I wanted to write a special article on this Father’s day for Ruben Abarca, our Papaya Father figure. I know the importance of people believing in you, and Ruben has been a real father figure to me. I know he hates that I am saying this because he is not old enough to be my dad, and I do have my own dad who always pushed me (sometimes a little too much) and prepared me for a man’s world. For Papaya, I have Ruben as a father figure. And I say this because he tells me always looks out for me. For example he got me soup when I was sick, he bought me bobby pins before my speech, and he gets really nervous before I have a big public presentation. It feels good to have someone believing in you so much because it helps you believe in yourself a little more.
I met Ruben a little more than a year ago when I came across his profile. I saw that he worked for higher education connecting corporations to universities, and I pitched him Papaya. It took a little convincing, but he became my partner because he loved our mission.
He started booking a lot of speaker engagements for Papaya, and he got a lot of corporations wanting to help with the mission. Because of him, we have about 40+ corporations engaged and signed up to feed the STEM pipeline. Corporations will sponsor the tutoring, mentor students in high school and college. Corporate partners will also be able to tap into our ready to hire STEM talent pool.