Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, family and pets… anything goes!
I was born and raised in New York City. My parents immigrated to this country from the Dominican Republic, where baseball was a big part of the culture. Growing up in the Bronx and in the long shadow of Yankee Stadium, I became a fan of the New York Yankees and of baseball in general. I currently live in the sunshine state (Florida) with my family and two dogs.
What hobbies or interests do you enjoy in your free time?
Another sport I enjoy is golf, and I like to get out as much as possible. I also value the time I get to spend with my family and loved ones. My boys are still young, but I hope to one day share my enjoyment of golf or baseball with them. I look forward to the days when I can watch a game together with them, play recreationally, and even coach them.
Tell us about someone in your life who inspired you or helped you become who you are today.
Once again, my love of family is at the core of my identity. When I think about my family, I reflect on my mom and the tremendous influence she had on my life. She worked very hard as a single mother to provide for me and my siblings, and I’m consciously aware of her influence on my life almost every day.
What do you do really well? Is there anything you wish you could improve?
I pay attention to and take the time to learn and understand details, especially when it comes to people. Then I think about how the small things fit into the bigger picture. This habit started for me when I joined the Marine Corps. Ask anyone in the military, and they will tell you that details matter. From taking pride in your appearance and uniform, to making your bed with hospital corners, to being able to have intimate knowledge of your work and being a leader by knowing your troops and how to look out for their welfare. I’ve adopted these habits and now use them to build and nurture relationships with people who believe in our mission at JAX. I also believe in the notion of constant improvement, so I will always continue to work on these skills.
What’s an accomplishment you are really proud of? Is there something you want to do, but haven't done yet?
Many years ago, I pursued a career in acting and theatre, and even though it was very short-lived, I’m proud of the fact that I tried to make it in an industry where it is difficult to “make it”. I don’t think I’ll ever have an opportunity to ever do it again, so I now look for opportunities to enjoy and support performance art whenever possible.
Let’s talk about your career journey. What inspired you to go into your current field? What first brought you to JAX? Has your job changed since you joined?
When I was younger, I had to navigate the higher education landscape without any help. As the oldest sibling, it was on me to figure out all the details of how to finance my education. I eventually found that there are many people and organizations that are set up to help others through their time, effort, and resources to help foster success in others. The work I do with people helps bridge gaps between those who are in a position and have a desire to make a difference, with organizations that I have the honor to serve. The work of advancement is a very noble profession, and I take pride in the work we do. Our work has the potential to position JAX to lead the biomedical community in providing precision medicine and genomic solutions that will eliminate diseases and improve human health. If you take time to think deeply about advancement at its core, it is all about people. This inspires me every day!
How do explain your current work to others? What’s your favorite thing about it?
The world can be very complex, so I exercise the activity of perspective taking on a daily basis. One of my favorite activities is to try to see the world through a child’s eyes, and I often think of my sons when I do this. When they ask me what I do, I tell them this: “Daddy’s work makes people happy by helping them make a difference on very big problems (like curing diseases that take away the ones we love) which make many other people and their families unhappy.” I have found perspective taking to be a gift that leads to important questions that get to the heart of why we do our work, and I could not be prouder of the work being done by the JAX family.