art therapy —painting— is another method clients can explore.

“Art really does become almost a third person in the room. First of all, it makes the internal become external. Sometimes, a patient’s feeling comes out as an image and it’s very different than if they’re to speak about it,” Miller shared.

While art therapy didn’t become a formal method until the 1940s, art therapy is rooted in the idea that creative expression can help to foster healing and mental well-being.

At the Counseling Center of Expressive Arts, the site offers therapy sessions for couples,

families, children, and individual sessions. Some of the expressive counseling sessions center around play therapy, expressive arts, art therapy and sand tray therapy. Miller said that having art as part of the process allows patients to focus on their creative work rather than themselves.

“Here, we are looking at something else. I’m not really looking at the client and the client is not looking at me, we’re focusing on the artwork and it kind of softens the process, because sometimes it’s just too much to look at another person and talk about what’s going on,” Miller said.

Luis Cano, licensed art therapist at the Center of Expression of the Arts shared that the goal of art therapy is not only to teach patients to express themselves artistically, but to also apply the same set of skills learned in the process into their day to day.

“Making art is part of the therapeutic process but also to translate those skills into real life situations like how to remain calm, like remaining calm in a situation where your art is not working,” Cano said.

A study published by “The Arts in Psychotherapy” found that 81% of patients reported improvements after engaging in art therapy sessions.

Cano expressed that although some patients take longer to engage in the artistic process of therapy, the benefit and improvement is visible in the eyes of professionals, even when the patient might not notice the improvements in the beginning.

“The before and after could be decision making or figuring out a solution, versus before when they probably had no idea of what to do,” Cano shared. “Also, how they react in stressful situations, because art can be stressful too, and watching how long it takes them to figure it out and, in the end, it can vary from person to person how long it takes, but there is character development.”

Other expressive counseling methods used often by therapists are play and sand tray therapy.

According to Miller, play therapy is mostly used for children between the ages of 3

and 8, while sand therapy can be used to help adolescents and adults in their healing process.

“I think it is really important to match the type of therapy if you’re going to use a creative method of therapy with the age of the child and with adults,” Miller said. “I don’t really take adults into the playroom, but there are other people who have used play therapy on adults.”

For Miller, the preferred method to work with adults is the sand tray therapy, which consists of building a scene in a wet or dry sand tray with the help of hundreds of action figures and figures to choose from. “This is similar to art, but the figures are already there, so they don’t have to draw or paint and that kind of takes away the intimidation factor,” Miller said. “After patients build a scene, like in art, we talk about symbols and stuff like that, and the key is that they need to talk about it and what they know.”

Even though the conversation about mental health has been normalized in the last couple of years, the stigmas around it remain prevalent.

“People have different ideas about what they can figure out without help, in my family it was the concept that ‘You don’t tell family business outside these walls,’ and a lot of

times people’s exposure to therapy is what we see on TV,” Miller shared. “I think one thing people need to understand about therapy is that we don’t repeat what they say, since it’s protected by federal law, but I think after 9/11 people felt different about therapy and now, we’re seeing more and more outreach after that.”

While the stigma is one of the leading reasons why people don’t seek mental health treatment, the cost is another variable that draws people away from receiving the treatment they need.

“Treatment is very expensive. Here we take commercial insurance, but we take most, if not all Medicaid, mainly because we’re in a community that needs the help,” Miller said. “The average session here without insurance is $125. We do a sliding scale where if people do not qualify, they must fill in an application.”

Apart from finding ways to help those who seek mental health treatment, the Counseling Center of Expressive Arts is part of the National Health Service Corps, which allows therapists with student loans to become part of the team and work at the center for three years to reimburse $75,000 towards their student loan.


Celebrate Whole Body Health W

hen most people think of health and wellness, the first things that usually come to mind are what we eat, drink and how we feel at the time. However, according to Sanford Health, “Health is a state where the physical body is free from disease or illness, while wellness refers to an overall balance of a person’s physical, social, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, environmental and occupational well-being.” Therefore, health also includes physical exercise, diet, mental health, as well as social and spiritual interactions with friends, family, and loved ones at home and in the workspace. This month, we’re celebrating local businesses owned by women for women, as well as other clinics and spas to assist you in starting (or continuing) both your health and wellness journey from the comfort of your own home or out in the community!

Self-Care has become more of a focus in the lives and homes of many all over the world, from what we eat to the amount of exercise we participate in daily or weekly. Today, many people practice yoga for its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits – and this includes El Pasoans. Brittaney Huskey is not only an Interdisciplinary Health and Science major with a concentration in Biomechanics, but also a Hatha Flow Yoga Instructor at Crunch Fitness on Dyer. Huskey has been practicingoga for over a decade and shares its essential health benefits with her


community. For those who can’t make the inperson classes, Huskey posts various poses, tips and tricks to implement Hatha Yoga into people’s daily healthcare routine at home. To begin reaping the emotional, spiritual and physical rewards of this calming and reflective experience right away, find her on Instagram: @Brittaney_sithyogini.

Another woman-owned business with core values of Self-Care and Self-Love is Opulent Skin Suite by Nicole Hector. Hector’s mission is to ’Encourage women to intentionally implement self-care into their daily lives through exceptional skin care. She’s been featured in the El Paso Times, Visit El Paso, The Women’s Business Border Center, as well as the “Imbalanced” podcast (just this year) to share her experience as a woman entrepreneur who is thriving in life and business on the border! You will be able to review and shop her services and products from her linktree located in the bio of her Instagram page entitled: @opulentskinsuite or directly from her website, opulentskinsuite. com. She also offers private spa party sessions to include Glow Facial Spa Parties suitable for six guests, Splendid Skin Instructional Facial

Classes suitable for 12 guests as well as private Radiance, Revitalization, Refresh, Relax and Relief Rituals for any and every occasion needed to recenter and refocus on your personal well-being and self-preservation.

Mental health is also a key factor in the overall health and wellness of an individual, and while some still find traditional therapy and counseling to be a bit intrusive, life coaching has become an alternative. Bloom Life Coaching with Garima specializes in confidential one-on-one, team, and group life coaching sessions that she feels guides her clients into the life they’re meant to live, while also getting them in touch with who they are to enable them to dream bigger and obtain the life they will love!

Last but not least, daily, monthly and annual health checks such as pap smears, blood tests, mammograms and breast exams are imperative to preventative care and early intervention of some cancers, diseases or other illnesses. In fact did you know that other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women? About 240,000 women get breast cancer and 42,000 die from the disease, according to the CDC. Luckily, women can perform self-checks at home. If you are at high-risk, meaning you are over the age of 50 or have a history of breast cancer in your family, you may also consider an annual screening through the process of a mammogram through the Hospitals of Providence. The Hospitasl of Providence was not only awarded the Obstetrics and Gynecology Excellence Award in 2022 and 2023, but also ranked among the Top 100 Best Hospitals for Prostate Surgery and Labor and Delivery.

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Finding Your Dream Home Made Easier.

Owning a home is a dream for many. Yet, recent market trends like rising prices and fluctuating interest rates can seem like barriers. The good news? These challenges are manageable. Armed with the right knowledge and support, you’re more than capable of navigating the housing market. Let’s explore how an understanding of trends and strategic planning can set you on the path to homeownership.

El Paso’s housing market is buzzing. Home prices are expected to go up by 5% this year, but mortgage rates might dip to around 6% APR (Annual Percentage Rate) Despite better median incomes, the cost and price jumps pose hurdles, especially for first-time buyers. But here’s where strategy and the right financial tactics come into play, making these roadblocks easier to overcome. So, what’s the strategy in this evolving market? Smart financial planning is key. With mortgage rates expected to improve and more homes priced between $200,000 and $350,000 becoming available, now is an ideal time to look for competitive loan rates. Exploring various mortgage options and programs, particularly for first-time buyers, is a wise move. Since interest rates and APRs — the true cost of your loan — fluctuate, consulting with a financial advisor is essential. They can help clarify your options, ensuring you make the most informed decision.

Thinking about upgrading? If you’re already a homeowner and looking to move up, the current market also offers unique opportunities. It’s important to evaluate how much your current home can sell for and how that fits into your budget for a new home. Additionally, exploring refinancing options or

leveraging your home’s equity could provide financial flexibility. Raiz Federal Credit Union offers resources and advice tailored to homeowners looking to make their next big move. With expert guidance, upgrading your home in today’s market can be a rewarding decision.

Understanding mortgage options and market insights can make the homebuying process much easier. With the market showing signs of more affordable home options and potential rate adjustments, the opportunity to own a home becomes more accessible. At Raiz Federal Credit Union, we’re here to guide you through this process smoothly. We’ve designed a range of mortgage solutions designed to meet your unique needs, simplifying the complexities you may face.

Navigating the housing market can seem overwhelming, but with Raiz, these challenges become manageable opportunities. Our commitment to making mortgages more accessible, offering competitive rates, and providing personalized support ensures that you have a partner every step of the way. Ready to get started? Simply scan the QR code below to explore how our services can support your journey to homeownership. Let’s make buying your own home a reality, together.

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April 2024

Plantasia in Bloom at La Planta

In the heart of the bustling Borderland, nestled between historic homes and new construction, lies an enchanting business inside The Sanctum called La Planta. Here, verdant dreams sprout to life, where leafy foliage grows alongside prickly cacti, and the scent of plant life dances through the gentle breeze. Each morning, as the sun casts its golden rays upon the windows, Nancy Loya, the green thumbed mastermind behind La Planta, unlocks the door to a world of botanical wonders. Inside, the air is alive with the earthy perfume of soil and the melodious tunes of albums on vinyl.

But plants weren’t always a passion for Loya; rather, a serendipitous scientific discovery.

“Plants came into my life in a very unexpected way,” she recalls. It wasn’t until a science project in college made me grow beans out of a mason jar. I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s magic.’”

At La Planta, every leaf tells a story, every bloom whispers secrets of the earth, and every customer leaves with a piece of magic tucked beneath their arm, ready to cultivate their own garden of dreams while appreciating local species of plant life.

We have beautiful native plants like gorgeous, gorgeous,” Loya explains. “I think it’s just one of those things where you see so much of it, that you take it for granted.

I was one of those people until I really saw ecosystems as they came – not wanting to change it up, not wanting or hoping it was something else – but really respecting what is already there. It was life changing.”

Inside The Sanctum during the day of our interview and editorial shoot, under the soft luminescence, the plants seem to shimmer with an otherworldly radiance, their leaves shimmering like emeralds in the early spring afternoon.

Loya, barefoot and cheerful, tends to her flora with care and affection, whispering secrets of growth and vitality. The atmosphere hums with the gentle harmony

April 2024 26

of nature’s song amid modern luxuries and comforts. There’s a sense of balance created by the conversion of carbon dioxide into oxygen, the way the plants glow against the dark floors and light walls, and the symphony of conversation in between poses and clicks of the camera.

“It’s very grounding. It reminds you that we’re all just part of this bigger mechanism, like you see an animal and you could either see it as a distant living creature or like a living creature that needs that you need from and that they need from you. Once you see that we’re all kind of part of the cycle of life, including plants it’s very cool

because for example, with plants and I think with anything in nature, you get what you give. For example, a plant can be amazing but if you’re neglecting it, or if it’s not in the best soil, it might survive but that doesn’t mean it will thrive,” says Loya.

Loya hosts pop-up events for La Planta throughout El Paso (and has an online store) where novice and experienced plant lovers can begin to cultivate their own oasis at home.

“You see how the light hits the ground, and you’re just like ‘Oh my god,’ just so in love with them,” she explains. “And it’s that way with plants for me.” 27
OVER 2000 RUGS FROM EVERY REGION OF PERSIA A room without a rug is like a kiss without a hug
6600 North Mesa Suite 404, El Paso, Texas 79912
by for a cup of tea and browse Repairing Cleaning Padding

The Serendipitous Cactus Flower Bookery N

ested amongst the unique shops and businesses in the west side’s Placita Santa Fe is a bookstore that holds more stories than the one’s on its shelves. This is Cactus Flower Bookery. When a partaker of books finds their way to the west side, they can recognize the Bookery by books displayed outside next to their door that will have hanging totes with smile inducing images and quips like the stoic Edgar Allan Poe under the words “When it Rains, it Poes.”

Once inside, any guest will feel that cozy and warm atmosphere of walking into a friend’s home. As you walk around, you find different pockets of treasure hidden around the bookstore. But before the search of books can take you, a big chalkboard behind the register greets you. The quote on it changes monthly, but currently it shares Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s words, “Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”

The impressive cursive writing on the board came from the local and dynamic co-owner Stephanie Roberts. She owns the Bookery with her mother, Sherline Roberts, who also works at the Bookery. Being a family business, the idea for the Bookery came after a trip to Durango, Colorado to visit Sherline’s family. On the way out of Colorado, the motherdaughter duo, along with Roberts’ grandmother, stopped at a local bookstore.

