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Conversations with the Inspiring Lilia Gomez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lilia Gomez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My passion for health advocacy began during my college years when I was majoring in community health science. At the time, I worked two part-time jobs while attending school full time to complete my bachelor’s degree. Before graduating college, I worked a couple positions in the health care field that made me realized I wanted to be at the forefront of alleviating health disparities in underserved communities. Which lead to working in positions that focused on primary prevention in health education and cancer screening services.

Fast move forward, I took a leap of faith one year to move outside of California and landed in South Texas where I completed my first year in Grad School. It was the most rewarding time to become familiar with another state, southern hospitality, community, and culture. But to make a long story short, I moved back to California where I plan to finish my studies in my new hometown San Diego.

As I settled in San Diego, I began to work for a non-profit clinic where we build accessible healthcare services for the surrounding communities. I enjoy my work, connecting people and organizations to resources, services and teaching people how to advocate for their wellbeing. But I wanted to create awareness on a broader level, so I created the Saludable Latina blog and podcast to talk about a variety of health topics among Latina women and women of color.

I was driven to make a change, create awareness, connect to help until I went through a devastating loss with a pregnancy. An unexpected shift happens with me… and I was lost. I had experienced a miscarriage and all of my personal projects were put on hold because I could bearly get through work. I needed time to heal, but I was upset at everything because I became another number in the ER, OB/GYN office and counselor office. When I needed to feel the most support by service, I felt empty handed. Go home, get rest, you will feel better, but I needed a connection. So, after a year and half of navigating services for myself, I decided I wanted to manifest a small wellness space that can be affordable and accessible to women in Barrio Logan.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has definitely not been easy because I don’t have a set of blueprints for my plans and as a matter fact, I am still working my nine to five while trying to create a small wellness space. I’ve also decided to fund my project with my job, so I don’t have to take out a business loan. I am constantly budgeting everything because I don’t want to take out a loan and accumulate debt. So, it’s been quite hard, but
I am managing for right now. I am practically taking a risk on myself because I know it’s a much-needed space. My future goal is to get the place funded through grants, fundraising or donation in the next couple of months and years.

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but when there is a desire to make a change, you strive to make things possible. My advice for young women is to know nothing is impossible until you begin to take action. Once you plan your action, then you will know if you succeed or fail, but both outcomes are part of the growth that will ultimately lead yours to succeed.

What should we know about Saludable Latina? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Right now, after work, I am focusing more on my personal projects with the podcast, blog, collaborations and creating a small wellness space for support services, workshops and more. As always, I am multitasking, but one thing I am really big about is advocating women’s wellness and reproductive health. I love to create conversations about women’s wellness (emotional, physical and spirituality) because it sparks a lifestyle change for their overall wellbeing.

Also, for the month of January, I am supporting other women on their mission in creating empowered communities through workshops. I am a big believer in building a community over competition. So, I am happy to collaborate with FemLatinas and The Women Empowerment Expo events.

Once the dust settles in February, I look forward to hosting the first support group in the wellness space in Barrio Logan. I am thinking of concentrating in two areas, miscarriage support group, and anxiety support groups.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
I feel there are always opportunities that women are well positioned for in the health care field. For example, I haven’t left my nine to five position as a program coordinator because as women of color, I stand in a position that can lead to opportunities not only for myself but for the women who come after me and the community we represent.

We have an opportunity to build a difference and not give up on the health care system and if the system is not making room, then shift the opportunity in creating your own possibilities and platform. Unfortunately, there will always be barriers for women, but we need to think strategically on how to navigate those barriers for better representation in our health care needs.

In other words, never give up on the possibilities to make a change.

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Image Credit:
Lilia Gomez

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