Five Questions For … Houston Angel Network Chief Juliana Garaizar

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and Greek professor. But I think my mom has always tried to keep us grounded.

There were many occasions where my dad would say, ‘You don’t appreciate my achievements enough.’ My mom would say, ‘We all have achieved so much; it’s great.’ My dad told me that he needed fans, that we didn’t believe he was special. That’s one of the reasons my father left. When I was 30 years old, he remarried, and has a daughter around 2 years old. He married his secretary; it’s pretty cliché.

My father totally forgot about us; he’s not in contact with us any longer. When I realized he was not going to be there with us, I didn’t look for him either. This reinforces the fact that ego is very dangerous. My dad is a very egotistical person and my mom was always trying to keep us grounded.

That was the hardest experience I had to endure. You always believe that parents’ love is unconditional. I was very close to my dad; we both had this explorer side. My mom always said I was the one who looked more like him, my character was like him, very outgoing. ‘Til today, when I make a joke she’ll say, ‘You’re just like your father.’ I’m also the one who drew a line with him. My brother and my sister say, ‘OK, I accept whatever he has to give me even if it’s just Christmas presents for my kids.’ But I didn’t feel comfortable; I’d rather not have it. I don’t want to have to explain to my kids why do they have a granddad who doesn’t care for you [except for one time a year].

Now, there are people in my work environment that are very ego-driven. … I’ve learned to speak out and defend both HAN and my members from these people and prevent members who might not be a right fit. I had trouble with some members at HAN, who were very toxic and tried to destroy not only HAN but our Halo Fund. The vetting process is now much more delicate and I would say the HAN board trusts my intuition on who is a good cultural fit. It’s not just experience and curriculum but the fit within the culture.

X: How do you relax outside of work when you want to tune out the noise?

JG: I love nature; that’s my thing. I would say give me a patch of green and I would be the happiest. I would need to be in a park under a tree, with a book and I can totally replenish. That’s my way of meditating and emptying my mind out.

Of course, I still travel, now with kids, so less adventurously then when I lived in Asia, when every weekend, I was diving or hiking. I still think it’s very good education for my kids to be able to see other countries. Last spring break, I was invited to Chile to help launch a new angel network in Latin America. We traveled to five cities in five days. They asked … Next Page »

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