Hello, my name is Blanca Cuyun. My personal and professional journey began in Guatemala. It was there that I developed the values and philosophies that have guided my career and ultimately led me to Live Oak. While growing up in the 1980’s in Guatemala, my family lived during economic and political instability. The way we survived during that time was through the connectedness and generosity of others in our family and larger community. These early gestures shaped my values: I learned to value showing empathy to others, listening honestly to people, and offering care as often as possible. The care that I received from my family and community sustained me into my late teens. Seeing my own struggle and that of others inspired me to pursue higher education in Guatemala. By the time I was 17, I traveled from my hometown to the big city to pursue my education. I received my certificate in Office Policies and Procedures from the Board of Education in Guatemala in 1981.
I came to the US a few years later carrying my luggage filled with the values and lessons I learned in my home country. I began to apply these at C4: Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, my first place of employment. I went on to spend 27 years at C4. I was able to hone my administrative skills through roles in various departments, including doing intake to eventually serving as the organization’s Office Manager where I supervised up to 9 different staff members. During these years, my empathy deepened for our clients who came to receive services at C4 as well as for the colleagues I worked with. There’s no denying that I learned the value of difference. I learned what it truly meant to respect and listen to a variety of perspectives. Most importantly, I learned to demonstrate care and empathy as often as possible. In 2018, the opportunity arose to transition to Live Oak. The lessons I’ve learned continue to be the same: to value differences, to show respect, and demonstrate care in all that I do. At Live Oak I have the privilege to work with the Leaders in Accountability Team, my fellow colleagues, and with outside community partners. When you reach out to me, you can expect the connection and care I strive to live out. I look forward to connecting with you!