First-Gen Chronicles


Hello! My name is Lucy Ortega, and I am a first-generation Latina entrepreneur. I run my food business – Sierra Mexican Cuisine and create online content. I also coach other first-generation individuals who have dreams of transforming their ideas into successful projects and businesses.

I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, where I experienced both emotional and financial instability at home. From a young age, I was instilled with the belief that education would be my ticket “out of poverty.” I did what many of us did, dive deep into my studies in search of that “golden ticket.”

I attended Wellesley College, located just outside Boston, Massachusetts. My college experience was challenging, as I struggled academically and had difficulty concentrating. Looking back, it now makes sense why I gravitated toward becoming an entrepreneur. After graduating from college, I embarked on a five-year journey as a secondary science teacher in South LA.

Teacher to Entrepreneur

While teaching, I accidentally began to pursue entrepreneurship. My grandfather’s health suddenly deteriorated, and I witnessed the emotional toll it took on my father, who was unprepared financially to deal with the situation. Seeing my father struggle with both the emotional burden and the financial aspects made me realize that I didn’t want to go through the same challenges. At that moment, I recognized that I was financially “responsible” for three generations: my parents, myself, and my future children.

I vividly remember thinking, “I need to get my money together! *pause in my head* but I also need to increase my income because this teacher salary isn’t enough.” It was then that a lightbulb went off in my mind, and I had a realization: “I am going to start my own business!”

I am not kidding!

In 2018, I ventured into my first business, which was a party rental business. Following that, in 2020, I delved into money coaching. Finally, in 2022, I made the life-changing decision to leave my teaching career behind and wholeheartedly dedicate myself to Sierra Mexican Cuisine. Sierra represents the embodiment of my drive, encompassing my culture, entrepreneurial spirit, and the legacy I aim to build.


I am honored to share my knowledge and experiences in my entrepreneurial endeavors. My hope is to be of service to other first-generation individuals, supporting them as they navigate their own entrepreneurial journeys and build their own legacies. I want other first-gens not just to dream big but to believe and embody their badass entrepreneur self!

Thank you for joining me on this exciting adventure. If you have any questions or if there’s anything else I can assist you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out at