HOUSTON – Each month, KPRC 2 will celebrate and honor people from all backgrounds, ages and genders doing extraordinary things in our community.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, Voices of Houston is spotlighting Conchita Reyes. Reyes is the president of her own company, CR Financials Group, a board member of the Morales Memorial Foundation and holds several leadership roles in the Greater Houston community. Most recently, she helped with getting technology to the Houston-area students.
Who is Conchita Reyes?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I grew up in the Aldine District and graduated from MacArthur High School. But also, I had another life in the summertime. My dad would send us off to Mexico and so every summer I would go out there to learn the language, the culture and so forth. It wasn’t until eighth grade when I actually left Houston and went to live in Mexico. I studied in a private Catholic school in Guadalajara, and then eventually we came back and I finished out my schooling here in Houston. I grew up in the Second Ward, with the Ballet Folklorico under the direction of Nelly Fraga and I danced for a couple of years. Growing up, we danced in front of thousands of people at Hermann Park and Moody Park. Being 6 or 7 years old, we were dancing and performing in front of everybody during Hispanic Heritage Month.
I graduated from the University of Houston Downtown with a Computer Information System (degree) and was picked up by a CPA firm. They asked me to get additional education for accounting, so I did and I worked for two CPA firms for a total of six years. Then I went off on my own. I opened up my own company, CR Financials Group. I tell people my real job is volunteering the paid job is accounting and consulting, but I enjoy being out there in the community. I enjoy helping with whatever I can.
Tell us about your leadership roles?
Well, one of my roles is with the Morales Memorial Foundation as a board member; having the accounting skills and financial background, I get to utilize a lot in nonprofits. I’m also a part of The American Jewish Council. We partake as an ally to the Jewish community and our role is to getting other ethnicities and cultures to communicate, to work together and bring awareness to anything that could be an issue. We’ve done several PSA’s (public service announcements) and we’re currently doing America’s Table for Thanksgiving.
In what ways have you given back to our community?
The most recent one was when we raised over $36,000 to purchase 155 laptops. We ended up branching out, which we’ve never done before. We sent out a notice about Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School in need of computers. Some of the kids were not able to take their summer school classes with the resources that they had at home. We’ve been very grateful for those who have been willing to collaborate with us and helping us reach that goal in our Latino community. The other thing is the food drives that I’ve been volunteering with State Rep. Christina Morales and the Morales Memorial Foundation. At times, we would just ask the community what they needed so that we can provide for them because a lot of times, it’s stuff that they might not need. We’ve been constantly shifting our gears as to what their needs are. It went from mass cleaning products to food, dog food, women’s hygiene (products) and diapers. So we’re always shifting gears, based on what the community needs.
What does being Latina mean to you?
Well, currently, the way the situation is being Latino is is a mixture of feelings and emotions. We are always prideful people. We’re very proud of our culture and we show it, in our front yards, in our houses and in our cars. Every car you see might have a Hispanic flag from Puerto Rico, Mexico and so forth. And it shows great pride because we don’t forget where we came from and the struggles that our ancestors or even our parents went through to get us to this point of coming to the United States. So it’s always great to make that time to appreciate not only the culture but what our ancestors and our family members have done.
What do you love the most about your culture?
Well what I love about being Latina, is the emotional experience of food. Being around family, being around friends, partaking in unity. It’s always a family gathering every time you’re a Latina. I mean it’s always around the kitchen, it’s always around food, and it just helps to understand that Latinas are just one of those that they embrace. You don’t have to be a family member, but we will embrace you. We’re huggers! We carry our emotions on our shoulders. And it’s not shameful. We love colors. We’re very colorful. I’m very colorful, I love colors. And I’m not afraid to show it.
What advice would you give to young Latinos growing up in this community?
Well first of all, for those little Latinos and Latinas, specifically Latinas because it’s always harder in the sense that we’re always overprotective of our girls, and a lot of times we can actually do a lot more than even our Latinos. I tell them “Go do it!" Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid that it’s not your best work. It only gets better. Overall, I would say plant those seeds in the future. My goal in life is that I plant seeds everywhere in Houston. That way I know that at least somebody will remember and say “you know what, someone did that for me, I don’t know who it was, but I’m going to pay it forward. I’m going to come back, to my community, to my ward and give back as well.”
That’s what I hope to have accomplished. So for me, planting seeds is important. I won’t probably ever know what the outcome would be, but being a child growing up in Aldine having to walk to a Black community Baptist Church, getting government milk, blocks of cheese and stuff with my mom, remembering my dad gathering up coins from my mom and saying this is the last of it for groceries. My dad always had a garden in case of hard times. We went through hard times and for me, it just felt like I had to pay it forward and I could never do it anywhere else but Houston. Houston’s my home.
Although we’re going through this pandemic and it’s a hard thing to swallow, especially when some of us have been affected through COVID, whether it is as ourselves, a family member has passed on, we must always have hope. Be positive, and be respectful towards each other, we’re not doing this by ourselves. We’re not alone, and together we can accomplish many things. Houston has proven it back during Harvey.