Texas Southmost College Business student Phoebe Paz was recently named Executive Director of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce, a career that stemmed from an internship she received as a new student at the college.
“It really is an honor to have been chosen for this position, it’s a huge step,” said the 20-year-old. “When I became an intern, I never imagined that this would become a possibility for someone like me.”
Paz, who is no stranger to hard work, crosses the international bridge every morning from Matamoros, where she lives with her father, to attend class and work, a journey that began almost two years ago.
“I have worked since I was 16 and there hasn’t been a time since then that I didn’t have a job, but when the pandemic hit, it all changed,” said the Brownsville native. “For someone born into a family whose father is a doctor, I needed to find my way. College has always been an option, so I enrolled at TSC, never imagining it would lead me to where I am today.”
Upon enrolling as a student at TSC, Paz took it upon herself to look for a job – the pandemic was posing quite a problem finding one that wouldn’t expose her and her aging father to COVID-19. Fortunately, TSC’s Student Life and Career and Employment Services departments helped her connect with the Texas Workforce Solutions Cameron, which led her to the San Benito Chamber of Commerce.
“It was all new to me, but the help I received from TSC for this opportunity didn’t go unnoticed. They helped me more than they know,” said Paz. “The world of business was new to me, it was outside of the medical field my family wanted me to pursue, but I knew business and helping people was my calling.”
Paz started at the San Benito Chamber answering phones, organizing files and invoices and sending emails, but when the executive director resigned, she quickly became the interim executive director for her extensive knowledge about the chamber.
“I knew the chamber, its processes and methods and I worked hard to show the board and our community that I deserved this position, despite my young age,” she said.
Her work made an impression, because with about a year and half left before earning her associate degree, she is the official executive director of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce.
“All of this is possible because of TSC. They have empowered me,” said Paz. “They opened doors for me and continue to open doors for me. They gave me a scholarship, helped me find a job at the chamber, and will allow me to become a college graduate. I couldn’t have gotten this type of personalized help anywhere else.”
Not only does she thank TSC for the tireless work its faculty and staff do to help students succeed, but she also thanks her father, mother, stepfather and boyfriend for being her support system throughout this journey.
Once she earns her associate degree from TSC in 2023, she plans to continue pursuing her education and earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics and finance.
“My goal is to help the community of San Benito and the Rio Grande Valley reach economic excellence, by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses from near and far to establish a footprint in our communities,” she said. “I want the San Benito Chamber to be a destination of resources and help for all – aligning with my overall goal of helping people and making a difference.”