The most important facet of life, my motivation and reason to pursue a change wherever I am is my role as a family member. This section introduces each of the Virguez Coral family members with the idea of sharing more about my life.
My role as the husband of Temis Coral
I am blessed to share my life with a wonderful woman, Temis Coral, an accomplished professional and a passionate advocate for environmental equity. She has been my best friend since I met her in 2004 while we pursued undergrad degrees. Even though we shared ample time together, it was only in 2011 that we began dating. We rapidly realized we wanted to be together for the rest of our life, so we married in June 2013. Since then, we have been having a fascinating journey living in Colombia, Chile, and now in the United States.
From 2017 to 2019, we were enrolled as graduate students at Duke University, where Temis completed the Master in Environmental Management program in the Business and Environment concentration. Concurrently, she finished two professional certificates: the Community-Based Environmental Management certificate at the Nicholas School of the Environment and the International Development Policy certificate at the Sanford School of Public Policy. In recognition of her high academic performance, service to the community, and integrity, she was awarded the Forever Duke Student Leadership Award, she was named the School’s degree marshall at the University Commencement ceremony, and she was selected as a Greenbiz 19 Emerging Leader in the Greenbiz Annual Conference in Phoenix.
Being born in Colombia, we grew cohabitating with an internal civil war that taught us many valuable lessons about the importance of valuing diversity and solving problems via dialogue. Now that our beloved country faces its most important transition after a peace agreement, we are committed to generating significant contributions to promote sustainable development. It has never been so important in our history to work collectively and demonstrate the benefits of developing as a society while ensuring the preservation of our natural resources. Our collective professional goal as a couple is to create a holistic vision of the environmental challenges that allow us to identify novel multi-disciplinary solutions.
My role as the father of Brownie
In 2017, searching for an additional dosage of happiness, excitement, and energy, we decided it was time to grow our family. After reviewing the different breed characteristics and asking for recommendations, we decided to have an Old English Sheepdog. After consulting the American Kennel Club’s list of recommended breeders, we were blessed (as it happens frequently) to find a skilled and competent breeder. She assessed our personality traits and identified a young three-week-old puppy as the best fit for our family. In June of 2017, when he was nine weeks old, we traveled to New Jersey to bring him to his furever home. He was named Mr. Brownie.
The role of Mr. Brownie in our family dynamic was immediate. He injected a boost of energy into our common routine and even expanded our learning interests to include canine training. This is how we got to the Genius of the Dogs book, where Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods explore their fascination with dogs. By presenting the results of canine cognition studies, they shaped the training of hundreds of dogs, easing the burden of dog owners. We are part of this group of beneficiaries, and now he is a well-behaved family member. Once again, education proved to be worthwhile.
I truly think he is the coolest and pawsomest dog you will ever meet, however, I recognize I could be biased. If you want to judge yourself and learn more from our adventures, you can follow him in his Mr. Brownie The Fluffiest Instagram.
My role as the father of Hannah
Just when things began to look more stable at home, another tremendous blessing knocked at our door. We were expecting our first baby daughter! It is difficult to describe how enriching this experience was or how much I learned from the endurance of my wife. After nine months of an amazing ride, Hannah Maria was born at Duke University Hospital on July 2018. You can read multiple books about paternity or watch videos describing how you would feel, but nothing will be even closer to the one-in-a-kind experience of holding your healthy baby for the first time. It redefines everything in your life!
Since she was born, she has permeated our lives with meaningful lessons. Now, when we mention our goal to “build a sustainable future for future generations,” we refer to her. We understand it is our responsibility to provide an environment where she will develop all the skills required to become a societal leader devoting her life to improving the lives of others. What lessons could we deliver to help her on this purpose?
A good example happened when she was three months old, when the 2018 Nobel Peace Price Laureate, Nadia Murad, was invited to Duke to share her life experience working with victimized women and children. The invaluable opportunity of attending her conference motivated us to attend together, bringing Hannah with us. After the conference ended, we stayed for the signing event of her most recent book, “The Last Girl.” When we arrived at the desk where Nadia was signing the books, she looked at Hannah with such love and gentleness that we will always remember the scene. Then, Nadia held Hannah, whispered some sentences to her ear, and bid farewell with a kiss. While we’re unable to hear what Nadia told her, we believe it was one of the first lessons about the role of women in leading positive societal disruptions.
As a family, we will continue to raise Hannah as an empowered woman aiming to lead a societal change that improves the living conditions of those whose voice does not traditionally have a representation.
Want to learn more? Contact me!
If you want to learn more about my history or think we can help each other, I encourage you to contact me (see Contact section of the web page). Let’s walk this journey toward a sustainable future together.