Devin Mejia doesn’t look at work and life as two separate entities that need balancing. She believes they’re both part of the goal of a happy and meaningful life.
“I don’t feel you can separate work and life — they’re all the same to me,” she said.
Mejia is a financial adviser with Edward Jones. Before that she spent eight years at Extraco Events Center as senior division manager of sponsorship sales. She and her husband, Pete, have three children, ages 9, 7 and 4.
In addition to her work at Edward Jones, which she describes as “service-oriented,” Mejia is involved with the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children and prioritizes her children’s education, both at school and at church. She and her husband know family can’t be taken for granted, and so they make their biggest investments in relationships with their loved ones.
WACOAN: How did you get to Waco?
Mejia: I’m not originally from Waco. I’m from South Texas, Harlingen.
When I was at [Texas A&M University], I worked in property management as I was going to school. I originally came to Waco for a job opportunity, and I didn’t know anybody. I thought it would be a good adventure as a young adult. Nothing was holding me down. When I moved to Waco, [property management] was not a career I wanted long-term.
I lived here for about a year, met my husband, and I moved to Austin. When I went back to Austin, I was still in property management. I did that for a while.
Then the day after I got married, after our honeymoon, we moved back to Waco. My husband and I have been here ever since.
My husband was born and raised in Waco. He went to the other university, that one in Austin. We dated long distance.
WACOAN: His name is Pete, correct? What does he do?
Mejia: Yes, Pete. His company sells insurance, but he’s in marketing with American Amicable [Life Insurance Company of Texas], in the Alico building downtown. He used to work at Texas Farm Bureau. He was head baseball coach at [McLennan Community College]. In between leaving baseball and [starting at] American Amicable, he was at Texas Farm Bureau, so we both were in the insurance business.
WACOAN: What did you do in insurance?
Mejia: I’m a licensed insurance agent, so I sell life insurance as well. And I’m a financial adviser with Edward Jones.
WACOAN: Let’s back up. When did you graduate from A&M?
Mejia: I graduated in December 2003.
WACOAN: What was your major?
Mejia: It was originally in mechanical engineering, then I switched to ag development [bachelor of science in agricultural leadership and development].
When I came to Waco I learned that in getting a job, knowing people was important. My friend was an administrator at Midway [High School]. She called and said, ‘Why don’t you be a sub?’ So I was a sub for the administration.
WACOAN: I didn’t know you could be a sub for administration.
Mejia: You can. Teaching, it’s something that you either love it or you don’t. This was high school students. They’re challenging for me. I’m a very straight-laced person. My parents were very hard on me.
Then my friend said, ‘If you’re looking for a job, [Extraco Events Center] is hiring, and [the president is] an Aggie. I interviewed with the president and CEO, Wes Allison. It was eight years of working in sponsorship sales, working in a nonprofit. I met a ton of people, knew a lot of people in town, got out a lot, lots of networking. I joined a lot of great organizations, like Junior League, [National Association for Female Executives]. I just got to be part of the community.
It helped me understand what my strengths were. Over and over it was something that was brought to my attention that people were my strength. Communication, helping people with something I was passionate about. I’m into people, if you will.
WACOAN: It sounds like your career has taken several different paths before finding your way to Edward Jones.
Mejia: Although there have been several jobs, they all had their place. In property management, it was small business. I ran property management companies. In sponsorship, I got to know people and understand the community. Now I feel like I’m using everything I had in previous jobs.
I decided, after I was done having children — we have three children — I was at a point in my life where I thought, ‘What do I want to do?’ Any time spent away from my children needs to be time with value, something that made me happy every day, something I could do long term, where I could have more flexibility in my schedule. I’d been recruited by my personal financial adviser at Edward Jones. We’d talked about the opportunity. I was like, ‘No, no, no,’ then I’m like, ‘I’ll listen.’ Numbers have always been my thing.
WACOAN: I’ve known several Edward Jones advisers, and many of them have come from different careers.
Mejia: I think Edward Jones does that on purpose. Some people at Edward Jones knew they wanted to be financial advisers, don’t get me wrong.
