Meet Your Neighbor: Erica Ballesteros passionate about making a positive difference in the world

Erica Ballesteros

Name: Erica Ballesteros

Age: 37…38 on May 28.

Town/neighborhood: Queen Creek/Ironwood Crossing

When and why I moved here: I grew up in a small coastal town in Maine and moved out to Arizona in 2000 to finish my undergraduate at ASU in dance therapy.  My ex-husband bought our first home in Queen Creek back in 2006 to start raising our family…back when it was mostly still dirt and farm lands.  We wanted to be somewhere that had more of a family vibe and the opportunity to build our own home.

What I like most about living here: Hands down the people and all the love you can feel in the air.  There is something really thrilling to watch this community grow the way it has.  Even if my farmland running routes are getting gobbled up right now, I love the sensational view of the Superstitions and the supportive, encouraging, unified feel that is often so palpable among community members.

What I do: I own a training and development organization called The Change Project.  I work with businesses, parents, educators and students to help bridge the gap between what limits them in life to maximize their true potential.  I love seeing people discover how to enjoy a life with more fulfillment, satisfaction and accomplishment. I am passionate about making a positive difference in this world, particularly within the lives of our youth which is why I also serve on our local chamber’s education committee to drive that kind of change.

What I like most about what I do: Though I love working with adults, I launched a nine-week workforce development training course this year with two of our local high schools and I’ve never been more inspired by our youth.  What might take weeks for adults to feel courageous enough to be vulnerable and share things that might be limiting them, these students did in the very first session. We tend to underestimate our youth and not give them a chance to illustrate their greatness.  I’ve partnered with our local schools and businesses to sponsor them through this program to help our students understand more of their unique value, strengths and help cultivate success habits in areas such as goal achievement, problem-solving, handling emotional ups and downs, resume building and interviewing skills to help them see their unique value, worth, and opportunity to magnetize their own potential in this world.

Changes I’d like to see in this area: I would love to see bigger businesses set up shop out here for our community members to have more family time and less commuting hours.  The more time our adults get to spend at home with their babies instead of behind a windshield, the more they can be present to help cultivate their children’s greatness.  I would also love to have more outlets for students to enjoy themselves for fun. I’m totally down for a roller skating rink or bowling alley. Those would be my votes.

Favorite community cause and why: I love what our Queen Creek Chamber Education Committee does to impact our youth.  Our annual E4T event for our local juniors continues to impact more and help our youth with understanding the pathways that exist for them to realize more of their potential.  It was really what inspired me to launch my own workforce development training course because I wanted to take our efforts to a deeper level and really help students develop their unique strengths and create positive success habits to transform more of their dreams into reality.

My family: My two little dudes are Diego and Mateo.  Diego will be 12 this year and Mateo 10.   They are the coolest cats around. We do weekly videos we cleverly titled “Dudes Day Tuesday.”  We share all kinds of stories and success habits in our household for others to learn, laugh and gain value from.  They are my everything.

My interests and hobbies: I love to read…literally 100% personal/professional development…because I can never learn enough.  I love to run, enjoy the lakes here and hit up the beaches on both coasts every summer. I love inspiring others any chance I get and spreading optimism in others’ lives.  Any chance I get to sprinkle my positive unicorn dust around, my heart is full.

The trait(s) I admire in others: I admire positive influencers who aren’t afraid to make bold decisions in life to drive change.  I enjoy genuine, loving, kind, trusting human beings who thrive on being their authentic self. I love learning from leaders who elevate others around them and enjoy adding value to this world.

People who inspired me (and how): I feel like I get inspired on the daily as I suppose I focus my attention on it.  I am a huge Shawn Achor fan who is one of the greatest assets to positive psychology and our ability to transform our potential.  His research captured in both of his books The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential were the driving motivators to launch my own study with high-school students to help create positive change at a time where we suffer from a great deal of strife in our growing community.  My high school cheer coach, Stephanie Flaherty, is the reason I moved out of Maine and I believe she came into my life for such a brief period of time to inspire expanding beliefs within me for what this world has to offer. I could write a book on those who have inspired me…but those two are always the first that come to my mind.

My guiding philosophy: Live, Laugh, Love. We all have the potential to live the greatest quality of life possible. However without love at the center and laughter to fan the flame of enjoyment, we never seem to truly discover how to live life to its fullest.

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