A Message for My 10-Year-Old Self: Team Members Reflect for Hispanic Heritage Month

Published on 
September 14, 2021

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles asked some of our Latino/a/x team members: “What message would you give your younger self?” Their responses are collected here.

Laura Bava

Pediatric Psychologist Lead, Teen and Family Support Service, Cancer and Blood Disease Institute
Co-lead, Latino/a/x Enterprise Resource Group
11 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my 10-year-old self:

I would say … hold on to the simple things that bring you joy. Don’t lose your ability to connect with all forms of life, especially rescue pets. Look back and connect with the openness and curiosity you have experienced. Many of the things you experience can turn into a lifelong hobby, passion or career. Listen, laugh and dance as much as you can.

As a Latina, I learned that cultivating strong friendships enriches your life in many ways. I also learned that holding on to your heritage’s traditions, language and cooking is wonderful and an excellent way to connect with others. I would also say, humans have the capacity to learn and adapt—so never stop learning!


Rolando Gomez, MBA

Administrator, Government and Community Affairs
Co-lead, Latino/a/x Enterprise Resource Group
13 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my 10-year-old self:

Don't worry if you look different, or feel you look different, from most other people. The designer clothes and shoes and the brand name backpack and expensive toys will not add value to your life. There is much more to you and to this world than what others see on the surface. You will come out of this experience resilient, compassionate and a leader!


Suly Leon, RN, PHN, BSN, CPN

Clinical Care Coordinator, Clinical Services
4.5 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my 10-year-old self:

Continue to believe that you can accomplish your goals, because you will. Do not let money be a deterrent to gaining knowledge and obtaining a higher education. Do not think you are less intelligent because you don’t score as well on those standardized tests like your fellow classmates, because they have private tutors and you don’t. Although you are disadvantaged but don’t know it yet, when you find out do not be ashamed, for it will only empower you to be self-sufficient and teach you a strong work ethic; it is part of the independent critical thinker you will grow up to be. Never stop being grateful for the opportunity your parents provided when they migrated to this country. When you think you have deviated from your path, do not be saddened. Know that there are different roads to reach your destination and although the road you take might not be the shortest, it has the scenic route and that, my dear, is priceless.


Cynthia E. Muñoz, PhD, MPH

Pediatric Psychologist, Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
19 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my 10-year-old self:

It may take you a while to find your voice, but when you do, the effort will be more than worth it. In no time, you’ll be using it to inspire countless other members of the Latinx community and beyond.


Albert Rodriguez

Manager, Unified Communications, Information Services
2 1/2 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my 10-year-old self:

“You can achieve anything you want, with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck.”


Leticia Valadez, MBA

Division Administrator, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dentistry and Orthodontics
8 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my 10-year-old self:

If I could talk to my 10-year-old self, I would tell her that she is intelligent and that her voice is meant to be heard, despite moments in life as a woman and as a Latina in which she may feel silenced. But I would want her to know to not be silent, not to be scared and to be persistent. I would want her to understand that her voice deserves to be heard because SHE MATTERS and her thoughts matter. In time, this will build her confidence, and she will be contributing to the representation of strong women who face challenges head-on and also make their voices heard.


Salomon Zelaya

Parking Services
8 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my 10-year-old self:

I would tell myself to listen to my parents and really follow their advice. I think the advice I received was very important and the way I was raised helped me a lot in life. My parents taught me to have principles, to have religious beliefs, to pursue education and to differentiate the good from the bad. My parents would tell me to study, to play sports, to live a healthy life and to stay away from harmful things such as drugs. My advice to others, as a Latino, is that we should listen to our parents, to be respectful of your elders and, as men, to women, and to be kind to and appreciate your parents. Also, and most importantly, my parents taught me not to treat people differently and to be accepting of others, despite our differences in race, color or beliefs. We are all equal. I think that advice can help many, as it helped me.


Rosalba Zesati, MAM, C-TAGME

Administrator of Academic and Professional Affairs, Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine
15 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my 10-year-old self:

Don’t be in a rush to grow up, Mija! Listen to the advice of older people—they have been through it. Marry someone who wants to grow with you, who respects you and who will support your desire to grow. Don’t get caught up in popularity; ALWAYS be kind and stay humble. NEVER burn your bridges. Invest your money … SAVE. Travel! Life has its ups and downs; when you’re down, remember it’s temporary and don’t have a victim mentality. Be true, honest and loyal, and most of all have PATIENCE. Have faith in God. If something is not for you, let it go. Don’t force anything or anyone to stay. Remember your roots and be proud of them. Don’t be afraid to fail! Take risks,but wisely—calculated risks. Always try to give back. Don’t judge; everyone has their struggles and a story. Spend more time with your viejitos. ALWAYS lead with your heart. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Live life by the Golden Rule and be the change you want to see! Quiérete Mija!