Meet the team: Vivian Huelgo

Meet Vivian Huelgo, Chief Programs Officer

Where are you from? 

Born in Brooklyn NY and raised in Queens, NY to Hugo y Bertha, my beloved parents who immigrated from Colombia.

Where do you feel most at home?

In New York City with my oldest friends and family around me.

What inspires you, professionally and personally?

Professionally – My clients, some of whom I represented as an attorney, now over 20 years ago. I think of them even more since becoming a mother myself. I have stayed in touch with a few of them and feel very connected to them.  Their current stability, well-being and contentment brings me overwhelming joy. Personally – My twins inspire me to: be better, do better, work harder, and they teach me that every day is a new beginning if you choose to see it that way.

What are your areas of expertise or what areas are particularly interesting to you?

My professional expertise lies at the intersection of gender based violence and the law with a focus on the particular needs of Latin@s and other marginalized communities. ( I have been working on this for over 20 years now and it is still very interesting to me as it’s still very needed unfortunately.)

Share one thing you have learned, big or small, doing your work over the past year?  

So many things on a daily basis, everyone has something to teach if you are open to it, no matter how long I have done something there is always something new to learn, and the need for our work continues, it evolves and so I keep learning in so many ways.

What do you do to relax, de-stress or recharge your batteries?

During the pandemic, I expanded my routine use of skin care items like masks, serums, etc. and naps. I love naps. Mid-morning or mid-afternoon naps are just the best cure for tiredness and being out of sorts. Also, ASMR really works for disconnecting and decompressing and getting to sleep.

Why have you chosen to do this kind of work? 

I grew up translating & interpreting for my parents so becoming a professional advocate made sense.  The communities I was part of and saw up close growing up were predominantly Latin@ and immigrant communities so connecting back to them in my work has also always felt natural. 

What is your favorite food?  

Anything savory…okay, more precisely Mexican (especially in Mexico) and then Colombian (don’t tell my family its second on the list).

What is your favorite book?

“100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I’ve read it and re-read it multiple times in English and Spanish) with a close runner-up of ”A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle.