PROFILE: Diana Ayala Vazquez
By Carol L. Bowman
Local Mexican business woman extraordinaire, Diana Ayala has fire in her eyes—a fire that glows with excitement when she embarks on new ventures; a flame that dances and sparkles when she talks about helping others; a warm ember that pulsates when she embraces her homeland. She’s a positive, community role model who makes things happen.
When asked to describe herself, this 41 year old, Veracruz native rattled off refreshing expressions of confidence. “I’m happy, dynamic, creative, independent, clever and love to learn,” she said with certainty.
After attending university in Mexico City, Diana earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Monterrey Technology. Both Diana and her husband’s entrepreneurial spirit guided them to opening a convenience store in a Guadalajara, commercial building space. Close associates questioned the wisdom of this move, but their ‘risky venture’ succeeded beyond expectations.
In what she considers her greatest accomplishment, Diana said, “Corona Beer came to us, unsolicited and offered to buy our business. We were just a couple and a big company like Corona bought our enterprise. It was the best compliment we could ever receive.”
Tired of the hustle, traffic and smog of Guadalajara city life, Diana decided to make the tranquil shores of Lake Chapala her home three years ago, long after her parents and in-laws turned this vacation spot into their permanent residence.
Armed with capital and determination, Diana and her husband wisely conducted a market research to determine what type of business would thrive, Lakeside. A full service gymnasium, where ex-pats and Mexicans could work-out side by side topped the leader board. Diana’s vision of Fitness and Balance Gym evolved into a well-equipped facility at 152 Allen W Lloyd, San Antonio Tlayacapan, where different cultures socialize, train, dance and spin together. As co-founder, Diana makes everything click.
Bilingual ability acts as a link between the cultures Diana serves. She loves her Mexican heritage, but she also enjoys and understands North of the Border values. “Ever since I was 12, my parents sent me, my brother and sister to Long Island, NY to attend International Summer School. I not only learned English from native speakers, I also fell in love with New York City, with Tiffany’s sparkly store on 5th Avenue, and with Broadway.”
“It’s so great to talk to people familiar with my favorite spots in the States. When I tell my Mexican friends that my brother graduated from M.I.T., they say ‘What’s M.I.T?’ When I mention this to my US clients, they say ‘Wow, M.I.T.’ I love having that connection. Most ex-pats are retired, come from different backgrounds and have lots of experiences. I want to learn from their experiences. Intelligent people learn from their own mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. I want to become a wise person. I accept the consequences of everything I do and view them as necessary to learning.”
Diana never feels satisfied with the status quo. She’s always searching beyond point A for ways to broaden her circumference. Exotic travel remains a personal future goal. ”I dream of places like India, Australia, Japan and China. Asian cultures excite me. I want to go where the customs are completely different from my Hispanic roots.”
What triggers Diana’s ire? She tries to avoid unethical, unmotivated people and instead seeks interaction with, trustworthy, hard-working individuals. She finds routine boring. She makes all her own decisions, but being powerfully independent can pose a problem sometimes. Whenever Diana does get upset, she goes off by herself, analyzes the situation and works on resolution. She’s a positive problem solver.
After her recent amicable divorce, Diana turned extra free time into another positive vein. No negativity grows under this woman’s feet. Using her love of Mexican handicrafts as a focus, she volunteered to translate English to Spanish for the Feria de Maestros Board. Once again, she acts as a link, this time between Mexican artisans and show facilitators.
Diana’s ideas to improve, expand and broaden the financial scope of this annual art event proved so dynamic that she was appointed to the Feria Board of Directors as treasurer and now acts as the primary facilitator to obtain corporate sponsorship from Guadalajara businesses for the November 2011 event.
I asked Diana if her web page or Facebook account offers more information about her. Spoken like a natural entrepreneur, Diana spouted,” If anyone wants to get to know me better, ‘Join the Gym!’ www.fitnessandbalance.com