Yolanda Chávez Leyva
Latina Leaders El Paso
Summary of Interview
Lorena Andrade is the director of La Mujer Obrera. Andrade grew up in Los Angeles, California and moved to El Paso, Texas in 1997 to volunteer with LMO. She began working with the organization in 1998.
Andrade defines leadership as being able to remember what the principles of the organization are and as a leader, ensuring that those are respected during meetings, discussions, and decision making. She also believes that a leader’s responsibility is to reinforce these principles and make sure that everyone is heard. As a leader, she works to keep the history and the values of the LMO at the forefront of her memory.
As a director, she also handles coordinating meetings with workers and individuals of the organization. She had been the director of La Mujer Obrera for 4 to 5 years at the time of the interview. Her most memorable experiences as director have been successfully implementing ideas that benefit the community and turning ideas into realities that constructively help the community. Andrade explains that efficient communication is a large part of her position as director and it is important to contextualize the issues and struggles the organization faces by looking at the larger society around them. She claims that most women, including herself, at LMO identify as Mexican or Indigenous. Andrade also asserts that women from wealthier statuses communicate differently than women from poorer statuses in the organization. According to Andrade, middle-class women working with the organization sometimes negate the experiences of the women from lower classes.
Academic education does not play that important of a role at LMO, according to Andrade. She claims that an individual’s experiences and knowledge contribute more to the organization than formal education. The collaboration of all of the different experiences and abilities is what brings success to the organization. Andrade lists some of her major influences and why they were so significant in her time with LMO.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Interview with Lorena Andrade by Yolanda Chávez Leyva, 2016, "Interview no. 1709," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.