When they got back into the car to begin the long drive back to El Paso, Roberts still had the bookstore on her mind and casually mentioned, “My dream someday is to own a bookstore.” Within half a heartbeat Sherline whipped her head towards her daughter and proclaimed, “My dream is to own a bookstore!” And even Roberts’ grandmother joined in the chorus harmony and declared, “My dream is to also own a bookstore!!”

It was a generational shared dream that the more they talked about it, the more excited they became, and the more the seeds of the Cactus Flower began to take root.

“It was very meant to be. Very Serendipitous. If we had stopped for lunch and had the discussion there, it would’ve ended there,” says Roberts. “But since we were in a car for seven hours, it just built and built and built so by the time we got back to El Paso we were all saying, ‘So we’re doing this!’”

April 2024

Utilizing the seven-hour drive, one of the aspects they decided on was the name, Cactus Flower Bookery. Roberts explained that the word Bookery is a more energetic and overall fun word to use instead of the typical bookstore or bookshop. Cactus Flower comes from how the majority of women in Roberts’ family have the name Rose as either their first or middle name to associate with their Irish heritage.

“When it came to deciding the name, instead of the Irish Rose, we decided to name it the Cactus Flower to make it more American Southwest, but still associated with who we are,” says Roberts.

Now that they had their name, the first thing to do after finding their home in Placita Santa Fe was to get the inventory to fill the shelves. A lot of the books were from Roberts’ own family collection, since they are big readers, but also big book collectors. Then she took six months to build the rest of the inventory from book hunting at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, and charity shops. Though, after they opened, they have been blessed with receiving donations from patrons.

In November of 2019, Cactus Flower Bookery finally opened its doors. What sets them apart from other bookstores is the fact that not only do they have books, but they also have a lot of bookish merch. Many of which are designed by local artists or outsourced from small businesses. From stickers and earrings to tumblers and tote bags.

“It’s a bookstore for bookish people and a bookstore for those who enjoy finding unique items,” says Roberts.

Being a used bookstore, the average price for the books averages about five dollars (although the Bookery does have a special selection of first editions that cost just a little more). With their continuous growth, they are now starting to move into the new book market that includes contracts with Penguin

Random House and other publishers. With these more recent books, Roberts has been able to provide “Blind Dates with a Book.” Not only do the dates come with a newly released book, but it also comes with a packet of tea, stickers, bookmarker, and all sorts of goodies to add to the experience.

“Sometimes people get overwhelmed with all of the books in here, so the blind date helps pick for them,” she says.

They also have a designated section for local writers and hosts book signings and release parties. A recent event was for the children’s book ‘Camelita.’ The illustrator/ author came out and read for both the English and Spanish speaking audience, and even had actors perform the book. For more engagement for those who are not artists or writers, the Bookery has their Thursday “Murder Club” or the monthly “Reading Between the Wines Book Club.” The store also hosts the “Candlelight Bookshop” every Friday night for those wanting to change-up date night or have a comfy girl’s night out.

Currently, one of their challenges is not spending the whole day reading. But when the Bookery first opened, the challenges Roberts and her mother were faced with was letting people know they existed. That was a challenge for any small business, but it became especially hard when people seemed to be almost fighting against the idea of the Bookery.

Many saying, “Why would you open a bookstore when no one in El Paso reads?’”

This didn’t stop Roberts or her mother from keeping their dream alive.

“There is a market for it,” she says. “And the fact that we are doing so well despite what they said makes it all the more satisfying.” Most of the resistance stems from the older generation since the Bookery’s biggest demographic are people between the ages of 16 and 35. “Our biggest collectors of our antique books are people in their 20s and 30s. It’s younger people who are keeping bookstores alive,” says Roberts.

Despite those who have their reservations, her favorite part of owning the Bookery is meeting the customers who end up becoming regulars and helping them find the books they’ve been looking for.

“All of the books that are out had been handpicked. They’re picked because of their stories and because of their uniqueness,” she says. “The best books you can put out there are super specific books because every book has an owner. And that book is waiting for that owner to come and get it.” 29 April 2024

‘Goode’ Leadership

Acr ss Texas

As guardians of progress and champions of change, Texas women in leadership embody the essence of strength, courage, and vision, propelling the state ever forward towards a future defined by inclusivity, opportunity, and boundless possibility that is buttressed by an international organization called Leadership Women, Inc.

At the heart of Leadership Women, Inc. lies a thriving network of women woven from the legacies of trailblazers across generations. Fueled by an unwavering spirit of determination and a relentless pursuit of equality, the organization’s mission and’ fervor endures, propelling the organization forward with a singular mission: to empower women in every sphere of influence. With a commitment to fostering women’s participation and leadership across political, economic, and public realms, Leadership Women embarks on a journey that transcends time. Through innovative programs and transformative projects, it stands as a beacon, guiding women as they forge ahead on their path to leadership excellence.


Recently, Leadership Women, Inc. selected El Pasoan Sandra Goode to be part of the Leadership Texas 2024 cohort. Handpicked from a pool of exceptional candidates across the Lone Star State, Goode joins the ranks of 85 women leaders embarking on a transformative journey through the United States’ longest-running women’s leadership development program.

Goode’s selection for this prestigious program is emblematic of her exceptional leadership acumen and unwavering dedication to continuous professional development that is inspiring her work place, girls and women in STEM, as well as the community as a whole.

“This is an incredible opportunity. I’m eager to meet women leaders from across Texas who are passionate about leadership development. I want to incorporate the diverse perspectives I will encounter in my own leadership skills and bring them back to El Paso,” she explains.

Goode has served as fiscal manager at Pro Action, a non-profit organization that includes an emergency services institute, Immunize El Paso, and CPR classes, for the last 23 years, where she makes sense out of every dollar available to the organization.

“She keeps us all straight when it comes to the dollars and how it’s spent,” says Cristina Rodda, Pro Action marketing director. “It’s

very important for our nonprofit to work within the margins of our budget, and she’s a great leader.”

Although she’s had a successful career as an accountant, Goode initially thought she would be a laywer. The trajectory of her life changed when she was working as a cashier at her first job and her office manager recognized her potential. The company was supportive of Goode’s path towards accounting and offered to pay for her classes to help her on her journey.

She says she still keeps in touch with her former office manager, who is incredibly proud of her accomplishments.

“To this day, she says, ‘I knew you had it in you.’

As part of the Leadership Women 2024 cohort, Goode is expanding her arsenal of skills while also representing El Paso.

Leadership Texas offers a hands-on leadership program tailored for women leaders keen on delving into the cultural, economic, and social dynamics shaping the state of Texas. Through immersive experiences, participants embark on a journey across three cities in Texas, fostering invaluable connections and gaining insights into the pressing issues impacting both Texas and its global standing.

“I enjoy being a leader and I want to grow,” she says. “I love learning and I want to continue growing as a leader.”

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Office: (915) 759-4072 Fax: (915) 759-4092 Email: 221 N Kansas Street, Ste.1201 El Paso, TX 79901 Insurance products issued by Principal National Life Insurance Company (except in NY) and Principal Life Insurance Company®, and the companies available through the Preferred Product Network, Inc. Securities and advisory products offered through Principal Securities, Inc., Member SIPC. Referenced companies are members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392. Inaam Ziyadeh, Principal National and Principal Life Financial Representative, Principal Securities Registered Representative, Financial Advisor. Ethos Financial is not an affiliate of any company of the Principal Financial Group®. 3452874-042023 CA. Ins # 0L98851 INAAM H. ZIYADEH President & CEO Continue investing in your financial future by implementing your business financial plan with the support of our woman-run team at Ethos Financial. Behind Every Successful Woman i s Herself

In the world of local business, women have long been pioneers, navigating uncharted territories and breaking through glass ceilings with unwavering resolve. Their presence in boardrooms, startups, and entrepreneurial ventures not only enriches the local economy but also redefines the very essence of leadership and innovation. Get to know El Paso’s women entrepreneurs and executives who stand as pillars of innovation and empowerment, defying stereotypes and rewriting the narrative of success.

What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

Besides having a passion for hair, makeup and style, making people feel good about themselves is fulfilling. There is something magical about it. This is an industry where creativity blossoms and is encouraged. When I was in high school, my dad would have me cut his hair. Him and my mom made me believe I did a great job. They envisioned me having my own salon one day. I think they would be proud.

Our grand opening was on July 12, 2023. My son’s birthday is July 12, which is how we came up with the name 7/12 Salon. The journey has been filled with busted pipes, electrical problems, long hours, banging my head on the wall, a cry here and there, all while holding a glass of wine. Deep heartfelt conversations with


I have made many mistakes and wrong decisions. It is those wrong turns that have allowed me to evolve and learn. I find myself listening more and speaking less. I really try to listen to my environment and know my audience. I believe I’ve developed my own management style and leadership role. I’m pretty open minded. I don’t have it all figured out yet. If anyone does, please share the recipe. 7/12 Salon 10780 Pebble Hills, Suite L (915) 800-1172 7/12

my amazing staff and clients. Smiles, Laughter. The gratifying looks on our client’s face as they gaze into the mirror loving their results. It’s the journey I’m loving the most.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?


Mayra R. Loya, 7/12 Salon Owner

10780 Pebble Hills, Suite L (915) 800-1172

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

There are those that may believe it’s just hair and nails – it is not just hair and nails. A great hairstyle and flawless nails have the power to make you feel spectacular and sexy. Everyone wants to feel sexy. We want to make sure we stimulate while we meet your needs. Each one of the stylists have their own unique style and signature. I finish all hairstyles by saying, “She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’s Miss United States.”

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

The world is craving more women in leadership roles. That also comes with much responsibility and balance. This doesn’t mean I want to be the ruling titan. I treasure my feminine traits. I want that balance between wife, mother, home and work. I know I can deliver value in my business. If I can uplift and inspire just one person in my salon, it’s all worth it. I want my son to have a mom he can be proud of in business and that he can look up to. In a world full of so much doubt, it is our moral obligation to leave it a little bit better. To bring just a little extra value. Just a small thumbprint to let the world know, Mayra was here.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

Make learning a habit. When you make learning a habit, you’ll more likely make a positive, long-lasting change, and achieve the goals that you set for yourself. It’s important to find your own learning style. We all have our own way of learning. Some people prefer to read and take notes. Others learn by doing. I listen to several podcasts on business and self-development with the occasional politics just to spice it up. I make it a habit to read one book a month. Learning alongside others can often make the experience more fun and engaging.


Victoria Olivia Isais

(915) 777-0269

2077 N Zaragoza Rd

BLG. 203, El Paso, TX 79938

Victoria Olivia Isais is a beacon of empowerment and success in El Paso, Texas. With two decades of experience in real estate, she’s not just a professional but a guiding light for buyers and sellers alike. Beyond her stellar career, Victoria is the driving force behind Queen Up Now, an organization dedicated to uplifting women emotionally.

Her mission is simple yet profound: she wants the women in her community to believe in themselves. Victoria knows firsthand the ripple effect of empowerment. She understands that if a woman feels defeated, it can cast a shadow over everyone around her. Through Queen Up Now, she’s actively working to break that cycle, fostering confidence and resilience in every woman she reaches.

Victoria’s achievements in real estate speak volumes. Voted as the top realtor in El Paso for three consecutive years, she’s not only met her financial goals but exceeded them. Yet, success

hasn’t made her complacent. Victoria is constantly seeking ways to improve herself, both personally and professionally.

But Victoria’s impact extends far beyond the realm of real estate. As a sought-after motivational speaker, she shares her journey with unwavering transparency. She’s not afraid to be vulnerable because she knows the power of her story to inspire and uplift others. By shedding light on her own struggles and triumphs, Victoria guides others toward their own paths of growth and achievement.

In Victoria’s world, community is everything. She’s deeply grateful for the support of El Paso and channels that gratitude into her work, helping individuals and families find their dream homes. Through her dedication, passion, and unwavering belief in the potential of others, Victoria Olivia Isais continues to shine as a true leader and advocate for empowerment.


Victoria Olivia Isais, along with her husband Edgar Duron and business partner Osvaldo Basurto, is spearheading Veeko Blinds, a local manufacturing company based in El Paso. Their mission? To revolutionize the blind industry by offering quick and efficient service to their community.

Veeko Blinds prides itself on being a local manufacturer, allowing them to deliver and install blinds in El Paso homes in less than 10 days—a stark comparison to competitors’ lengthy 6-8 week timelines. For Victoria and her team, this rapid turnaround time is more than just a business strategy; it’s a testament to their dedication to serving their customers promptly and efficiently.

The journey into entrepreneurship wasn’t planned, but Victoria, Edgar, and Osvaldo are grateful for the opportunity Veeko Blinds has presented them. Their passion for beautifying El Paso homes drives them forward each day.

At Veeko Blinds, customer service isn’t just a priority—it’s the heart of their business philosophy. Victoria and her team believe that exceptional customer care is the key to fostering long-term relationships and fueling business growth. Their dedication to professionalism and customer satisfaction sets them apart in the industry.

