Imagery courtesy of Annelise Vidaurri Gonzalez
My mother died at the young age of thirty-seven from cancer. I was eleven years old at the time. In my last conversation with her she reflected about her life and things she accomplished as a devoted wife and mother. Now that I’m in those same roles, I often think about things she would have done in her life if she was given the chance. Would she have finished college? Would she have started her own business? Nevertheless, accomplishing my goals and living the life she might have dreamed of brings comfort knowing I’m doing for the both of us.
Later, when my daughter was born in 2009, she arrived extremely early. Audrey weighed a mere one pound and nine ounces and was not expected to survive. I promised that if she lived to see another day, I would spend the rest of my life making sure she succeeded. I strived to set the bar high both professionally and academically, hoping my children will follow in my footsteps.
These two pivotal moments in my life changed my path. For me, these were signs that my professional career was a reflection of me and my family. At the end of the day, I hope I have made them proud. After all, my success is their success.
–Annelise Vidaurri Gonzalez
From a young age my parents supported my interest in politics. After college, I earned an internship with U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. I was assigned various internship duties, one of which included constituent casework. I quickly understood the importance of meeting the needs of the constituency and the general public. My role in public service is a career path I wanted to follow. It was an organic step as my father, uncles, cousins, and husband work in the public service field. I find great comfort surrounding myself with other servant leaders. Needless to say, I was employed with the U.S. Senate and U.S House of Representatives for over a decade.
What makes you unique in your industry?
I am currently the Vice President of Member Engagement for the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®. Essentially, I strive to make sure the needs of our members are met in every aspect possible. This is an opportunity to bring my experience in working with the public and help our members get the best service. When you can relate to people with positivity and a genuine interest in their needs, this ensures trust. When there’s trust, there is success.
Annelise and her family
What is one way you hope to impact your community in the future, either personally or professionally?
In 2018, a close friend asked me to apply for the Latina Leadership Institute. I took a chance in applying and was accepted. After six months, my world was transformed. I bonded with women that were strong, but most importantly, passionate for change. I graduated from the program with passion for helping other women, especially Latinas, see their potential. We all have a duty to the next generation of women. I have a duty to my daughter to continue to fight for equal treatment and representation. My goal is to continue spreading this message through various groups. I’m currently involved with three amazing organizations. Latina Leadership Institute, Latina Power Network, and iEmpower. Breaking barriers by giving young women a chance at success is how we move forward as a society. While we recognize that women need a seat at the table, we should change perspectives to reflect women needing their own chairs at their own tables.
Annelise presenting at the Latina Leadership Institute
If you could sit down with any woman in the world–either from history or who is currently living–who would that be and what would you discuss with her?
“Though the sex to which I belong is considered weak you will nevertheless find me a rock that bends to no wind.” –Queen Elizabeth I.
Although her reign was controversial for many, Queen Elizabeth I was a symbol of peace and prosperity for others. One of my earliest memories as a child includes my interest in her years as Queen and overcoming the stigma of being ‘a weaker sex.’ She represents bravery, intelligence, diplomacy, and true advocacy for change.
If given the chance to meet the Queen, I would discuss her ability for continuous trust, her bravery during the most difficult times, her confidence when everyone seemed to doubt her, and finally, her legacy and how she truly intended to be remembered.