Team Member Spotlight: Mariela Dominquez
Hispanic Heritage Month takes place every year from September 15th – October 15th! This month honors Hispanic culture and recognizes the many amazing contributions of Hispanic and Latino here in America and beyond.
The timing of this yearly celebration is no accident, during the month, several Latin American countries celebrate the anniversaries of their independence, including Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua!
Vireo is a proudly diverse cannabis company – we employ team members of nearly every race, creed, color, gender, and orientation. We are especially proud that nearly 20% of our team members are of Hispanic ancestry!
In honor of Hispanic Heritage month and our amazing Hispanic team members we are featuring just a few of these incredible people in our Team Member Spotlight Series.
First up is Mariela Dominquez, a Patient Care Coordinator at our dispensary in Queens, NY.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now?
My name is Mariela, I am 26 years old. I was born and raised in Jamaica Queens, NY and my family is from the Dominican Republican. I have 2 beautiful daughters for who I strive to be the best mother possible. Both my mother and father were born and raised in Dominican Republic and came to the US in their early 20’s to find a new life. I am thankful that my parents sought out a better life here in the USA for them, but also for my siblings and me.
Q. When did you start at Vireo and what is your official title?
I started working at Vireo in June of 2017 as a Patient Care Coordinator. I am proud to have been with Vireo for three years and honored to work for a company whose goal is to help patients. I love what I do at Vireo and I love Vireo’s mission!
Q. What made you interested in the cannabis industry?
My interest in the cannabis industry started a few years back because my mother was suffering from Arthritis. Growing up people always use to say cannabis was their medicine of choice, which I thought was silly at the time. My brother tried to give my mother cannabis for her pain, but my mother was always against the idea. Once I started working at Vireo, I started learning so many ways cannabis can help with pain and other medical conditions. Also learning that the combination of the CBD and THC helps well with inflammation.
I started educating my mom on how cannabis helps arthritis and tried to get her to join the program. My mom always said the best medicine anyone can take is grown from plants and herbs. She was very interested in homeopathic remedies; in the Dominican Republic this is a very popular form of medicine. My mother went to the Dominican Republic looking for natural medicines to help her pain.
Unfortunately, in December of 2018, my mother passed away and never had the opportunity to try medical cannabis. It breaks my heart knowing I could have helped my mother with her pain, but her fear wouldn’t let her try cannabis. Despite it all, I work to help more and more people get the relief they need and help overcome the stigma around medical cannabis.
Q. What do you like about working at Vireo?
Being a Patient Care Coordinator means I get to help patients and guide them through the process of using medical cannabis to find relief. I love being able to see patients smile again and hear their stories of overcoming their symptoms and struggles! Knowing that I can help someone and make a big difference in their life makes me feel like I am serving a purpose in life. It is a beautiful feeling and I feel proud of myself every time I can help another human being.
Q. How does it make you feel to help patients find relief?
It brings great joy and warmth to my heart to know that I can help someone find a product that helps them feel like themselves again. It is a wonderful feeling to see and hear patients tell you about things they haven’t or couldn’t do for a long time and how cannabis has given them the ability to do normal, everyday things once again! It is a beautiful blessing and I am proud to be a part of this amazing journey with our patients.
Q. What are your favorite activities or hobbies outside work?
I am a full-time mommy to my two beautiful girls, ages one and two! I love spending time with my family, going out for walks, and just getting my head into a good book.
Q. What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month to me is a time we can get together to honor and celebrate our ancestors, to combine cultures and to learn about our diverse history. It is a time to remind us how far we have come and a time to educate our children on our beautiful cultures.
We have such an incredible array of cultures with so many flavors, colors, and traditions. Growing up, my family and I would get together and talk about how it was for them growing up in the Dominican Republic and how and why it is a beautiful country. I am a proud Latina and proud of my culture, the history of it and the impacts. Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to share with friends, co-workers, and acquaintances what it means to be Latino!
Q. Any quotes or advice to share with our readers?
Never let fear stop you from being the best you can be!
Thank you to Mariela for being a part of our Team Member Spotlight Series and Happy Hispanic Heritage Month to all!