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Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month Spotlight

María Isabel Nájera Enríquez – Team Member, Franchise Org. Guatemala

National Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, is dedicated to showcasing the brilliant Hispanic/Latin culture. These grand celebrations include art exhibitions, music performances, parades, street fairs and more!

The observation started on September 15, 1968, as a weeklong celebration and expanded in 1988 to a monthlong commemoration. But why September 15? This date is the anniversary of the independence days shared by Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, also falling close to Mexico and Chile’s independence days on September 16 and September 18.

To honor this momentous month, we’re spotlighting members of the Hispanic/Latin community and their inspiring career and life journeys.

“Mi nombre es María Isabel Nájera Enríquez, tengo 24 años mi mama nació en la capital. Mi papa es de Zacapa. Siempre he residido aquí en la capital junto con mi familia.”

24-year-old María Isabel Nájera Enríquez, a restaurant Team Member from Guatemala, grew up in the capital, is the second oldest of four siblings, and a great support to her family. To Maria, celebrating her heritage comes with partaking in activities related to her family’s roots in Zapaca, Guatemala. Her favorite activies include horseback riding and eating quesadillas from Zapaca.

“Antes cuando era mas joven, nos gustaba en familia montar caballo, era nuestra actividad favorita, cuando mi papá visitaba a su familia en Zacapa. Las quesadillas de Zacapa son mis favoritas y la semana santa es época favorita.”1

Maria joined the Taco Bell family in 2019. When starting off, she found it difficult to get the hang of things as this was her first big job. With some help from her manager, Maria continued training with her collegues which eventually fueled her passion to stay with Taco Bell.

While working at the Taco Bell in Petapa,Guatemala, Maria gave it her all to help those around her when they were overwhelmed. She ended up passing the Food Champion test on her first try, making her very happy since not everyone is able to the first time around. Her favorite part of the process was learning about the lunch menu. After training at Petapa, she moved to a new restaurant in Vistares, Guatemala and then transfered to the Taco Bell in Alamos where she currently works as a Service Champion.

“Cuando estaba en petapa mis compañeros eran un poco sobrepasados con las tareas, pero cuando me certificaron como R1 me sentí feliz porque gané mi examen a la primera y habían compañeros que les llevaba más tiempo, me gustaba más aprender el menú de almuerzos...”2

During this time, Maria was able to meet incredible people, including her manager Anabella. Little did she know these people would change her life forever.

In 2022, Maria was on her way to buy grocerices when she was hit by a motorcyclist. This accident left half of her face paralyzed which affected her speech. She took a six-month leave and even wanted to quit Taco Bell entirely because she was unable to work. It was her manager, Anabella, who saw her potential and encouraged her to stay with the brand.

Luckily, Anabella and some of her collegues helped support to ensure she received the proper care she needed.

“Agradecimiento especial para Anabella, pero ella fue la persona que me brindó más apoyo.”3

Currently, Maria is doing better and is thankful to Taco Bell for allowing her to find friends like family in the workplace. Looking to the future, Maria hopes to channel her fiery spirit and grow to a managerial position or even explore the administrative side of Taco Bell. She’s also eager to study law at the Mariano Gálvez University in the near future.

1Translation: “When I was younger, we liked to ride horses as a family. It was our favorite activity when my dad visited his family in Zacapa. Zacapa’s quesadillas are my favorite and Holy Week is my favorite time of year.”
2Translation: “When I was in Petapa, my colleagues were a bit overwhelmed with the tasks so I helped them, but when they certified me as R1 (Food Champion), I felt happy because I passed my exam the first time around and there were colleagues who took more time, I liked learning about the lunch specials...”
3Translation: “Special thanks to Anabella... she was the person who gave me the most support.”

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