Susie Byrd and Beto O'Rourke, along with Morris Pittle, owner of Two Ton Creativity, Joseph Villescas, owner of Villescas Research, Media and Instruction, and Diana Ramirez, a City Hall legislative aide.
is the type of wayward El Pasoan the project is targeting.After completing an internship in the Texas Capitol, Ramirez graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in government and Spanish literature.She
then accepted a job in Washington, D.C., joining the staff of Austin-area Congressman Lloyd Doggett.After a year in that office, she took a position with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, or CHCI.
Two years later, the urge to be around her
family in El Paso was too great.
"I wanted to be with my family, but I wouldn't return until I had a job," she
said.While in town for a Christmas vacation, she
began testing the waters for possibly moving back home.She
contacted several El Paso professionals she
had met while working in Washington and was able to find a job in El Paso's City Hall as a legislative aide in District 8 Rep.Beto O'Rourke's
"It's a more satisfying experience at the local level, because I meet with the people that I'm impacting and it's more of a personal relationship, whereas on the national level people are like tallies," said Ramirez
, who now works for both O'Rourke and Rep.
"A lot of times, people try to appeal to expats based on some kind of responsibility they feel they have to give back to their community, but I think the stronger appeal is appealing to their self-interest and say, â€˜Hey, here's a chance to get in on the ground floor of some amazing things that are taking off,' and I think Diana
is one of those types of people."
Working with Ramirez
both in City Hall and on the expatriate project, Byrd echoed O'Rourkes statements of the type of work ethic and dedication sought in returning expats.
"I'm trying to recruit my own Diana
had planned on attending Georgetown's School of Foreign Service to work in overseas embassies, but after returning to El Paso, her
career focus shifted from international service to local government policy and economic development.She now plans on pursuing a graduate business degree and is considering enrolling in UTEP's graduate business program.
There is still a possibility that Ramirez
will attend graduate school outside of El Paso, but she
said once she
plans on returning to El Paso, partly because of her
involvement with the expatriates project."I see the impact this project has had on me personally and the potential impact it could have on other people when they see what I think about El Paso," Ramirez