With the recent events and conversations surrounding DACA and the Dreamers, I want to introduce the impact they make at On Q. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) was created with a vision to provide protection and support for families as they pursue their dreams in the United States. 800,000 young Dreamers came to the U.S. as children with hopes to become part of the American fabric and achieve the dreams of safety, freedom, and opportunity. Dreamers are our neighbors, co-workers, advisors, teachers, and friends. I’m excited to introduce you to our Dreamers, Elias “Lee” Tenopala and Alex Suarez.
Lee is a critical component to the IT department and Alex is a great asset to the Marketing department building our Multicultural Advantage. It’s impossible to explain their contribution to On Q because they’ve both shown incredible initiative and leadership at our company. I was able to sit down with Lee and Alex to talk about being Dreamers, working at On Q, DACA, and On Q’s Multicultural Advantage. Here’s what I learned…
What DACA Provided
Lee was brought to the U.S. from Mexico City when he was 8 years old and he’s been in the United States for 22 years. DACA has provided him with incredible opportunities. He’s now a legal permanent resident of the U.S. “DACA helped me get the job at On Q. DACA provided me with the ability to have a job and On Q gave me the stability to support my family,” Lee told me. Lee is married to his wife and was part of the Dream Act Coalition. He even had his own business before joining DACA and starting at On Q.
Alex traveled to the states from Mexico at 8 years old. He is also a legal permanent resident and when I asked about his experience with DACA, he said, “DACA provides opportunity – period. It gave me peace of mind and security that I won’t be taken away from my family.” Alex has a wife and two kids at home and I could tell DACA gave him a sense of security and peace of mind for his family.
How On Q Helped
At On Q, we believe the dream is INCLUSIVE. We want everyone to feel comfortable inside and outside the office. We feel proud to support Lee and Alex with their careers and see them succeed at On Q. Lee started by saying, “On Q took a chance with me. I started at an entry-level position and worked my way up to where I am now. They’ve always been there to help me build myself up and support me in whatever way they can personally and professionally. It’s great to see On Q take an interest in DACA recipients because it helps put a face to an issue and see us as people outside of the classic stereotype. It shows people there are companies that value their employees and genuinely care no matter what your background.” Alex followed up by saying, “I feel valued at On Q. At other jobs, you know you have value, but you’re made to feel that you don’t or you’re less than. Here I can say that I sit down with the CEO once a week and my opinions and voice are heard. On Q gives us a chance to bring ideas from a different perspective and that’s amazing.” I’m proud to be surrounded by people who share the same values I began On Q with.
Why it Makes Us Stronger
On Q believes in making the dream of home ownership a reality and we want that for EVERYONE. We discussed how On Q being inclusive makes us a stronger company and Lee responded, “I think it brings On Q to the next level. On Q’s growing rapidly and innovating every step of the way and making this company inclusive puts us on a completely different playing field. I’m proud to be a part of On Q because of their diversity and values. It shows the strength of On Q as a family and we support each other.” Alex talked about how inclusivity impacts the marketing team, “When you have a diverse team in marketing it helps give insight into different groups. We aren’t marketing from a narrow perspective, but thinking of other viewpoints and appealing to different cultures because we have a diverse team.”
We want the dream to be inclusive. We’re taking great strides to make sure that we’re inclusive of everyone with our multicultural platform including our Spanish website and tools for home buyers. I’m looking forward to seeing the heights we reach as a company from the contributions of our diverse staff.