Meet Gloria Araya

Gloria is a mom who loves photography, poetry, and cooking for friends who are her family. She is an International Dance Fitness Presenter, Choreographer and Inspirational Speaker and a passionate supporter of literacy, the arts, women’s issues, and education. She has a particular interest in the mind and how it can influence learning, emotions, and the Self. Gloria is a self-taught lady whose love for learning led her toThe Foundation for Human Potential. She sits on the Board of Advisors for the organization, and is the Associate Director.


What do you know for sure?  

That I am a late bloomer who has so much to learn!

What inspires you? 

Stories. The stories of courageous women and girls, man and boys around the world. Stories of compassion and giving. Stories of human creativity and ingenuity. Stories of love and caring for nature and for the world we live in.

What don’t people know about you?

That I have a background in Special Education for Children with Down Syndrome. That I love physics! Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my heroes. That every Christmas I give a Lego present to myself. I LOVE LEGOS! Star Wars please.

Have you ever stolen anything? 

I have never stolen anything, however I remember an incident that happened when I was 10 years old which made a huge impression on me and it felt as if I stole something.  My mother asked my younger sister and I to go shopping at one of our favorite local stores near home. The owner of the store was a kind and loving man whose heart made up for his lack of physical height. He was a three feet tall man who was born with six fingers on each hand. His name was Enrique and we all would respectfully call him “Don Enrique”.  Don Enrique was born during the Civil War in Spain, a war that took the life of his father. Shortly after the war, his mother would move to Santiago, Chile where she started a new life with her son. Every time my sister and I would go to Don Enrique’s store, he would give us a little treat, so needless to say, we loved going to Don Enrique’s store as kids. One day, while waiting behind a lady who was paying for her groceries, I saw a peso bill flying out of her wallet and go under the big ice cream cooler that was behind her. (A peso bill at the time of the incident was an equivalent of 25 cents of a dollar approximately.) She did not notice losing the peso bill so she continued with what she was doing. Me on the other hand, had a reaction that surprised me. I told my sister to pick up the peso bill and to hide it! After the lady left, it was our turn to pay for our groceries. Don Enrique had a very strong look on his face and his big square glasses seemed larger than ever, I guess that was my impression due to his intense stare. He was aware of the incident. Until today, I don’t remember Don Enrique’s exact words to us, but I will for ever remember his face of disappointment by our dishonest action. What hurt me most was not the embarrassment of being caught behaving in a way that did not seemed to be honest. I was mostly embarrassed because I disappointed someone who truly cared about us and someone I respected dearly. I learned a huge lesson that day, and that was the first and last day I took something that did not belong to me. Don Enrique no longer owns the store where we met him a life time ago, but he still lives in the neighborhood and still ask about me and my sister every time he sees my mother on her way home.

Who do you admire? 

Tough question to answer. There are so many amazing human beings I have learn about which hold my highest admiration. Nelson Mandela for one. He epitomizes grace, courage, forgiveness and vision. Wangari Mathai, an amazing woman who by the simple act of planting trees changed the lives of hundreds of women and inspired a whole nation to create a new future for its people. Muhammad Yunus for his creativity and genius to do something so simple yet so powerful as to eradicate poverty in his country and hopefully in the world. The list goes on, and yes, I am going to say it, people like you and Dawn Hancock, women with such creative energy and wit, and with hearts that care for the well being of others, that’s the kind of people I admire. People like my grandmother who at the age of 9 years old had to take care of all of her 7 brothers and sisters after her mother passed away due to childbirth. My grandmother grew up in the 1920’s a time when girls had to do home chores and boys were first chosen to go to school- well, this is no different from what happens today in many countries in Africa and parts of Asia as well-. After all of my grandmother’s brothers and sisters were put through collage, she educated herself and became one of the most sought after nurses in Arica, a town north of Chile.  She developed a habit I most admired in her: every day she would learn one new word from the dictionary. She did that until the day her body was no longer able to function, passing away shortly after. She was truly a remarkable lady who I’ll for ever admire

What is your favorite quote? 

I have many quotes, but there is one in particular that when I first read it it completely resonated with me. This quote has become part of my daily inspirational phrases. I have a white writing board placed next to my bed with thoughts, ideas and things I aspire to become and the first thing I see every morning when I open my eyes is this quote:

“ I am not what happens to me, I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung

Want more? Follow Gloria on Twitter or do a workout with her!