At the ALANA Cultural Center 20 years ago, when I was asked, “What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?” I thought about it, and I wasn’t sure. I had gone from majoring in psychology to political science and Latin American studies. All I pictured was walking down the streets of New York City (my hometown) with my tall, black leather boots and a leather jacket — and I was walking alone. That vision is far from where I’ve landed.
After graduating from Colgate, I moved to Alexandria, Va., to be a congressional staff assistant for Congressman Jose E. Serrano. It was a dream come true thanks to David Traverzo ’76, who helped me get the job.
In 2003, I started lobbying for the Committee for Education Funding. In 2004, I met the man who’d become my husband, and in 2005, I had our daughter Christine. A new mom at 25, and I still struggled for meaning in my career. I tried different businesses, from home party lingerie to wholesale travel vacation sales.
I had to learn how to market myself and my companies while I raised Christine and then little Luis in 2006. I taught myself website building, coding, and search engine optimization. I began teaching those skills to local business owners.
Those skills landed me an IT job at the SANS Institute in 2009 and then at GEICO in 2012. I found meaning in helping others market their goods and services.
Then, a near-death car accident forced me to take a serious look at my health. A flash prayer and a piece of sod had stood between my life and death. Eternally grateful, I dedicated myself to learning a new skill: personal training. I became certified in 2015, and in 2016, I became a mom a third time around. Another monkey wrench — prenatal depression — set in, and I backtracked in my journey. Gaining weight during pregnancy, I decided I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and defeat my fear of never being the same person again. Post-pregnancy, I lost 40 pounds and became my fittest yet. That experience prompted me to write an Amazon No. 1 Bestseller, Defeat It! A Woman’s Guide to Crushing Life’s Challenges and Finally Living the Fit Life. I am now pursuing a personal training business full time.
Everything that’s happened has played a big role in where I am today and what lies ahead. No matter what turns you take, embrace the challenge.
— Dali (Feliberty) Burgado ’01 lives in Virginia. She’s a mom of four, including a foster son, and is an in-home and online personal trainer.