We had the good fortune of connecting with Rosa Maria Berdeja and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rosa Maria, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Originally, I am from Brownsville, Texas but have now lived most of my life in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I come from very humble beginnings. I remember times where I went to bed hungry because I did not have enough to eat. I remember walking home from school and having to stop periodically to remove the rocks that had made their way into my shoes through the holes on the soles. I remember my older sister, at age 12, stealing toilet paper from our elementary school restroom because we did not have toilet paper at home. There was even a time when I was homeless and depended on the kindness of others to simply survive. All of that has greatly impacted the person who I am today. I take absolutely nothing for granted. Everything is a blessing, from getting to wake up in a bed that is actually my own, to having food in the refrigerator. This has also made me sympathetic to the situations that others who are less fortunate are living. I always try to help others as much as I can because I remember the kindness that was shown to me during those difficult times and they made a world of difference in my life.
What should our readers know about your business?
I own two businesses. My primary business is my immigration law firm. I have been doing that for 12 year now. Building a law practice as a young female Latina came with a lot of challenges. I use the term “young” because I was fairly young when I started. However, I was able to utilize what others could perceive as weaknesses and use as advantages. Often times, when someone needs a lawyer, they think a strong confident male. However, as a female, I was able to bring in a softer side and my clients appreciate that. One of my main roles as an immigration lawyer is to facilitate family unity, whether that is keeping families together or reuniting them after a period of separation. As a wife and mother myself, I can relate to my clients on a personal level. Knowing that each day that passes is another day that those families are kept apart really pushes me to work hard for them. I want people to know that whatever weakness you think that you have, there is always a way to turn that around and make those into strengths. I will give you a great example. I’ve always been what many would perceive as impulsive. When I make a decision to do something, I want to do it and I want to do it now. It drives my husband crazy. He’s the exact opposite. He wants to think things over. Well recently, I took a strengths test and discovered that one of my top traits is being an activator. This means that I like to take action. For years, I had been telling myself that I needed to be less impulsive when in reality, it wasn’t that I was impulsive, it was that my personality type takes action. This is a strength, not a weakness. And this strength has played a huge role in my success in spite of me trying to tone it down.
In addition to my law practice, I also own a selfie museum that my brother and I opened up in Fort
Worth earlier this year. He is very artistic, much more than I am. However, this project has really pushed me out of my comfort zone and has forced me to tap into my artistic side that I had never really explored before. It brings a great balance to my life and I get to spend time with my brother. It is like we get to play together like we did when we were kids.
One thing that has really helped me build my brand is the connections that I have formed with other people. I serve on the board of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce but before I even joined the board, I was a pretty active member. Through the FWHCC I made many connections that have helped me build up both of my businesses. I encourage everyone to explore their local chambers and connect. It is not just about the referral business that you may get, it is also about the support that you get and the many opportunities to learn and grow.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Definitely Selfie Factory, my selfie museum. We have to capture the moment in photographs. That is a must go. But I absolutely love Fort Worth, which is why both of my businesses are located in Fort Worth. There is so much history and culture there and it is full of good friendly people. The Texas hospitality is unmatched. You got to hit the Stockyards. You got to hit the arts district. Maybe a trip to the zoo. Definitely dinner at Capital Grille in downtown to visit my friend Gloria, followed by dancing at Billy Bob’s. If there is still any energy left, we’d go by to say hello to my friend Chris at the basement lounge on Camp Bowie. Fun fact about me, I don’t drink. It’s been over 2 years for me but I would want my friends to check out their wonderful little bar so I would definitely take them there to end the night.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am honored to dedicate my Shoutout to the memory of Virginia V. Garcia. Virginia was an amazing woman who always gave of herself to others. I was lucky to have met her because although she hardly knew me, she took me in and gave me a home when I had no other place to go.
Facebook: selfiefactoryfw and berdejalaw
Headshot photo credit: Rachel Delira All others: Selfie Factory