Maria Peña, Producer & Media Programming Specialist SFGovTV:
My name is Maria Peña. I'm a producer and media programming specialist for SFGovTV in the Department of Technology for the City and County of San Francisco.
When I was really little, my dad always had like a special or new electronic gadget, and I remember vividly — one summer he bought this huge square box — that was an AM/FM radio, and it actually had a TV integrated into it, and I remember like watching some videos that really impacted me. I'm like I want to do that.
And so once I graduated high school, I just knew that I wanted my career to be in a creative realm. I ended up working in television— for now about 30 years— and more important to me is— my whole time in media— it's really focused around informing my community, particularly the Latino Community.
I'm originally from Mexico; my parents emigrated here when we were very little, and so I always saw the struggles within the immigrant community. It's just my little grain of salt in contributing to informing viewers and being a resource for people to get information and be empowered with that.
One of the things that I noticed versus my male counterparts is that sometimes I really felt I wasn't taken seriously because I was a woman. And as a Latina, it's even more so I feel— and I'm talking from my personal experience— we have to prove ourselves even more, but I've also had people along the way in my in my career that have really mentored me— that have taken me under their wing.
I thought really closely what female has inspired me in my life. My mother said like, don't let anyone put you down, and then always feel proud of who you are. She would emphasize to me, because I am a woman, I need to learn to stand up for myself and to really assert myself and do whatever I needed to do to be successful.
If I could go back in time and have a sit-down conversation with my younger self, I would tell her to trust yourself— trust your gut— don't second guess yourself— allow yourself to make mistakes— and don't try to always have the perfect
situation. You need to take risks because, if you
don't get out of your comfort zone, you won't know what else is out there. And opportunities come up that you never imagined that were gonna happen.
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CAMERA: KALEENA MENDOZA
CAMERA: ANSON HO, JAMES KAWANA
EDITOR/CAMERA: JENNIFER LOW
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: JACK CHIN
An SFGovTV Orginal Program
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