A Q&A with Lidiane Mocko, CRM Growth Strategy coach and consultant.
Access Opportunity: Tell us a little about yourself and your company, CRM Growth Strategy. How and when did you decide to start your own company?
Lidiane: I was born and raised in São Francisco do Sul, a small town on the coast of the South of Brazil. When I was growing up in Brazil I dreamed of living abroad. I didn’t know if I was going to realize my dream, but I decided to be prepared, just in case. I was in middle school when I started taking English as a second language classes.
Learning English opened doors for me.
I moved to the United States with a work visa back in 2003. I worked as a software engineer for 13 years, in the Broadcast industry most of the time, before I started my business.
I studied Computer Science in Brazil and I went back to school in 2012 for an MBA program at the University of Denver.
I enjoy working with systems and helping people learn and embrace new technologies. The process of designing and building systems puts my creativity to good use.
I started my business 8 years ago, right after I completed the MBA program at DU.
When I am not working, I am doing meditation, yoga, hiking with my husband or riding my bike. When it is cold outside I work on my coloring books. I also enjoy writing and I dream of publishing a book one day.
AO: Speaking of CRM Growth Strategy, you first got involved with Access Opportunity as a consultant to help us configure and learn how to use Salesforce, but since then you’ve supported our work in a number of different ways. What about Access Opportunity inspired you to get more involved?
Lidiane: I was inspired by your team of professionals who care deeply about what you do. As I learned more about AO’s programs, I couldn’t help but wish that I had access to a program like Access College and Access Career when I was growing up in Brazil.
My parents didn’t have a college education because of life circumstances that were not under their control. My father lost his father when he was 15 years old, and my mom lost her mom when she was 12 years old.
Despite their circumstances, they prioritized and invested in our education. They had 4 kids. It was their dream to see all of us with college degrees. A dream that they achieved back in 2002, when my youngest brother graduated.
Even though they supported us, we were first generation college students. I didn’t know how to navigate the challenges of going to college. There were times that I doubted myself along the way. I kept going, because I am persistent, but it was not easy. I wish I had more role models and mentors helping me along the way.
That’s what motivates me to be more involved with AO. I want other Latina students, first generation college students, to see me and believe that it is possible for them to reach their dreams. I want them to dream bigger!
AO: Tell us about some of the ways you’ve been involved? Is there any experience that has been particularly meaningful for you?
Lidiane: I have shared social media posts about AO events.
I have shared internship or job opportunities that I think would be a good fit for students that are going through your program.
I did a birthday fundraising campaign on Facebook for AO.
I hosted a Technology Workshop for AO Students earlier this summer.
Hosting the Technology Workshop was very rewarding. It was nice to meet the students in person and share my experiences with them. They were sharp and engaged. I was impressed by their thoughtfulness on subjects like the excessive use of social media and their concerns about the use of artificial intelligence based on data that is biased.
AO: Why do you think programs like Access Opportunity are important?
Lidiane: Because programs like Access Opportunity provide a support system for students to develop skills, navigate the college application process and the transition from life at home to life on a College campus.
My parents didn’t have a college education. I am grateful that they prioritized our education and they made it clear to us that we were going to get a college degree. But it was still challenging being a first generation college student.
In Brazil, back then, I took a test to get in. They didn’t have application processes, like here in the US. After I got in, it was still difficult to navigate the demands of my Computer Science classes and living on my own.
Years later, I remember feeling overwhelmed with my own application process when I applied for the MBA program at DU, and I was thirty five years old. I think quite often high school students that don’t have a support system shy away from pursuing a college degree because they feel intimidated by the process.
AO of filling a gap, the gap of lack of support or education from their parents, who most of the time are juggling with the demands of their families and their full time jobs and don’t have the experiences or resources to help their kids to succeed. AO is helping kids to believe in a better future for themselves and equipping them with what they need to achieve a better future.
AO: What do you think is special or unique about AO?
Lidiane: I think AO has a very thoughtful program, and this thoughtfulness is present in each step of the way. From the recruitment process, to the structure of the program that meets the students needs in each step of the way.
The Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) component of the program helps students and their families to understand the barriers they are facing and provides tools to help them overcome these barriers.
AO helps them prepare to go to college, helps them with their application process, helps them to develop the skills they need, and you also support them during their college education.
It is not one thing that makes AO unique. It is the combination of all these different components of their program that make it special, executed by a team of people who care about the students.
AO: Do you have any advice for AO students as they head into a new school year?
Be curious. Approach each new class and new classmate with curiosity and presence.
Enjoy your time as a student, knowing that you have a community of people that are here to support you along the way.
Be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this community.
When you find a challenge along the way, remember Maya Angelou’s wise words: "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
Thank you so much, Lidi! We’re so grateful for your partnership and for all of the ways you support AO students!