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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Pharmacy Leadership Interviews

Jun 9, 2018

Meet Lilián Sánchez, a first-generation college student from Des Moines, Iowa graduated this May with degrees in Ethics and Public Policy and Political Science. Lilián has contributed to the UI community serving in various leadership positions. In April 2017, she was elected the Vice President of the University of Iowa Student Government, the first Latina woman to serve as vice president for the organization. Through the position, she has continued to advocate for first-generation college students and students with marginalized identities as she began doing after her first year at the University of Iowa as an Iowa Edge Peer Leader. Most recently, Amnesty International selected Lilián for the Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship; through a ten-week residency program, she will work to advance human rights with a global team of advocates! Here's the YouTube connection
Full Transcript:
welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy
leaders podcast is a member of the
pharmacy podcast network with interviews
and advice on building your professional
network brand and a purposeful second
income from students residents and
innovative professionals hey welcome to
the pharmacy leaders podcast I wanted to
introduce someone who has created a
fantastic podcast on youtube his name is
Ahmed Ahmed from the University of Iowa
College of Pharmacy and the next five
days you're going to hear one episode
each day and I encourage you to go to
his channel to subscribe at your pop why
oh you are P o P it stands for the your
pursuit of purpose podcast where he
interviews successful people and how
they got down there leadership Road so
hopefully you'll subscribe 2,000 people
already have in the last month and here
we go hey guys welcome to episode three
of the year pursuit of purpose podcast
today I have the honor of interviewing
Lillian Sanchez and she's here with us
today as a new graduate from the
University of Iowa just graduated how
many days a week ago um I want to say
four or five days ago very recent
yes sir congratulations graduate that's
awesome and so a little bit about
Lillian Sanchez is that she's a first
generation college student from Des
Moines Iowa who graduated with degrees
in both ethics and public policy as well
as a second major in political science
so kudos to you for doing that a little
tough Lillian has contribute to the
University of Iowa community serving in
various leadership positions so in April
2017 she was elected as the vice
president of the University of Iowa
student government which is huge and the
first woman first Latina woman to serve
as the vice president for this organ
ever in school history so through the
position she has continued to advocate
for the first for first-generation
college students and students with
marginalized identities as she began
doing after her first year at the
University of Iowa as a Iowa edge peer
leader and most recently Amnesty
International selected Lillian as the
ladies Kristoff Memorial Fellowship yeah
she got selected for that fellowship
through a 10-week residency program
where she will work to advance human
rights with a global team of advocates I
move out to California junipers just
right around the corner in California
and California yes I've never really
been out there so I can tell you it's
beautiful because I've definitely been
there it's awesome so Lillian we can
just go ahead and get started what I
like to do first is just introduce the
person I'm with so maybe can just give
us some background who Lillian was
before she came to the University of
Iowa or maybe maybe even before I I was
a statement cuz your are an immigrant
yes so yeah just tell us tell the
audience maybe your stories sure
well first off thank you so much for
having me Karen I want to say thank you
also for putting together such an
important Avenue for people to share
their stories especially for
underrepresented communities and
especially for immigrants to talk a
little bit more about our stories about
our stories of perseverance and
resilience and how we too deserve to
live a life of dreams that we make for
ourselves so I appreciate that it's so
impactful so thank you I think you know
to start off like you mentioned a lot of
these accomplishments are amazing to
hear just from here and I'm extremely
humbled um but I think a lot of the
times that comes back to really thinking
about how is it possible that all of
that is made possible and I can't think
of all of these things without thinking
about my family and without thinking
about the people that have come before
me in terms of those trailblazers that
have made it possible for me to have a
story of success you know and so if it
weren't because of my
I don't think I would be here I am
originally from Mexico so my family and
I are from a small town called la Camuto
near Toluca Mexico and I grew up in
Mexico until I was about seven years old
you know went to school there I really
got to absorb the culture and then at
seven we moved to the United States to
pursue a better life just like many
other immigrants it was an unsafe
situation for my family to be there and
we needed assigned somewhere where we
could pursue our dreams in a way that
was safe for ourselves for my mom my
sister and I so when we moved to the
United States we moved to Des Moines
at that point a lot of my family had
already been here and so we heard about