Veeko Blinds isn’t just a business; it’s a labor of love aimed at enhancing the aesthetic appeal of El Paso’s homes. Whether you’re in need of blinds or seeking to elevate your living space, Edgar Victoria and Osvaldo at Veeko Blinds are ready to bring your vision to life. Contact them today for a free quote at (915) 867-9799.

Edgar Duron (915) 861-9799 and (915) 777-0269

Photographed by: SERGIO OLIVAS

What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

The pursuit of a career with GECU evolved when I became part of the leadership team. I received a bachelor’s and master’s degree to help further develop my perspective around all things business. The journey from an entry level employee to my current role as CEO has been an incredible experience!

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

The National Credit Union Foundation’s Development Educators training allowed me to take a deep dive into the credit union global movement and its history. The path to a healthy financial future comes only after basic needs are met like food, medication, or transportation to name just a few. This job afforded me the opportunity to help build a sustainable food source in Kenya for children as part of the World Council of Credit Unions. This life-changing experience helped me to see people and their contributions through a more grateful lens.

Photography provided by GECU

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

Training and exposure to innovative ideas is critical to remaining relevant! We all participate on different councils and work with organizations that do nothing but innovate and reinvent!

I encourage change and am known for asking, “why” and “why not,” as well as saying “yes” to new technology or new ways of doing things.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

With leadership comes the responsibility to serve others. Leadership requires an inclusive approach as well as a responsibility to actively listen to others. My message to others is that you can do more than you imagine if you’re surrounded by the right people that share the same values.

I am truly blessed to be in this role and hope other women are encouraged and believe they can accomplish anything with hard work and persistence.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

I participate with industry partners at the state and national levels, which keeps me informed on the evolution of financial services. We also work with Credit Union Service Organizations that innovate and do extensive research into trends and technology in different industries. Executive Coaches work with the leadership team, and conferences for leadership and staff are ongoing.

provided by GECU GECU Operations Center, 1225 Airway Blvd. El Paso, TX 79925

What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

Growing up watching my parents successfully run their own businesses has greatly influenced my desire to pursue entrepreneurship. Their dedication and hard work to provide for our family has served as an inspiration for me to follow in their footsteps and establish a business that I am passionate about. This journey has been incredibly fulfilling as I have had the opportunity to build lasting relationships and have the privilege of being able to do what I love every day.

Dr. Rocio Loya

Chiropractor, Cert. DN (915) 300-0056

145 E. Sunset Rd (B-400)

Located at the Substation


Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

I firmly believe in the importance of maintaining an open-mind and inclusive approach to leadership, recognizing the unique strengths and perspectives that each team member brings to the table. Drawing from personal experiences of feeling undervalued in the past, I am dedicated to cultivating a culture of empowerment and respect within my team.

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

At Nourish, each team member contributes their own unique qualities, making our practice truly exceptional. I foster creativity by giving our ladies the freedom and encouragement to bring their own magic to their work. While I oversee projects, I believe in giving them the space they need to generate their own ideas and see them through to completion.

42 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING Photography provided by Nourish Chiropractic

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

Being a woman in the chiropractic field has its unique benefits, particularly in my role as a prenatal and pediatric specialist. It affords me the opportunity to establish strong connections with my female clients, as we share a deep understanding of the emotional and physical challenges experienced during pregnancy and the demands of motherhood. This shared experience allows for a more empathetic and meaningful connection with my patients, fostering a sense of trust and camaraderie that enhances the quality of care I am able to provide.

145 E. Sunset Rd (B-400) (915) 300-0056


How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

Navigating the challenges of motherhood has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. While I value the knowledge gained from seminars and training for career enhancement, the lessons learned from real-life experiences have been invaluable. As a result, I am dedicated to empowering the team at Nourish to prioritize their personal growth, as I believe it will not only benefit their individual success but also contribute to the overall success of the business.

Nourish Chiropractic


Photography provided by Ana Square

What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

After graduating from college, it had always been a dream of mine to be able to start a business of my own where I could not only grow as a professional, but also balance my personal life. It was the drive of achievement, and the motivation from my family and friends who inspired me to pursue my career.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

As any other, my career has been through important challenges and changes. As a permanent makeup artist, I think that one of the pivotal moments was the COVID-19 pandemic. The circumstances that we were living were unfortunate and isolating, which for some might have been career ending, yet for us it was an opportunity to reunite the community, and bring joy to women in the hardest of times.

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

The way that we foster innovation and creativity is not only by doing the things that I love about my job, like mixing colors, learning new artistic techniques, and I also by sharing our knowledge with those in my community. The creative juices just flow when we are so happy doing what we love.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

I take the responsibility of being a woman very seriously. I feel like my story and journey can inspire other women to take that step, and become a business owner, be financially independent while enjoying your job. As women, we are more than capable of leading and inspiring future generations.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

To us, the key to a successful business is prioritizing both our work and our personal lives by fostering a culture of balance and flexibility, not just with our employees but with our clients as well. Ultimately our goal is to ensure that each and every one of us feels valued, empowered, and able to thrive both personally and professionally.

Photography provided by Ana Square
Ana Square Microblading & Permanent Makeup
5758 N Mesa St.
(915) 525-4068

What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

Our inspiration to be a women owned business was two fold, our mother and our dream to help El Pasoans feel good in their own skin. We grew up with a single mother who balanced raising four kids, running a small business, going to college and dealing with multiple health issues. She is a true super woman. “I can’t” was not a phrase we were allowed to use. Seeing my mother put everyone and everything before her health, inspired us to provide services to prevent disease, reverse disease, slow aging and make both men and women feel and look good in their own skin. As a physician we are trained to diagnose and treat disease. Running a business was not part of our training. It was difficult seeing my mentors during medical school and residency struggle to provide the best healthcare for our patients. They dealt with various impediments. Some of the problems they encountered were insurance limitations, education, resources, or time constraints. Having dealt with these issues made us want to provide an alternative option for true preventive healthcare, wellness, and aesthetics.

Cares Medical Clinic

Yehudi A. Monrreal, MD, MHA

3130 N. Lee Trevino, STE. 114A (915) 300-0067

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

I was volunteering as a nurse with an organization called Charlie’s Lunch in India providing free medical care. The medical team leader was a family medicine physician, Dr. Barbara Reeves. At one of the clinics we had over 900 patients who traveled by foot or train, some walking over 20 miles just to have a chance to see us. Local medical students, church volunteers and our medical team were all there to serve. Dr. Reeves took such great command in organizing the volunteers, the flow of the clinic, providing compassionate care and dealt with the chaos with such grace, composure and intellect. A situation that might have overwhelmed most, she took as a challenge to serve. She has been one of the greatest influences in my leadership style.


Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

Both my sister and I were raised in El Paso and graduated from UTEP. Furthering my education took me around the United States, but El Paso has always been home. We have been blessed to be surrounded by strong, independent, creative, loving women who raised and mentored us. We want to make them and El Paso proud. Having our own business gives us the opportunity to provide a place where El Pasoans can come and become the best version of themselves.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

We are proud to be a woman owned business who provides employment for individuals who want to better them themselves and advance their careers. Many of our employees are in nursing school or looking to advance their careers in medicine or aesthetics. I was provided many opportunities in my life to learn and grow personally and professionally from my mentors. Despite all the schooling and training I’ve received, it doesn’t end. I continue to learn and grow by taking advanced training and seminars. I was once a high school student from Silva Magnet High School shadowing doctors and volunteering at the hospitals. Later, I became a medical assistant and helped nurses provide compassionate care. I continued that care when I became a nurse and assisted doctors by providing comprehensive care. I went from taking doctor’s orders to now becoming a physician. As a physician, I want to empower and support my staff. I want to share my experiences, train them, and encourage them to continue their education. No doubt I’ve been blessed. However, it would be a blessing to see our staff members reach their own dreams as well. We believe it is about community not competition. There is so much talent and potential right here in El Paso. Let’s foster it!

48 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING Photographed by: SERGIO OLIVAS (915) 875-4756 • • projecthomes_elpaso
Erica Ortiz, Builder Monica Narvaez, Architect
SPECIAL ADVERTISING | 49 Photographed by: SERGIO OLIVAS We offer new residential, commercial and large-scale construction services (915) 875-4756 • • projecthomes_elpaso

Hi I am Laura, a first-generation Mexican-American whose journey defies conventional expectations. My journey began with the architecture and graphic design program in high school, igniting my passion for the realm of construction. I then steered towards the medical field immersing myself in the nursing profession, all while indulging in my hobby of flipping houses and designing spaces. Upon completion of the Nurse Practitioner program, I realized my heart has always been in the architecture realm and decided to shift gears.

Alongside my life partner, Anton Warnick, this passion led me to establish Drycon, a general contracting company that specializes in home renovations, remodeling, and custom pool design. Driven by my entrepreneurial spirit and relentless determination, I have decided to expand my horizons and venture into the realm of custom home building. As I prepare to launch this new venture, I am excited to showcase my expertise in creating homes that blend functionality, aesthetic appeal, and affordability to my home town.

My journey from nursing to entrepreneurship is a testament to my resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to pursuing my dreams. I am proud to have overcome challenges and embraced new opportunities along the way, shaping me into the visionary leader I am today. With a deep-rooted passion for design, a strong foundation in nursing, and a drive for success, I am ready to embark on this new chapter and make a lasting impact in the world of home construction.

Laura Warnick, Drycon Photography provided by Laura Warnick

The State Line BBQ

1222 Sunland Park Dr. (915) 581-3371

What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

I began working at the State Line to help support my young family and have worked there for many years. Little did I know that I would be given the opportunity to become the Catering Manager and Events Coordinator. Through this endeavor, I have formed lasting relationships with people I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet before taking this position and have been given plenty of opportunities to grow personally and professionally. It feels great!

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

My friend and mentor, Vanessa Miller, has always supported and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and be open to new ideas and ways of approaching every event. Because of this, I have grown more confident in my abilities and learned to recognize the fascinating inner workings of the fantastic events industry. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a customer’s face when we over-deliver on the promise! That is what it’s all about!

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

The events industry, at its very core, fosters creativity and innovation. Every event and every client is unique and offers a new perspective. I look to absorb what I experience at every single event I attend. I take those ideas back to our restaurant, put them into practice, and make sure our venue is current with the ever-changing expectations of our clients.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

Women are a prominent force to be reckoned with and can often offer new perspectives and leadership styles. Being a leader means holding yourself to a higher standard and being a role model to those around you. I have learned that when you lead by example, people want to be part of what’s going on and start getting more involved and excited about the task at hand. I have treasured such an opportunity to grow as a professional woman and a person in general.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

There are observable opportunities all around us and new ways to think about and see things. We just need to keep our eyes and minds open to those opportunities. You just never know when a gem is going to pop up, and you want to be sure you don’t miss it. I have found that providing a clear plan helps my crew understand the goals of their efforts and motivates them to contribute their own creative ideas.


What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

Not just any business, but the non-profit business! Like any business, the non-profit sector has its challenges but is also so rewarding to see the difference we can make in our community. Specifically, at the Center of Hope, we have been able to grow significantly over the past four years, both in our budget and ability to serve more victims.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

Taking over as the Executive Director of the PdN Center of Hope in July 2020, mid-COVID, was the pivotal moment for me personally. Realizing that the Center was in a rough place financially and that the current staff and clients were relying on me to find funding and keep the mission alive was key. I couldn’t let them down; all we could do was push forward and advocate how important our services are in the community.

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

It is about building a culture of creativity and the drive for innovation in the workplace, turning ideas into impact. Especially in the non-profit sector, working with victims of human trafficking, it is about identifying the barriers and gaps in services and finding a way to overcome them. We work as a team, everyone’s input matters, from our board of directors and staff to our clients and community partners.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

It’s important to be a strong female role model for future generations. History shows that a lot of businesses and leadership roles were male dominated. Being a leader and a woman in business shows that women can do anything men can do. It increases gender diversity but ultimately it is about helping the team and mission grow regardless of gender. We hope our work will encourage other women to enter into similar roles and to know that nothing is impossible.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

At the Center of Hope, personal and professional development is extremely important, especially because of the details and cases we hear and see every day. Our team has conversations about self-care, burn-out, resiliency, and continuing education on a weekly basis.


What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

Having roots in Mexico and having to work hard to get a job in the United States as well as struggling with a language barrier my family has instilled in me a strong work ethic. After completing my degree in biology, I found myself yearning to create something of my own and be my own boss. Additionally, I was fortunate to have a remarkable female mentor, Mariana Macias, who inspired me to strive for success and showed me that anything is achievable with hard work.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

One significant turning point in my career that greatly shaped my leadership style occurred when I assumed the role of general manager at a well known bar and arcade in El Paso. It was during this time that I experienced firsthand the exceptional treatment and respect I received as both a manager and an employee.

