And a company that matches her worldview
Authored by Brad Marley
Christine Ramos has been searching for meaning and acceptance for a long time.
Growing up as a kid of Filipino descent in the Bay Area, Christine’s parents were hesitant to teach her how to speak her native language out of fear that it would negatively highlight her nationality and cause her to stick out among her peers.
For an ethnic group that is proud of its heritage, this always took Christine by surprise. When her extended family would visit, it was a Filipino celebration in her house. Her family would cook food specific to the region and share it with everyone while they spoke in their native tongue, laughed, and enjoyed their time together.
The kicker, of course, was that Christine didn’t understand a word of it, which led to some frustration at the “Americanization” of her upbringing.
“I always loved being exposed to the culture when my family came to visit, but was always a little put off that I couldn’t embrace it as much as I wanted to,” said Ramos. “My brother and I wanted to express our emotions and show off why we were proud to be Filipino, but it was difficult because we couldn’t fully lean in.”
When COVID hit, Christine found herself bored and stuck inside, like so many other people around the world. But rather than commiserate, she decided it was the perfect time to learn the language and fully embrace her heritage.
After finding a class online she could do from the comfort of her own home, Christine was able to grasp enough of the language to speak with her extended family. They were thrilled she took the time to learn Tagalog, her native language.
Buoyed by taking on the task of learning her language to expand her horizons, she decided to do something she had always wanted to do before turning 30: live in Hawaii.
“I moved to Oahu for a year because I’ve always been drawn to the culture,” said Ramos. “I enjoy dancing—especially Hula and ‘Ori Tahiti—and so this felt like a natural place for me to live and experience it first-hand.”
Christine has never been someone who grabbed life by the horns until life presented her with these opportunities. And she has found life more fulfilling when you’re doing something that makes you feel alive.
“I’ve gotten comfortable being uncomfortable, which is something I never thought I would say about myself,” said Ramos. “But there is a big world out there that’s just waiting to be discovered, so I figured I might as well explore it while I have the chance.”
Exploring job opportunities to find the right fit has been a bit of a process for Christine, as well.
After graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in psychology, she wanted to become a marriage family therapist. But she took a detour and started working with adults with disabilities. She found it to be more fulfilling than she expected, so Christine followed this path for a few years.
This job also gave her the courage to stand in front of a crowd and put on training and workshops, something she never considered herself good at. But she was learning to be uncomfortable.
When she came upon Brightmark after growing dispirited with her current job, it was like a beacon drawing her back to San Francisco. It fits the bill on two accounts: it gave her a job working for a company that mirrors her belief system and allowed her to be closer to family since her dad and cousins live there.
“I find it’s important to practice what I preach, including being inclusive and tolerant of all cultures and ways of life because I once experienced what it was like to be on the outside,” said Ramos. “Brightmark has not only given me a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to my career, but the company’s views jive with mine, which is so important.”
Since emerging from a global pandemic, humanity has shifted toward jobs that make us feel good about the people we work with, and Christine’s journey is no different. Now that she’s found a home at Brightmark she can let out that breath she’s been keeping inside her all this time, that deep breath she didn’t know she was holding in until it escaped her body.
“Brightmark has changed how I view working for a corporation,” said Ramos. “I’ve always wanted to feel like I belonged at my place of work, but this has far and away been my best experience. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”