the incredible opportunities that Iowa
had for us family members and we decided
to come and join them here and I think
from the very beginning Iowa had just
been extremely welcoming that doesn't
mean that we didn't experience any sort
of challenges or circumstances during
that time but it just made sense for us
to come to a community where it very
much was was similar in the way that we
have grown up people were welcoming they
wanted us to pursue our educational
opportunities and at that point in time
I was the first person in my family to
truly pursue an education here in the
United States and so while I was doing
that you know my mom was working here
and they're trying to make sure that
there was enough food for us at the
table and a shelter that we could live
in and I think the only way that I could
really try and feel like I could help
support our family is to do what I knew
best and it was to become a good student
so that one day I would be able to go to
college and somehow be able to repay
back all the sacrifices that my mom made
for my sister and I and so that's how we
got here to the u.s. like Europe mainly
between the Des Moines in the West Des
Moines area I went to elementary school
Capitol View then West Des Moines from
and pretty much grew up in the Western
wearing school district and there we
were you know introduced to a lot of
different opportunities and I would say
that in addition to family what has also
really helped me be a better individual
and a better member of society have been
mentors and mentorship I know that
without the help of people who took me
out under their wing or who took the
time to really help me and recognize
that my family was struggling and that
we needed help I wouldn't be here
without them and so whether it was
teachers members of the community
members that we just knew that helped us
I think without them you know ours our
stories wouldn't be as successful as
they have been mm-hmm wow that's one
heck of a story can you tell us maybe
kind of your situation so after you guys
immigrated and you were living in the
Des Moines area cuz you tell me a little
bit about it but maybe we can tell
everyone just so they can appreciate
really like how you grew up in what
situation you came especially like what
you just it was just your mother with
you guys yes yeah so like I said when we
first moved to be us we grew up in the
Des Moines area and the Des Moines area
is definitely I would say much more
urban in a way than a lot of different
places here in Iowa especially rural
Iowa and so luckily for us we were in a
community where there were other Latinos
and other immigrants from different
parts of the world who were settling in
but in addition to that because it was a
very much low-income area you could see
a lot of poverty and we experienced you
know a lot of poverty but not in a sense
that we were extremely lacking but we
definitely there were a lot of
circumstances that we you know we went
to local food pantries and we went to
the local community centers or we would
pick up clothing to be able to kind of
make it through and so when we first
moved here because I didn't know the
English language I got held back a year
and then during that time I spent almost
all of my academic time in ESL courses
where I try to somehow be at the same
level as everybody else in the second
grade second or third grade and so while
I was learning English I would have been
held back from my studies and so I was
in a way you know I lost the step in
that direction and through all of that
you know my mom would be working in the
mornings in the afternoons and that
night so we would rarely ever see her
and I became almost like a second parent
to my sister in times that my mom
wouldn't be here I would babysit her and
we would make sure that we that she ate
breakfast in the morning that we walked
we take our self to school and whatnot
Wow so you guys can see like it's a lot
of people don't understand the true
immigrant story especially those who
really haven't didn't have to go through
immigration or maybe they were born to a
family where they were very well off
right from the get-go so just the things
that we can appreciate just like have
you mentioned just the background so
therefore when you see people that are
struggling you can kind of empathize
with them
which most people can't do so that's
that's very valuable in and of itself
common so just transitioning from all
this so you went from Des Moines then
you can't in University of Iowa where
you completed undergraduate studies but
something that you partake you're part
tooken was student government and not
only that she's partake in student
government but you ran for vice
president did and you also won yeah and
we're elected as VP of the student
government so can you kind of tell us
the process of what really what was your
motivation cuz if you're not 100%
motivated that's you just get you know
because it's politics
yeah and that's tough you just I tell
you firsthand that I've seen people like
how they tried a campaign and and they'd
come to me in the library while I'm
studying hey vote for me but for me so
can you kind of just tell us what was
your motivator throughout your was it
your junior the truth yeah it was my
junior year going into my senior year
and that's a tough time to be in school
- yeah classmen so you're taking on this
tough course load so kinda just tell us
about how you're able to balance school
life as well as you running for
position in student government and then
also thereafter not only did you