I love the business model, and I love the culture of Edward Jones. I jumped in and have absolutely no regrets. I have found such joy and happiness, and I believe I was born for this job. It’s just perfect for me. It’s checked all the boxes for me. It’s incredibly fulfilling.
WACOAN: Tell me about your kids. You said you have three.
Mejia: The oldest, Meredith, she’s 9 years old. She attends St. Paul’s [Episcopal School]. She enjoys theater. She was in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at Waco Civic Theatre, [July 2018]. She was also in ‘Pinkalicious’ at Waco Civic, [February 2019]. It’s a children’s play based on a storybook [by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann]. She’s really taken off and found her niche in theater. She is my church-goer. She loves to go to church and learn about God. She’s the first child; she gets good grades, works hard.
My second child, Pete Charles, he’s named after his dad. He is 7. He also attends St. Paul’s. He’s in baseball (his dad’s coaching). He loves to talk. He loves people. He’s very loving and caring. He’s your typical boy. He loves Legos and Star Wars.
Our littlest is Cecilia. She is 4. She goes to St. Paul’s also. She is an incredible student. She loves to learn. She’s really good in class. She’s quieter than the other two, for sure in public, but friendly and does have a lot of good girlfriends, even at 4. She is really good at gymnastics. She enjoys it.
WACOAN: Where does she take gymnastics?
Mejia: Zero Gravity [Gymnastics Academy].
WACOAN: Why did you and your husband choose St. Paul’s for your children?
Mejia: Me not being from Waco, I had no knowledge. My husband grew up in Waco, knew Waco schools, was a teacher and coach at Tennyson [Middle School], understood the dynamics of the school district. And when my daughter, my oldest, was in pre-K, we wanted to find more of a school environment for her than just a day care, so we explored.
We looked at a lot of different places. I knew immediately when I went to St. Paul’s that it was a family and based in Christian values. The class ratios were very small. I knew other people who had their children there.
At that point we moved Pete Charles there as well so [he and his sister] could be at the same school. Our experience has been so pleasant that we’ve never left. My husband’s the president of Parents and Friends there. This is the first year he’s done that.
Education is important to us. We were raised in public schools; [private school] is not how we were raised. Both of us come from a long line of teachers — he’s a teacher, we have teachers in both our families — [they say] the one-on-one is something they wish they had more of. My husband and I both think if we can limit the distraction of huge classrooms and give teachers the opportunity to interact with [students], it’s gonna lay the foundation.
We prayed about it, and it’s where we’re supposed to be. It’s a huge sacrifice and a huge investment in their future, but we feel it’s worth it. We’ve been welcomed.
My husband and I work full time. We are older as parents. From a financial standpoint, it’s something we can provide. If we’d had children at 24, 25, our careers may not have been where we could pay for it. We find, generally, a lot of the parents [at St. Paul’s] are older, and that builds the culture there — we’re all going at this at the same time and from the same place.
My parents took the oldest two grandkids to Washington, D.C., for vacation [including Meredith]. The first call I got was, ‘I don’t know how much you pay for that private school, but keep doing it because your daughter is teaching us all about everything we’re seeing.’
My kids are social. We get out a lot. Our friends are not all at the private school.
WACOAN: You mentioned your oldest daughter loves going to church. Where do y’all attend?
Mejia: Our home church is St. Louis [Catholic Church]. It’s been our home church since we got married. Meredith attends CCE [Continuing Catholic Education] at St. Jerome [Catholic Church]; it’s a strong program. We attend Mass with my parents at St. Louis. That’s important to me, to all be together. It’s closer to our home and my parents’ home.
WACOAN: So your parents are now in Waco?
Mejia: I had to have three children for them to come. My brother has a son, my nephew, and they lived close to my parents. When [my nephew] was 12 years old or 10, [my parents] said, ‘We’ve had 10 good years with you, so it’s time to have 10 years with the other grandkids.’ They both retired and bought a home here and were gonna try it out and see if it worked, and they love it. Then my brother moved up here about six months ago. Now the whole family’s coming to Waco!
Family is really important to us. The time goes by so fast, especially when kids are growing, that [my parents] didn’t want to miss out on it. We laugh because they live like four minutes away. They help out a lot.
