Jaime Raul Zepeda '07 - Hispanic Latinx Heritage Month Q&A

Saint Mary's is proud to showcase alumni as part of its celebration of Hispanic Latinx Heritage month. Several Gaels answered written questions about their heritage and its importance. Below, hear from Jaime Raul Zepeda '07.

What was your grad year, major/minor/concentration/etc? What were some extracurriculars you were involved in?
2007, Politics major/Economics minor. I was involved in CILSA, founded the SMC Progressives, wrote for The Collegian, and was a radio host at KSMC

What is your heritage? How do you feel about it?
I am Mexican-American. I love my heritage and my history, which to me is both Mexican and American. Mexico is the country where I grew up and I'll always have it in my heart. America is where I carved my path, built my career, and started a family. Both mean so much to me, and both have me who I am today.

How does your Hispanic heritage play a role in your professional or personal life?
It IS my life. My heritage is so deeply ingrained in me that I don't see it as something that I celebrate once a year or in moments. It is fully blended into how I eat, speak, make friends, and raise my son. My Mexican heritage is in my DNA, but it also is not wholly who I am. Having now spent more time in the US than in Mexico, I am appreciating what makes America such a special place, too. It's never an either/or, but a sort of wonderful blend of unique ingredients that make a delicious dish.

Tell us about your current role and your journey there.
I am currently leading a research firm and media company. They both deal with the guiding light in my career: tapping people's full potential. One focuses on employee engagement and the other on uplifting professionals of color. My journey here is just like any success story: winding, weird, and sort of serendipitous. My first job out of St. Mary's was a recruiter! It's never a straight path that is easy to predict. But it became fun once I was open to the possibility, rather than sticking to a "plan."

Any advice for current Gaels?
Take risks, experiment, and explore. As you get older and pile on the responsibilities, it becomes harder to chase an itch that you might have. I think college is so great because you are in this safe space that builds community, but also an adventurous atmosphere. I encourage you to take more adventures, even if there is no "payoff." You'll have plenty of time later on to think about tradeoffs and returns on your investment...for now, chase that itch and get lost as often as you can.