Adriana Sotomayor – Sticking to My Roots Despite the Boot

My name is Adriana Sotomayor, but here in the States it is Adriana Vitacco. I came to Long Island on vacation 3 years ago and met my husband Bobby Vitacco. We got married within months and we’re really happy, although the process of becoming a resident was very long and tedious. I had to be in my country, Ecuador, so it was hard to keep a relationship like that, but we worked it out. I finally became a resident after a lot of money in fees and trips and, after a year of waiting, got my social security card and started applying to jobs.

I am a well-educated person from Ecuador, grew up in the city, always close to my family, and I have great values and manners. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration given by Excelsior College in Albany, New York. I actually went to Nassau Community College in 2012 with a student visa, for 3 semesters and after that, I went back to Ecuador to finish my degree and finally obtained it through Excelsior College since they have an alliance with my American College in Ecuador.

I got a job within two months of applying as a teller at Capital One. I accepted it even though I wasn’t too happy about the position knowing I’m capable of a lot more, but since I had just moved here I had to start somewhere, you know?

That job was completely different than what I expected. Although I did like helping customers, I enjoyed that closeness and helped all of them in the best way possible, and I always gave 150%.

My branch was not well-managed, and I just didn’t like the people I worked with, their ethics and lack of professionalism. It was hard because here I was making no money at a job I didn’t like, working with people who did not appreciate my work and didn’t treat me right. The truth is, I had no choice because my family needed the health insurance. This problem came as a complete surprise to me.

There were no rewards for me even though I well-versed in Spanish and 60% of our customers were Hispanic. As a matter of fact, my boss told me I didn’t HAVE to speak Spanish—that it was completely up to me, and that if somebody who doesn’t speak English comes to our bank, a translator would be brought in. Well, this was just the beginning, and needless to say I was unfairly fired. There is not much more to say about this unpleasant journey except I deserved better.

Now I’m starting a little business of handmade clothing and accessories from my country with REAL materials and fair prices. I’m also a professional jazz dancer and would love to start giving classes next year at a dance school as a hobby. I’ve done a lot in my short 26 years and I’m proud of it. I was a pre-K English teacher in Ecuador, dance instructor and more. Now I do social media management, website building, and am trying to focus on my little shop.

I have a 10-month-old baby who I’m in love with and want to show him that dreams can come true. My current dream? Honestly, I like stability, I’m happy with living with my family, I’m comfortable in every way, I don’t want to be rich and I have wealth in my love of my family. I want to reach a point where I don’t have to worry about finances. But doesn’t everyone want that?

What makes me happy? Teaching. I love kids and love that they’re so open to learning new things every day. In the near future I hope I can get an ESL certification since I speak Spanish. I would love to help my Hispanic community in every way I can. For now, I’m going to focus on my family and my shop. After all, this is the country of opportunities, right? I won’t give up.

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