WACOAN: How do they help you and your husband, especially since you both work full time?
Mejia: My parents are exceptional. Sometimes you just get lucky. We are blessed to have help when we need it, last-minute help. They have the same values as we do. They pick up the pieces, if you will. But they spoil ’em — don’t get me wrong.
My daughter [Cecilia] is good at gymnastics. It’s important to me that she gets home at a good hour. I don’t want her to be at the gym at 7 o’clock at night if her one class is at 4 [p.m.] We work till 5 [p.m.] So my parents pick up [the kids], get her to gymnastics, pick her up, feed them dinner, then we come home and do our normal thing. They allow our kids to have the opportunities they want while allowing us to continue to fulfill the commitment of working.
Last weekend my husband and I had a funeral to attend. Those are unexpected — they pop up, and you can’t plan for them. But I called my mom, ‘Hey, can you grab the kids and get them home?’ She got them home, bathed them, fed them. They did their homework, they were happy, and they got to bed.
WACOAN: Do you have help from Pete’s family as well, since he’s from Waco?
Mejia: His grandmother passed away in 2018. She was 93. She was incredible. That’s why we stayed in Waco when we got married because we wanted to be here for her. She was a huge part of our lives and our kids’ lives, our relationships, our faith. She was a guide and encourager on building the family on faith and religion and values.
I called her one time, ‘Hey, we’re running late to a birthday party. Can you help us out [with the kids]?’ She said, ‘Just let me brush my teeth.’ I knew I could count on her to show up with a big smile.
Pete’s dad was incredibly well known in the community. He was an umpire and a referee, an extrovert. He died of cancer when Pete was in college, so family is something that you can’t take for granted. I think that builds who my husband is as a parent. He gets in all the time he can with [the kids]. That’s why he got out of coaching, because of the time that it took from his family. If he hadn’t lost his dad, maybe that part of his life might have looked a little different. It’s to my kids’ benefit, obviously. It’s something in our life that is missing.
WACOAN: You’re involved with the Advocacy Center. How did you start working with them?
Mejia: I started with helping out a friend because I thought we’d work well together. I said I’d be happy to help and then grew more into learning about what they do. I love that we are helping here in Waco. I’ve volunteered for a lot of nonprofits, but it’s the thing I’m incredibly passionate about.
I think it’s so important to bring awareness to something that is not pretty, something that is not glamorous, that people don’t want to think about or talk about, that is real and that affects anyone, everyone to some extent. Having young children, it’s caused me, as the protective mama bear, to understand this is where I want to give.
I’ve done that for the last few years. I wish I could do more. I do what I can. I work with incredible women. They’re strong, they’re mothers, they’re passionate.
WACOAN: How do you define ‘keeping balance’? What does it mean to you?
Mejia: I’ve given it a lot of thought. It’s about constantly prioritizing what’s important, ensuring that love and happiness is a constant in everything I do — as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, as a child, as a daughter.
When I talk about work-life balance, my job is not work. I love what I do. I love it! I love the people I get to do it with. I’ve helped people. I think as women we tend to want to do something that matters and that makes a difference, and I think we’re just nurturers in general. This job allows me to do that. It allows me to guide, to educate, to simplify a very complicated and complex industry for people in a way they can understand and have confidence. For me, it has been such a blessing. I feel like it’s a very service-oriented job, and I get a lot of a sense of worth.
It doesn’t feel like I’m away from my kids when I’m at work because I have a flexible schedule. I can go to everything, as long as I schedule it. If I want to leave the office at 3 [p.m.] or come in late, it’s on me.
My husband is incredibly supportive of all of us having balance — time to yourself, time to reflect, to talk, to be one-on-one, to be a family. We prioritize and just make sure to spend time doing what makes us happy. It will be the best investment, no pun intended. The best investment in life is your relationships.
As a mother, we want a tidy house all the time. We want to make sure kids are dressed well and Christmas cards are done on time. We put a lot of stress on ourselves. But at the end of the day the things that matter are the impressions we make on people’s lives and the good we do for the world, for people in general. In everything you do — work, family, whatever — for me, the balance is making sure you find happiness, joy and fulfillment in whatever part you do.