The Big Picture: Beni Ivette Lopez
Beni Ivette Lopez says, “No matter where we come from our goal should always be to increase the welfare of another despite the evidence of benefit for oneself.”
Beni Ivette Lopez
Business Relationship Manager, JP Morgan Chase Bank
Married to Gerry Lopez, mother to adult children Gerardo Jose, Valeria Victoria, and Luis Fernando
What really matters to you? My family, and teaching them the value of unconditional love and the responsibility of having a voice.
Why does this matter, and has what matters to you changed in recent months? If so, why? Loving unconditionally matters because it makes us more aware of the fact that we all have been created the same way and we all experience challenges in life. No matter where we come from our goal should always be to increase the welfare of another, despite the evidence of benefit for oneself. That’s what mothers do. I’ve put a lot of emphasis in raising my children in a loving and inclusive environment, where openness, empathy, love, and acceptance of one another are fundamental.
I believe that we are the most valuable piece of God’s creation, and it is necessary to learn how to love and respect one another, no matter how we look, where we come from, how we sound, or what we like or dislike. Loving unconditionally means that we are capable of accepting, forgiving, and learning from other people’s experiences, and that everyone brings value to the table. Having a voice and knowing when to use it is no longer a choice, but a responsibility. Educating ourselves by reading, asking questions, having empathy with those who think differently, and accepting the differences with an open mind are also fundamental to self-growth.
What has surprised you (as it relates either to yourself or to others)? The awakening of learning and seeing how some people suffer in silence — friends, neighbors, and family members who struggle with their self-worth. There is an impotence that comes with not knowing, and we all have the obligation to learn and to identify social injustice and to prevent being part of the problem. There are many opportunities and many hours in the day where we can voice our opinions and be an agent of change. If we are loved or admired by others, we should use that opportunity to catapult that into a powerful way to create awareness. I am in a constant search for opportunities to grow and be a better person. Starting by loving ourselves, by having integrity, and doing what’s right at all times. It’s not about having a voice, but letting it be heard loud and clear.
How do you incorporate gratitude into your life? I feel blessed every day, and I see my blessings in everything that happens to me no matter if it has to do with an unexpected change in my life, a situation that could represent hardship, or with the simple act of being able to hug my neighbor or kiss and hug my husband before he goes to work. Everything to me is magnified as a blessing, and I believe that the more gratitude I show, the more goodness comes to my life. I come from a family where my dad was a mechanic and my mom worked at an electronic manufacturing company all her life to give me and my brother Norman the best life and education they could. I learned the value of hard work from my parents’ example.
I believe in the power of prayer, so I start my day with a prayer. I can’t help to wake up every day and almost before I open my eyes praise God for all the blessings I have and ask God to bless others the same way. I don’t take any relationship for granted. The best way I think I can show gratitude is by being present and available to help anyone when they need me, and if it’s not in my power, then to connect and make sure I find the right resource to get the help they need.
How do you keep yourself calm in the midst of chaos? By staying positive, by avoiding fear, by trusting God and my instincts. I do not let my thoughts dictate how I feel, so I am constantly setting and resetting my thoughts to a place that I am always in a positive mindset. I believe that good attracts good and positive attracts positive. It is also important to be aware of your surroundings and not to expose yourself to any dangerous or unstable situation.
What brings you the greatest joy? Connecting with people and celebrating their successes brings me the greatest joy in life. Seeing people change for the good, growing spiritually and professionally, and being part of their transformation brings me joy. I know this is why I love to network.
It makes me incredibly happy to have the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of people. I was born and raised on the island of Puerto Rico, and on our island we interact with each other like we are all a big family. I learned there are no strangers.
How do you bring joy to others? I’m the kind of friend who is always looking to connect with my friends, no matter if you haven’t called me in a year. I will be the first one to call and re-connect.
English is my second language, and even though I grew up learning both Spanish and English since grade school, I found it hard to speak English with confidence due to the lack of practice. My friends make fun of me for the way I speak sometimes, my choice of words, or the way I change the verb’s tenses, but ultimately they appreciate my ideas, find value in our conversations, and my points of view. Honesty is one of the most valuable characteristics of a conversation, and you do not need to speak a language perfectly to show honesty in message. It can be identified with a simple facial expression, and I am all about being honest and bringing joy.
What are you looking forward to? I look forward to always having the opportunity to lead by example, to see my children have families of their own, and pass the values I’ve instilled in them. To see our world change to a place where the love and respect for diversity is not the topic of the day but the norm, and where we are really inclusive without biases.