Alexandra Perales came to Blue Yonder a little over a year ago just as the COVID-19 pandemic was about to infiltrate the country. Little did she know that her choice to take the leap from freelance photography to receptionist at Blue Yonder in Mexico would take her on a journey of growth and resilience – two themes that pop up throughout her life story. Alexandra shares her thoughts on single motherhood, and how during the pandemic she’s adapted to a new role that has brought her a team she calls family.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Monterrey, Mexico and got my bachelor’s degree in commercial and digital photography. I’m very passionate about art and everything that surrounds art. I love dancing and music and for the past two years, I have practiced pole fitness as a sport. Before the pandemic, I was training for a pole dancing competition in Mexico City! I’m always looking for ways to express myself as I find this to be the best therapy.
What has your career path been leading you to Blue Yonder?
I’ve been part of the Blue Yonder family for the past year. Prior to Blue Yonder, I worked as a freelance photographer for eight years. I loved freelance as it let me do a little bit of everything as my own ‘company’ essentially.
In 2017, I founded an art gallery to exhibit emergent artists. While that gallery only lasted six months, it gave me six months of learning and doing the work of an administrator, sales, marketing and everything that involved having an art gallery. Of course, having a team for each area could have helped make my gallery last longer, but as an artist, I viewed the gallery as another piece of art.
What brought you to Blue Yonder?
In the process of freelancing and owning the gallery, I learned a lot. I embrace changing, transforming and learning any chance I get.
About a year ago, I decided I did not want to do photography as a business anymore. It is a constant hustle and I wanted to keep my passion my passion and find a job in another field instead. I needed stability and an opportunity to grow and learn in other ways.
Being a receptionist at Blue Yonder has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made – even as COVID-19 was just around the corner when I took the job. It may look like a simple job, but it has been a year with lots of learning, adapting, and teamwork.
Blue Yonder also gave me something I never thought I could find in a company, which is diversity and inclusion. As an artist I love being myself and here at Blue Yonder I feel like a can be myself in all ways.
You just became a new mom! What’s that journey been like for you?
Yes! Speaking about how I never thought COVID-19 was around the corner, I also never thought being a mom was part of my 2020 plan. It took me by surprise, but it has been the best surprise ever! I’ve experienced up and downs as a lot of pregnant women do when it comes to hormones but it’s been the best journey of my life. I’m also proud to say I am experiencing motherhood as a single mother. It has taken a lot of introspection and learning the art of self-love, but it has been worth the journey. Now more than ever I’m focusing on continuously learning to see life as beautiful as it is. I feel like I gave birth to my best piece of art.
As we continue to adjust to the pandemic environment, how do you stay positive and keep morale up with your team and those around you?
There are always two sides of the story. I believe that for every bad thing there’s always a good thing.
I’ve made great friendships with some of my teammates just through the internet since I was only in the office for my first two weeks of employment before the pandemic shut everything down! I know having them physically in front of me will always have it special place but now I get to know people from all around the world and that is amazing! I also love when teammates from other countries write to me just to say hi. As for my family, we’ve been adjusting every day, but we are loving having morning coffee together.
What has your role been like during the pandemic?
Being a receptionist, I have had to acclimate to my role evolving over the past year. I have become a pro at FedEx! I am in charge of new hire materials and instead of printing them and handing them to each new associate, it all has to be done virtually and by mail. I have had to adapt this process to be done from home. It helps to have teamwork and I work closely with our facilities, associate success and IT teams. Adapting has been another positive side to the story!
You are vocal about the importance of self-love when it comes to being resilient and confident. Can you explain what you mean by that?
I think without self-love we have nothing as faith, strength, empowerment, resilience, and confidence comes out as a result of loving yourself. When you accept yourself as you are, your past, your present, and when you accept your emotions and deal with them – the good and the bad – you are taking control of your situation. Taking control and accepting things as they are is healing. And that could only come out of self-love.
How has your life experience made you who you are you are today?
Growing up with divorced parents had its pros and cons, even though life has given me a lot of slaps in the face growing up. When I was a teenager, I thought of myself as a victim of the situation, and at the time I was diagnosed with depression. It wasn’t until years later when I was more mature that I learned that all that had happened was training for my life as an adult. Without all of this I wouldn’t be able to be the mom I always wanted to be, with as much love and confidence as I feel now. I also think much of this was because my mom has been the best example. She is a strong, confident woman, and always doing whatever it takes to succeed in life.
What’s one piece of advice you would have given your younger self?
This too will pass as nothing lasts forever.
Can you share a time where you recognized the importance of empathy?
I think empathy is always important to understand everyone’s perspective.
Five years ago, I used to live in Mexico City with my best friend and two men who were brothers. One of the brothers became my boyfriend. After six months of living together, things didn’t work out and I came back to Monterrey. Months later, my best friend and roommate was now dating my ex-boyfriend. At first I thought that was the end of our friendship, but I couldn’t stop thinking how she got involved with him the same way I did. We were living a new life in Mexico City, full of ups and downs. I could not blame her for relying on him. I knew she filled a hole being with him the same way I did. This is a moment in which I recognized the importance of empathy to understand someone else’s actions. She is still one of my best friends.
Have you ever realized you had an unconscious bias? What did you do about it?
I have an inclination for choosing women when it comes to medical care. Somehow, I do intrinsically feel more at ease with female medical practitioners, but I am aware this is an unconscious bias which I’m still working on.
What do you think are biggest obstacles to diversity in the workplace?
I recently heard that having diversity in a workplace is not the obstacle, but not being inclusive is. This makes perfect sense to me. We can have as much diversity as we please, but if we do not work on being inclusive with everyone around us, diversity will be just diversity. On the contrary, I think diversity is a great way to keep learning from others.
What is the one characteristic you believe every leader should possess?
What’s one fun (or surprising) fact about you?
I can impersonate a weird minion voice.
(editor’s note: this is fact! Alex does a fantastic minion impression, sure to impress her newborn son soon!).