As she was about to emcee the Race for the Cure, a woman came up to then-KTSM Channel 9 news anchor Felipa Solis.
“I saw your story,” she told Solis about her special segment, “My Mammogram.”
"I got myself checked. I have it (breast cancer). I wouldn’t have known.”
Solis, a breast cancer survivor, savors those moments in her life.
“Little moments like that are life changing,” she says.
She’s had a life full of them.
Growing up as the daughter of flamenco dancing greats Antonio and Rita Triana, many expected her to follow in their footsteps. But Solis wanted a career in journalism.
“My parents said, ‘Si se puede,’ yes, you can.”
She got a job at 17 at Channel 9. She credits broadcast legend Karl Wyler for giving her support, and encouraging her to learn everything involved in broadcasting.
Solis left to work in media in Austin when she met, and then married, former El Paso County Commissioner Mickey Solis. She came back to work at Channel 9 and had their son, Gabriel.
She also began working in another passion – movies. As a child growing up in Los Angeles, her dad often took her up and down Hollywood Boulevard to look at the stars.
“I fell in love with the industry. I could watch Turner Classic Movies all day long. Movies will always be a part of my life,” says Solis, a member of the Broadcast Film Association for 20 years.
Her husband died in a car accident in Colorado 11 years ago, and Solis was severely injured.
Although she left KTSM, she wanted to stay active.
That’s when life came full circle, and she was offered her job as executive director of El Paso Pro Musica.
“Growing up, classical music was always part of my existence. (At Pro Musica) I use all of my skills from the love of music, backstage, and understanding what artists need. I use my media background to promote it.”
Under her and Artistic Director Zuill Bailey’s leadership, EPPM has grown, adding pop-up concerts at hospitals, schools and non-profit organizations, and in 2017 establishing the Center for Arts Entrepreneurship at UTEP.
Musicians have played for those in food lines during the COVID-19 crisis and for grieving families of the Aug. 3, 2019, Walmart shooting.
“The UTEP Center ... took EPPM to a new level,” Solis says. “We decided that education would become a vital component.”
Solis also has worked with many community organizations, including El Paso Museum of Art, Jewish Federation of El Paso, the Holocaust Museum, LULAC, La Mujer Obrera, Creative Kids, El Paso Alzheimer’s Association, and founding the Mickey Solis Memorial Scholarship.
That dedication also came from her parents, when they told her, “if they give you can inch, you give back a mile.”