Staff Member

Senior Case Manager (UTEP)

Herminia "Mimi" DuranSenior Case Manager (UTEP)

E-Mail Address:
Phone Extension: 231

Herminia “Mimi” Duran is the Principal Case Manger at Project ARRIBA and has served the organization for over 12 years. Mimi is the supervisor of the case management team at Project ARRIBA and is responsible for the participant services operations.

Mimi was born in El Paso but lived in our sister city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico until the age of 12. Her parents were Rafael “Ray” Duran professional wrestler and Herminia C. Duran who worked in the garment manufacturing industry. Mimi attended Father Yermo Catholic Elementary & High School for 12 years. She graduated from the University of Texas in El Paso with a Major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. Upon graduating from UTEP, Mimi started working for the American Red Cross at the Ft. Bliss service station and at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. Wanting to learn and expand her horizons, Mimi found employment with IBM as a Parts Department Coordinator for the El Paso branch. Mimi has worked for Century 21 and Irwin Mortgage Corporation giving her experience in the realtor and mortgage world as well. Mimi is a proud single mother of two beautiful girls, Lucero and Mariana.

Mimi states “Every day is a different experience at Project ARRIBA, my participants have taught me great lessons throughout these 12 years and I look forward every day to learning and living new experiences”. Her saying in life is, “there is always a reason why things happen, the true virtue in life, is to have the patience to find out what that reason is”.

1. Please begin by giving us your name, company and title.

Herminia “Mimi” Duran Project ARRIBA Senior Case Manager

2. As a Case Manager, you get to work closely with program participants and graduates. What is the one thing, one trait, one quality that all successful participants and graduates have in common?

The “Ganas” to succeed. Every individual that comes through our doors have a dream. A motivation in life that is driving them to reach out and reach high. We at Project ARRIBA call it the “Ganas” to succeed. Once that goal is reached, the stars are the limit.

3. What’s the best part of your job?

Getting to know each one of my participants. Listening to their stories and why it is that they have the “need” to graduate from college. Each story is unique, and every individual comes with their own struggles. So to be that one small part in their path that will help them change the. future and that of their families is very satisfying personally.

4. Please share one example of how Project ARRIBA lifts the community.

Project ARRIBA lifts the community in the way that we believe that every applicant that walks through our doors has great potential. With guidance and help from the PA team, Students can have a career that will change their lives and that will directly impact the Economy of El Paso.

5. In your opinion, why is the work of Project ARRIBA so important to El Paso’s Latino community?

In my opinion, our work in the Latino community is very important because we can reach out and assist Latinos in teaching them about the college educational path. We are a border town in which many times the cycle of poverty continues on within the Latino community. When an organization such as Project ARRIBA which has employees with many years of experience can come out and reach out to Latinos and guide them towards the right educational path, the cycle of poverty can be broken, and Latinos can give the best of them to the community.

6. Do you ever think about what impact your work has on the trajectory of these individuals? Talk about that.

I think about the impact my work has had on individuals most every day because I have been able to follow many of my participants through social media. I read about their success, when they move into a different higher position, when they buy a house, or a brand-new car. When they continue with their education to become nurse practitioners or even doctors. I personally have graduates from as far as 2010 to come in and be presenters at our meetings that we have with our current participants. So yes, I not only think of the impact, but I see the impact that my humble work at PA has done for many individuals.

7. I’ve heard you are affectionately called the fairy godmother around the office – why do you think they say that?

The “fairy Godmother” term came from Board Chair Mr. Burt Blacksher. He started Referring to case managers as such because he would see how participants would talk about the assistance that we had been giving them throughout their participation at Project ARRIBA. But the assistance always goes beyond the call of duty really. As case managers we really do bond with our participants or as I call them “my Kiddos”. Participants feel the warmth of a true caring person in each one of us. I think that is we case managers have been called “fairy Godmothers”

8. I would imagine your job is busy and you put long hours in – what keeps you motivated? What’s your inspiration?

As a case manager at PA, my day is always busy and yes sometimes hours are long but what keeps me motivated and has kept me motivated for 20 years now is first my own family. Then the work I do at PA for all of “my kiddos” motivate me to keep on helping them. I know that by me doing my job each and every day, my participants know that I’m there for them. They feel they have that support and does make them accountable to keep on going because many times I’ve heard them say that they can’t disappoint “Mimi” if they fail.
My inspiration is knowing that my participants will succeed, and they will have a bright future. Have an awesome job in which they will be happy and getting paid very well above a living wage.

*Questions by Tony Hernandez, Immigrant Archive Project