Being raised in a community where your history connects to every part of your present, it’s difficult to find the courage to leave. It is similarly difficult to forge a path and stay.
Questa del Rio News is committed to highlighting different members of our community, both those who have created their paths and planted their own roots in the community that raised them, and also those who have pursued lives outside of the community — through our Representando series. This series is dedicated to those who are Representando al Norte in various facets of life.
For our January issue, we spoke with Adria Córdova.
Adria moved to Albuquerque upon her graduation from Questa High School in 2006. She was quick to build a community in her new home as she attended the University of New Mexico (UNM). She is credited for being a founding member of the local chapter for the nationally Latina-founded Kappa Delti Chi sorority. She was also involved in ALPFA – The Association of Latino Professionals for America and several other networking groups during her time at UNM.
“Growing up in a community like Questa, I knew how important it was to have a strong network of people around you. This is why I was motivated to create strong networks when I left home,” Adria says.
Adria graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in organizational leadership in 2010. “My decision to pursue a business degree came from interning at the Questa Mine during high school and my summer/winter college breaks. It was there that I was exposed to real business experience, from accounting, to HR, to warehouse management.”
Adria was working at Kirtland Air Force Base when she decided to pursue her MBA. “I always knew I wanted to leave New Mexico and experience living elsewhere, but in order to make that happen, I needed to find a good job that would allow me to venture out.” She shares about one day when she was at work and saw that General Mills was on campus for a recruiting fair. “I decided to leave work early that day, because I wanted to speak with the recruiters.” This gut feeling paid off, leading Adria to a position with the company at their world headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“I moved in the middle of winter; it was cold and I was all alone so I recognized quickly that I needed to build community in my new home.” This is what led Adria to reaching out to the ALPFA Chapter. “I joined the Twin Cities chapter and quickly made many friends who became family,” she says.
Just one year after being transferred to Minneapolis, General Mills went through a company-wide restructuring, resulting in a transfer to Philadelphia.
For so many years, her relationship with her family was maintained through FaceTime calls and telephone calls. “There were many times my family would keep me on FaceTime for hours so I could still be a part of the family gatherings,” she recalls.
Like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic caused Adria to pause and reevaluate her journey. “I remember being alone in my apartment and thinking, what am I doing here? That was when I decided to come home.”
In 2021, Adria was ready for a change; a new challenge in her career. “Although I loved General Mills, I wanted something different. I was determined to find a role where I could leverage the skills I had gained at General Mills, but also have the opportunity to explore a new path.” This is what led to her transition into the tech space where she currently works as a lead solution engineer at Salesforce. The position was a great fit, as it allowed her to work remotely in her hometown communities in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
Adria describes herself as a problem solver. “I work with companies throughout the country and help them solve their problems through our technology solutions and products. The goal is to help companies improve their business performance so they can deliver value to their clients,” she says.
When asked how she likes living back home, she was quick to express how happy she is to have returned. “I love being closer to family! It’s so wonderful to be here to celebrate birthdays and special occasions as well as watch my nieces and nephews grow up, all things I’ve missed out on over the years. Being within driving distance to family and friends is something I don’t take for granted. It’s also great to return home for a while after being gone for nearly 20 years, because the same community that raised me is still here, and that is a beautiful blessing.”
Recently, Adria was invited to be the guest speaker at the commencement ceremony for the UNM Anderson School of Business. “It was such an honor to represent the alumni, and to represent northern New Mexico. I love telling our story of where we’re from and the values we were raised with, and how growing up in a small town allowed us to build a unique skill set for a successful future. I think my story is a testament to that.”