campaign and all that but you were
elected yeah for the position you were
running for I mean it's hard I think to
sit in this position now having gone an
entire year in serving you know in the
position like that and think wow I can't
believe that I thought that I couldn't
do this and I say that because I feel
like especially under especially for
communities of color and for women of
color a lot of the times when we think
about opportunities that present
themselves the first thing that we do is
we question whether we're worth it and
we question whether we have the
abilities to do something or if it's
maybe something that you know would be
beneficial for us if it's worth our time
because our family members have
sacrificed so much is there gonna be
worth me worth for me to take the time
to want to do a certain thing but I
think that you know having seen my mom
and my family experience a lot of these
circumstances where our family was
greatly impacted by policies and by
politics I mean when you talk about the
immigrant community when we talk about
communities of color for so many years
especially in the United States we see
these communities be scapegoated in
situations and in circumstances for
things that we haven't done you know we
talk about violence and we talk about
terrorism and we talk about all these
different issues that have nothing to do
with the immigrant community why don't
we talk about the hard work that we put
in why don't we talk about the amount of
sacrifices that our families go through
to make this country great and so I
think that because those conversations
are not had at the national level at the
federal level and they're not put at the
forefront of these table topics then a
lot of the times were to blame you know
immigrants communities are to blame and
people of color are to blame and so it
was so important for me to understand
that our stories matter that raising our
voices about our struggles and also
about our accomplishments and our trans
important so that we're recognized and
we're no longer sitting in the shadows
of people and so I didn't grow up with
politics my mom in fact most of the time
avoided talking about politics because
every time she would see the news there
every time we would go online or the
newspaper we'd see conflict yeah but I
you know I was like why can't we figure
out a way to make politics serve in a
matter of humanity and serve under this
idea of human dignity and preserving
human dignity and ensuring that every
single person is protected by the law
instead of punished by the law and so
you know I'm pretty law I want to go to
law school at some point I want to use
the law to help protect individuals and
to help them through their struggles and
things that they face but we can't do
that unless you know we ensure that
there is an injustice --is that are
avoided and with politics a lot of the
times you know it starts out with
policies and in the law to make sure
that these communities are kept safe and
that are kept protected and that are and
that we you know benefit off of the
things that so many other people do as
well yeah so I hadn't never seen myself
in that position before I have been
extremely involved as an undergraduate
you know I had been part of a
photography club for the first year I
got onto campus I was involved with the
alternative Spring Break trips so we
would take week-long trips to different
parts of the country and work on
different social issues so I took a trip
to Buffalo New York I took a trip to
Detroit and then we did one last one in
Columbus Ohio
whether it was urban development
criminal justice system a lot of these
issues made me realize that the problems
that a lot of our communities here face
are faced everywhere and that we're not
unique in the sense that you know only
some of those things affect us like they
affect everybody nationwide mm-hmm and
so I saw this opportunity as a way for
me to have my experiences to have my
story and to have the stories of so many
other people
like me be told and be prioritized in
those nations conversations that I was
just talking about and you know I was
extremely blessed because and I always
say this and I hope Jacob Simpson is
watching this because he was my partner
in crime this entire time and I was
really blessed with a team that
advocated for me and that advocated to
ensure that my voice was heard every
time we were in a meeting with either
administration or with state legislators
or even with other students I it was so
helpful to have someone be there for me
and make sure that my voice was heard
and so when Jacob asked me to run you
know obviously I questioned if that was
something that I should be doing but
there were so many people that were
rooting for me and I feel like at the
end of the day I needed to root for
myself and if there's anything I think
out of this entire conversation that I
hope people take is that we need to
recognize our own potential we need to
recognize the sacrifices that so many
people before us took and did and really
own that as our own identity and realize
that just because nationally these
conversations make us feel less than
doesn't mean that we're less than it
just means that we're that much more
uniquely positioned to make a change in
this world
so I think that you know we all have the
potential for your positive change and
it's up to us to really activate that
and to not let everybody else around us
tell us we can't do it we have to give
ourselves permission and just go for it
this your passion that's what it really
