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Rising Above The Odds – QCC Alumna is in Full Bloom

October 2021
  • QCC alumna Tiana Diaz
    QCC alumna Tiana Diaz is the owner of T.A.J. Tropicals & Trinkets.
  • QCC alumna Tiana Diaz and her husband Pedro Diaz.
    QCC alumna Tiana Diaz and her husband Pedro Diaz.

QCC alumna Tiana Diaz knows firsthand what it’s like to be down on your luck and feel like there is nowhere to turn for help. A series of bad circumstances and bad choices had led her to a dark place and one that she was unsure she could rise above. For some, being told you are not good enough, you won’t amount to anything would keep many people down...but not Tiana Diaz.

Today the mother of three is running her own successful business, T.A.J. Tropicals & Trinkets, named after her children. The powerhouse entrepreneur took a roundabout way to entrepreneurship, and credits QCC with saving her life and giving her the confidence to be the person she knew she could always be.

In 2013, Ms. Diaz earned a degree in Human Services from QCC after deciding that education was a way to rise above her challenges.

“People need to realize life can be forgiving,” she said, adding that QCC changed her life. “People at QCC generally care for you.”

She found a supportive and nurturing community at the College. After earning her degree, Ms. Diaz began working as a substance abuse counselor, helping those with mental health and substance abuse issues.  She did this for years and while she was passionate about her job, the stress eventually began taking its toll on her.  Ms. Diaz eventually decided to take a new position as a CNA, and  decided to enroll back at QCC, to work toward her nursing degree.

Then the pandemic hit and she decided she would take a leap of faith and open her own plant shop, since plants had always brought her happiness and joy. She filed all the paperwork, looked for a storefront location, and on Small Business Saturday in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, she opened T.A.J. Tropicals & Trinkets in Worcester, with her husband Pedro by her side.

It was an immediate hit and filled a need for people in a time when so many were looking for something to bolster their spirits.

T.A.J. specializes in rare plants, but there are also many beginner plants for the novice plant person. Along with the plants, Ms. Diaz supports local artisans and many of their works are for sale in her shop.

“We firmly believe in supporting our community and the people in it,” she said.

On Small Business Saturday, November 20, Ms. Diaz will be celebrating T.A.J.’s first anniversary, a milestone she said wouldn’t have been possible without QCC.

To find out more visit TAJTropicals