BC’s SAGA Club welcomes guest speaker: Juan Cerda

Saioa Laverty, Reporter

Every week Bakersfield College’s SAGA (Sexual and Gender Acceptance) club has welcomed a guest speaker to participate in their series “My Rainbow Road”. The club invited Juan Cerda to speak on March 17.  

Cerda is a gay man who was born and raised in Delano, California. He spoke about his experiences as a gay man in Kern County and explained how he came to be where he is now. Cerda said that he now works for a “sister agency of the UN, consisting of 33 countries” and is based in Paris, France. He explained that the agency “looked at what the best policies and practices were and tried to implement those policies and practices into legislation, regulation, and standards”. He said that “one of the things [they] were known for was their economic outreach.”  

Cerda was not always a thriving international worker. He explained that he had to struggle a lot and grow a lot in order to achieve his success. He struggled a lot with coming out and being a young gay man in Kern County. However, he said that “it still led [him] to where [he] is now so [he’s] thankful for the Failures [he] had to overcome.”  

When he first graduated college he started BC, but decided to drop out and start working for Nicole Parra in the state assembly. After he decided to go to CSUB and get his Bachelor’s in Public Administration. But after graduation he realized he “always wanted something more”, so he decided to work in San Francisco. 

He took a risk and accepted a temporary six-month job in San Francisco, which ended up becoming a permanent job as the “acting Director of the Golden State Bridge.” He also got a Master’s degree while in San Francisco. It was during this time in his life that Cerda started to become more interested in travel.  

Before then, Cerda has always thought that travel was “for someone else”, people that were more wealthy and “sophisticated”. The first trip he went on he visited Vienna and Barcelona. His experience was so amazing that it sparked a passion “to explore the world”. This also made him decide that he wanted to work internationally 

He applied for a second master’s in Brazil and stayed there for six months, then he attended the University of Vienna to obtain another business degree. While living in Vienna he got a three-month consultant job which later turned into a year-long contract. Then he ended up working for the UN for the last four years for a “sustainable energy program.” 

After leaving Vienna he felt that he still needed more, so once again he applied for new jobs. This is how he ended up in his current position working in Paris. 

As a final piece of advice, Juan Cerda said to “be focused and make good choices”. He was able to achieve his success by working hard and sometimes taking a risk that he saw the overall benefits in.