On Creating Conditions To Do The Work: Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

On Creating Conditions To Do The Work: Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

Leading up to our Winter ‘19 iteration of WORK, we'll feature select interviews with some of our conference's speakers and thought leaders. In this interview, two-time nonprofit founder and activist Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez discusses the conditions she needs to do the work. Click here for the full conference schedule.


Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez is the Founder and Executive Director of Jolt, a statewide young Latino civic engagement organization in Texas. She was named “Hero of the New South” by Southern Living Magazine and hailed by the New York Times for her work on behalf of Latino immigrants. Cristina was also named a “change maker” by the Texas Observer, and her work has been featured on NPR, USA Today, Univision and MSNBC’s Up Late with Alec Baldwin. Cristina is the author of the book “Presente! Latino Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice” and "We Are Texas: An analysis of Young Latino Voters in the Lone Star State." Previous to founding Jolt, Cristina co-founded Workers Defense Project at age 24 and helped pass half a dozen local and statewide laws to protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of workers, guaranteeing them higher wages and safer working conditions. 

What she’s currently working on:

“Building a movement of Latinx youth across Texas to determine a new direction for our state.”

How would you describe yourself in three words? 

Creative, Energetic and Strong.  

How do you approach concepts of "work-life balance?" Does that term mean anything to you? 

For a long time, I thought that as a woman of color my greatest contribution was purely determined by how many hours I put in, by how hard I worked and how much I sacrificed. I didn’t think my contributions came from my true powers and gifts—like the power of vision, the gift of being able to see a pathway to make change where no one else saw one and the ability to inspire others to believe in their own power.  I now realize that yes, there are times when I have to work very hard and many hours, but that I am at my best performance when I am not so overworked and exhausted.

How do you approach working with others? 

I love working in teams and for teams to work well I have found what is really important is a common set of values in how you carry out the work. For me, those are professionalism, honesty and hard work. 

What advice do you have for starting/switching career paths? 

It's never to late to switch and find your true passion work/calling but even if it doesn't work out or isn't right for you, you won't be left with the idea or regret of "what if." 

Have you ever experienced a form of career uncertainty? If so, how did you overcome it? 

Yes, when I left my last job I didn't know what to do next. I took a job I ended up not liking and moved across the country. In the end it still served me and let me know that job wasn't for me. Generally, if I am excited about something but am afraid to do it, I think the best way to get over my fear is simply by doing it. 

What makes you resilient? (Resilience is the ability to withstand tough conditions and recover when things are difficult.) 

Having a small circle of friends and loved ones that keep me balanced. 

About WORK: WORK is a biannual pop-up space, designed for sharing new ideas and approaches to creative and entrepreneurial work. The event's panels, workshops and speaker sessions explore personal and professional curiosity, storytelling, diversity and equality, business management and creative entrepreneurship. Our next conference pops up on Jan. 19, 2019 from 10 AM to 5 PM at Rowling Hall in Austin, Texas. ✨Click here for more information.

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