Ana Maria Seifert was born in LaPaz, the capital of Bolivia, in 1952. Her mother died when she was 4 years old. Shortly after, her entrepreneurial father was forced underground by a change in the political regime. He and his children were housed and fed by native Indians whose kindness kept the family safe.
Later, Ana Maria went to medical school and was inspired by Maurice Lefebvre, an Oblate missionary from Quebec, who headed the sociology department at the University of LaPaz. In 1971, Lefebvre was killed in a bloody coup d'état and many students were imprisoned, including Ana Maria. She was released in 1973 on condition that she go to "the furthest possible place". She headed to Montreal.
Long years of menial jobs and studying at night paid off for Ana Maria. She raised a family and established a career working at a research centre at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She's now an ergonomist, developing policies for worker safety, especially for immigrant women who know the meaning of hard work.