25 young people making noise for social progress

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Julissa Arce

How do you go from a top executive on Wall Street to an immigration activist? Ask Julissa Arce.

In her words, Arce became a “rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties” in 2005 when she became an analyst at Goldman Sachs. She continued to climb the ranks despite the financial crash and made it all the way to a vice-president position.

Arce then revealed that she had defied the odds even more by not only being a woman in a male-dominated field, but by also being an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. She did eventually get a green card after she got married, though.

Arce now uses her voice to advocate for immigrants. She is a contributor at CNBC and Crooked Media and a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and College Spring. She is also the co-founder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, which is a college scholarship and mentorship program that helps students regardless of their immigration status, which is so important.

Arce has also written two books. She wrote My (Underground) American Dream in 2016 about her life as an undocumented immigrant becoming a top Wall Street executive. She then wrote the YA book Someone Like Me in 2018 about her experience coming to America, living as an undocumented immigrant, and making her way to Goldman Sachs.

“My American dream used to be very much tied to financial success – buy a home, have a good job, go on vacations,” Arce previously told NBC. “Now my dreams are much more broad. They aren’t for me anymore. My American dream now is to provide opportunities for other people.”