When Sophia Zarate took to social media to start a platform to give Latinx professionals a space to be themselves, she was also planting a seed for what would become Corporate Pero Latinos. Today, the organization has a scholarship fund for DACA recipients and undocumented students in the state of New York
Zarate shares her role those efforts and her impressive journey with NextGen Collective.
What do you do today?
As president and CEO of Corporate Pero Latinos, I am responsible for setting the vision, providing leadership, managing finances, building relationships, developing programs, advocating for the community, and ensuring growth and sustainability.
I tackle issues related to setting the organization’s direction, defining goals, and aligning our activities with our mission. Regarding the day-to-day operations, I have been managing resources, overseeing budgeting and financial management, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and optimizing organizational processes for efficiency.
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
My greatest career accomplishment has been proving to myself that I could “make it” in corporate America while being in New York City. Then, going off and pursuing my own purpose and fulfillment.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment to date?
My greatest personal accomplishment has been receiving a personal twenty-five thousand dollar grant to quit my 9-5 job, to focus on turning a community that I had created into a charitable organization. This grant was awarded by Cheetos and having a well known brand acknowledge the work that I was doing was particularly validating.
How do you tackle problems and overcome challenges?
I’ve always believed in the saying “your network is your net worth.” I have surrounded myself with extraordinary people that can often help me break down a problem or challenge. Whether it’s a professional or personal challenge, I often seek different perspectives before I decide or come up with a solution.
What do you do today to impact your community?
Corporate Pero Latinos recently launched a scholarship for DACA recipients and undocumented students in New York state. This is something that I had dreamt of doing for years and it’s incredible to see it come to fruition.
I also volunteer every week by teaching ESL and Basic Computer Skills classes to service workers at La Contenta Oeste in NYC. I think we often focus our attention so much on the next generation and we forget to think about the older generation of people who came to the US with hopes of creating a better life for themselves, but who are consistently faced with obstacles and discrimination due to their language barrier. I do this kind of work because it is truly rewarding to see the direct positive impact that you can have on someone’s life.
Describe yourself in five words.
Resilient, courageous, determined, compassionate, and empowered.
What are your future goals?
To continue operating from a place of purpose in any opportunity that comes my way.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
Getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep and doing HIIT workouts.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
Spending quality time with the people I love and creating digital content just for fun.
What does making NextGen Collective’s 30 Under 30 list mean to you?
This recognition fuels my motivation to push boundaries, explore new avenues, and expand my impact even further. It inspires me to continue advocating for representation, equality, and empowerment within the Latinx community, knowing that my voice and actions are making a meaningful difference.
What is your personal theme song?
“Rebelde” by RBD
What is your Latino background?
I am Mexican American. I was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. Both of my parents are Mexican but my mom still lives in Mexico and my dad lives in Texas.
Editor‘s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity.