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Mayra Martinez-Cruz, 25, talks in her office near alma mater Asheboro High School about finding her dream career.  Larry Pankava / Randolph Hub

Living the dream

ASHEBORO — Mayra Martinez-Cruz encourages school students to plan their future careers on what they enjoy doing. She’s a living example of pursuing passion.


In fact, she owns M&M Professional Services, which provides tax services, accounting and translation of official documents. She has a client list of about 600 after having opened her stand-alone office at 1130 S. Church St. about a year ago.


By the way, Martinez-Cruz is just 25 years old.


The Asheboro High School graduate didn’t fall naturally into accounting. She first tried other things before realizing her true love is math.


“Growing up in high school, my passion was math,” Martinez-Cruz said from her desk recently. She found regular math classes to be easy but AP calculus was more challenging. “I loved formulas.


“Students asked me to do their math homework.”


While she wouldn’t do their work for them, she told them, “I can help you, explain it to you.”


Her parents encouraged her to enter the medical field since good-paying jobs are plentiful. But after trying some classes in high school, Martinez-Cruz realized, “I hated it. Give me math.”


But she had no desire to be in business. So she entered the cyber security program at Wake Tech in Raleigh. Soon, she began to realize it wasn’t for her. She actually walked out of a class and went to her adviser for advice.


“'What do I want to do?” was the big question. The answer finally came — accounting. “I started it in the spring semester and it was like pie — it was easy. OK, I got this. This is my thing.”


Martinez-Cruz then transferred to Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC), working and doing online classes. At the age of 19, she was working in her father’s accounting office when she began filing income taxes for family and friends, calling it her hobby.


When her father’s business was sold, she began working from home where she spent two years as her client list continued to grow, mostly by word of mouth. Martinez-Cruz said she happened to look at her records and found 18 clients in 2017. During the past year, she said, she completed 543 tax returns, about 600 when she added her two staff members’ numbers.


Her high school sweetheart, Chris Cruz, was now her husband. When he saw how her business was expanding, he “pushed me to pursue my dream of making my hobby a stand-alone office. I was afraid and scared, but I decided to put our life savings into it. I even had to sell one of my personal vehicles in order to achieve this goal.”


Finally, after looking for the right place for her business, Martinez-Cruz was driving by the location on Church Street near the high school and saw a vacancy. She was able to move in after making extensive renovations.


Her big worry at the time? “Am I going to make enough (for the rent)? I’ll have to hire people.” But her husband said, “Let’s do it. You’ll have more space and more people.”


“It’s been a journey, but he’s pushed me into it,” she said. “I’m blessed to have his support.”


During the process, Martinez-Cruz remembered the words of her mother; “There’s a solution to everything except death.”


In November of 2022, she was asked by South Asheboro Middle School to participate in a career fair. The students she spoke to, she said, would ask her age and, when she told them she was 25, they would say, “Don’t you need to be older?” Her response was that “anything is possible as long as there is determination."


Martinez-Cruz said in her office that “students need to be aware of the opportunities they can offer people. You don’t need a (graduate degree). Just make sure you’re content and can pay your bills.” As she was once told by a mentor, “The sky’s the limit.” 


“You shouldn’t worry that ‘I can’t do that,’’ she advises.


Martinez-Cruz exemplifies that attitude in her work. When the hectic tax season arrives, some accountants dread the long hours until April 15. “Some preparers don’t enjoy the season,” she said. 


“I hate the slow seasons. I don’t see people as much. During tax season, I see one client after another. I know their situation and make sure they’re getting the best for their bucks.”


She said her husband told her one day, “You were talking in your sleep.” When she asked what she was saying, he said, “You dream numbers.”


And she would say her dream came true.