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

I partnered with Proper Printshop to create uniform shirts adorned with quirky sayings. Additionally, I enlisted the talents of artist Ulysses Cueto to bring captivating artwork to life throughout the bar. By working with these local businesses and artists, I have been able to infuse a distinct and vibrant atmosphere into my establishment, fostering a sense of originality and imagination that really captures the border city we are.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

Raised by my grandparents, I witnessed firsthand their unwavering perseverance and determination. Despite my grandmother being a double leg amputee her disabilities never hindered her from fulfilling her responsibilities, as she managed household chores, cooked, and served as a role model for me. Through her actions, she taught me the invaluable lesson that no matter the challenges life presents, one can accomplish anything with the right mindset and determination.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

Prioritizing personal and professional development for myself and my team is essential. I achieve this by setting clear goals, by ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding expectations. Additionally, I embrace a continuous learning mindset by seeking guidance from mentors and fellow business owners in my industry. Recognizing and rewarding team members for their personal and professional achievements, including celebrating promotions, is also crucial. Creating a positive work environment where everyone can thrive is the first step towards prioritizing professional and personal development.

Nicole Hernandez Tequila Mockingbyrd 6306 N. Mesa

(915) 206-4549

What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

My father gave me my earliest sense of justice, so my first pursuit is actually law. I realized early on that I wanted to work for myself. This became all the more clear to me when I had my son, and I wanted to have the freedom to choose the hours I worked, to pick my cases and to take time off when I wanted to be present for his milestones. I’ve worked for myself ever since I became a licensed attorney, first as one half of a small firm and now as the sole owner of my very own law practice.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

When I embarked on my journey to be a solo practitioner, I decided that this was my chance to truly develop and grow my dream job as I saw fit. I reflected a lot on the type of culture and vision I wanted for my firm, and remembered a book my husband had recommended a few years ago called Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. I finally read it, and found that the insight about the qualities of a successful leader really resonated with my real-world experience. While my firm is currently a “one woman show,” I aspire to lead in all my roles in the community with those principles in mind.

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

One of my mantras is that I don’t shy away from difficult cases, and so I’m always looking for new insights and interpretations to help my clients achieve their goals within the framework of the law. Sometimes this means applying broader legal concepts to new areas of law, and other times it’s contacting a different government agency than usual for help. In terms of the dayto-day running of a law practice, I’m constantly amazed by the ways in which the way we do work is changing. One of the few positives to come from the Covid pandemic has been the great deal of ingenuity developed to allow us to work from almost anywhere, from shared work spaces to virtual assistants, and apps that make it possible to get so much more done in a fraction of the time. This rethinking of how we work has given us back so much time previously spent on travel and logistics, and I’m here for it.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

My mother instilled in me the notion that if I could provide for myself, I would have the freedom of choices that comes from being self-reliant. When women build and lead businesses, we earn our seat at the table and gain the power to bring about changes that benefit ourselves and our families. For me, being a leader and a woman in business is a culmination of my commitment to that vision, and that’s why it’s important to me.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

It’s taken me many years to understand just how important work-life balance is to our well-being, and that it’s something you have to actively pursue. I do this by searching out professional organizations where I can continue learning how to hone my craft as an attorney and opportunities to build networks within the community, as well as by making time in my routine to reflect or engage in a creative activity I enjoy

of Pamela G. Munoz, PLLC

What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

I got into business because I wanted control over my time, even though it meant working more than I earned at first. However, as I set up better systems, I gained more freedom. My journey has been about owning my time and choosing who to spend it with, number one being my family.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

After completing two major projects, I pushed my team too hard, causing all staff to quit suddenly. I shifted focus, providing more support, but some began slacking off and producing mediocre work. Now, I understand that clear expectations, a tough stance, and a supportive work culture are essential to lead a successful business.

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

My management style relies on clear expectations; I trust my staff to know their tasks and encourage creativity. While I specify expectations, I give them freedom in approach. I always review their work afterward. This approach fosters innovation through trust but verify.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

I aim to motivate women to pursue their dreams and accomplish their goals, showing them that they can achieve anything they set their mind to. Additionally, I strive to make my daughter proud of my efforts and achievements.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

I prioritize this by quarterly setting aside time for learning and growth activities. This includes attending workshops, seminars, and online courses relevant to our roles. Additionally, I offer mentorship opportunities, and provide constructive feedback to support their advancement. Creating a culture that values continuous learning and development is essential for personal and professional growth.


Karina Mendoza, DNP

Premier Primary Care Clinic

11351 James Watt, Suite C-300 (915) 320-7707

What inspired you to pursue a career in business and how has your journey unfolded since then?

My career and journey were not about business but about making a difference. Limited authority in my early career ignited the desire for autonomy although the aspiration of carrying the full responsibility of owning my own business or clinic was never my intention. I realized it was necessary to implement a holistic and preventative care approach to my patients. This journey has been marked by its fair share of challenges and growing pains. Still, it has been fruitful in numerous projects like creating a skincare and supplement line and collaborating with different corporations most recently with El Paso Independent School District.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

The passing of my father was a profound moment for me. Experiencing confusion, a lack of compassion, and a lack of knowledge of the terminology spurred my desire to embody the opposite qualities. Humility and nurturing care for those around me—whether it may be my team, patients, or anyone I encounter in and out of this business—are foundational principles guiding my leadership and business practices.

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

At Premier, innovation and creativity are fundamental. I firmly believe in the value of continuous learning and evolution, recognizing that repeating one year of experience twenty times lacks the depth of growth we seek. Rather than emphasizing hierarchy, I foster independence and leadership in each team member according to their strengths. We encourage input on improving our workflow and patient care while remaining responsive to changes in medicine.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

For me, being a leader and a woman holds great significance. I aim to inspire others to pursue their dreams, knowing I once stood in their shoes—I’ve been a waitress, worked in sales, and faced various challenges. Leadership, to me, isn’t about giving orders but about leading by example, fostering growth together, and serving as an inspiration, particularly to other women, showing them that they too can achieve their aspirations.

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

Communication in my experience is how I have come to prioritize both personal and professional development for my team and myself. Striking a balance between our personal lives and professional duties is crucial for optimal performance. I place a great emphasis on having a healthy relationship among the whole team which we achieve through open dialogue and activities beyond our work responsibilities. This approach has ensured a harmonious environment where everyone can thrive personally and professionally.



What inspired you to pursue a career in business, and how has your journey unfolded since then?

I always dreamed of having my own business, pave a new path for myself and become self independent, something that I always try to inspire my daughter and son to be and what better way than to lead by example. I was a stay at home mom for 10 years and my initial journey in business began in real estate, which I continue to do alongside my passion for skincare and helping my clients maintain their glow!

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your leadership style or approach to business?

As a regular client myself of beauty salons I love to walk out feeling confident and completely satisfied with my service, this experience influenced my approach with my clients. I want to have a personal connection with them and educate them on how to maintain their skin regularly not only once a month. I want them to feel great and confident but most importantly love their skin!

How do you foster innovation and creativity within your business?

Innovation is crucial; you can’t be afraid to reinvent yourself over and over. Constantly evolving, creating value and connecting with clients to give them the best experience every time is what keeps me motivated to challenge myself everyday to stay updated and explore new technology to expand my business, knowledge and create lasting client relationships.

Why is being a leader and a woman in business important to you?

Being a woman in business has always been a priority for me, I want to own my time and challenge myself while doing what I love. I want to be an inspiration for my kids and positively influence other women to pursue new heights with a strong vision and sense of purpose. It’s never too late to find your passion. Lead with intent and make it happen!

How do you prioritize personal and professional development for you and your team members?

As a business owner you have to be your best employee and with that time management for me is the key to success. Between family, being a realtor and now owning my own esthetics business I need to be strictly structured and value my time so I work by appointment mainly. I like to make time for myself in the mornings to workout, meditate and visualize how I want my day to manifest, always making sure I make time for everything.

Beauty Esthetics by Beatriz
12240 Pellicano Dr, El Paso, TX 79936


CoStar Group, Inc., the data/analytics leader of the commercial real estate industry, just announced this year’s Power Broker Award recipients, recognizing professionals and firms who closed the highest transaction volume in commercial real estate deals and leads in their respective markets. In the El Paso and Las Cruces region, Team Juan Uribe, LLC has been recognized as the most active local dealmaker with the prestigious industry award. Team Juan Uribe is always commited to providing the best service.

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Left is Sisters Lexi and Sunnie Feria, Middle is Sofia Sanchez, cousin to sisters Leslie Barraza and Val Torres-Barraza on the right.

Amaldeux’s ‘Sinfully Innocent’ Dollhouse

As young girls, many of us may have dreamed about becoming a fashion designer. Styling up our dolls, making clothes out of toilet paper, or even secretly cutting our own clothes to try and create something new for them.

23-year-old Alexia Maldonado, fashion designer, owner of Ifellinlovehere, and creator of Amaldeux, made that dream her reality.

She spends her days following the ritual of waking up early to make her sacramental espresso and heads out to her eclectic vintage clothing store, ifellinlovehere, to help curate clothes for customers who have booked a spot to shop at the store, as well as freshening up the racks with new 90s/ Y2K looks, coordinating with vendors for her practically monthly markets and heading to the back of her studio to check on her inventory and organizing her stock for her own brand, Amaldeux.

Her love of fashion developed from shopping at stores like Justice with her mom as a child to becoming a fashion student.

“It started as putting on outfits, which was something that I really enjoyed as a kid and as I got older. I feel like it was more of a way to express myself and set myself apart from others,” Maldonado said. “I knew I loved clothes and shopping with my mom, but I wanted to know how they made them, what went on in factories, and what kind of fabrics were being used.”

Despite not having experience in sewing, Alexia enrolled in the fashion program at EPCC in 2019.

“I really loved the program,” she said. “It’s a really great starting point for any job or career within the fashion industry because they teach you the ins and outs of retail, buying, sketching and fashion history.”

Maldonado left EPCC with a certificate in fashion and had her own garment show at Texas International fashion Week in 2022 while simultaneously starting Amaldeux.

Amaldeux, pronounced aa-mall-doh, is a subtly self-titled brand reflecting not only Maldonado, but also the types of people she caters to.

“A lot of people don’t realize this but it’s a kind of self-titled brand name,” she said. “I took the ‘A’ and the first four letters of my last name and turned it into Amaldeux. The -deux at the end means two in French, and like I say, I design for two types of women. A motto I use for my brand is ‘simply innocent’ because I design for the more modest, naive kind of person that doesn’t really like to put herself out there, but I also design for everyone’s alter ego, the woman that likes to show a little bit more skin. She’s very confident and not afraid of people judging her or what people 61 April 2024

will think of her. So, I kind of find the balance between the two styles and I’ll put them into one. It’s a mix of sweet and sexy.”

Maldonado titled her first collection that was released in Spring of 2024 “Dollhouse,” which reflects the collection’s sense of innocence. Maldonado not only was inspired by 60s and 70s fashion, but also the period itself for how crucial it was for women developing their own style.

“I took a lot of references from vintage styles like the 1960s and 70s,” she said. “It was an empowering time for women to kind of experience more within fashion and feel more comfortable in their bodies and feeling more like a woman should. We shouldn’t have men belittle us, and we should just feel empowered all the time. So, I think the clothing really translates that. I took a lot of references and inspiration from the 70s, so it’s not brand new, but I think the specific styles haven’t been seen or made before.”

Unlike fast fashion, Maldonado strives to create ready-to-wear pieces and uses high quality material to create her designs.

“Some of the fabrics that I use are genuine leather,” she said. “I use 100% suede and cotton for the baby knit rib T-shirt. I think certain fabrics elevate the quality of the garment. I want to make sure that I’m putting out garments that I know are worth the price.”

Vanessa Ramirez, Maldonado’s fashion instructor at EPCC, also speaks about the quality of Maldonado’s clothing line and her growth since first starting at the community college.

“I was unaware of how much she was willing to do to get to where she wanted to be,” Ramirez said. “I feel like her brand is very cohesive and thoughtful. On the plaid pants she made, she pattern matched. She’s gone out of her way to do that, which takes a little bit more time, a little bit more effort, and a little bit more money in the cutting process. It reminds me of higher fashion. Ready-to-wear, not fast fashion. Her pieces are not things you can find at your H&M or Forever 21. These are custom made and feel that way.”

To Maldonado, fashion is art.

The clothes that she designs have a story and speak for her. The young designer explored the medium by letting her collection be a way for women to explore their identity.

“A lot of my clothes have a deeper meaning to it,” she said. “My first collection represents this growing stage in your life where you’re kind of in between stages. I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m in my early 20s, so I’m a young adult transitioning into this world and I want to be taken seriously. I want to feel strong and confident. I feel like I’m a woman in a man’s world. Fashion is also very much

62 April 2024

dominated by men as it is by women. I took references from the 70s for this collection because that was a time where women were starting to feel empowered. They were wearing different styles of clothing, mini shorts and miniskirts. They weren’t afraid of being judged.”

