September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and Tidal Basin recognizes several Hispanic employees who give their talent and expertise to Tidal Basin’s humanitarian mission.

Initially observed as a week beginning in 1968 and later expanded in 1988 to cover 30 days, National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We witness these contributions every day in communities across the country.

Tidal Basin is proud to be a part of the rich Spanish heritage and tradition in the United States and even more proud of the extraordinary people who mirror the diverse community we proudly serve. Stay tuned. Over the next four weeks, we will profile several of our team members.

Today we are featuring Cynthia Gutierrez-White, Senior Director of Media and Community Relations.

Where are you from or the place of heritage?

I am a child of Colombian immigrants.

What do you love about being Latino/a, Hispanic?

I love our passion for family, friends, food, and fiestas.

What is something you can share about your heritage that most people don’t know about?

Even though many of our countries share a common language, we celebrate the things that tie us together AND the things that make us unique. According to Pew Research Center,the “majority (51%) of Hispanic and Latino Americans prefer to identify with their families’ country of origin or nationality.” I am proud to be Latina, but I am more proud to be Colombian. Ask a Costa Rican, Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Argentinian, Ecuadorian… and they will say the same of their heritage and country of origin.

Tu plato favorito, what is your favorite food/meal? Why?

Colombian food is fantastic. It’s hard for me to select a favorite dish, but meat empanadas topped with homemade aji, tamal Tolimense (the state where my father was from) wrapped in plantain leaves, or hot chocolate with cheese and arepas remind me of family and good times.

Anything else you want to share?

Colombia is the most biodiverse country in the world and was recently ranked the third most beautiful country in the world by Forbes Magazine. I consider myself very lucky and fortunate to have spent my childhood summers there.