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9 Latinos Share How They've Achieved Their Dreams In The U.S.

Todos tenemos una historia que vale la pena compartir. Join these Latinos on their road to success as they share their experiences navigating through two worlds and how their background has helped them arrive where they wanted to be. Brought to you by the Honda HR-V Crossover.

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1. Rodrigo Mondragón, founder of Ki' Mexico

Courtesy of Rodrigo Mondragón

"When I left Puebla, Mexico, at 21, little did I know I was not only saying good-bye to my best friends, I would also be leaving behind my dream of working in advertising.

"Here in the U.S., I worked at a restaurant for five years every day until I graduated. I tried really hard to get into advertising, but it just wasn't happening. It was tough; I didn't want to be a server my whole life.

"But at home, one thing always lifted my spirits: the delicious Mexican food my mom cooked. I mean, when people tried her food, they would talk about it for days. So, long story short: I learned to cook too, and in 2010 we began selling salsas we made at the local farmer's market. The first day, we sold out in two hours...and it was like that until the end of the season. The next year, we went all out and decided to offer food we ate at our house — no ground beef, no cheese sauce, no chili con carne: only homemade dishes people did not know about. My mom would yell "Tacos, tacos!! Salsas, salsas!!" to get us noticed. And it worked. Getting people to try Mexican dishes that looked completely different to what they were used to was not easy, but we believed in our product and kept pushing.

"This year, my mom, brother, and I are opening our very own restaurant. I'm finally making my "American Dream" a reality — it was a dream I didn't know I would have, but one that now seems like I was meant to make come true all along. I think success is everywhere, you just have to find it. And if you do, never forget your country, but be grateful to the country that opens the doors for you to succeed."

Look at Rodrigo's insane culinary creations here.

2. Evelyn Adames, integrated account executive for Latina Media Ventures

Courtesy of Evelyn Adames

"I grew up in Queens, NY, in a very Latino and black community. My parents and all of my uncles and aunts had migrated to NY from the Dominican Republic in hopes of having more opportunities. Most of my family lived in studios or one-bedroom apartments that were chopped up to create more bedrooms. Growing up in New York was fun because it's a city bursting with culture. Anyone from any nationality can easily find a 'barrio' that resembles their homeland, speaks their language, and feel right at home.

"My amazing immigrant mother was a single woman who worked as a home health aide earning minimum wage. She did not speak fluent English (we always helped her fill out important documents, even as children), but that never deterred her when it came to pursuing what she wanted — she was always very strong, independent, and responsible. She always dreamed of giving me the best life possible.

"Today. having graduated from St. John's University, a mother myself, and currently working for LATINA Media Ventures as an integrated account executive, I can say I've made my mom's dreams come true. My job is to represent a brand created to empower acculturated Hispanic women that tells our real stories. Hispanics are the nation's largest and fastest growing minority segment, mi gente! We are important. Now I, too, find myself chasing the same American dream my mother had, which is to give my son a better life than I had, and I am very proud to be doing so."

Read Latina here.

3. Callie McLemore, industrial buyer

Courtesy of Callie McLemore

"I moved to Dallas from Guanajuato, Mexico, in 1996 with my young son, my husband, and without a college education. The grim reality of having to start over was frightening, but to my surprise, I met immigrant young families like mine also trying to build a life here, all of whom helped me immensely.

"Fortunately, I had a great mentor in my first job as a server. I was able to go from waitressing to becoming a human resources manager within a few years, helping grow the company from 120 employees to 780 (when I left). I owe my success to hard work, honesty, and being bilingual. I am positive that I would not have accomplished as much as I have here if I had stayed in Mexico. I believe that if you come to this country knowing what you want and willing to work hard, you can make anything happen."

4. Alexander Mijares, artist

Courtesy of Alex Mijares

"I'm a Miami native, but have Cuban and Spanish roots. I started painting inspired by the city I live in, but also by the vibrant energy of my heritage, its colorful and unique essence. My art is diverse and fluid, like my culture: I have created paintings that resemble cartoons, street art, murals, and sculptures. At first, I had to teach myself how to paint, and now I'm constantly on a mission to challenge myself and see how many different artistic styles I can do.

"Social media has certainly propelled my success, and everything I've achieved as an artist has allowed me to help local and international communities. I'm a founding member of YoungArts, an organization committed to cultivating the talents of new artists, and I also recently contributed to Project Medishare, a nonprofit located in Haiti, which eventually led to me painting a series of angel-themed murals. A lot of times I post bits of my life on social media because I think it gives exposure to organizations, which sparks support from others.

"Today, I view life as an exciting adventure, and one of the best parts of my own journey is seeing, for example, the messages I receive from people who follow me, whose lives I touch through philanthropy or through my art. To be able to have an impact on a crowd with the help of a paintbrush is what keeps me going. I hope to be disruptive in a good way, to make it in history books. My advice to other Latinos is to keep working hard toward your dreams — you never know when they will become a reality. Take time to appreciate the beauty in things and use them as inspiration in whatever you choose to do."

Follow Alex's adventures and enjoy his colorful art via Instagram.

5. Simón Guindi Cohen, founder of SPENGLISH (ñ)

Courtesy of Simón Guindi

"Leaving my country was definitely not easy. I left in 1998, when I was 14, because Mexico was no longer a safe place to live.