takes I think a lot of people get into
politics without really having a passion
for it and that's a mistake anything you
do in life if you don't have a passion
for it you're not gonna first of all you
won't enjoy we enjoy what you're doing
right and second of all you're gonna
you're not gonna be successful at it
yeah what you're gonna always you know
just take the easy way out or take the
easy route maybe not study for whatever
subject you're studying for because this
can kind of be applied just anywhere it
can be applied in all aspects of life so
you saying that just just you know were
you telling me about how actually you
are about all these politics and
just the policies and law it all makes
sense now so while you were successful
oh yeah exactly I think it's a passion
and I think the other thing too is when
we think about politics and I think
about public policy we forget the
fundamental idea behind all of this and
it's public service right and you elect
individuals to serve communities and to
serve you and so when we no longer think
about politics and public policy in
terms of service and we only think about
power grabbing and conflict and what not
we lose the idea that at the end of the
day these individuals are elected to
serve the community and to make our
community a better place for everybody
and I think that having that passion for
our community to do better and for
support towards one another to ensure
that everybody has at least somewhat of
a path to their own success is extremely
important and we can't I think
regardless if you're in politics as the
impulsive engineering if you're in a
stem field or for example I think I
think at the end of the day is how do
all of these fields come together in a
way that we contribute to our society in
a positive manner and when we focus on
that I think then we're able to have
impact and and change that's much more
intentional yeah but I mean just with
regards to everything else and again I
do want to thank you for coming on today
and kind of sharing your story and
letting everyone know who
Lillian really is outside of just double
majoring and all the successes you can
see people that are successful most of
the time the most people that I've met
most of the people that I've met in my
life who are very successful have had a
struggle and some some way shape or for
its environmental struggles its
financial this just doesn't matter if
they're an immigrant or not it just they
had something that happened in their
life that kind of it's again gives them
that passion deep down inside they're
like okay this is my motivator my driver
that's gonna push me every day to make
sure I succeed in whatever what
never I'm committing to yeah so for you
with politics just growing up you have
your whole story laid out that follows
kind of the journey that led up to this
person who I'm sure will be a lawyer one
day and LuAnn what I do at the end of
each podcast is I ask whoever I have on
just to leave the audience members or
whoever's listening with some advice so
something that that you want to leave
them with to pursue their own purpose it
could be a child that's watching it
could be an adult that's right now may
be finishing up college may be a
graduate there's something that you want
to leave them with there's something
that you hold near and dear to your own
heart oh man is such a loaded question
multiple things is fine supposing I mean
I feel like the one thing that I kind of
already hit on and talked a little bit
about that I oftentimes you know stop
myself and really think about and remind
myself is the idea that each and every
single person that we know of has
potential and I feel like when you talk
about potential and like potentiality
it's such an ambiguous term like what
does that mean but I think that with
passion like you mentioned we have a
potential for anything that we want to
do whether we want to express ourselves
creatively through a podcast or by
drawing and painting or we want to
pursue a passion through helping others
whether it's through politics or
engineering or the sciences I think we
all have potential and it's up to us to
truly want to activate that and to set
that forth and I think at the end of the
day we have to remind ourselves of our
of the fact that we are all human beings
and we all have potential for greatness
and we have to just encourage one
another but above all encourage
ourselves to want to pursue that and to
give us ourselves permission to do that
for everything that we stand for so a
constant reminder that you know we need
to have confidence in ourselves in our
skills and what we're made of and know
nobody knows us except ourselves and we
can't be our own biggest challenge so
believe in yourself yes it's true it's
so cliche but it's the truth so again
thank you Lilian so much for joining us
today and I'm sure everyone's gonna
really love your story and also just
appreciate everything that you had to
say just going out there and letting us
know what your who Lilian really is
before the successful person she isn't
so again thanks so much and good luck on
your residency fellowship
yeah fellows the fellowship that's going
on in California which is in about a
week and a half yeah so good luck good
then hopefully we can have I'm sure
people gonna want you on another time so
maybe we'll have you on another episode
and thank you guys for tuning in with
your pursuit of purpose podcast episode
3 and I'll see you all I'll see you all
on episode 4 so tongue-twister
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