From working for the City of El Centro to managing two Marriott properties and volunteering with more than 100 youth in Calexico and Mexicali, El Centro resident Sierra Jaime has no shortage of leadership roles.
As the special event coordinator for El Centro from 2007 to 2010, Jaime helped develop numerous special events during the city’s centennial celebration that have gone on to become the city’s signature events, including the Taco Cook-Off, Mardi Gras, Music Festival and Christmas Tree Lighting.
“I pretty much helped birth them and made them what they were for three years and then gave them away a year ago,” Jaime says, fondly recalling her time working for the City of El Centro and the influence the job had on her.
“There are quite a few things that I learned (while working there), whether it was event coordinating or developing myself professionally,” she remembers. “I became friends with many people and I’m still friends with a lot of those people now.”
In addition to those signature events, Jaime has also helped coordinate the City’s annual Imagine Awards Dinner, where El Centro honors its best and brightest in business.
Jaime says the experience she gained on her first job during her high school years as a hostess, waitress and trainer at Carrows Restaurant has helped her train and coordinate the 30 or so Imperial Valley Regional Occupation Program students who provide hospitality as servers during the Imagine Awards and other such functions.
“I so enjoyed doing that,“ Jaime admits. “I am so proud of them; they do such a good job.”
Currently, Jaime is the events and sales manager for the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott and the TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Since June 2010, has been in charge of “essentially bringing in the business” at the two properties in regards to hotel room sales and manages three conference rooms at the Fairfield Inn.
“I’ve been told before ‘you’re the face of the hotel,’ ” Jaime says. “I absolutely love it. It’s definitely my favorite (job) so far.”
All of this, including being an assistant office manager at a construction company prior to working for the City of El Centro, Jaime has accomplished at only 24 years of age.
Yet with all her professional accomplishments, Jaime’s heart and soul truly lie in the volunteer work she does through her church, Springs of Life in Calexico, where she teaches dance to about 120 students in Calexico and Mexicali.
“Our team in Calexico dances at each of the church services we have during praise and worship. (Dancing is) an expression of worship,” she explains.
“It’s a lot more than just teaching dance,” Jaime says. “I consider the girls that I teach almost like daughters — I feel like I’m a big sister to them or a mom — like the protective mother hen of them all. I just help them and counsel them and encourage them to live everyday for God.”
“All of them are very, very good friends of mine, and I just feel that that’s what I’m supposed to be doing,” she says. Preparations are underway to go ahead and “start a school of dance as well in Mexicali so we’ll be training quite a few more.”
In addition to the two main church services and at least one practice session a week in Calexico, Jaime and her family volunteer in Mexicali every Saturday with even more dance students for big events, including annual parades of 400 or more participants. Jaime says the parade route set up by an alliance of pastors in Mexico is strategically structured for interactive prayer for the parade-goers as it moves along the route.
“We go through praying and helping people; it’s pretty much to go and share the good news,” she says.
“Everybody from Mexicali is really excited about it. Together we join to pray for each of our countries and for the border. (My family and I) stand in place on behalf the U.S. because we’re the only ones in it not of Mexican descent. It’s wonderful.” Subsequently everyone in Mexicali plans to join with Jaime and others to host similar events in the U.S.
Yet Jaime says her real joy is getting to know the girls which dance with her in the parades, during classes and in their church services.
“All of the girls are from different backgrounds and I just love them,” she says.
Juggling her jobs with Marriott, doing volunteer work, sitting on two boards related to volunteering, being a wife and continuing in her studies in business administration at Imperial Valley College, doesn’t leave Jaime a lot of free time.
“I don’t sleep very much,” she says. “My mom always says, ‘We can sleep when we’re dead’ so I live by that.”
Jaime’s signature enthusiasm is fueled by her passion for life and for God. She has countless, magnificent plans for her future. Among these, transferring to San Diego State University-Imperial Valley Campus to get a bachelor’s degree in international business is high on her list.
“International business is perfect for the field that I’m in, and being by an international border is the perfect place to be.” she says. “I know that I’ll be working with people whatever I do, and I love it!”“Exactly where God will lead me or what God will want me to do is still to be determined,” she adds.