Hispanic businesswoman Vicky Leyva risks it all to make her mark with her award-winning tequila
I always laugh inside when I hear people complain about immigrants in America. “They should all go back.” “They cost us money.” “They are ruining our country.” I can never contain my response: “Really? Where did your parents come from?” The truth is, immigrants founded America. I always remind the haters that someone was saying the same thing about their ancestors when they first got here. Sometimes that seems to shut them up, and other times it becomes a huge debate.
This is what motivated me to write a column on super immigrants. They typically start with nothing, but they create empires contributing to the American economy, pay taxes, hire people, consume products and have become the American dream with one small difference: they remain incredibly grateful because no one gave it to them in a silver platter. They had to work harder, fight longer and risk everything. Nothing is taken for granted.
This brings me to the super immigrant story of Hispanic businesswoman Vicky Leyva. When I first met Vicky she resembled a Playboy bunny, but she is one of the smartest businesswomen I have ever met. She is also one of the few who owns her own tequila company, the award-winning Tequila Azul Imperial.
Vicky’s roots as a Hispanic businesswoman go back to Mexico, where she was born in the little town called Jalisco, on Jan. 14, 1962. She grew up with both parents and eight brothers and sisters until the age of 9, her father passed away of cancer. As a result her mother could not support all the children on her own so Vicky was raised by her older sister. Vicky decided to immigrate to California to make enough money to help her mother so at age eleven, she boarded a bus to Tijuana and started looking for a “coyote” or smuggler to take her in to the U.S. Scared, hungry and suffering she finally culminated as she crossed the border. Once safe, she promised herself that “she would never go back until she achieved success.”