National Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Ivonne Ayala

Learn more about Breakthrough Behavior staff and their background as we celebrate and honor National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Ivonne Ayala, Analyst in Training | Downtown Orlando Clinic

What is your background and where is your family from?

My name is Ivonne, and my family and I are natives to Puerto Rico. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico in a small town called Toa Baja. My parents, my brother and myself moved to Pennsylvania when I was 10 years old and have lived in the United States ever since.

How is your Hispanic heritage important to you?

Being a Hispanic is a huge aspect in my life and it plays a big role. As a Hispanic and moving from my homeland to the USA, I am able to be empathetic of those who have also taken this leap of faith. Growing up in a Hispanic culture taught me to be compassionate and always be a helping hand. I am proud of my culture and I love sharing it with the world.

Who were your role models growing up?

I grew up idolizing Selena Quintanilla. I remember my mom always played her songs and we watched her movie so many times. As I grew older, I began to see how Selena challenged the norms and did everything she could to accomplish her dreams. She inspired me to follow my dreams and to not be afraid to challenge the norm. Another one of my role models is Gloria Estefan. She is another singer that I grew up hearing about. I always did my projects about her. She is yet another individual whose action inspires you to fight for your dreams regardless of the obstacles you experience.

Why do you work in the behavior analysis field?

When I was a junior in high school I was introduced to psychology and fell in love with it. In the search of a job within the field of psychology, I came across ABA. I always knew I wanted to help people I just did not know how. The field of ABA has given me the opportunity to help so many families and there is no better reinforcement than that.

What advice would you give to other Hispanic Americans looking to start their career in this industry?

Go for it! Embrace your roots and use them to change lives. Regardless of the challenges that may arise, be that voice that speaks up and help continue shaping the path for our future.