Amaldeux brings an edge to how people style themselves in El Paso. Maldonado says that she feels the aesthetic she uses is suitable for anyone, no matter where they live.

“I really see the LA vibe fitting here for El Paso,” she said. “It’s a sense of higher fashion which is what El Paso needs, but I can also imagine girls in Paris, Milan, and New York City walking the streets in some of my designs. Really, my designs are for empowered women that want to look and feel different and chic.”

Maldonado’s mindfulness of using vintage fashion and ready-to-wear pieces shows not only how cognizant she is of sustainability, but also shows the vision she has for the fashion community of El Paso.

So, what’s next for the young designer?

Plans of releasing a fall collection are in the talks as well as a runway show and pop-up boutiques where people can have a sense of an elevated fashion experience.

Based on my interview with Maldonado, several things have become clear: The one woman show that she is, is taking El Paso to places that this border town may not have thought it could go with its fashion, and we are going to see a lot more of this young designers work not only in our beloved city, but in fashion capitals in only a matter of time.

and Operated Since 1948 Go to and find your nearest location today El Paso Owned
April 2024
65 (915) 321-0709 6090 Surety Dr. Suite 325 El Paso, TX 79905 & ASSOCIATES LLC General Business Accounting Services Business and Personal Tax Preparations Bookeeping Tax Planning Sales and Franchise Tax Payroll / Payroll Taxes Sales Tax Audit Support and More! CUSTOMIZED SERVICES FOR YOU No start-up is too small or too big for us. We offer service packages tailored to fit your needs and budget. FULL ACCOUNTING SERVICES


Editorial photography by: JORDAN LICON

Photography and editorial assistants: KATHERINE KOCIAN CAMRYN HEON

Additional Photography provided by: LINDA WOLFE

In a world where boundaries are constantly challenged and roles are redefined, Linda Wolfe emerges as a remarkable figure embodying the essence of perseverance, determination, and boundless strength. As a mother, CEO, retired U.S. Army veteran, and musician, her life’s narrative showcases the power of resilience and the unwavering pursuit of one’s dreams. Through her journey, Wolfe has shattered stereotypes and overcome obstacles,

carving her path to success while fearlessly advocating for what she believes in. Her story serves as a beacon of inspiration, igniting the flames of empowerment and urging others to embrace their passions with unwavering courage and conviction.

“My kids are my priority, you know,” Wolfe reflects, her voice tinged with both pride and nostalgia for her son Khalid and daughter Gina.

66 April 2024

“It’s crazy. The older they get, the more attached I get to them. It’s just wanting them close, but they’re both adults now. They’re doing their own thing, living their own lives, and you still want that attachment.”

Despite her achievements as an adult, her path was not without obstacles – especially as a teenager growing up in Germany living with her stepmom.

“I was tired of getting hit,” she recalls, reflecting on a pivotal moment of selfassertion that marked the beginning of her journey towards empowerment. “And that was the first time that I stood up for myself at 16. I never went back to being that timid person again. That’s when I started being expressive and telling people how I feel. That started the beginning of Linda.”

Wolfe was faced with a challenge to sink or swim, then mastered a sea of uncertainty while learning to survive on her own.

“Fortunately, I had friends who would take me in, but I felt like a freeloader and I don’t like that feeling,” she says.

Wolfe came to the U.S. where she pursued a career in music and was in the process of signing a record deal with Mercury Records, with artists like Chaka Khan noticed her singing talent. A botched deal by a less than stellar manager botched the deal and her music career took an unexpected turn that led to the U.S. Army.

This chapter in her life began with the fierce determination of a young woman navigating the complexities of motherhood while serving in the military.

“I was a single mother in the military trying to make rank take care of my child,” she recounts, reminiscing about the challenges she faced. Yet, amidst the trials and tribulations, Wolfe found solace and purpose in her service, recognizing that the army provided a refuge from the hardships she encountered in her youth.

“That moment, when I had my first child is when I realized that, ‘Okay, I gotta stop playing. I have a whole other human to take care of. It’s not me anymore,” she adds.

As a leader in the military, Wolfe was driven by a profound sense of empathy and compassion, shaped by her own experiences of adversity. “I never wanted to make my children feel like my stepmother made me feel,” she asserts, underscoring her commitment to fostering an environment of support and encouragement for those under her watch.

Her journey took her to distant lands, where she served her country with unwavering dedication.

“It was heart wrenching when I had to leave my children and go to war,” she recounts the sacrifices demanded by military service. “It was very, very, hard.”

She lived in a tent in Iraq for a year when Khalid was about six or seven years old and Gina only 18-months old.

“I would call and think ‘my baby is growing up, but she’s growing up without me,” she recalls. “It was the hardest year being away from them and not knowing if I was going to make it home.”

While serving in Iraq, she oversaw logistics that included distributing supplies, food, and hope.

“Iraq is hot,” Wolfe explains, “One time a soldier came in from one of the other posts, and I gave him some cold water then I saw a tear come down his face. I asked him ‘What’s wrong with you?’”

The answer was simple.

“You don’t understand the last time I had cold water,” he responded.

67 April 2024

“It just broke my heart,” Wolfe recalls. “We didn’t have bathrooms, we didn’t have showers. I remember seeing the shower trailers for the first time and being so happy to see running water.”

Amidst the trials of military life, she found solace in her passion for music, a lifelong dream that she pursued with unwavering determination. “I always wanted to be a singer,” she reflects, recalling the trials and triumphs of her journey as an artist.

She traveled to Germany to audition for the chorus and became a bandsman who would travel the world to perform for troops at various military installations in a multitude of countries where she served as an example of progressive women’s empowerment in the U.S.

“I went to Kuwait and other places where they could see what America was doing with female leaders. I was the leader of the group in places where women are oppressed,” she says. “You’d go places where females walk two steps behind a man, and I was not used to that. My group was a rock band and I would sing all kinds of songs.”

Despite her strength, discipline, and talents, Wolfe faced challenges in the military for the simple fact that she is a woman.

“I can’t talk about what it is now but I can talk about when I got here. Being a woman and a Black woman in a man’s army is a whole thing. You have to do two times better than a man to get that commendation. And I was always taught that you lead from the front,” she says.

“So if I had soldiers whoI wanted to get 300 on a PT test, which is an excellent PT test, then I had to do it, too,” she adds. “I was Air Assault.”

Air Assault School is a specialized training program in the U.S. Army designed to prepare soldiers for air assault operations. The primary focus of this training is to teach

soldiers the necessary skills and techniques required to conduct helicopter-borne insertions, extractions, and other air assault missions – and it is extremely hard.

The training typically takes place over a period of 10 to 14 days and is physically and mentally demanding. It involves a rigorous combination of classroom instruction, hands-on training, and practical exercises.

Key components of air assault training include:


Soldiers are taught how to safely descend from helicopters using various rappelling techniques. This includes rappelling from

different heights and angles, as well as rappelling with and without equipment.

Helicopter Operations:

Soldiers learn about helicopter capabilities, loading and unloading procedures, and aircraft safety protocols. They also practice embarking and disembarking helicopters quickly and efficiently.

Sling Load Operations:

Soldiers receive instruction on sling load operations, which involve attaching equipment and supplies to helicopters for transportation. This includes proper rigging techniques and procedures for securing loads.

68 April 2024

Physical Fitness:

Air Assault School requires soldiers to meet strict physical fitness standards. Training includes intensive physical conditioning, obstacle courses, and timed runs to ensure soldiers are physically prepared for the demands of air assault operations.

April 2024
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boots having skinned her shins. Not only did she persevere through the pain, but also with an audience of onlookers.

“I was not going to quit. They saw I was not going to quit,” she says while recounting the stakes of completing the challenge. “You’re crying, your feet are hurting, they’re blistered up, you graduate that same day. That’s the thing: if you don’t make it you don’t graduate that same day.”

After successfully graduating from Air Assault School, the challenges persisted –but so did Wolfe.

“I had to do a lot to be the best of soldiers to get where I needed to go,” she explains. “I had to bust the doors open to be the first to do this and the first to do that because the avenue wasn’t originally there for me. So I had to make my own.”

Wolfe served in the U.S. Army for 24 years, where she inspired soldiers around the globe and would receive emails in thanks for leading the way for women.

Yet, amidst the accolades and achievements, Wolfe’s most profound role remained that of a mother.

“I was still in the military when Khalid went to L.A. to do his first album,” she says.

Khalid’s star was rising as a globallyrenowned singer while the sun was setting on Wolfe’s career in the military, shining a light toward a new path and a new world not only as a civilian, but also the mother of a super star.

“It’s harder for me because I have to share him with the world,” she confides, speaking of her son’s burgeoning music career. “But I have to share him. And it’s hard for a mother to do that.”

April 2024
Wolfe Inside

But they make it work.

From catching a flight to L.A. to join her son at the Grammys, to calling his management team to coordinate schedules, to exchanging quick texts to let them know they’re still connected as mother in son.

“I’ll go to one of his shows and we’ll be backstage and I’m able to touch my child, take him in and know that he’s okay. That’s all I need,” she says. “Then, I can fan girl out.”

Today, she serves as CEO of The Great Khalid Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating burdens of need for students by providing music education programs, scholarship awards, and more.

As she reflects on her journey, Wolfe’s resilience and unwavering love shine through. From the battlefields of Iraq to the

bright lights of the stage, she has weathered storms and soared to new heights, guided by the enduring power of maternal love.

“I didn’t know that I was going to have a kid who would be KHALID, with capital letters,” she says. “But I knew that I was put on Earth to bring joy to people. And I know that I’m good at that.”

April 2024
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Designing a Dream

La Nube

Editorial photography by: JORDAN LICON

Additional photography provided by: MITHOFF BURTON

TPart One

he shape of imagination is coming to life in El Paso with the construction of La Nube, a children’s museum created with the mission to spark imagination and nurture inspiration. The cloud-shaped structure in the heart of downtown promises to make a distinct impact on the wellbeing of the Borderland community and beyond by cultivating curiosity and critical thinking.

Pursuant to the passage of the City of El Paso’s quality of life bond in 2012, which allocated funding for a children’s museum, the concept of La Nube began to take shape. The El Paso Community Foundation has played a pivotal role in both leading the enormous endeavor by securing additional funding so that the museum will be both globally renowned and accessible to all residents of El Paso. Through extensive community engagement and investment, the initial vision for the project evolved into a bilingual, immersive, and interactive learning hub catering to families and individuals of all ages.


La Nube — Spanish for ‘the cloud’ — embodies the essence of imagination. Renowned international architecture firm Snøhetta unveiled a unique four-story, cloudinspired design, intended to distinguish itself on the Downtown El Paso skyline and ignite curiosity about the potential contained within.

What’s more, many of La Nube’s decision makers are women who are breaking barriers while building the future:

Elaine Molinar, a native El Pasoan and Partner/Managing Director/Architect at Snøhetta, the architecture firm bringing La Nube to life.

Natalie Eckberg, Vice President of Development and Stakeholder Relations at the El Paso Community Foundation

Stephanie Otero, Interim Director of La Nube and Vice President of Operations at the El Paso Community Foundation

The establishment and leadership of a children’s museum by women in key decision-making positions not only challenges traditional gender norms but also demonstrates the transformative potential of female leadership in creating innovative, inclusive learning environments that enrich the lives of young learners and promote societal progress.

For each woman, the opportunity is deeply personal and meaningful.

“I never thought I’d have the good fortune to work in my hometown, because I’ve lived so far away for so long,” says Molinar, who’s based in New York City. “But a design competition was launched, and we were shortlisted along with two other firms. We were selected by a popular vote as the preferred choice.”

Once the designs were taking shape under Molinar, Eckberg and Otero worked to get La Nube off the ground.

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“I’m responsible for helping the community find opportunities to invest in the mission of La Nube. So everything from fundraising, to advocacy opportunities, and just looking to build strong relationships in the community,” says Eckberg.

For Otero, her role(s) at La Nube center on making dreams a reality.

“I’ve actually been part of the project from the minute that the agreement was signed,” she recalls. “I did all the research to look at best practices across the country. ‘What are other communities? How are other communities impacted by institutions like children’s museums?’ Then I led the effort of a strategic master plan. We wanted to make sure that this

was built by the community, for the community. We ran 32 public meetings to really engage the community, open town hall meetings where anybody could show up, but also more in-depth sessions with k-12 science teachers and homeschool parents to really understand what the community wanted.”

The genesis of La Nube’s name, architectural design, and educational zones was directly informed by input and experiences gleaned from the local community. Throughout the master planning phase, a recurrent motif emerged: Blue Sky Thinking. The boundless expanse of the sky, unhampered by borders, coupled with the ever-shifting forms of clouds symbolized infinite possibilities and a universal connection transcending culture, language, age, and ability.

