Leadership Prep: Resident hopeful for women’s future in Brownsville

During a sunny day, Bea Lopez welcomed us to her colorful office inside the HEB on Central Boulevard, a company that she has been part of for 20 years. With photos on the bookshelves of sports events she attended, family photos, diplomas and a portrait of her with a United Way of Southern Cameron County t-shirt, covering the turquoise walls, Lopez, who is the unit director, said she is hopeful that in the upcoming years there will be more women in leadership positions.

“Not a lot of women run stores, this is a very male-dominated field,” she said.

“However, it’s all about preparation meets opportunity. We prepare to be able to handle the job, just like everybody else. And, I think that if we lead with integrity, and we lead with passion, and we prepare through education and through understanding the job we can’t fail.”

Lopez was born and raised in Brownsville, in the Southmost area, and said the experience at HEB is like no other because she has been able to help the community during the pandemic, not only by not closing the store and providing services but also by hiring residents who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Lopez attended UT-Brownsville and serves on several board such as the United Way of Southern Cameron County, Girl Scouts of South Texas, Texas Workforce Commission, among others. She has previously served on other boards such as the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art and the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce.

“I never thought I would be here 20 years later. I saw myself being here a few years and then moving on, but this company is growing, it’s absolutely looking at how we can improve the lives of people, the community and our partners,” she said.

“I did move away from Brownsville, with HEB, for my career. We moved to San Antonio for a couple of years but we came back. I think that Brownsville, we are the tip of the iceberg. We have a lot of growth that we are going to go through and I think that it’s up to us. Being from Brownsville to be able to contribute and enhance our environment and bring more people along.”

Lopez said one of her main goals is to empower the women around her so that they can also succeed in their careers. For the upcoming years, she said she would like to see more women in leadership positions in Brownsville and to help them with either their own experience or in any other way she can.

“Hopefully we will see more women in higher positions throughout the different companies that there are,” she said. “Economic growth so that we can prosper. Our poverty rate is still very high, and I think that in order for us to move forward there has to be an emphasis in education and in providing opportunities for the Latinas and Latinos that are here.”