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Hidden Gems: Meet Maria Elisa Guzman of MYND Child Development Center

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Elisa Guzman.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Hello! My name is Elisa Guzman; I have been working with children on and off for over ten years now; in a couple months, I finish my bachelor’s degree in business administration and also a Certificate in Early Education Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education, I plan on starting a master’s degree in a related field and continue learning about infancy and behavior.

A little over three years ago, I ended up taking a leap of faith and started Mynd, a child development center that focus on neurodevelopmental disorders and educational services. What brought me to this role and its also my biggest motivation is the believe I have that in order to change our region situation (being a border town the high crime rates, narcotraffic, immigration issues, poverty, etc.) we must invest in the early years of life, my goal is to provide access to psychological and educational resources affordable to families and to equip children with a safe environment for them to learn and potentialize their unique abilities.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
As anything worthwhile, having your own business comes with lots of obstacles and challenges, I must admit I made lots of mistakes, running a clinical practice is not an easy task and carries a lot of responsibility, to mention some challenges I would say getting together high performing teams, improving processes, one recent challenge was the global pandemic that forced us to close our doors for a little over five months, we had to learn to adapt quickly and being creative and problem-solving. In retrospect, I can surely say some of what at the time thought hard and difficult times now are some of the best and proudest moments I’ve had. Learning from mistakes, correct them and find better ways to do things becomes easier as time goes by or maybe you just get better at it.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about MYND Child Development Center?
I opened my own practice where I serve as an executive director, three years ago, I take care of strategic planning and supervise overall operation, making sure everything runs smooth. As a small business owner, you must wear different hats all time, so I go from helping plan interventions to hiring new team members, to do taxes, building connections with other professionals, etc. Our clinic focusses on neurodevelopmental disorders, behavioral intervention and adaptive skills, a reading and writing-intensive workshop is open year-round for children from 5+ where we promote literacy skills. As support for our services, we offer parental training and family counseling. I strongly believe in the importance of the first years of life and how it can completely change entire societies, I think if we want long-term improvements and changes in our communities, we must begin with our little ones.

Along with the clinic, I started a nonprofit with my mom a little over a year ago where we fundraise money and supplies so that low-income families can get access to therapeutic and educational services they need, we also have afterschool programs for children from local foster homes and provide psychological support to those who are at high risk or have experienced traumatic situations. If you’d like to donate, go to www.centromynd.mx.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
I have been so blessed to have people around me that support me; some of my mentors have been my previous bosses who, without knowing, have showed the value of hard work, morality and how to create a safe work environment, my mother who’s a bright woman and has always back up my endeavors and crazy ideas and other professionals have also being a big source of inspiration when most needed and along the way all the courses and certifications I’ve taken had let me to meet incredible and bright people who not just pave the way for us the new ones but also walk you through it.

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Image Credits
Photos by: Alfonso Caraveo.

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