“I think it’s important for us to be connected to the community,” says Otero. “This place is going to have such an impact on the educational ecosystem and we can’t do that in isolation. We have to do that in partnership with the community, not just all the work that we did to make sure that the community was involved in designing what we see in the museum, but also how it is utilized and how it’s accessed by everybody in the community. Part of that is us being members of the community in which we’re trying to serve.”

Editor’s Note: This is the first in an ongoing series of La Nube in SPACES.


Where Design and Nature Combine as One THE

Sitting majestically atop a 13,300 square foot, mountain-cut plot at the edge of the Lomas Del Rey area of El Paso’s Westside lies what’s simply known as “The Everest Home.” With a buildable surface area of 8,740 square feet, roughly twice the area of a basketball court, this innovative residential project was conceived from the idea that a structure should respect the surrounding environment “without visually altering it.” This highly expressive, architectural project incorporates a “Medio Siglo,” or Mid-Century design, and features large, horizontal, open areas that allow for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and mountain landscape

from every angle and window in the home, many of which beautifully extend from floor to ceiling.

The overall concept of The Everest Home was born out of Project Homes, the collaboration of two women, Erica Ortiz, Builder, and Monica Narvaez, Architect, each with more than 25 years of entrepreneurial experience in construction, design and commerce.

The two women combined forces back in 2019 following an “informal meeting” to discuss the creation of a construction company in El Paso with a mission of executing

bold, innovative construction projects based on highly unique, architectural designs and a novel approach in the use of materials. Both women embarked on their very first residential project under the name, Project Homes, and of all things, during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the story goes, the motivation to undergo this first project came about from the previous years, when both women were looking for their own homes here in El Paso but could not find houses that had spaces or finishes unlike the already established market standards. The daunting experience, decidedly, led them to pave the way to a residential construction


and design enterprise that would go over and above the already established norms of the local housing market.

The success of their very first project eventually led to other projects until finally, the two-women team embarked upon The Everest Home, with its cascading views of Mount Cristo Rey, the mesas of New Mexico and the endless skies of West Texas.

“And yes, in the middle of the pandemic we started the first house, and followed by more, until we reached the wonderful terrain of Everest with that exceptional view of the city and with the support of that majestic mountain,” they recall.

The project brought about the use of a combination of materials – mainly white limestone, walnut wood and oxidized metal – seen throughout the home in beautifully textured ways that gives this incredible abode the feeling of warmth and harmony with nature, both inside and out.

The stunning, tri-level home’s main hallway leads us to a magnificent staircase that artfully ascends to the upstairs floor, and what their architect refers to as an “elegant wooden sculpture” that becomes the “heart of the home.” This pièce de résistance, indeed, makes for one of the most stunning features of the home. Nestling directly below this remarkable staircase is a functional, lower floor that can be adapted as a relaxing, sitting area, which is also accessible to the beautifully landscaped outdoor area of the home through the set of sleek, sliding glass doors. This home is considered by both women as having “personalized design” that can, truly, be found just about anywhere from the doors, floors, and in every nook and cranny of this extraordinary residence. The enveloping exterior of the home, coupled with the incredible mountain landscape and overlooking views, grants each area of the home the feeling of seamless continuity, where one can always enjoy the views, while still

providing “independent environments” to be enjoyed either socially or personally.

Then, there’s the breathtaking infinity pool with its sleek, mirrored design, which is lined with Venetian marble and handmade mats, along with a corridor floor made of Porfido volcanic stone. A section on one end of the pool is also beautifully, and quite cleverly, designed to replicate a sandy beach where one can comfortably lounge and enjoy spectacular views and unforgettable sunsets. There is an endless array of impeccable detail that can be found in all the outside areas of the home, which mindfully combine quality and design in the chosen materials with impeccable views of the mountains surrounding it to, as Narvaez adds, “accompany the visitor throughout their journey” inside and outside the walls of this home.

In fact, nearby is the Thousand Steps Trailhead hiking area and the Hike Trail 81 April 2024
82 April 2024
April 2024 The Everest Home 83

park, which lend to the home’s feeling of truly being one with nature and the amenities afforded by a location that rests high on the western slopes of the Franklin Mountains.

Truly, the splendor of The Everest Home is countless.

Take the uber modern lighting fixtures, sleek bathrooms, including a gorgeous woodsculptured sink in the guest bathroom that gives the appearance of pond ripples extending from within the basin and out to the surface. The interior walls and doors are exquisitely textured throughout the home, from rock wall to carved wood finishes, and the kitchen and appliances boast edgy finishes and the latest in appliances. Another major focal point of the home is the indoor limestone fire pit that separates the kitchen from the living area and creates the ultimate ambiance of warmth and comfort, perfect for entertaining or just simple relaxation.

The Everest Home

As Narvaez asserts, “We are passionate about beauty, harmony, and design, and uniting them into a single project results in a unique home. We are happy with the opportunity to capture and make projects come true that leave a mark from environments that lend to unparalleled family and social moments.” Ortiz adds, “Our goal is to make every corner and space pleasant to the eye by using, combining and adapting the elements of nature and the environment, resulting in a sophisticated architectural design.”

The women of Project Homes are undoubtedly driven by passion and have a keen knack for conceptualizing a vision filled with harmony in nature, while building, literally and figuratively, a collection of awe-inspiring homes. The duo also firmly believes that a home is not just a home, but an expression of one’s taste and personality.

“An expression of you,” they add. “Project Homes has finessed the elements and elevated the styles to the heights they deserve. Our designs are striking, yet timeless; and your choices of detail will add your personal stamp.”

Today, ‘Making dream homes in the El Paso area’ has become the company’s official slogan and mission, and if seeing is believing, a Project Homes undertaking could very well make that a reality for some.


1. Furnishings, decor and staging by Weekend Domain. 911 N. Kansas, Suite A, El Paso, TX 79902.

2. Artwork by AlePo Art. An El Paso artist.

3. Holz Mobel. Maker of kitchen, closets, stairs and doors.

4. John Horta, Photography.


84 April 2024 85 The Everest Home


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photography by: ANNABELLA MIRELES

If you listen closely, you may be able to hear the history of El Paso whispered in the nearly 100 year old walls of Villa 815, the first house on the now iconic Rim Road. From the way the breeze wafts through the foyer, to the sound of ladies’ high heels tap-tap-tapping on the tile, to a lifetime of laughter and memories. Villa 815 stands as a testament to timeless elegance, boasting an authentic heirloom estate design inspired by Baronial Mediterranean architecture. Nestled along the mountain, its breathtaking setting has captivated admirers for nearly a century, becoming an enduring landmark of the area. Now, as its doors swing open once more, the community is invited to step into a realm where history meets contemporary elegance.

“They don’t make houses like this anymore, right?” says Rachel Haddad. “Everywhere you look, you discover something new.”

Once a silent witness to bygone eras, the home is now emerging from the shadows of time to embrace a new chapter of grandeur and celebration. The transformation of this architectural gem into an exquisite event venue is not merely a restoration project; it’s a revival of regency, luxury, and heritage for all to experience and cherish – and there’s no better person to write this next chapter in local history.

Haddad is an expert on Villa 815.

For starters, she comes from a real estate family. Plus, she grew up in the magnificent home after her parents purchased the house when she was about two years old.

“They poured everything into the home to make it their dream home,” she says. “Dad used to say, “Why do I want to travel to a bunch of places? I have a resort right

here.’ We spent many summers by the pool playing while my dad worked in the yard,” recalls Haddad. “He did a lot of that and it was therapy for him.

The allure of regency is palpable from the moment one sets foot inside. Ornate ceilings adorned with intricate moldings, majestic chandeliers casting a soft glow over polished tile floors, and opulent furnishings that evoke the splendor of a bygone era— all come together to create an ambiance of refined sophistication. Every corner tells a story, each detail meticulously preserved to honor the legacy of this architectural marvel.

For the Haddads, the home was not only the nucleus of the family but also the heart of civic and social engagements in El Paso.

“He was a hustler and a pioneer in the real estate industry in El Paso. The house 87

became very iconic because my mom and dad opened it many times to many non profits,” says Haddad. “They were very civically-minded: Mom started the El Paso Women’s Realtors Auxilary. She did a lot of civic work for different women’s organizations. I find that the house is now a tribute to her being an entertainer.”

Each room is transportative, taking guests on a journey of elegance one detail at a time that include handpainted tiles, candy colored powder rooms, and gigantic chandeliers. Individually, the craftsmanship is mesmerizing. Collectively, the effect is stunning as one can fantasize about the memories made in such an exquisite space.

“Being in this home with mom and dad from the time that I was little until being an adult was such a blessing,” Haddad recalls. “Being a teenager sneaking out and getting in trouble, running up and down the stairs just driving my mother crazy, to prom nights and getting ready in that beautiful upstairs bathroom. Then, when they

were struggling, just being here with them. This was their refuge.”

She cared for both her parents at the end of the life, spending time in the home the family spent most of their lives in.

“I took care of them during the last five years of their lives when their health was struggling, and my dad never thought he’d outlive mom,” says Haddad. “I think something that drove him to stay alive was that he stayed in his home till the day before he died. Being in his home was super important to him, and is one of the values that my parents instilled in me. Your house is your home, your refuge, your history.”

After the deaths of her parents in 2021 and 2022, she faced the decision of what to do with the home and ultimately decided to share it with the community by transforming it into a private venue. Haddad and her business partner are currently in the process of working with the city of El Paso to obtain the proper permits and licenses, but look

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forward to new memories that will be made in the home for generations to come.

But it’s not just about reliving the past; it’s about embracing the present and forging new memories that will resonate for years to come. As the doors of this historic home open to the community, it becomes a canvas for celebrations, gatherings, and moments of joy. From weddings that exude romance to corporate events infused with elegance, the villa offers a versatile space where dreams take flight and visions become reality.

Amidst the grandeur and opulence, the essence of heritage remains at the core. Every event held within these walls becomes a part of its storied history, adding new chapters to the tale of this beloved landmark. It’s a tribute to the visionaries who built it, the artisans who adorned it, and the generations who called it home—a legacy that continues to inspire and captivate.

“My focus has always been the values that my parents taught me. As far as your home, it’s like your soul. We want to be able to provide that to other people,” she says. “Our goal is exclusivity and regency with heritage.”

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A Villa with Vision

Mommy Mogul

We live in a world where curating an image is at the reach of a fingertip, but in Erika Lee Williams’ world, unfiltered authenticity can lead to endless possibilities. Climbing up the social media ladder, Williams began to cultivate her presence in 2018 after opening her store, ONNEXTSUNDAY. As she pushed for her business to succeed, Williams decided to use her platform to create videos that could reach a new market.

“I opened my clothing store, and I noticed that with larger clothing companies, the owners had a presence and they had their own following too,” Williams said.

“And a lot of them would also be influencers and business owners, so I was like I should do that.”

Williams decided to dedicate herself to building Instagram content for her boutique, while on the side she began to share personal ‘behind the scenes’ content that transcended her image of just a boutique owner in her personal account, which inspired her to chase a broader dream: becoming a brand of her own.

“People want to engage more, watch your stories, they’re more interested in the personal aspects of things,” Williams said. “Not necessarily always a hundred percent sell, sell, sell.”

Williams began to build a following that gravitated to her authentic content on her personal account, which made her feel there was a gap in the market that missed speaking out on the tough reality of owning a business.

“No one was really sharing the real behind the scenes,” Williams said. “Like what did you do to get there? What are you doing? Or what happens if it fails?”

In 2022, Williams built up the courage to expand her platform and dip her toes into podcasting with her show, ‘Watch Me with Erika Lee.’ She decided on building a message that mainly focused on connecting with her audience through her personal experiences.

“I wanted to share that aspect of a more real approach and get people something that I didn’t have,” Williams said.

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Secrets of A

In her episodes, she provides real advice on the hardships of building different businesses from scratch. Explaining how she understands the reality of losing businesses and money because of unforeseeable circumstances.

“A lot of people were like ‘I want to open a business, I want to do what you do,’ and well it’s not all amazing, there’s hard stuff too,” Williams said. “I feel like no one was sharing that side.”

Opening up to an audience made Williams understand the power of her voice, pushing her to also spread her message outside of social media. She began to host networking events that helped her build a trusting relationship with her audiences.

“I really take part in the engagement because I know it’ll translate into anything else I want to do,” Williams said.

Reaching mostly a female audience with small businesses, Williams felt empowered to have built a community that learned from her and encouraged one another simultaneously.

“It’s really cool to see the support of women, especially in a city like El Paso,” Williams said. “I think it’s such a unique city, population, and group of women.”

After seeing the positive impact of her message, she decided to start running her own social media agency, ‘So Can You,’ in 2023. Through her agency, Williams was able to amplify her message and turn it into a reliable product. Motivating her audience that wish to become a brand to connect with her through her courses and events that teach specifically about how to run a business and master marketing.

“When I have something that I know will benefit them, I have that first thought of connection and it helps me get those events full,” Williams said. “If someone does need a connection, I know I can help.”

