We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalia Gonzalez Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalia, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
“Ask and It Is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks. This book is EVERYTHING! Words cannot fully describe how much it impacted my life! It came to me as a Christmas gift from my dear cousin Sofia (which I know now was no coincidence) and has since then been the gift that keeps on giving! It reminded me that I chose to come into this world to experience love, beauty, passion, and joy! That I would have the most sophisticated guiding system along the journey (my emotions). and that I would know if I was on the right path based on how I felt. It also reminded me that my only “obligation” in this life is to feel as good as possible as often as possible, and since I started focusing on doing so, an entire world of new and improved experiences, books, friendships, conversations and opportunities has opened up!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a full time employee at a software company, and have been working there for almost 6 years. During my time there, I have had the pleasure to execute in three different roles, each of which has pushed me to learn, grow and excel at new and improved levels, and through which I have met incredible people who I can call family. And the beauty of having a 9-5 is that it allows you to pursue other interests in your spare time, and mine is Zumba! I have always loved to dance and I have realized over the years that dancing can actually heal one’s body and soul. It raises your vibration and connects you to your highest self. So I have made it my mission to share this experience with as many people as I possibly can! It helped me through the toughest of times and I know it can help others as well. About 7 years ago, I was a recently divorced single mother of one, who didn’t own a car and who couldn’t afford a place to live on her own, who somehow managed to work part time as an executive assistant for an international developer and supplier of interactive television and communication solutions, and part time as an after school program director. I felt tired, worried and stressed most of the time. But every now and then, I got to take a Zumba class and boy oh boy would that change everything! I walked out of class feeling energized, refreshed and ready to conquer whatever came my way! So eventually, I decided to start teaching. My first class had ONE student (yes, ONE) but I taught it as if it was packed! That student became two, those two, four, and so on, until I found myself teaching several classes with an average of 40 to 60 people, throughout different locations, and several times a week, sharing my joy for dance and witnessing the transformation of all of my students. It has truly been quite the journey. Was it easy? Absolutely not! But was it worth it? Most definitely! This journey has allowed me to experience the beauty and kindness in other human beings, the growth that comes with allowing others to help you, how incredibly strong we can be in spite of life’s challenges and most importantly, how one should continue to push through until our vision starts pulling us forward. In the end, things always, ALWAYS work out!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh man! My itinerary would include nothing but dance classes! I would take them to experience a Zumba class with JayP and Sez, an event hosted by Afrirock (especially if Pedro was teaching), a TWRKNQS class with Tanya, a samba class with LD Dance Co., and maybe at some point we would take a break to grab a bite somewhere near, catch our breath and keep on going!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Uff! So many! My former boss, Ehab Ahmed (Samurai Karate Dojo) who was the very first one to give me a chance as a Zumba instructor. My Zumba godmother, Veronica Salas, who helped me fine tune my art and improve my queuing! My dear friends Saar and Shelly, who helped me lease my first car, land my very first corporate job, rent my very first apartment on my own, and fed me all the way through! My current jiujitsu coaches, Jackson Fortunato and Rafael Castillo, who run the only Gracie Jiu Jitsu training center in Houston, and who are the embodiment of excellence and continuously pushing oneself to pursue and crush new goals. And most importantly, every friend and family member who has given me a place to stay, a ride, a warm meal, or who has watched my kids so I could work and provide for them, or perhaps even take a much needed break when my mental health requires it. Their acts of kindness and solidarity have allowed me to get this far and I have truly appreciated every single one of them.