Karla Morales


Karla Morales / Director, Office of Multicultural Advancement — UArizona Division of Equity, Inclusion & Title IX; Chairwoman of Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Q: Where were you born?

I was born in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. My parents, Catalina Lira and Jesus Bernal, immigrated from Sonora, Mexico, in 1980 in search of better opportunities for my older brother and my little sister.

Q: How did you become interested in your career field?

I was a timid kid (probably because I didn’t speak English until about third grade). At a very young age, my father started his business to financially support our family. He gave my siblings and me an opportunity to begin employment as disc jockeys and provide musical entertainment and master of ceremonies services at social events. This required a great deal of public speaking and social engagement, which terrified me, but allowed me to grow and fall in love with working with people, building relationships, and providing opportunities for connecting others to collaborate for the greater good.

Q: What is the biggest challenge of your job?

These are unprecedented times; the pandemic has challenged us all as individuals and as a community. We’ve all had to learn to adapt to a virtual world.

For me, I endlessly feel like there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do and connect with people. I am a firm believer in community and education and, subsequently, in community education. There are so many resources, and so many people invested in strengthening our community and workforce development. I feel very fortunate to work with our fantastic team at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, but I am always challenged in looking for ways to connect without overwhelming our members, Board of Directors, and community partners in a virtual platform.

Q: What is the greatest reward of your job?

To see the upward trajectory in our community, not only from a financial perspective but also from a social standpoint. I love to see people succeed, feel secure, and pay it forward. Being part of our young entrepreneurs’ foundation, developing small business owners, providing resources and guidance to women entrepreneurs, and graduating small, local businesses to the next level of their business plan successfully fulfills our mission and my personal goal.

Q: In 20 words or less, describe your perfect day.

I completed the To-Do list, learned something new, connected with family, and enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by my hubby!

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