Beatriz Alicia Florez, Veteran

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U.S. Army Soldier & Ms. Belleza Latina International 2020, 14-year veteran deployed to Afghanistan

Vaughn Luciano Photography

Power of Being Female: This clinical social worker and Ms. Pacific Coast Belleza Latina winner explains, “Women have proven that if given equal opportunity they can be leaders in the community, in the workplace and on the world stage. My advice to women is to take the jobs that scare you, strive to be the most competent person in the room, do not be afraid to assert yourself, and never doubt yourself.” Born and raised in McAllen, Texas she is a second-generation United States Citizen. Both her parents are immigrants; her mother from Mexico and her father from Colombia. She grew up the youngest of five in a single-parent household. As a child, Beatriz’s family was below the poverty line and dependent on government assistance to meet their basic needs. At a young age, Beatriz knew that in order to improve her circumstances and to become successful, she would need to focus on her education. She excelled academically and by the time she graduated high school she had a full scholarship to the University of Texas at Pan American and enough college credits to begin as a sophomore. In 2006 she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Military Science and commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.  In 2009 she deployed to Afghanistan as the Theater Petroleum Officer for the 143 Expeditionary Sustainment Command. When she returned in 2010 she began graduate work at Baylor University. While pursuing her Master’s Degree she commanded the 812 Quartermaster Company and was responsible for over 135 Soldiers.  She graduated two years later with a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a Concentration in Physical and Mental Health and a Specialization in Work with Mexican Immigrants. 

She now holds the rank of Major and is the Executive Officer for a Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. As a civilian she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, providing comprehensive case management and mental health services to Veterans at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Seattle, WA. In her free time, Beatriz spends competes in pageants. She currently has the title of Ms. Pacific Coast Belleza Latina and will be competing for the international title in August. Beatriz uses her platform to promote mental health awareness and support organizations that provide services to the disenfranchised.

Career/Biggest Milestone: In the military, my biggest career milestone was when I was promoted to Major and became a field grade officer. Majors make up around 13% of the Army Reserve and female majors are an even smaller percentage of that.  The transition from a company grade officer to a field grade officer is huge! The level of responsibility increases exponentially and you transition into more of an organizational leadership role. I was selected to serve as the Chief of Supply and Services for the Presidential Inauguration and right now I am managing a staff that supports over 900 Soldiers and nine companies. My biggest career milestone as a civilian was when I got my clinical license. It is an advanced credential that allows me to practice psychotherapy independently and diagnose mental health disorders. Having that credential opened the door to several career opportunities and advancements.”

What and/or who inspires you daily? “What inspires me daily is seeing people thrive. I especially love when someone achieves something that they never thought that they could achieve. Whether it is a client, a friend or family member, or a stranger I see on the internet, their stories of perseverance and of overcoming adversity are inspirational. It encourages me to keep pursuing my goals, face my fears, and to challenge myself.”

On Beauty:  What is the key to looking and feeling fabulous no matter the stress? “Maria Felix said ‘La belleza de una mujer empieza en la planta de los pies, la confianza en su misma, y su actidud’, which I loosely translate to mean ‘For women, beauty begins with her stance, having confidence in herself, and her attitude’. Confidence is the key to looking fabulous and the key to feeling confident is positive self-talk. When you are having a stressful day, consider saying something positive about yourself to boost your confidence. Push away negative self-talk and remind yourself of how incredible you are! If that is not enough, there is nothing like a good blowout to get your confidence going!”

See Also

On the Power of Being Female: “Women have proven that if given equal opportunity they can be leaders in the community, in the workplace, and on the world stage. My advice to women is to take the jobs that scare you, strive to be the most competent person in the room, do not be afraid to assert yourself, and never doubt yourself.”

PHOTO CREDIT Blue Dress is from Vaughn Luciano Photography.

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