Maria's mother, Abuelita, joins in the celebration of MayaLuna's baptism. The budding fiesty Latina just turned five years old with a bowling party.

Maria worked with Ron Brown for eight years, including four in the Commerce Department. He was her mentor and a good friend.

At last year's White House Christmas party, Maria pauses near the portrait of Hillary Clinton. She was a senior advisor to Clinton's 2008 campaign.

During a trip to support Israel, Maria visits the venerated Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the walled old city of Jerusalem.

Maria takes her family to the top of Monserrate in Bogotá. Bryan learned Spanish so he could help raise Sebastian and MayaLuna bilingually.

A Woman of Independent Memes

(Continued from Page 1)

“In that kind of a moment, when you’re called upon to step up to the plate and reach deep down for inner strength, you realize you're a lot bigger than you think you are,” she says. Her performance that day put her on an accelerated path to bigger and broader communications positions. Maria also realized that a heightened profile allowed her to be a trailblazer -- for women, for Latinos, and particularly for Latina women. She has since avidly embraced that role every day.

Her zeal extends to her family life. Maria met her husband Bryan Weaver in 1991 when they both worked in the DNC press office. While their attraction was immediate, they didn’t start seeing each other seriously until after the 1992 election. Bryan loved that Maria was from South America and admired that she was a strong, intelligent, outspoken woman in male-dominated Washington, D.C. They balance each other, with Bryan running a small nonprofit for disadvantaged youth and deeply involved in local politics.

Maria and Bryan at a White House Christmas Party

Before they had kids, they would often throw dinner parties and go salsa dancing. Bryan says he always knew he would be wrapped around the little finger of a feisty Latina, but these days, he means their five-year-old daughter MayaLuna. He learned Spanish so that he could help Maria raise their kids to be completely bilingual. To this day, Maria has not uttered a word of English to MayaLuna or her seven-year-old son, Sebastian.

“Our lives are constantly crazed,” Maria says, with their challenging work and far-flung families in Oregon, Miami, Bogotá, Puerto Rico and Dallas, “but we focus on priorities, which are spending time with our kids and with each other.”

Even with so much accomplished and so much on her plate, Maria keeps adding to her to-do list. She believes it’s more important than ever to inspire people to get involved with public service, to make a difference in their communities. Her fans would like her TV commentary to segue into her own show. She may write a book about her experiences that can inspire young people. Down the line, she would love to consider an ambassadorship to a key Latin American country – since she can’t run for president of the United States, she says, with a wink.

During her CNN segments, it’s clear that Maria’s statement jewelry pieces reflect exactly her on-air qualities - strength, confidence, individuality, bold yet classic elegance. She has her eye on Brighton’s charm bracelets and other new pieces that she can show off on TV.

“The first time I walked into a store while on a trip to give a speech in Florida, I was hooked,” she says. “I had heard other women rave about Brighton before, and so I walked in to see what the big deal was. I walked out of there knowing I would be wearing a lot more Brighton.”

Maybe her next meme will be Pundit Fashionista.  Brighton Living

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