Q&A with Ana Godoy
August 24, 2017 | Chicago, IL
This month we connected with Ana Godoy, a Telemundo account executive who grew up at Erie House and earlier this spring returned to the after-school hangout of her childhood for Comcast Cares Day. She credits Erie House with affirming her gifts and laying a foundation for pursuing an education and her dreams.
What do you remember most about your childhood growing at Erie House?
The thing that stands out the most is there were a lot of kind people. There were a lot of people that would go out of their way to make you feel important. Growing up in a house with six kids—we lived in a small 2-bedroom apartment—it was tough to get individual attention (My parents were factory workers and they worked a lot). At Erie House the people were so kind to me and so welcoming, and I always felt like I belonged. As a kid that’s all you want to do—you want to belong somewhere—and I remember going to Erie House and people looking at my report card and praising me because I had gotten A’s (I worked really hard on that). That was really important to my growth experience.
Where have you been since leaving Erie House and what are you doing now with Telemundo?
When I left Erie House I knew my path was going to take me to college. I knew that was the only way that I could get what I wanted out of life. I really loved to travel, I really loved fashion—as kid I had 3 pairs of jeans and I used to rotate them Monday through Friday. Growing up with 4 older brothers my whole thing in life was I wanted to be a sportscaster—that’s what I wanted to do. I ended up going to DePaul because my parents didn’t want me going away too far, and I majored in communications and political science. I had some scholarships but most of it I had to pay on my own, so I had two jobs, and I graduated in 4 and a half years because of the double major.
I don’t know if I would have taken the same path toward education and my life goals if it wasn't for so many people at Erie House.
- Ana Godoy, Telemundo Account Executive
Ana Godoy supervises a studio filmshoot for a Telemundo commercial spot. PHOTO SUBMITTED
Once I graduated I did go into sportscasting a little bit, but it was really hard because this was 15 years ago when there weren’t a lot of female sportscasters. I didn’t have a plan B, so I was devastated. Now what do I do? I started working at Univision, and the COO at the time was Henry Cisneros. I don’t know what he saw in me but he said, “There is a program in New York City, and I am picking 8 people across Univision to go there and study and become a sales account executive.” It was the best summer of my life. I made some really good friends and was able to make sales my career. I later moved to Miami and worked for a TV station doing sales and then was able to come back home to Chicago and work for Telemundo in sales, specializing in political advertising. It’s so rewarding that I get to use both my degrees—political science and communications—in my job.
What did it feel like for you to come back to Erie House—where you had come as a child—and volunteer on Comcast Cares Day?
Being there that day was unbelievable—I had goosebumps the entire day. I don’t think a lot of people who work there know how much you mean to a kid going through those doors. Just the safety, just the place of being welcomed and hugged, as if to say, “Things are okay, you’re safe here.” I don’t know if I would have taken the same path toward education and my life goals if it wasn’t for so many people at Erie House. As a kid growing up in the inner city, you had to make the right choices every single day—you make one wrong turn and it could ruin your whole life. It’s a lot of pressure to do the right thing constantly. I remember feeling such a great sense of community, being able to go Erie House after school each day and get my homework done. That’s not anything against my parents. They were working very hard to put food on the table (you know, it was the immigrant story). But where I came from made me really, really resilient and very strong, and Erie House was such a big part of that.
Edited for brevity and clarity.