Growing up under a dictatorial regime in Panama, Lorena Parada-Valdes longed to live in a democratic country. In 1979, she had her chance. That year, she was one of just four Panamanian college students to receive a merit-based scholarship to study in the United States.
After graduating from Bates College in Maine, Parada-Valdes traveled the world, teaching and studying languages. In 2003, she moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, drawn by the warm weather and beautiful coastline. “It was the closest thing to home, without being there,” she says. Fluent in six languages, Parada-Valdes put her skills to work. She became a Federally Certified Court Interpreter and a Nationally Certified Judiciary Interpreter and Translator. In 2004, she opened The Language Bridge, a company that provided translation and interpretation services to the Federal court system.
As Corpus Christi’s business community grew, Parada-Valdes realized many industries could benefit from her expertise. “Educating people about diverse languages and cultures is essential to individual and organizational success,” she says. She expanded her business to include foreign language education, ESL classes, and cross-cultural training. She called the new company FoxP2Go, after the human gene FoxP2 that regulates language and speech development.
Since 2014, Parada-Valdes has served numerous multinational businesses with offices in Corpus Christi. These include Voestalpine, an iron manufacturer headquartered in Austria; M&G Resins, a petro-chemical company headquartered in Italy; and TPCO a steel pipe manufacturer, headquartered in China. “We have worked with these companies providing Spanish and English as a Second Language instruction, technical translation in Italian and Portuguese, and cross-cultural training,” says Parada-Valdes.
I’ve often believed that the United States’ greatest strength is that everyone is welcome here. It’s a nation made up of immigrants.”
Today, FoxP2Go provides services in 11 different languages and has around a dozen contractors, several of whom are American-born. “We’re very much in growth mode,” says Parada-Valdes. “We’re growing with the understanding that accessibility to language is key to the success of our community. I’ve often believed that the United States’ greatest strength is that everyone is welcome here. It’s a nation made up of immigrants. And that openness towards diversity has made all the difference: it’s what sets us apart as a country, and as a power.”