Q&A With Estrella Soto (Global Innovator From Oaxaca)

Written By Ta Corrales & Estrella Soto

Published March 2, 2021

estrella, wearing jeans and a puffy vest, sits smiling on a black metal bench in front of a flowering bush

The three most important tools I work with... are a purple notebook where I write down everything that’s important to me (including ideas that come to mind), my pink water bottle, and my hands.

When I'm not working, I enjoy... reading. I love to read and I also really enjoy walking outdoors, but only if I have enough time. I like to hike and observe plants during my walks.

The biggest misconception people seem to have about my community or country... that tacos are the most common food. Oaxaca is the state with the greatest gastronomic variety of Mexico. Its eight regions have very different cuisines, none of which have tacos as their main dish.

I define innovation as... I think it depends on each community. For me innovations are the processes that can help improve livelihoods, but I also feel that this depends on each person and what livelihood means to each one.

I wish I could learn... to play the violin, it’s a dream that I’ve had since I was a child. I would also like to learn Japanese and improve my piano skills.

My favorite form of art... is stained glass. I really enjoy visiting churches and looking at stained glass windows there. It seems to me that it’s a very old type of art and that it has lost a lot of value in recent years, and that it’s also super complex to make.

The music that always makes me dance... is 70s music. My favorite song to dance to is September from Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s a very beautiful and very happy song. My dad was a teenager at that time and he taught me to listen to that music and dance to it.

The tv series or movie with a perfect ending... I love the ending of the 2005 movie "Pride and Prejudice" because it's so different from the book. The protagonists are not seen at the end, but you can intuit what’s happening.

The most incredible friend or family member of my life... I have more than one incredible family member. I think my grandparents are the most wonderful people in my life.

My family, friends and/or pets... is composed of my mom, dad, stepfather, younger brother (I’m 14 years older than him!), cocker spaniel named Coni, and cat named Lola. My six best friends have been the same since highschool and we call ourselves the "Oaxcity Group".

If I could have a conversation with an important or famous person (living or deceased)... it would be with Porfirio Díaz, the former president of Mexico before the Mexican Revolution. I read too much about him in high school and find him fascinating.

To be most productive, I need in my work environment... my small striped notebook to write down my ideas and also my headphones. I have no problem working with music, and I also feel like I focus better. For work, I really like listening to jazz. :)

The thing that surprised me the most about my work... was how necessary communication is at work. So far I feel that it’s something that I’m improving little by little, and that one never finishes learning.

I earned my first “peso”... when I was in college and started working for an international company in the automotive sector. I wanted to know what environmental management was like in industry, and although it didn’t convince me at all, it was there that I learned about teamwork.

I wish someone would invent... a device that could do instant translation into any language. A very big challenge for me is learning languages, I try hard but sometimes it’s difficult.

Everyone should try... to climb a very high mountain ...at least once in their life.

The most valuable advice I've ever been given... When I was in the process of choosing my career and I didn't know what to choose, I remember that my aunt Maty told me to “think very hard about what you want to study — even if you love your job sometimes it's difficult get up in the morning, it’s even harder if you study something you don't like.”

The food that I love... my grandmother's chicken broth. This is a special soup for me because my grandmother only makes this broth with creole chicken and it’s a flavor that only grandmothers know how to make.

The superhero power I would most like to have... I wish I had the powers of Storm, one of the X-Men, to be able to control the weather.

My favorite scent... I love the smell of wet earth before or after it rains. I enjoy that smell because it gives me the feeling that I’m far from the city and because I really enjoy the rainy season.

Want to learn more about our global innovator Estrella? Check out the Introduction to Estrella Soto, 6 Things that Make Ikoot Community San Mateo del Mar Unique, and Protecting the Biocultural Heritage of San Mateo del Mar!