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LIVE BOLDLY with Sara Schulting Kranz

Apr 1, 2020

Are you in control of your life?

Lisa Valtierra is the cross-cultural marketing director of a major pharmaceutical company where her work touches on both health disparities and representation. She previously worked with AIDS Service Organizations (ASO) as a patient advocate for women with HIV and other underrepresented communities. During that time, she saw conditions so dismal for underserved populations, it was easy to assume the larger industry would be no better.

Lisa has a passion for health care and for finding solutions that reduce health inequities and serve as many people as possible.  She lives in her hometown of Los Angeles with her cat, Princess Pixie Starburst the Assassin, and earned her degree in Communication Studies from UCLA.

In this episode, Lisa shares her story of adjusting to her new life and learning how to take back her power post-diagnosis.

Lisa realized that her happiness was her responsibility. This took her down many different paths and brought so many adventures. From scuba diving, to dating, to speaking about her experience across the nation. The years have also brought Lisa several challenges like unemployment, divorce, and depression.

Holding Lisa together through these trials and tribulations is a deep understanding of the lessons that she had to learn from her diagnosis. HIV was a wake-up call, it was the universe kicking Lisa and telling her she was on the wrong path. The paradigm shift that occurred after the diagnosis brought a new perspective on happiness, judgment, compassion, and vulnerability.

Now, Lisa does not let her diagnosis define her or control her life. For the last decade, Lisa has focused on finding her happiness. This path looks different for every person, but for Lisa it meant dating, finding a meaningful job and living life to the fullest. Lisa closes by reminding us that what you do with your life, despite whatever challenges you face, is up to you.

In This Episode:

  • About Lisa Valtierra [ 3:00 ]
  • Who am I outside HIV? [ 05:40 ]
  • Finding happiness [ 18:00 ]
  • Intergenerational trauma [ 25:00 ]
  • Dating with HIV [33:00]
  • Understanding the need for compassion and vulnerability [ 45:00 ]
  • Ending a relationship and unemployment [ 60:00 ]
  • Lisa’s greatest life lessons [ 80:00]


  • “Whatever God you pray to doesn’t want you to be unhappy.”
  • “If I’m not happy, that’s on me.”
  • “Love is a verb”
  • “HIV became a small little speck on my shoulder”
  • “You can dislike someone and still have compassion for them”
  • “My test wasn’t HIV; it was what am I going to do about it.”

Links Mentioned: