Since our first photoshoot, we’ve made a conscious effort to have real women volunteer as our models. We celebrate the diversity of each woman’s heritage and background and can’t wait to introduce them to you! Here on Cultural Exchange, we’ll be sharing the stories of these wonderful women and why they are our role models.
Today we’re introducing Elsa Collins, a social impact strategy consultant, co-founder of This Is About Humanity, and supporter of The Little Market. Read below to learn more about how her background has fueled her passion for supporting others.
What is your heritage?
I am a dual citizen and was raised on both sides of the border in Tijuana and San Diego. I am a first generation American, college and graduate school graduate!
What makes you proud of your heritage?
I am proud to be a child of the border because I truly appreciate that sometimes I can feel more American and sometimes more Mexican (especially when I am speaking Spanish to my children).
Tell us a bit about your background and upbringing.
I was born in San Diego but was raised in Tijuana until the age of 16. I have attended schools both in the United States (crossing the border every day to get there!) and in Mexico. At the time, I did not understand why my parents wanted me to go to school and live in both countries but I can now appreciate they wanted me to be bilingual, biliterate and bicultural. After graduating high school, I studied Communications at Stanford and stayed to get a Masters in Sociology. I attended Columbia Law School in New York City and then made my way back to the West Coast.
What causes are you most passionate about and why?
My own passion project that I started with my sister Yolanda Walther-Meade and Zoe Winkler called This is About Humanity, which aims to educate others on how to be allies and advocates for separated and reunited families, migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
How did you find your passion?
My mother was always volunteering when I was growing up and I remember giving back just being part of my DNA. In 2016, I decided to start my own social impact consulting company, The Ideateur and work on social impact projects that resonated with how I wanted to see the world.
What upcoming project are you looking forward to?
The 2020 Election and the next bus trip to the border with This Is About Humanity.
What advice do you have for women who want to get into your field?
Find your authentic why and it will never run out of gas.
How has becoming a mother changed you?
It has taught me that all the judging that I did while I was growing up was completely unwarranted.
What do you think is the most important thing to teach your children?
Empathy and the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others.
Why do you support The Little Market?
Women supporting women is one of my mantras. The expectations that women have put upon them, to be the caregivers, the nurturers, the decision makers … the list goes on and on. So when there is an opportunity to lift women up I take it!
Favorite TLM product in your home?
My Malibu scented candle for This Is About Humanity. Proceeds from the sale of this candle go to help asylum seekers at the border.
Morning person or night owl?
How do you start your day?
With 16 oz. of celery juice
Where is your ‘happy place?’
Anywhere I can get a workout in 🙂
Favorite place you’ve traveled?
Anywhere in Italy so I can practice my Italian.
What are you currently reading? “They Take Our Jobs!”: And 20 Other Myths about Immigrants
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Elsa, and for being our role model! To keep up with Elsa and her efforts supporting families at the border, follow @thisisabouthumanity on Instagram.