Unfiltered: Stories of Professionals of Color at Compass
As our organization works to foster transparency, facilitate deeper conversations, and drive action toward creating a more equitable community, we've launched the Unfiltered series as an essential component of that mission.
Before coming to the United States and San Francisco, Bolor grew up in Mongolia and spent much of her early adult life there. Bolor remembers being around three years old, seeing her mother spend her nights studying for medical school. This was a career shift for her mother, switching from an engineer to a psychiatrist. After her mother would work and put Bolor and her brother to sleep, she would study at the kitchen table. Bolor has vivid memories of her mother opening Russian medical books spread out all over the table, drinking a glass of water with the dim table light on, and a blanket covering her to warm her from the chilly nights in Mongolia. Eventually, all the studying paid off, and her mother opened her home to those in the community needing support, specifically elders and children. Bolor says, “My mom never hesitated to support others less fortunate than her.”
Growing up and seeing her mom helping and supporting people in their local community, Bolor knew she wanted to be like her. Bolor also went to medical school in Mongolia – studying to become a psychiatrist. Bolor saw many things during her training in the ER – noting the broad spectrum of human life. Bolor says: “Human beings are remarkable; I’m mesmerized by people’s will and strength to live. I love people.”
In 2009, Bolor and her husband moved to Idaho for her husband’s education. Once her husband graduated, they moved to Fremont, California. Bolor felt like she was treated differently when they moved because of the way she looked and because she did not speak English. She also noticed that her peers treated her unequally because she couldn’t work due to the limitations of her immigration status.
When Bolor moved to Idaho, it was the first time she was ever asked the painful question, “What are you?” Bolor says: “People would guess where I was from. They were curious, which I understood, but the question was hurtful. What am I? I am human.” Having taken classes with a variety of others who also didn’t speak English, it was apparent to Bolor that she was being singled out because she wasn’t white. However, due to Bolor’s strong foundation of who she was, she says: “Knowing who I was, helped lessen the pain.”
Although Bolor was a psychiatrist for two years before moving to the US, her degree from Mongolia would not allow her to practice in America. She didn’t want to leave the field, but as a lifelong learner, Bolor decided to study and take English classes. Bolor’s English teacher saw something in her and encouraged her to pursue a master’s degree to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. To enroll in the master’s program, Bolor had to pass many prerequisite courses, including statistics, which were all in English. Bolor channeled her mother’s determination often and mustered the energy to study, while working full-time and caring for her child.
Bolor fears societal injustices and their harmful impact on kind people. Bolor recently became a US citizen so she can vote and have a political voice, hoping to effect positive change in her community.
Bolor is inspired by her fellow Compass co-workers. She believes Compass attracts compassionate, dedicated, full-hearted people, saying, “All the kind people from the Bay Area have come to Compass.”
Bolor’s experience of immigrating to the US prepared her to feel better equipped to help her daughter navigate some of the same experiences she had. Bolor advises her daughter to “be confident with her skin, accept who she is. Confidently say, ‘I am Mongolian-American,’ and I am from the United States of America.”
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely Bolor Purvee's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Compass Family Services or its personnel.
Interview by Ashley Ante