Emily Marquez

EMILY MARQUEZ

FROM PRIVILEGED BEGINNINGS, TO MARKETER, TO NURTURER

What happens when the privileged child (the youngest of nine, with sisters’ seventeen-years her senior), is suddenly asked to become mother to her mother?  

In the case of Emily Marquez, she became a doting, caretaker and a nonprofit driven force to be reckoned with…  

 

*****  

“I was born in the United Kingdom (1963). My father was from Venezuela, my mother a Brit. My Dad, who had been a successful politician, was exiled during the regime of Dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez.”  

Abdelkader and Patricia (dad and mom respectively) ha

d 8 children between them. Emily was the only child of their coupling — “His, hers and ours” Emily explained to the writer with a chuckle.  

“My father became a correspondent for the BBC’s Latin American Bureau. He met my mother at a social event—they clicked and got married. A few years later I appeared on the scene.   

“My arrival came rather late in their lives. It was almost as if I was a granddaughter—and I think, to a certain extent, I was treated that way—spoiled!”  

The family returned to Venezuela when Emily was four-years old. The dictator had been deposed years earlier and Abdelkader’s political itch was rekindled.  

“My father left in advance, sort of paving the way for my mom and me. And while I don’t have many memories of that period, I vividly recall sailing on an ocean liner rather than flying—a necessity, as we had so many possessions in tow.”  

{Writer’s Note: Year’s later; a previous ocean voyage from Britain to the United States would play a major role in the arc of Emily’s life.} 

A startling sense of empathy overwhelmed me. The high-powered corporate executive existence was suddenly not at all satisfying. I wanted to help others, to exert my marketing skills in the non-profit realm. I suppose I had taken on the role of nurturer

Emily also recalls attending kindergarten in Venezuela…  

“While I didn’t yet speak Spanish, my English was quite proper. In fact, I found myself tutoring classmates. I actually corrected my teacher on her linguistic skills. As a result of this so-called insubordination, mom was called in for a conference.”  

Emily had a vibrant and active childhood, accompanying her father during his political campaigning and subsequent position as an ambassador.   

“My father started his own political party (Movimiento Popular Justicialista) and supported a presidential hopeful. My mother was his secret weapon—her charm, beauty, blonde hair and blue eyes—her innate ability to move seamlessly through all the social classes was an asset to my father’s aspirations. I’m quite sure that I inherited their skill at connecting with folks of all stations in life—a multi-generational gift that would later define my destiny.  

“And while my father’s candidate lost the election, the man who became president, Carlos Andrés Pérez, nonetheless named my dad ambassador to Guyana.”  

Emily was in middle school when her father was appointed. Knowing that the family would have to relocate to Guyana she fought desperately to stay in Venezuela, to remain amongst her friends. Her parents ultimately gave in and allowed her to stay in the family home in the care of relatives while mom commuted.  

“It was a wonderful period for me. I gained a certain amount of independence and when I would visit my parents it was a wonderland of hobnobbing with government officials and attending regal receptions. I even sat by my father’s side at political meetings and socialized with the Prime Minister’s children.”   

Editor’s Note:

By the time, the thoroughly sophisticated Emily was ready for college; her father was serving as the Venezuelan ambassador to Jamaica.    

“It was mutually agreed that attending college in the States was the most judicious move—specifically the University of Miami—since Miami was so close to Jamaica (less than two-hours by air).  

“I majored in Foreign Languages, which, truth-be-told, was more to satisfy my parents than a personal decision. My folks were old-school. They felt that girls should play piano, dance ballet and speak multiple languages. ‘You can always work at the United Nations,’ my father would say. I accommodated their desire.”   

After Emily’s first year at U.M. a change in the political power structure in Venezuela found Abdelkader without an ambassadorship. Her parents moved to Miami and Emily moved in with mom and dad.   

“By the time I embarked on my Master’s degree, we were one big happy U.M. Hurricane family. While I was pursuing my advanced degree in Public Relations, my father was working on his second PhD, while my mother was volunteering at the Department of International Student Services.”  

As an international student herself, Emily received an H1B Visa (which allowed her to become employed). She took a stint with a small Hispanic ad agency, IAC Advertising, while continuing with her studies.  

Upon graduation, with her visa expiring, and no alternative but to return to Venezuela, the fates conspired in a most cosmic way.  

“It was an amazing turn of events which allowed me to stay in United States. Apparently,  my mother had sort of blocked out, or simply forgot, that during WWII, with the German blitzkrieg haunting the skies over England, the United States had assisted in the evacuation of British children. My mother, only twelve-years-old at the time, was sent on a convoy sailing towards the safety of America.”  

{Writer’s Note: The aforementioned Atlantic crossing had come full circle.} 

“Once in the States my mother was issued a social security number!”   

Whatever it was that jarred Patricia’s memory, it led to her findi

ng the card. An immigration attorney was hired, and Emily was ultimately  granted residency status.  

In 1996, while serving as Senior Vice President of The IAC Group, Emily married Douglas. Their son Matthew was born the following year.   

In 2001 Emily took on the role of Director of Sales & Marketing for Parrot Jungle Island, responsible for closing down the 80-year old park and relocating it to downtown Miami. That year also came with a saddening event, Emily’s father passed away.  

“When my father died, in a sense, so did my mother. Her broken heart led to shock induced dementia. It was all so sudden.”  

{Writer’s Note: Patricia lived for ten more years.}  

Emily’s mom was placed in a home-care facility.  

“Mom simply couldn’t get over the loss of my father—it was all so tragically romantic.  

“I recall visiting her once and found her highly agitated. When I asked why she was such a wreck, she responded, ‘Because I have to get home and cook for my husband!’  

“On another occasion she mentioned that she had to get home to feed her babies. When I asked how many children she had, she responded, ‘144,000.’ When I asked their names, she began rattling off. ‘Emily, Emily, Emily… ‘  

“At some point I was called in for a meeting with the staff of the facility because apparently my mom was fighting over a doll. I resolved the issue by taking her to Toys “R” Us so that she could pick out a doll of her very own. Of course, she named the doll Emily.”  

The drastic change in Emily’s relationship with her mother seemed also to have a profound influence on her professional ambitions.  

“A startling sense of empathy overwhelmed me. The high-powered corporate executive existence was suddenly not at all satisfying. I wanted to help others, to exert my marketing skills in the non-profit realm. I suppose I had taken on the role of nurturer.”    

Indeed, she did. From 2004 to the present, Emily has served for the Alpha-1 Foundation, the Humane Society of Greater Miami, The American Cancer Society, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She currently holds the position of Executive Director of Brooke USA, a sister of British organization Brooke: Action For Working Horses & Donkeys, the world’s largest international welfare charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in the developing world.   

“Just as my mother and father before me, I was destined to serve the people and the noble causes that benefit those in need.”  

{Writer’s Note: Emily and Doug are still happily married. Matthew is enrolled at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Bode, their four-pawed friend, likes going for walks…}   Emily offered some specific advice for keeping a family together: 

“Be sure to stay connected with your kids and partner even when you’re not together. In today’s world, texts go a long way to remind your family that you are thinking of them and love them. This is especially important when one is going to miss a special occasion or be late for something. Recording a short video with that special message goes a long way and showing your face is very important. During work breaks, pick-up the phone so that your family knows that you are there for them. If your child is sick, this will also provide comfort. And, honestly, it is not only about ensuring that they know you’re there but it also reminds us moms that our family is there for us too. I talk to my college son at least twice a day; in the morning to wish him a great day and in the evening to ask about his activities. It took time to get him to participate but now he calls me between classes too.” 

 

Latinarrific salutes Emily Marquez…  

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Kent Wallace
Senior Correspondent at Latinarrific
Kent Wallace has worked in the mainstream media for over 30 years. He has been a journalist, publisher, performer, art critic and marketing strategist. He has written for such magazines as Esquire, Source, Ear, ArtSpeak and Notorious (to name a few).

Wallace was a contributing writer for “High on Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max's Kansas City,” he co-authored and authored several published books.

Wallace has hosted radio shows on ESPN (Reno) and KPLY (Reno). Wallace has appeared on Montel, The Tyra Banks Show, The John Walsh Show and the Rikki Lake show. Wallace also served as a consultant on an HBO’s hit series.
Kent Wallace
Senior Correspondent
Kent Wallace has worked in the mainstream media for over 30 years. He has been a journalist, publisher, performer, art critic and marketing strategist. He has written for such magazines as Esquire, Source, Ear, ArtSpeak and Notorious (to name a few). Wallace was a contributing writer for “High on Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max's Kansas City,” he co-authored and authored several published books. Wallace has hosted radio shows on ESPN (Reno) and KPLY (Reno). Wallace has appeared on Montel, The Tyra Banks Show, The John Walsh Show and the Rikki Lake show. Wallace also served as a consultant on an HBO’s hit series.

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