Great cities will always develop a culture that is unique to itself. This culture is built upon the dreams and efforts of great people that make up the local community. These great people will ignore the naysayers, adapt to obstacles, and selflessly serve with passion. Among the great people building this great city we find Alicia Duran.
Alicia was born in Aquascalientes, Mexico and at the age of two her mother married an American man and moved her to Hood River, Oregon where she was raised in American fashion. Her step father owed an orchard and Alicia was able to enjoy the beautiful Oregon outdoors. In fact, due to the towns proximity to the ocean and the mountains, her school made activities such as swimming, snowboarding, and even wind surfing mandatory classes. It was a quaint little town with a lot to offer, but by the seventh grade Alicia started noticing some negative attitudes directed toward her specifically. Then one day a girl that had been rude to her for years finally fessed up. “She came up to me and said, ‘I don’t like you because you’re a Beaner,’” Duran said with a chuckle, “I didn’t know what that meant…until my step dad told me.” This event opened her eyes to discrimination and racial injustice.
At the age of 17, Alicia’s mother divorced, and the following move landed them in Wichita Falls where she finished out high school at Old High. She was a long time first base player on her softball team in Oregon, so the first thing she did at Old High was sign up for the team. That lasted about a month. “I didn’t grow up here. Everyone else knew each other and I wasn’t a part of the clique,” Alicia shared. However, she found a larger Hispanic community in Wichita Falls than in Oregon which led to a deeper embrace of her heritage.
After high school, Duran attended Vernon College and started doing Spanish commercials for Sullivan Toyota’s television advertising. Her audience would visit the dealership and request her to be their salesperson, so the owner eventually convinced her to enter the sales world. She did well in sales and received an offer from KAUZ to work in television and then Townsquare Media recruited her for radio advertising sales. This path created a well-rounded marketing education for Alicia, which led her to open her own marketing and consulting company, Potencia Projects, in 2016. Potencia Projects teamed up with 9th Street Studios last fall for the Los Muertos street festival downtown, and they plan to make that an annual event. She stays involved in the downtown culture including being on several boards and planning committees, such as Cajun, St. Paddy, and Food Truck festivals as well as the downtown After Hours Artwalks.
As an advocate for a downtown Wichita Falls renaissance, Alicia is putting her money where her mouth is. She and her husband has purchase property downtown at 806 Travis with plans to convert the space into an outdoor, special events venue. The couple got the idea while visiting Austin, Texas and fell in love with the open concept of a similar venue there called Cedar Street Courtyard.
In addition to her downtown involvement, Duran is also a member of Rotary North, Hispanic Leaders Network, and a Zavala Hispanic Culture Initiative board member. “I got into Zavala because, as a Mexican American, I believe that if we want to better our community, we have to do something about it and not just sit back and watch,” Alicia said, “I’ve always wanted to be in some sort of Hispanic organization.” The mission of Zavala is to empower the Hispanic community and other by offering educational, cultural, and leadership opportunities.
Alicia Duran is a charismatic community leader that knows how to get things done. As a promoter of Hispanic culture and a successful business owner, she is a role model that makes this community great.