Three Questions for Blanca Bocobo

October 10, 2020

Lab Benefits analyst and Health Care Facilitator Blanca Bocobo has worked here for over 14 years. Among her duties, she counsels employees, retirees, and their family members on benefits and helps them resolve benefit coverage and claim issues. Instead of a single proudest moment, she takes pride in the small accomplishments that happen on a day-to-day basis to enable employees to better balance their work and life.

As part of Latin American Heritage Month, Bocobo answers three questions for Elements:

Can you tell us about your family heritage? What was their pathway to America?

My mother’s grandparents came to the U.S. from Mexico in the early 1900s. During the depression, they were kicked out and repatriated back to Mexico, despite having two daughters born here. They settled in Pajacuaran, Michoacan, where my mother was raised and where, coincidentally, my father was born. When he was older, he walked from there to Stockton to find work and live the American dream. When visiting Pajacuaran, he met my mom and they eventually moved to Oakland.

Is there any part of your culture you draw from to inform your work at the Lab?

I feel that my culture is one of perseverance and tenacity. I believe that I draw my energy from this when I come across difficult situations at work. I feel like my ancestors went through so much so that I can be in an office setting helping others. The least I can do is be the best at what I do and to exceed expectations.

Who are some of your cultural role models?

Frida Kahlo because she represents the strong resilience of the Mexican culture. She suffered and was treated terribly, but she persevered through her art. Another is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz because she represents intelligence in a time when women were not considered to be a thinking creature. Her writing is a reminder of the strength and perseverance of Mexican women in a male-dominated, machismo culture.

Bocobo's Tia Esperanza (left) and Abuelita Trinidad Cortes Mendoza (Father side) in front of her Adobe house in Pajacuaran, Michoacan in the 1960s.
Bocobo's maternal grandmother, Consuelo Oropeza, as a baby and her older sister in 1926

Listen to the Latin American Heritage Month-themed Groove Lounge.

Connect with Latin American and Native American employees at the Lab by joining the LANA Employee Resource Group.

LANA is hosting it's final Cafecito Social Hour on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. Add it to your calendar.

Read the other 3Q4s from the 2020 Latin American Heritage Month series