When it comes to creating a balance between her personal life and the followers she carries within her pocket, Williams encountered an evolution that has exposed her to new challenges. After getting married in 2021 and moving to Phoenix, Arizona, she felt this year was time to take on another dream: motherhood.

“I was so scared of being in this position before because I was like, how am I going to do what I currently do?” Willams said.

She mentions that her pregnancy has become a teaching moment to seek balance in her life.

“You hear people talking so negatively, they’re like ‘we have kids and can’t do anything,’ and I would say don’t listen,” Williams said.

Entering her ‘soft girl’ era, Williams has been able to fully lean into her pregnancy these last few months. Her most valuable lessons have been translated into self-care and being authentic to herself about the stress her body is currently experiencing.

“For a few months I didn’t want to talk about business at all, like I was so sick,” Williams said. “My hormones hit me in a weird way, where I was almost depressed, really unmotivated.”

Recently reaching 20 weeks into her pregnancy, Williams mentioned that her biggest struggle was related to her mental health and anxiety. This constant struggle led her to sacrifice part of her business persona and take advantage of her support system to create a harmonious physical and mental space. She mentioned adopting a business partner to run her boutique business throughout her absence has helped her focus on her health.

Even though Williams felt unable to travel back and forth to her physical business, she felt the importance of keeping her audience updated on her journey. By posting about her current reality, Williams experienced a positive shift in her content, as she has gained more views than she expected.

“People really like the pregnant mom content,” Williams said. “It’s the most engagement I’ve ever had, my stories are up by maybe 30 percent.”

Williams mentioned she was surprised by the support she has received from her followers. At first, she thought she would lose people, but instead, she began hitting a brand-new market with her content. Having part of her new audience be made up of single women that turn to her as an example of what to expect within a pregnancy.

Through her content, Williams hopes to keep growing her brand as a business owner and mother. She plans on remaining to learn how to balance both lifestyles and encourages others who are on the same journey to do the same.

“Talk to people who are really positive about the (pregnancy) experience,” Wiliams said. “I mean, people do it all the time, we’re not the first people to do it, so I’m sure we can figure it out and keep out the negative.”

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AcAdemy of AeriAl fitness

When El Pasoans visit the revitalized Sunland Park Mall and walk past the shops, if they pay attention, they can catch a captivating sight. Through the glass walls, onlookers can see Silks hanging from the ceiling like braided sections of rainbow beams as performers wrap themselves into a cocoon to fall into a pose that would make most butterflies green with envy. On the other mat are the Lyras who spin on their aerial hoops and relax in between with their “Man on the Moon” pose. These are just some of the wonders inside of the Academy of Aerial Fitness.

According to its mission statement, Academy of Aerial Fitness is a nonprofit alternative fitness center specializing in aerial and circus arts. As a nonprofit organization, the

goals are to provide a supportive and positive environment for the community focusing on the promotion of: physical and emotional growth, confidence and trust building and creative expression through movement. The Academy of Aerial Fitness is proud to be accessible to the community through many class options throughout the day, into the evening and on weekends. They strive to enrich the southwest community seeking a healthier, happier, and more expressive way of life regardless of their age, gender, physical abilities, or economic status.

The Academy of Aerial Fitness was opened in 2015 by Karolyn Aguilera and Ana Glacken. These two lifelong friends and “partners in crime” met 20 years ago while stationed in Germany. Aguilera started out

as a self-taught aerial athlete and would gather the knowledge from other instructors and sources to sharpen and polish her skills. Skills so noteworthy that she shared the stage with Snoop Dog.

Glacken is a disabled veteran who was a Supply Sergeant in the Army. The way she found her way into the aerial arts is when she was recommended by her doctors (at age 30) to undergo surgery for her back and hips. Refusing that option at a young age, she searched for alternatives. After some time, she started with yoga and then found aerial hammocks and started feeling better.

“I saw that it works and that it helps, and it strengthens me,” she said. “I was thinking that this is amazing, and I want to do this for


Where u leArn to fly

other people to be able to teach people with limitations or with injuries.”

Both Aguilera and Glacken wanted to provide something that was inclusive for everyone, and not just children. Once settled into El Paso, Aguilera was looking for places for activities but found many were for just kids.

“That was on my mind for a long time, the idea of opening up something for everyone,” she said.

Comparing her time in New York, Glacken agreed that there was nothing in El Paso for both adults and kids that teach aerial circus arts. It was up to them to provide that haven; and provide they did. Instructor Ashley Kulengowski, who teaches the adult

intro and kid’s classes, started coming to AAF after the pandemic. “I had always seen the circus arts and it looked like a lot of fun. When I saw there was something like this close by, I knew I had to come,” she says. “There’s a million things to learn. And I feel like I will never run out of things to try.”

The main challenges that faced AAF was introducing the different classes to the community, especially when it comes to teaching children. Instructor Eloise Soto, who started three years ago after falling in love with Silks and the Lyra, teaches Silks One for kids. “They are super fun, super

energetic, and never afraid to try something new,” she said. “They’re always excited to come to class. My favorite part is seeing that energy and seeing their progress.”

The best way the AAF have been able to reach out and educate the community is through their shows and recitals, Aguilera said, “That is our biggest success as far as education is having our shows and people coming and seeing it for themselves.” Other than recitals within the studio, the AAF have made appearances all over El Paso to include: the El Paso Arts Museum, the Civic Center, and the Colosseum to name a few. Along with local events like Chalk the Block, the AAF performs in a variety of social events and even weddings. With such skill they don’t keep their aerial acts in just El 93 April 2024

With each performance or competition their members have grown in numbers; even to those in the military. What makes AAF also stand out is how they cater to their members.

Keeping their procedures from COVID, everyone is required to log in online and book their classes. This way, the instructor can know exactly how many students are attending and ensure that no one gets lost in the numbers. This also guarantees a more quality experience since students book online, the instructors can modify the curriculum to the student’s current skill level.
Paso with their recent 1st place win at Viva Fest in Las Vegas.
Shelley Mzee “SHELL SHOCKED” with host the podcast
out of your shell and into
by Listen on or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. April 2024

Adding that personalized customization that is hardly found anywhere else.

The AAF does more for their members than just give them more one-on-one time. As a non-profit, they also have a scholarship program for people who cannot afford the membership fees. “We want to be inclusive,” said Aguilera. “It doesn’t matter how much money you make, what your body type is, your gender, how old you are, it doesn’t matter.”

Another in house program is their Hardship Program. This is for when a student loses their jobs, or they have a funeral that they have to pay for, or something has happened where they can’t come to classes for that month. Karolyn explained, “If they apply and let us know what’s going on we help them out for that month until they get their feet back. As long as our members talk to us, we help them out as much as we can.”

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Local Film Shines in ‘Illusory’

Starting her film journey at just nine months old, Destiny Salgado immediately felt the calling of the silver screen, “The first time I really remember stepping onto a set was when I was six years old. It was for the film ‘Be My Baby,’ and I remember us being in this big house in Rio Rancho. When I stepped onto the set, I remember feeling overwhelmed, like this was a place I was meant to be.” This passion would propel Salgado into a frenzy of movie roles, music videos, and modeling contracts that only served to feed the flame of the young creative while also granting her the opportunity to expand the knowledge base of her craft.

With a collection of work that boasts titles ‘Be My Baby’ and ‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,’ Salgado has been given the opportunity to learn from some of Hollywood’s best.

From friendships born on set through the sharing of goldfish crackers on a break between filming, like that of ‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’ co-star Lucy Paez, to team building celebrations, like afterparties and press tours, where cast and crew share their experience and aspirations, Salgado has found herself blessed with team members who have provided a space in which she could develop. It was during her time on the set of ‘Waking up in Idaho’ with assistant camera and offline editor Jason Ferrell that the door from actor to film director would begin to open for Salgado.


“Jason Ferrell helped teach me a lot about cameras and the directing process. He’d show me footage on the monitor while highlighting the importance of continuity in developing a good flow for a film,” says Salgado. “I was even allowed the opportunity to hold the camera and learn about its functions.”

This learning opportunity provided by Ferrell to the budding director would be one she’d carry into her own film-making experience and share amongst her film crew.

Unfortunately, like many of her colleagues in Hollywood during the actor’s strike of this past year, Salgado would find her acting work come to a sudden halt. She began writing the script for the film that would come to be known as ‘Illusory.’

The script tackles the uncomfortable subject matter of drug abuse and domestic violence while highlighting the influence between these subjects and their relationship with one’s mental health.

Salgado shared a glimpse into her hopes behind the script, “I think that there is still a lot of stigma around the subject of mental health. There are a lot of individuals who feel trapped with nowhere to discuss those mental health concerns and feel forced to resort to extremes in an attempt to numb or “remedy” their mental health.”

This desire to bring attention to the stigma (and break the unhealthy cycle that surrounds mental health) offers viewers the opportunity to see alternate channels to seek assistance. With such compelling subject matter to open the avenues of discussion amongst audiences around the theme of mental health, it might come as a surprise that this written work might not have made its way into film without the assistance of Salgado’s mother and brother, Sandra and Jeffrey Salgado. These two helpful hands would come across Salgado’s

script and, upon review, would feel inspired to tell the young actress their desire to see these written words become a full-fledged film. Despite some reservations, Salgado agreed to take on the production.

Now, the trio needed a team to bring this work to life.

With Salgado taking hold of the reins as one of the production’s actors and director, she’d search for a team to support her vision. Enter Jeffrey Salgado, older brother, actor, soon-to-be father, and now, film editor and cameraman. Jeffrey became the film’s cameraman and editor, feeling his abilities would better be utilized behind the lens than in front of it. This choice of position would

April 2024

allow Jeffrey to shine as his most authentic self. With Jeffrey’s assistance, Salgado and her team could shoot their scenes with relative ease and with appreciation toward Jeffrey for valuing their input. As the hub of all the pieces within the production, Jeffrey would come to understand Destiny’s level of trust in his ability to bring the work together.

However, much like with any first-time cameraman and editor, there came moments where Jeffrey would find himself stumped at a piece of footage.

“There was one scene where we were trying to create a heavy atmosphere, but when I was editing the clip, it kept coming off as comedic,” he recalls. “I had to sit down with the team to tell them we needed to reshoot the scene. As we were reshooting, we came to the realization that seemingly small details such as lighting

and camera placement had greatly affected the clip’s portrayal once we started editing.” This realization of the effects of slight variations within the production would provide a vital tool and lesson to Jeffrey, one that had come to Salgado earlier in a previous production, about the value of continuity.

Just as ‘Illusory’ would come to be Salgado’s first film in the director’s chair and Jeffrey’s first steps as a cameraman and editor, the production would prove to be a first for many of those on set.

One such individual was ‘Illusory’s’ music producer and make-up artist, Monte (Sunshine) Salgado.

“I’ve been involved with music since I was eleven years old in middle school. I was a band kid, but I always loved singing and looking at music theory. I can feel sounds, so I always loved certain scores and notes played within a movie, such as the sound for the film Selena and anything by John Williams,” she says. “I believe that if a film’s music isn’t great, it greatly affects how the audience responds to the film.”

With an approach to sound composition that quite literally calls to Monte in her dreams, the beginning of many of the sounds within ‘Illusory’ found their first legs as a phone recording hummed during the night. At hours more ideal for music creation, Monte would pair the recorded audio with the recorded scenes, repeatedly dancing her fingers across the keyboard at various tones to capture the scene’s intended weight. This balancing between the range of emotions within the film, such as fear and innocence, is one that Monte has worked to enhance with her music, and in doing so, she creates a carefully curated score that allows the audience to feel in tune with the characters of the film.

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With years of experience working in the world of film providing her solid foundation as she pursues this newest chapter in her life, Salgado and the ‘Illusory’ team have worked hard to produce a work that brings to light the shadows of those struggling with their mental health.

A message the team wishes to share with their audiences before the film’s expected release is one of positivity and hope: “You are more than the restraints that are put upon you. It’s up to you to break the cycle for the betterment of yourself and the generations to follow.”

Salgado and her team understand all too well the effects of these restraints and the blessings that follow should one persevere.Salgado’s music producer Monte was one such story of that perseverance, as she grew up in a situation reflecting many of the darker aspects within the film. Through her tenacity and discovery of music, Monte would find herself in the arms of the Salgado home and with a baby on the way.

Salgado is an artist who takes in the stories of the realities surrounding her and uses those experiences to create pieces that tell those dark stories with respect beyond her years. ‘Illusory’ is slated to hit the big screen at El Paso Premiere LUX Cine 17 IMAX at Bassett Place on May 15th. Who knows, you might get to see Destiny and the Illusory team, with the newest member of the Salgado clan in the seats next to you.

Ready, Set, F Bark!

or dog lovers, many of us can’t go anywhere without wanting our furry companions following at our heels. We have dog parks, pet meetups, pet communities; well now, we have a cantina!

