Mara Zobehida Fuentes
I didn’t just find a job. I found a home. Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala Payroll Assistant Morales Group Inc. since 2012
Mara Rodriguez had a good childhood growing up in Guatemala. It was filled with the comfort and camaraderie of a large extended family—spending a lot of time with her parents, grandparents, aunts, and cousins—sharing traditional meals, visiting the family’s farm, and making magical holiday memories.
Soon after her graduation from secretarial school, Mara and her parents made their first trip to California, and not long afterward, Mara immigrated to the United States. It was a challenging transition going from living in a familiar place surrounded by family to being mostly on her own in a country whose language she hadn’t yet mastered.
“It was really hard to get used to doing everything and going everywhere by myself,” Mara recalls. “At first, I mostly kept to the house unless my aunt came out with me. Even though I’d spent years studying English, it was difficult for me to speak it. I felt ashamed.”
Eventually, however, Mara adjusted. She got her first job as a receptionist, married, had two children, and was happily reunited with most of her family as they also immigrated to California. But, even after twenty years, she still had new challenges to face. After going through a divorce, Mara found love again, remarried, and moved to Indianapolis only to have the weather and expensive college tuition convince her two teenage children to return to California. Once again, Mara found herself living far away from her closest family.
It was at that time that Mara accepted a position as a receptionist at Morales Group. “I was so nervous when I first came to the company because I’d never worked at a staffing ageny before,” she says. “But now I work in payroll, and I really like it.” Her job at Morales Group gave her the means to support her children and build a new life for herself, but what she really loved about the position was the chance to give back and participate in a deeply multi-cultural community.
“You meet so many different people from so many different countries,” Mara says. “And the way Morales Group helps people find jobs is so unique. They really care. The way they place each person in a position that is the exact right fit is something very special.”
Mara also finds it very special that the team at Morales Group celebrates diversity and the individual stories of immigrants like Mara. “I love the festivals we have for each culture so that each of us can share where we’re from,” she says. “I love having the chance to cook traditional Guatemalan dishes, and I love the chance to learn more about other cultures, too. Morales Group has really become my home away from home.”