At three years old, Martha Niño was handed to a coyote to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, risking separation from her family in a foreign nation. At five, she became her family’s “chief translating officer.” At 10, she began her first subscription service by delivering newspapers on her street for a dollar per paper per month.
At 14, she worked in a ceramics warehouse alongside her mother, who worked two jobs to support her family. Today, she’s a senior marketing manager at Adobe and a published author.
After years of being told not to bring attention to herself, Martha knew that she needed to share her story when a child from an agricultural town told her, “People like me can’t be at places like this.”
Martha Niño grew up in hustle culture without even realizing it. All she knew was that if she wanted something, she needed to work hard to achieve it. “Hustle.” It wasn’t a word she was familiar with until later in her life, but it was what she had been doing since she was 10. From a young age, she realized that her parents had worked hard, going from farm to farm, picking cotton, saving money, and holding on to nothing but hope so that they could lead a better life in the United States.
“I don’t know what’s next, but I’ll be alright.”
Going from doing administrative tasks in the office of a ceramics warehouse to becoming a marketing specialist for a major tech company is a significant leap, and Martha’s way of entering the tech world – true to herself – was nothing short of ordinary. With her previous employer relocating to Mexico, Martha found herself out of a job for the first time. So, after calling a temp agency, she found a job with a sound company. Except, she’d originally misheard it for a “sand company.”
Like her, I’ve thrown myself headfirst into my fair share of different projects without fully knowing what I was getting myself into. I’ve found that it is so important to be open to new things that may come your way and to find that willingness and eagerness to learn. As cliché as it sounds, opportunities do come to those who are open and prepared for them.
“Be comfortable. Be you. Be humble. Be More.”
At 46, Martha began sharing her story, first on a stage with Adobe and then through publishing an autobiography. After the publication of her book, she has continued to share her experiences through speaking events like today. However, the first time telling her story didn’t come naturally to her. She’d sought the help of Jason Levine, an evangelist at Adobe, who spent hours teaching her the ins and outs of public speaking. Even now, she reminds us, we need to seek out people who know more than us so that we, too, can be more. If nothing else, Martha embodies the notion of maximizing opportunities and giving back to the community that believed in her. Beyond that, Martha shows us what it’s like to believe in yourself, to spread positivity, and to always strive for growth.