An image of JUST Community Director Angélica CastroAngélica Castro, Entrepreneur and JUST Community Director

My Take On Persevering: By A JUST Entrepreneur Turned Community Director

Written by: Angélica Castro

Throughout my life, I have learned to be firm when it comes to responding to the different situations life throws at us. When we say “yes” or “no” we have to mean it. Doing so helps us persevere.

I will share a personal story with you. When I was 19 years old, I graduated from high school with a dream to become a preschool teacher. In Mexico, you to take an exam to be admitted to the college program of your choice. In this case, there were only 50 spots for the preschool program and over 500 applicants. I traveled to San Juan de Sabinas to take the exam and came out 53rd. I was sad about the result and began studying to take the exam the next year.

Meanwhile, my mom found a university where I could study Marketing. I will not lie, I did not like the idea of studying another career, but I decided to take the opportunity. I ended the year being an honor student and receiving a merit scholarship for my hard work — this is the moment I decided to leave.

Two years later, I went back to present the exam in the state of Coahuila. It was challenging because of the corruption. Some people have ‘reserved spots’ and the exam administrators ‘lost’ my exam. I had to travel to the city of Saltillo, Coahuila’s capital, to prove that I had taken the exam and passed it.

I received my diploma four years later.

Today, I am here, in another country, serving as JUST’s Community Director. Every day, I witness the perseverance in each of our female entrepreneurs, community members, and single mothers. I started this journey just like them — asking for a loan.

Our Senior Community Director, Ivonne Salinas, once told me, “JUST is like a cake, if you only take the business loan, you are only getting one slice.” Her words resonated with me throughout my journey, so when I was presented with the opportunity to ‘take another slice’ I did.

Shortly after joining, I completed JUST’s leadership program and became a certified JETA (JUST Entrepreneurial Trust Agent). After that, I applied to become a Super JETA and was accepted. As a Super JETA, I served JUST as a part-time employee, supporting other female entrepreneurs. This opportunity motivated me so much because our community is full of hardworking women.

These women work every single day towards their dreams. Most of them are now here, in a foreign country, full of great opportunities, but also obstacles such as language and cultural diversity. Their perseverance makes them resilient and through their actions, they represent JUST’s values every single day.

Angelica Castro joined JUST after being invited by her mother. She used her loans to open a small jewelry store in East Austin, which she still manages alongside her mother. After a few months of working as a Super JETA, she was promoted to the position of Community Director.