News & Spotlights

Humans of HealthPoint: Embracing Me and My Culture

October 28th, 2022
Stories

By: Natasha Rudolph, Communications Coordinator

Humans of HealthPoint: Embracing Me and My Culture

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Humans of HealthPoint – Magda Herrera Aguilera (Major Gifts Officer)

Magda believes a smile translates into any language and we couldn’t agree more. With her leadership, heart, and perseverance, it’s not surprising to hear that Magda is often one of the organization’s chosen spokespeople to share our story, while also leading HealthPoint’s Midway and Federal Way clinics for over 13 years. But how did Magda become part of HealthPoint? Why this organization? She isn’t new to healthcare and for her, it was our mission; she is a natural storyteller and enjoys sharing how HealthPoint helps the community. One moment that stands out to her was the growth she witnessed while at Midway clinic; she witnessed departments flourish and leaders emerge while under her leadership for which she is extremely proud.

Despite being so well known throughout the organization, people may not know that in a previous life, Magda was the youngest Sales Director at a brand-name cosmetic company at the age of 19 in Mexico. This achievement and her prior experience mentoring others within the company fueled her passion for motivational speaking, a dream she had since she was young; sharing her story with others and how they can achieve their dreams and be the best versions of themselves. Her story also includes one of the biggest hurdles she has had to overcome, immigrating to the United States 23 years ago.  Coming to a new country was a huge culture shock, Magda states, “there was not a lot of Spanish TV or opportunities that we have now. I remember the Harry Potter books were coming out and usually would take six months or a year for them to come out in Spanish. And I couldn't wait. I read the Harry Potter books in English with the dictionary next to hear the words that I didn't understand.” With her limited opportunities to learn a new language, Magda also realized the varying accents added a new layer of difficulty. Then she came to the realization, “I think that's why I smile a lot, because I was like I don’t understand, but I connect with you, you know, like a smile translates in any language.”

Moving to a different country, Magda was determined to keep her connection to home and share it with her children. Although she didn’t grow up celebrating Dia de los Muertos, she wanted to reconnect to her heritage and share it with her family. This past year, her ofrenda (offering) was dedicated to her brother, who passed away due to COVID. Through loving tears, she laughed as she shared how she made all his favorite foods for the altar. Later, she had caught her cat licking the butter and sugar off the top of the bread set on the altar, she thought how disrespectful but quickly remembered how funny he was and that he loved cats. “He’s loving this,” she smiles through tears as she shared this with our team, “He’s probably watching and loving this moment of my black cat licking all the sugar out of the bread, you know?”

We all shared in that moment of silence, to sympathize with Magda’s loss. As we transitioned into the next question of who would you eat dinner with dead or alive (a classic), Magda initially thought her answer would’ve been inspiring leaders like the Obamas or Oprah but with a tangible love that could be felt in the room, she switched her answer to her brother, “ I will exchange three different people for the same person three times, you know, and I would like to have three dinners with my brother. I would like to have more time with him.”

Throughout the many milestones in her life, we were curious about what advice Magda had for her younger self. Without a second thought, she says “to be yourself. But what I mean by that is to not be afraid to embrace what makes you different and to actually use your differences to highlight how unique you can be.” Like most growing up, everyone was comparing each other’s lives and accomplishments to others. However, now at 47 years old, Magda realized it’s all about being yourself, “You know, the competition is not with others it’s with yourself and being your best version of yourself, you know, but being better than you were yesterday and embracing what makes us different.”

Our interview only reaffirmed how inspirational Magda is and how she lights up the room, whether it be with her smile or sharing her story with 3 newbies on the communications team, we can’t help but be excited for her journey moving forward as she transitions into her new role as Major Gifts Officer here at HealthPoint. We are excited to see her continue to grow and lead the next generation of compassionate healthcare workers in this organization.

 Check out the video interview of Magda below!