Opening Summer 2024 in the Borderland, Mutts Canine Cantina is introducing a new breed of dog-inclusive hospitality in the form of a bar, grill, and dog park!

Located in El Paso’s Montecillo area, Mutts is a membership-based, off leash dog park with a one-acre space divided into a small and large dog park for members and their dogs to run and play. The El Paso location is owned by April Mendoza, who detailed Mutts’ membership policy requiring all dogs to be up to date on all their vaccines and be either spayed or neutered.

“That way it really is a nice, safe environment for you and your pups to hang out,” she says.

Mutts is a Dallas-based franchise operating four locations throughout Texas, with El Paso becoming its fifth. The idea to bring Mutts to El Paso came during 2020, during the COVID-19 epidemic. Mendoza was brought home after the pandemic closed everything down.

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“I came home, and I decided to kind of reevaluate what I wanted to do as far as my life and business and whatnot,” she says. “I had two rescue dogs, and I had a background in hospitality.”

While living in Dallas for a decade, Mendoza would take her own dogs to the original Mutts Cantina, and once back in El Paso she got to thinking.

“When I came back to El Paso, I thought ‘You know what? This is an amazing idea! It’s a great opportunity, it’s the time to kind of pivot and reimagine my whole life,’” she says. She went for it, enlisting her mother as her business partner.

April runs the cantina alongside her mother, Pamela Mendoza-Anderson. As avid dog lovers, the mother and daughter duo went into business together, bringing Mendoza’s background in business and hospitality into play.

“It was an opportunity we both saw that we could do together,” she adds.

While Mutts is still under construction, Mendoza is aiming for a spring opening in April, so that new members and their pups can fully enjoy what Mutts has to offer.

What better way to enjoy the fresh spring weather than the splash pad and washing stations the cantina offers?

Of course, for us humans, the bar and grill will be the perfect place to refresh after running around with pups, and eating a tasty meal to reinvigorate for some more fun! Or chilling with Mutts’ specialty drink, the Barkarita.

When it comes to getting a membership with Mutts, an annual membership for $250 that includes access to the park, splashpad, and wash station, along with invitations to special events. Mutts also offers a monthly pass option for $30, as well as a day pass for $10.

Mendoza shares that Mutts is running a special promotion called the “Founder’s Club.”

“Anyone that becomes a member before we open gets $100 dollars off the annual membership! The cool part about this club is that your rate of $150 is locked in ‘FUREVER.’”

Founders are treated to VIP events such as music events, holiday festivities, dating and singles mixers. These events aim to welcome the community and their pups to have fun and socialize! Mendoza says some special guests will also be present for certain events.

“We’re going to have Santa Paws coming out, the Easter bunny comes in,” she says.

Mutts is also planning to have community partners coming in with the Humane Society of El Paso and adoption centers leading the way.

Flexing their philanthropic spirit, Mendoza says that they want to make sure it’s not just about business, but also their heart and passion of giving back to the community. One upcoming program will be introduced to El Paso to help veterans who may need a service dog.

“We’re really big into our community, we have a program for vets where we partner with a training facility to give veterans a dog on behalf of Mutts that’s trained and ready to go for them,” says Mendoza.

Mutts Canine Cantina is located at 460 Vin Rambla, right next to iFly in the Montecillo area. Keep an eye out on @muttscantina_ eptx on Instagram for announcements and opening date details.

If you and your best furry friend need a place where you both can run around and hang out, Mutts Canine Cantina is calling y’all over. After all, your four-legged pals deserve the world, why not enjoy it with them?

Enjoy. Every. Moment.

Rent our 360 degree video booth platform for your next event

Book Your Reservation today (915) 539-7545 @EpicEventsELP 103 April 2024

G irls R un the


It all started on a random Wednesday night when Daniela messaged Arianne about starting a running club in El Paso. They were inspired after attending another run club together and noticed a significant lack of female runners. That same night, over numerous text messages, they started brainstorming and poured their hearts into planning their running club.

Landing on “Girls Run the 915,” they created an all-women’s running club. When the time came to launch, the response blew them away. It seemed as though their idea had struck a chord. On that first Sunday, over 100 eager women showed up ready to get moving. Arianne and Daniela beamed with pride at the energy in the room.

In most people’s experience, when you join a running club, you fear getting lost or left behind.

“At our club, we have a motto – all pacers welcome,” Daniela said to me with a smile. She went on to explain that they have 10 pacers leading groups at various paces, from 8-minute miles to walkers, who don’t run the whole distance. No matter your ability, there is a place for you in the group, and their pacers will help guide you the whole way.

Creating a run club that is “for the girls by the girls,” said Arianne, created a community. Girls and women are able to have a sense of camaraderie and create lasting friendships through the supportive community. They aim to encourage girls to run or walk along at their bi-weekly events on Sundays.

Girls Run the 915 is a running club that is inclusive to all types of runners, even walkers! Their goal is to create a safe space for women to do something they love that is fun and healthy in a judgment-free space where women feel comfortable without intimidation. They did not realize how many girls were in search of a community that encourages girls to run for fun.

As the running club’s popularity continues to increase, they plan on having upcoming joint classes and working with local businesses to help promote awareness of their running club. Girls Run the 915 has plans to expand to other cities utilizing their area codes. But the future isn’t just about the club – it’s about empowering girls.

325 N Kansas St, El Paso, TX 79901 (915) 532-5205 Mamacitas mamacitas.downtown RECIPES FOR THE SOUL LOCATED INSIDE OF HOTEL INDIGO

Celebrating Women Behind the Badge

Leaping over the hurdles, hopping over the fences, and diving through a window are just the first parts of the El Paso County Sheriff Office’s obstacle course. The juggernaut for many comes near the end where they need to carry the 165-pound dummy across the designated line before running another lap. For many women, carrying something like this is a trial, but with the growing cheers of fellow women on the side lines, including a two-year-old daughter cheering, “Go Mommy! Go!” the dummy becomes weightless, and the final sprint to the finish is just fast enough to hear the instructor say, “Congratulations! You passed!”

This is a reoccurring sight to see at the prep camp hosted by the El Paso County Sheriff Office’s Women Behind the Badge Mentorship Program. While the prep camp is one of their prominent events, the program is designed to train and assist women in performing the duties of law enforcement. Membership is composed solely of women employees of the Sheriff’s Office. The WBTB’s goal is to develop an interaction that is career sustaining. An interaction where the mentee can reach out to their mentor and share the successes and challenges associated with being a woman in law enforcement.

Vanessa Tena, the Public Affairs Director for the EPCSO, and member of the WBTB board explained that, “This program has

three missions: recruiting, peer support, and succession planning. Woman Behind the Badge is an effort in support of the national campaign for the 30x30 initiative.” She also elaborated on the WBTB prep camp saying, “Prep camp gives people the opportunities to feel out law enforcement, become familiar with the course, and it can be used for their application. It’s also open to everyone.”

Women Behind the Badge began a year ago when Commander Jerome Washington attended a training with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington D.C. While he was there, he met officers from agencies across the nation. One aspect that caught his eye was how many major departments like the Dallas Police Department or Los Angeles Police Departmen had female based mentoring programs. Then, it clicked how much El Paso would benefit from such a program of female leaders pushing other females to go for leadership positions, or encouraging women into pursuing careers in law enforcement. When he returned to El Paso, he reached out to women who were currently in leadership positions within the EPCSO. Then those women reached out to each other to have a meeting to get the consensus of what everybody thought of the idea.

While he did take a silent partner position in the program, it’s important to acknowledge how Commander Washington provided the kindling for WBTB. With that, the

female leaders in the department were able to take it and begin the fire they have been nurturing since. Once together, the founding members began outreach with deputies and detention officers. Then the program grew, and they reached out to the civilian sectors of the department to include all aspects of the agency. A big help in the process is not only word of mouth, but talso being able to reach out through their social media accounts.

Only recently reaching its first anniversary, the WBTB has helped to increase the number of women within the Sheriff’s Office by 12%. The main contributors are the prep camps, since it not only presents all of the different opportunities available within the EPCSO, but if the attendee passes the obstacle course, they can use that time for their application into the Department. Many who pass meet with HR after and begin their application the same day. One attendee said “It was really informative. I was surprised to learn about all of the opportunities that are offered at the Sheriff’s Office outside of just Detention or Patrol. There are so many opportunities for everyone.” Another who was on the fence at first until she passed the obstacle course and said to those who are also hesitant, “Come. You have to come. This is going to tell you everything you need to know. Whether you want to be here or not, this gives you that information.”

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Ashley Rosiles, who is the Crime Scene Unit Supervisor for EPCSO as well as one of the board members of WBTB explained, “The WBTB not only contributes with hosting the prep camps for incoming officers or civilians, but also provide comradery and support within the organization from fellow female employees.” While many women can get through the academy, facing the job itself is a different animal. With WBTB, they provide easier access to fellow female employees who may be sharing the struggle of mom guilt when going into a 12-hour shift at the jails; or how to maneuver through hostile situations out on the street; or even learn tips on how to make sure your voice is heard at the next staff meeting.

Reaching women both inside and outside the department, the WBTB also reaches out to the high schools for seniors thinking about entering law enforcement, and they even provide a version of the prep camp for students who are interested in see what the Department has to offer.

“I think the big thing about my position is that I get to motivate younger generations to be part of law enforcement,” said Rosiles. “Not a lot of females come to be in a leadership position, especially in law enforcement. It’s important to show that it’s possible and that to motivate that younger generation, that going to school, getting to where those goals do come true if you put yourself to it.” 107 April 2024
HOME MORTGAGE LENDER LENDING TO GENERATIONS OF EL PASOANS Corporate Office Location 2244 Trawood Dr #100, El Paso, TX 79935 NMLS #256179 (915) 593-3111 Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Sunland Branch Location 1255 Country Club Rd Suite C, Santa Teresa, NM 88008 NMLS #290019 (915) 791-4170 Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

In Anthony, Texas, the Leap Year Festival of 2024

brought the community together in a vibrant celebration of culture and tradition. People filled the festival grounds as locals and visitors alike enjoyed live music, delicious food, and a variety of interactive activities. The festival honored the unique leap year phenomenon with enthusiasm, fostering a sense of unity and joy among attendees.


March Launch Party

Guests flocked to The Block in celebration of the Animal and Fitness issue, which honored the legacy of Savannah the Asian Elephant and the remarkable work achieved by the El Paso Zoological Society. Bites and drinks were served as DJ 3am kept the vibe lively late into the night.



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104.3 HIT FM .................................................................................... Pg. 23 7/12 Salon............................................................................... Pgs. 36-37 Alfredo H. Arellano, PMHCNS, BC ............................................ Pg. 69 Ana Square Microblading & Permanent Makeup ......Pgs. 44-45 Beauty Esthetics by Beatriz Pg. 57 Ben Bridge Jewelers Inside front cover Ben E. Keith Beverages Pg. 95 Borderland Bail Bonds Pg. 32 Cares Medical Clinic.............................................................Pgs. 46-47 Casa Buena Vista Homes Pgs. 6-7 Drycon ................................................................................................ Pg. 50 E.G. Designs ................................................................................... Pg. 101 El Paso Children’s Hospital .................................. Inside back cover El Paso Rhinos Hockey Pg. 13 EP Accounting & Income Tax Services Pg. 65 Epic Event and Entertainment Pg. 103 Ethos Financial Pg. 33 GECU Pgs. 11; 40-41 Hotel Indigo Pg. 105 Hyundai of El Paso Pg. 70; Back cover Inn of the Mountain Gods Pg. 24 Intraceuticals ................................................................................... Pg. 34
Uribe.........................................................................................Pg. 58
14 / CBS 4 Pgs. 2-3 Law Office of Pamela G. Munoz Pg. 54 Made by Seoenz Pg. 55 Mendez Isaac Joudi, PLLC ................................................ Pgs. 18-19 Nourish Chiropractic ........................................................... Pgs. 42-43 Paso del Norte Center of Hope Pgs. 52; 97 Persian Rug Gallery Pg. 27
Toyota Pg. 1
Primary Care Clinic Pg. 56 Project Homes Pgs. 48-49 (TCM); 74-75 (SPACES)
Federal Credit Union Pg. 25
M.D. Pg. 95
Mountain Mortgage Company Pg. 107
Shocked.................................................................................. Pg. 94
Plastic Surgery ...................................................... Pgs.4-5
by Spectrum..................................................................... Pg. 72
Woo Pg. 89
Skull Fashion Boutique Pg. 96
Laundry Pg. 63
Davidson Pg. 88
Pg. 64
Mockingbyrd Pg. 53
Mix Salon and Spa Pg. 79
State Line ........................................................................ Pgs. 51; 71 Track One .......................................................................................... Pg. 59
april 2024 Advertiser INDEX
Olivia Isais................................................................ Pgs. 38-39
Pgs. 8-9
Eagles Air Museum Pg. 101

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