Julissa Arce is a writer, speaker, and social justice advocate. She is the Co-founder and Chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity or national origin. Julissa is also a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and College Spring. She is the former Director of Public Affairs at Define American, a media organization that uses the power of story to change culture around immigration and citizenship. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch and had seemingly achieved the American Dream, and yet she was not part of what defined America. She voted for the first time in the 2016 election. As a CNBC contributor, Arce writes op/eds regularly, and she has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Telemundo, Bloomberg TV and Univision.
Her most recent book is "My (Underground) American Dream." On the surface, Arce's story reads like a how-to manual for achieving the American dream: growing up in an apartment on the outskirts of San Antonio, she worked tirelessly, achieved academic excellence, and landed a coveted job on Wall Street, complete with a six-figure salary. The level of professional and financial success that she achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends.