HERstory: Theresa Mendoza, Working Twenty-Five Hours a Day

Twenty-five. That’s how many hours a day it seems like Theresa Mendoza works. Throughout her life, Theresa has never stopped pursuing her passions or caring for others. Through hard work and dedication, she has built a successful career, raised two happy and healthy daughters, and helped dozens of small business owners fulfill their dreams.

The second oldest of eight siblings, Theresa Trinidad Mendoza was born in the Philippines. She received a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the College of the Holy Spirit in Manila. In the early 1970s, Theresa immigrated to the U.S. She first lived in New York City and worked with the National Westminster Bank on Wall Street.  Theresa started as an accounting clerk, but because of her hard work, she moved up the career ladder to be an operations officer of the International Loan Division. At the same time, she met her husband, Mario Mendoza, an accountant from Havana, Cuba who came to the U.S. in the early 1960s. While working full-time, Theresa continued her education and received a MBA in Finance & Investments from Bernard Baruch College of the City University of NY.
In 1980, the Mendoza family moved with their daughter, Jennifer, to Colorado to be closer to Theresa’s family. After a few years, their second daughter, Jessica, was born.  Theresa stayed home for the next 20 years to take care of their daughters. When Jessica was in high school, Theresa returned to the workforce.  She was hired as a small business loan assistant for the City of Denver’s Office of Economic Development. Over the next ten years, she was promoted three times. Theresa currently supervises the day-to-day operations of the Strategic Investments group whose major responsibility is to provide federally-funded loans to start-up or expansion businesses. The group’s ultimate objective is to create jobs that benefit low-to-moderate income individuals or revitalize slum and blighted neighborhoods in Denver.
To learn more about Theresa, the Beehive asked her to answer these ten questions about herself:
    1. The proudest moment in my life so far was: When we got married and my immediate family (parents and 7 brothers/sisters) were together after being separated for almost ten years. My mom and youngest brother arrived the night before the wedding day and were the last ones to immigrate to the States.
    2. One woman I look up to is: My mom who had an exceptional big/kind heart and was a great role model.  She used to own and manage a pharmacy and provided medicines to those poor families who couldn’t afford them. She also fed them when they were confined at my uncle’s hospital next door.
    3. I am inspired by: My mother-in-law. She was supposed to follow her son, Mario, to the U.S. shortly but was held and imprisoned for nine years by the Cuban government for being outspoken and standing for her beliefs. She was a very principled and determined woman.
    4. One of the greatest things about being a woman is: To love and nurture your children and be a good role model for your family and future generations.
    5. One thing I do to make my life easier is: Know how to organize and prioritize tasks and responsibilities.
    6. My favorite thing to do in my free time is: Read and watch sporting events.
    7. I hope that someday: Both my daughters will be very successful in their careers and personal lives.
    8. One piece of advice I would give other women is: Do the best in what you do and try your hardest to balance between family and career.
    9. Something that makes me smile is: Success stories of projects that I have funded that some people doubted would even survive.
    10. I would like to accomplish: Having two wonderful daughters who are pursuing their professional/educational careers to fulfill their dreams is already a great accomplishment.
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