Linda Flores Olson

Linda Linda’s parents emigrated from Mexico to Houston before she and her three of four older brothers were born. Her father is a well-educated man who earned a college degree and served as a teacher in Mexico, while her mother attended school through only the 6th grade. Despite the fact that Linda’s parents were earning a living wage to support themselves and their family was in Mexico, her father felt that Houston, a city he had only visited during summer breaks, would provide for a better life for their growing family. So, they packed up and moved to Houston.

“My father couldn’t teach in the United States. So, he did trade jobs and saved every penny he could to send all five of us kids to private school,” said Linda. Her mother knew little English and had a difficult time helping Linda and her brothers with their homework. “When we would do homework, my mother would look at our papers. She couldn’t help us with the answers. But, she knew that if she saw a blank space by a question, we weren’t finished. She watched PBS to try to pick up the new language.”

Linda now serves as the Executive Director of the Houston Hispanic Forum. HHF’s signature event is an annual Career in Education Day that has grown to serve more than 12,000 middle and high school students and their families. When asked why she chose her profession, Linda responds, “I knew that my calling was to help ‘at-risk’ children, because I myself was ‘at-risk’ growing up.”