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Very few people in the IHCC know who Maria Dolores Toledo is… but everyone knows who ‘Loly’ is.

She is our guardian angel… she is the voice that is always on the other end of the line, offering a solution to the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s team in Chicago as well as the members, clients, and partners who call at any time. And on top of that, she keeps an indomitable hurricane called Jaime di Paulo’s agenda, our President & CEO, with activities that sometimes start early in the morning and end late at night.

Taking advantage of communications, ‘Loly’ works from her native Ecuador, but with the efficiency and dedication as if she were in our offices at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

We began a series of profiles of all our associates in the IHCC and we are starting with ‘Loly’, so that everyone knows a little bit more about who serves the Hispanic business community of Illinois proudly.

Place of Birth and Current Residence?
I was born in 1982 in Quito, Ecuador, where I currently reside.

What is your academic level?
I am a Systems Engineer who graduated from Catholic Pontificia University in Ecuador.

Who integrates your family?
My husband Rubén Alejandro, my 3 years old son Tomás Andrés, and my mom Dolores Magdalena

How are the family dynamics like in a normal day-to-day situation, and how have they changed with the pandemic?
In my case, the pandemic has not changed the normal routine as I’m a Virtual Assistant.
I don’t have a daycare center to take my son, it closed down with the pandemic, and now I have my husband at home too doing telework.
But we have been learning little by little how to handle this new situation and above all, we have learned to handle our new normal and all the new things that this has brought to us.

What are your responsibilities at the IHCC?
I am a virtual assistant at the IHCC. My responsibilities are mainly based on assisting Jaime di Paulo, our President & CEO, whom I help to manage his agenda and anything he needs.
I am also in charge of answering phones. I am the voice behind the phone at the IHCC.
I oversee and help with the workload for different programs, manage their schedules. And the truth is that I help everyone who needs it, I love helping them by lightening their workload. It makes me happy to offer all a hand.

How is a day at work at the IHCC?
A day at work at the IHCC is never the same. One day I may be in meetings taking notes and updating agendas, another I may be sending emails and information, also entering new clients into our systems and scheduling meetings. And other days it’s all that at once; I never get bored, I always have something fun to do, but always answering the phones.

What do you do in your free time?
Before Covid-19, we loved to go for walks; now we love to watch series and movies (Monsters Inc is the house favorite). Something I also do in my free time is sing, I love music.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being able to talk to people who call the IHCC and giving them solutions. I love helping, many times they are surprised that we can help them in Spanish, I enjoy giving them the information they need and getting a smile back.

What are your most important values and strengths at work?
One of my most important values, and one that I think is being lost at this time, is empathy, and this is something that I think is important to teach my child.
It’s very important to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think about what they need.
I think gratitude is also important and I personally like to practice it because it is something that fills your heart.
Within my strengths is honesty, in a job like mine that is 100% virtual, you must be honest with whom you work because they put in you a lot of trusts that you must handle in a very honest and loyal way. I am very responsible; patient and I like to be proactive.

What is your life’s vision?
Life is a beautiful thing, it is constant learning, a constant up and down of emotions. For me life is love.

Did the pandemic change that vision?
Not much, this situation has taught me that life can be very ephemeral, and that’s why we should enjoy it to the fullest.

What do you want most to achieve? What are your most important dreams? For a long time, I wanted to achieve the best professional goals, develop my profession, and make it go as far as possible. And when I achieved it, the truth is that I did not feel complete, then my dreams changed, now I want to be happy, I want to enjoy my family, I want to help people, I want to be able to go back and see my life and say: “This is worth fighting for”.

What are the main obstacles you face today to achieve that which you desire?
The truth is that I believe that every obstacle is a learning experience, and everything depends on the attitude you take. If my I desire is to be happy, it depends a lot on me and my attitude towards life.

What important experience has your work at the IHCC brought you?
Every day at the IHCC is a new experience, a new learning experience. I believe that the most important experience that the IHCC has given me is to be a better human being.
Being able to see all my colleagues and their real interest in helping people and their business goals makes me feel happy to be part of a wonderful group of human beings.

What do you enjoy most about working with the IHCC?
What I like most about working with the IHCC is being able to deal with so many people of all nationalities. It is to be able to have contact with people who needs us and be able to give them some hope. When Covid-19 started we received a lot of calls from business owners looking for help, and when we sent them the information they needed, many of them would say goodbye and send us blessings. Even though we felt exhausted I remember them feeling the greatest gratitude in the world because, even though we helped them with pleasure, we were the ones who received the most back.

Which activities at work bring out the best in you?
I think that being able to help every day brings out the best in me, and that’s what I really love to do.

How has your work with the IHCC made you a better professional?
My work at the IHCC has definitely made me a better professional in every way since I am learning day by day by seeing the dedication, and joy with which everyone works.

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