"Perhaps ironically, the more years I spent away from Mexico, the more I became attached to my roots. I celebrated my 'Mexicanness' all the time. In college in D.C., I started learning about the so-called 'Latino culture.' I was intrigued by all these other Latinos that weren't Mexican, by their traditions, accents, slang, and, most of all, by the fact that they were all proud of where they came from. I became a LATINO fan, and the rest is history. I soon started my own clothing brand, SPENGLISH (ñ), geared toward everyone, but celebrating the spark Latinos have.

"It's funny, because I grew up thinking being Latino was frowned upon, but today, the more diverse you are, the more you can add to the table. Diverse people excel in conflict resolution because they are capable of relating to a lot of different people. I feel I've found success because I appreciate diversity and know how much value it adds to the world."

Wanna see Simón's line? Click here.

6. Gabriela Natale, TV host, producer, and founder of AGANARmedia

Courtesy of Gaby Natale, Thinkstock

"When I graduated with my master's degree in 2001 in Buenos Aires, there was a deep economic and social crisis in Argentina, and every company in the country was downsizing, so I decided to say good-bye to my loved ones and head to the U.S. Once here, one of my biggest challenges was navigating through the unpredictable immigration system, but as my media career grew, I was able to petition for myself under the EB-1 'extraordinary ability' category and, two years ago, I became an American citizen.

"Since arriving to the U.S., I've gone from having nothing to owning a media and marketing company, AGANARmedia (providing services for Fortune 500 companies). My TV show, SuperLatina, started in 2007 in a tiny market in West Texas and is now distributed across the U.S. and Puerto Rico through VmeTV and will soon air in Canada. Our YouTube channels are growing at a pace of 1 million views per month. It truly has been an incredible journey.

"My greatest success is simply knowing that no matter what life throws at you, you have to stay focused, persevere, and believe in your potential. Great things happen when you don't quit."

Dive into Gaby's world here.

7. Alvaro Vargas, owner of Total Yard Care, Inc.

Courtesy of Álvaro Vargas

"I came from a family of 10 where I grew up working for my father, a rancher, for no pay. I did not receive an education other than elementary. At the age of 20, I decided to move to the U.S., leaving my wife of five years and my three children behind. We were poor, and I dreamt of giving my children what I never had: an education, a life, better than mine.

"Upon arriving, I worked small construction jobs and sent whatever I made back home to my wife and children. But I needed them with me. Through a challenging series of events, I was finally able to bring them to Louisiana. I wanted to spend more time with them and, working at a church, I saw the need for lawn services. I began mowing lawns, just like most teenage boys do, to make extra money. Before long, I was hiring people and buying more equipment. Today, after almost 25 years, my company employs over 35 lawn workers and holds more than 500 contract clients.

"What am I proudest of? My (now) five children have or are receiving the best education money can buy. I have a daughter as my vice president; a son who’s a senior software developer; another who’s a mechanical engineer; another one who is a special needs child but — with the great programs this country has to offer — has become a wonderful artist; and one last child still in school. I can say 'I did it!' — they all now have the fundamentals to build a bright and successful future. Anything that comes after this is a plus."

8. Javier El-Hage, general counsel, Human Rights Foundation

Courtesy of Javier El-Hage / Thinkstock

"Every success and every failure I’ve had are the result of having an idealistic dream, acting genuinely in pursuit of that dream, and adjusting through the journey with optimism.

"I went from being a part-time rock musician in my natal Bolivia to attending law school in America. I graduated from Columbia Law School in 2009 — the year the great financial crisis hit. My grades had taken a hit that year too, partly because I spent much of my time volunteering at a nonprofit. That decision proved right as this one nonprofit, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), gave me the dream job I now have — and even bore with me as I failed the New York bar exam the first time I took it (yes, everyone can fail at something and still be OK). Today, I head their legal department, where I advocate for democracy and human rights around the globe.

"So…yes. For me, it was all about dreaming, acting, and adjusting. Oh, and having wonderful parents and siblings who continue to support me as I continue dreaming."

9. Henry Pineda, undergraduate student at Harvard University

Courtesy of Henry Pineda

"When I came from El Salvador at age 14, I often felt that I did not belong here. I looked different and spoke differently. It was challenging, but the hardest thing was seeing my parents struggle throughout their lives, their income an ever-present reminder of their lack of education. It was that which made me want to be best at school. My parents had sacrificed their lives to raise my four sisters and me, so my goal was to always make them proud.

"When I was in high school I knew I had a golden opportunity: my principal, Ms. Miller — noticing I enjoyed learning and being challenged — invited me to Harvard's Graduate School of Education to meet a pedagogy professor, Eleanor Duckworth. All of the sudden, I found myself working a full-time job at a restaurant, being a student in high school, and at Harvard! Not even in my wildest dreams had I imagined someone in my family ever setting foot on such a great institution; however, I felt that I had earned it.

"My plans are to finish my undergraduate degree and continue to pursue a master’s degree. I hope to work in the U.S. and provide for my parents...and also to serve as an example to other newcomers to the country. Today, I can proudly say, regardless of the initial challenges I faced, that I am successful."

Cualquiera que sea tu llamado en la vida, sigue abriendo nuevos caminos para ti, y los que vienen detrás, con el totalmente nuevo HR-V Crossover 2016 de Honda.