From Gauchos and Malbec to Heels and a Briefcase

One Latina’s journey from the Patagonia to living her dreams in the big apple.

 

Eileen Guzzo was born and raised in Neuquen, a province in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

While growing up in Argentina, Eileen had always dreamt of being able to visit the US. Little did she know back then, that her dreams would eventually become her life. It was only until 1990 after completing high school that she was allowed to travel on her own and fulfill her long life dream of attending a university in New York.

With a lot of hard work, Eileen was able to balance academia and a side job to put herself through college. Four years later she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hunter College. Though her accomplishment was nothing short of greatness, she had a dark cloud over her head knowing her parents were never able to see her live her dream as they passed away prior to her ceremony.

Joining the NYC workforce

As any other young graduate, Eileen quickly joined the competitive New York City workforce for brief stint before deciding two years later that this was not for her.

With only $1,000 and a dream she set off to make her mark in the IT recruiting firm. Initially she started a business on her own, working out of a basement.

As many Latina entrepreneurs know, those first years are challenging and her start was no different, as she closed only a few deals while working tirelessly to see some light of success. To add onto her struggling beginning, the country was going through a rough time with the catastrophe of September 11th.

Since her business was catering to the financial services, she lost all of her clients due to the downturn in 2002. Eileen never lost hope as she stood resilient and worked harder than ever before, exerting all her energy to cold-calling and marketing.

From humble beginnings

From humble beginnings, the company began to obtain high-level trade certifications such as: MWBE, 8a firm, DBE, etc.

Any certification was of extreme value and importance in order to compete within the fierce government contracting practice. Slowly but surely Donelly & Moore began to make a name for itself as it kept up with companies like: MTA, NYPA, LIPA, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, NYCSCA, Time Warner and Morgan Stanley.

Eileen has been cited on various articles and publications such as: Diversity/Careers in Engineering and Information Technology, Procurement Technical Assistance Center Brochures, Crain’s New York Magazine, Daily News, The Wall Street Journal and El Especialito to name a few.

Eileen recognizes the hard work it took to combat every bit of adversity that knocked her down many times over while attending college and the time after it. The magnitude of the impact it had on her was so great which is why she is constantly seeking how to give back through her profession.

Across her work done at the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, she has assisted in finding candidates for various scholarships for the Fordham University Cybersecurity Master’s program. Additionally, she has done and continues to mentor and conduct technology seminars which she organizes throughout universities in New York City.

This Latina has not forgotten her Argentinean roots

Eileen has never forgotten her Argentinean roots and this as she states, “Is present everyday at my home”.

She has vowed to only speak Spanish to her children and instill her Latin traditions in them. She says, “Most dinners at home include Milanesas” as for many Latinos, food is an important part of the culture.

She has taught all of her children how to tango and keeps traditional Patagonian clothing for them to do presentations at their school for Heritage day events.

Eileen has also sent her two older kids to spend summers in the Patagonia and attend school with the indigenous community, as she puts states, “They need to know life in the rest of the world is very different than in New York”.

Lastly Eileen makes sure to help keeping the local Argentinean community together and participates in organizing many events that help celebrate her rich Latina culture.

Related articles: