Operations Associate / La Jefa
Irene was born and raised in Donna, Texas. Her first and home language is Spanish, but she never learned Spanish in school settings. In fact, she was punished for speaking Spanish in school. Nevertheless, she kept Spanish alive at home and frequently used it in work settings. She spoke to her four children in English, Spanish, and Spanglish. All four children have varying levels of proficiency in Spanish. Today, her Language Preservation Parenting journey includes keeping her family connected through delicious Mexican meals, speaking exclusively in Spanish to her two Mexican-American-Danish grandchildren, and speaking Spanglish to her three Houston-based grandchildren.
Chief Operating Officer / La Abogada
Amanda Benavides, Esq.
Amanda understands Spanish and knows all of the words to the Amor Prohibido album but has difficulty conjugating verbs in real-time. She came to appreciate the Spanish language later in life when her Spanish-speaking abuela moved into her multigenerational home. Using broken Spanish, she was able to build a relationship with her grandmother that she never had before. Today, she supports her teenage daughter in learning Spanish through online tutoring with native speakers and plenty of exposure to Selena. Amanda is a lawyer with nearly a decade of experience with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Chief Content Officer / La Maestra
Josie learned Spanish through summers with her abuela and in school; she is now an early childhood bilingual teacher in Klein ISD. As a 2020 Teacher of the Year in her district, she went above and beyond to support her students and families during a worldwide pandemic. She brings nearly 20 years of experience as a bilingual educator and deep expertise in early childhood language development, STEAM learning, social-emotional development, and culturally responsive education. She is a mother of two who speaks to her children in English while cultivating their Spanish language and Mexican culture through intentional experiences and activities.
Founder & CEO / La Exploradora
Veronica Benavides, EdLD
Vero rejected learning Spanish until college, when she fell in love with the language. She lived in Mexico City for a year as a Fulbright Scholar and has studied the language on her own outside of school settings. Vero loves learning and helping others learn and build new skills. She is a Harvard-educated doctora and a leadership development specialist who helps organizations across the globe create more effective, equitable, and inclusive work environments. She speaks to her two young children exclusively in Spanish.