Thursday, February 29, 2024 Feb 29, 2024
50° F Dallas, TX
Advertisement
Business

Nonprofit Exec Florencia Velasco Fortner on the Power of Education

The president and CEO of The Concilio reflects on immigrating to the United States as a child.
By | |Photography courtesy of Florencia Velasco Fortner; Illustration by Jake Meyers
Image
Familia: A newborn Florencia Velasco Fortner (center) with her sibilings, mother, and grandmother.

One of Florencia Velasco Fortner’s first jobs when she moved to Dallas in 1998 was mentoring students in the Education is Freedom after-school program. In 2005, she was handpicked to lead The Concilio, a Dallas nonprofit working with Latinos to build better lives for themselves and their children. Since then, Velasco Fortner has helped grow the organization’s annual operating budget from $400,000 to $5.4 million. Here, she shares her immigration story.

“I was born in Jalisco, Mexico. My mother had a second-grade education. My father never went to school because he started working when he was 5 years old to help his family. My parents and I immigrated to the San Joaquin Valley. One of my earliest memories is arriving to an apartment that had carpet. As a kid, I had never seen carpet before, so I laid down with my face pressed up against it, thinking: ‘I love this country.’ My mom’s dream for me was to have a job with air conditioning because my parents worked all day in the fields. My dad, even though he never went to school, understood the power of education. He talked to my siblings and I all the time about the importance of finishing school so that we wouldn’t have to work as hard as he did. I remember him telling me: ‘Mija, my goal as your father is to stand as tall as possible in the highest place and then put you on my shoulders so that you can see even further.’ Every parent wants that for their kids, and we try to make our child’s lives better than our own.”  

Author

Brandon J. Call

Brandon J. Call

View Profile
Brandon J. Call is the former executive editor for D CEO magazine. An award-winning business and data journalist, Call previously…

Related Articles

Image
Dallas 500

Meet the Dallas 500: Chris Gay, Evry Health

The health insurance CEO shares his desires for the industry, favorite local hidden gems, and the time he rolled his first car.
Image
Residential

Ebby Halliday: The First Lady of Dallas Real Estate

Halliday transferred her skills as a hat saleswoman to the real estate field. She proceeded to build a billion-dollar enterprise.
Image
Partner Content

When Lending Is Tight, Industry Leadership Is Key to Moving Forward.

Q and A with Bob Mohr, Founder and CEO, Mohr Capital
By Mohr Capital
Advertisement