Coming to the United States was always her dream, and she was determined to make it a reality.
Born in the Philippines, Endeavor Flight Attendant Lia Ocampo dreamed of giving herself and her family a better life – a life in the United States.
“I desired greater opportunities for careers, housing, transportation, medical care, health insurance, and overall lifestyle,” said Lia. “I also understood that immigrating to America would take time, hard work, faith, and determination to face the challenges and difficult choices that would come my way.”
For eighteen years, Lia worked for the United States Embassy, solely for the purpose of receiving a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV), which would allow her to live in America. Her dedication and hard work paid off in 2012, when she exceeded job expectations and was granted her SIV.
Lia soon said goodbye to her children and family in the Philippines, and she moved to New York in July 2012. Her family would join her several years later, once she settled in.
Lia made the decision to delay finding a job so that she could immerse herself into the U.S. culture and make connections with those around her. Her very first home was a dark basement apartment where she rented a small room that only fit a bed and her belongings. She shared the bathroom and kitchen with other individuals. Although it was a tough transition, Lia kept her head high.
“In the Philippines, we fully believe in resilience. You must work hard and make it through to become successful in life. You must be resilient through the tough times.”
And resilient she was. After 8 months of networking, traveling, and interviewing, Lia landed her first job as a human resources recruiter for a large non-profit organization. After nearly a year in that role, Lia was ready for a new opportunity. After stints as a Macy’s personal shopper, human resources editor for Korean Pop Company, and customer service representative for the New York City of Consumer Affairs, Lia felt she still hadn’t found her calling.
“I told myself, you came here to find happiness, you came here to grow and make a life for your kids when they come over; don’t settle now,” recalled Lia. “You’ll find the job that’s right for you; faith will guide you.”
As she thought of her goals, she was reminded of her college dream of becoming a flight attendant, as traveling was always part of her life. She applied to Endeavor Air, interviewed, trained, and soon earned her wings. Although it took many jobs for Lia to land the right one, once she did, she never looked back.
“I don’t call it a job; I call it a passion,” Lia said. “It fits me so well because I am a people person. It is a natural thing for me to bring people together and help those in need.”
Another one of Lia’s big dreams was to write a book. Earlier this year, Lia published her first book, What We Know For Sure, a collection of 26 stories from other immigrants who, just like Lia, came to the United States to live a better life.
“I wanted to share the successes of immigrants and create a way to be grateful for what I have and what I’ve become,” Lia said.
As an Endeavor Flight Attendant, Lia has taken on additional roles as a mentor and a recruiter. She also created what she calls “Mission Africa,” which was designed to unofficially adopt five teenage girls from Zimbabwe and teach them how to set their goals. To this day, Lia encourages others to fulfill their own hopes and dreams – no matter how big or how small.
“I am a big believer in visualizing your dreams. It’s important to set dreams and goals, so that sooner or later you will reach them,” Lia said.