When Estela Hernandez was only two years old, her mother left El Salvador for the United States hoping to create a better life for herself and her children. In a time of civil war and following a divorce, her mother hoped the move to a new country would bring new opportunities for her Estela and her siblings. Estela strives every day to make the most of these opportunities.
From Civil War to Citizenship
Estela arrived in the America when she was six years old and considers the U.S. her home even while cherishing her Hispanic heritage. Becoming a United States citizen was important to Estela. “While all the other teens wanted to get their driver’s license and get a car, my biggest desire was to turn 18 so that I could take my citizenship test and go through my citizenship ceremony,” she recalls.
Leading by Example
After becoming a citizen and earning an Associates degree, Estela moved from New Jersey to Texas to attend a four-year college. There she met her husband, Ezequiel Hernandez, whose family originated from Mexico. Together, the couple moved to Oklahoma and have co-owned Lone Star Construction LLC since 2002. Estela also has a residential real estate license, which she uses when construction is complete.
When Estela was younger, she was crowned the first runner-up in the Miss New Jersey USA pageant. Today, Estela takes her pageantry experience and coaches young women in the Miss Oklahoma Latina Organization. Estela is the Co-State Director of this national pageant and encourages young Hispanic women to become positive role models by being involved in their communities. “Pageants allow girls to truly find themselves,” Estela says. “It makes them think about how they want to give back.”
Estela is also Chairman of the Outreach Committee for both the Oklahoma County GOP and the OKC Republican’s Women’s Club. She is passionate about the importance of being an informed voter and getting people engaged in the legislative process.
She attends monthly nationalization ceremonies at the Western District Courthouse, where she registers new citizens to vote. She is also the chairman of Precinct 173 and Vice-Chairman for House District 84. Oklahoma County Republicans elected Estela to the position of 5th District Committeewoman and she earned the “Rising Star Award” for the Oklahoma Republican Party in 2013. Estela is also the spokesmodel for Mundo Fox-Oklahoma City and serves on the Board of Director for Sunbeam Family Services and the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City.
Honoring Her Heritage
“We run the construction company and we have family and we also understand that there is a need in our community,” says Estela. With such a full plate, she always strives to keep her daughter Hannah (age 9) and her sons Samuel (age 7) and Zeke (age 5) as her top priority. “My husband helps out so much,” she says, “and we have a lot of extended family support because we can’t do it all.”
Estela’s drive to be a success stems from her desire to honor all of her mother’s hard work. “My mom sacrificed so I could take advantage of opportunities I would not have had in El Salvador,” she explains. “Knowing that if I didn’t succeed or at least attempt to, her hard work would have been in vain. It’s the least I can do to encourage and empower others. My mother gave me my faith in God and she gave me her sacrifice. I can’t put a price tag on that.”
Here’s more about how this 37-year-old mother balances a family business with the business of family.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I had the opportunity to give birth to all three children in the comfort of my home. I had fabulous midwives that allowed me to have a wonderful experience.
How has motherhood changed you?
We live in such a narcissistic world where we believe the world revolves around us. Motherhood has taught me patience, love and compassion.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of being able to live out the “American Dream. “ I came to this country at a very young age and became a citizen at 18. I graduated college and became a business owner by the age of 27. America truly is the land of opportunity.
What motivates you?
We have seen wonderful changes in the Oklahoma City metro. It’s important that we become involved and informed about the issues that impact us. Our voice and vote do matter!
What is your parenting style?
My parenting style is authoritative. I believe in establishing rules and guidelines for my children. However, I do encourage them to make decisions and to use each decision as a life lesson.
Advice for other moms?
I’ve learned that our children are a gift from God and we have been entrusted to guide and love them unconditionally. Since we only have a short time to mold and impact their lives, we shouldn’t let societal pressures influence our parental & career decisions.
Favorite quote or advice about motherhood?
My favorite quote is “Women can have it all…just not at the same time.”
Quick Facts about Estela:
- What are 5 words that describe you? Committed, compassionate, persistent, patient, and dependable.
- What’s your favorite date night activity? Watching a movie at AMC Penn Square.
- What’s your favorite family outing? Myriad Gardens & the OKC Zoo.
- What’s your guilty pleasure? Shoes and purses.
- What’s on your playlist? Contemporary Christian & gospel music.