Staff Spotlight: Isabel McElhaney

In Newsletter Content by Brandon St. Clair

Beaches, sunshine, and tan lines must be a hard way to grow up! I guess when you are born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, this is what you must endure. Isabel McElhaney has so many beautiful memories of her home in the area of Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Isabel grew up with one sister and one brother; she is the youngest of the three children. She was born to Carlos and Marlene Correia. As children, every Sunday, they would always go to a farm club in Barra. Here they could ride horses, swim in the pools, and play tennis and many other sports. This was one of her favorite memories with her dad. Being that her dad worked a lot and traveled often for work, she did not get to spend as much time with him as she would have liked. When she was just nine years old, he tragically passed away while traveling. This was a very difficult time for her family, so she likes to focus on moments like those at the farm club where her memories with him were so happy.

Isabel remembers many days playing at Barra, Ipanema, and Flamengo beaches. She loved to play Frescobol, which is similar to Smash Ball here in the US. She loved fresh coconut water, popsicles, and acai sacole that they sold on the beaches. She loved to boogie board and swim. She also enjoyed going for runs to the beach. They primarily use public transportation in her area, but Isabel preferred to walk or run to the beach.

Brazil is known for its amazing foods and culture. Some of her favorite foods are pao de queijo, tapioca, brigadeiro, sushi, Brazilian stroganoff, and chicken pie. There is a Brazilian grocery store in San Diego that she frequents, so she can still make these things for her family.

As a teenager, some of her favorite places to visit for parties and to watch the World Cup was Pao de Acuar, which we refer to as Sugar Loaf in English. It is one of the most beautiful places in Rio. Growing up she enjoyed gymnastics for a couple years and Tae Kwon Do her whole life. She went to UniverCidade to study Marketing. During her program, she felt inspired to learn English to promote her degree.

After school, at the age of 23, Isabel came to the US to learn English. Her plan was to move back to Brazil and pursue her marketing dream. Life had a different plan for her while she was in the US when she met the love of her life. Chad McElhaney came into her life while she was working at a restaurant. Initially she intended on returning to Brazil, but Chad had different plans. On a whim, he decided to travel back to Rio with her to see what her culture and life was like. Before they both knew it, they were very much in love and wanting to spend the rest of their lives together. This led to their marriage in 2004 and a new life together in San Diego, CA. Now 17 years and two children later, they are still happily married and living their best life.

Isabel is a fun-loving, energetic individual who loves exercising, being outdoors, and spending as much time at the beach as she can. She still has dreams of traveling to Italy and the Maldives. She tries to travel back to Brazil as much as she can to visit her mom and friends. One fun fact about her is that she loves to watch Brazilian soap operas; her favorite is Caminho das Indias.

We feel blessed to have her here at TIS; she brings so much life and love to the workplace.