At the beginning of the pandemic and quarantine, I turned to some of my favorite comfort foods to relieve stress. The Puerto Rican dishes that I love and grew up eating. My first dish on Mar 28th was my Abuela’s Puerto Rican-style bacalao con verduras (cod-fish with starchy root vegetables). Such a simple dish, yet it’s one of my favorites. It takes me back to my childhood when I was growing up in Puerto Rico and would visit my Abuela and family. It’s funny how, in times of stress, we turn to what comforts us. In my case, I find comfort in a delicious meal, and during COVID-19, I found myself going back to my roots.
Soon after, in early April, I learned that my Abuelo tested positive for COVID-19. During that time, I caught myself thinking about my family and my childhood. Although I was born in Miami, and my parents moved to Connecticut in their teens, our Puerto Rican roots were deep. We moved back to the Island when I was a baby, and for the first seven years of my life, I grew up between la playa in Dorado and el campo in Comerio. I probably fit most stereotypes of a Puerto Rican woman. I am bilingual, friendly, hospitable, and very expressive. I am catholic, family means the world to me, I love my Puerto Rican dishes, a good party, and can dance salsa with the best of them. I have always been incredibly proud of my heritage and loved everything about it. But as an adult, I realize that I have not celebrated my heritage or female empowerment.
Thinking back to my adulthood, I have never put myself in a box. I do not recall ever thinking that I was held back because I was Latina or a woman. When I was looking to re-brand my company Be Productive Coaching, I started taking some personal branding classes to get to know myself. These classes led me to reflect on my career and who I am as a person. Although incredibly proud of my heritage, I recognized that I did things to avoid being stereotyped as a “typical” Puerto Rican woman.
Starting my career at 15, I rose quickly, becoming a supervisor by 18 and a Director of Sales and Marketing soon after. I remember dressing conservatively for a long time, not wearing tight clothes, plunging necklines, flashy jewelry, and nail polish. As a woman, I did not want people to think that I was getting my promotions by using my sexuality as a young woman.
I alienated myself subconsciously from my Latin culture, female empowerment, and my own persona, not wanting to categorize myself. I also distanced myself from female friendships because having experienced the competition that often comes from girls while growing up, I frequently felt a cattiness or judgment by women in the workplace.
This started to change in 2006 when I moved to the neighborhood where I live today. After meeting a group of women with careers & lives filled with experience and success, I felt welcomed into their group. For the first time, I belonged to an all-women group and loved it. As the years went by, I started to form stronger friendships with women. As an entrepreneur in 2013, in the words of Helen Keller, I realized that “Alone we could do so little; together, we can do so much.” I was going through a career change & divorce, and for the first time in my life, I turned to other women for support and guidance. These friendships and being an entrepreneur have taught me a lot, and most importantly, it has taught me that we need to support each other.
This year, I am proud to be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. I am taking this opportunity to celebrate not only our heritage but also our women. I am doing this because I have learned through my journey that supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs, and women are essential for our communities’ betterment. We should endorse and lift each other as much as possible. That’s why I am excited to highlight these 30 amazing Latinas.
The inspiration for this project came from a movement that Lilliana Vazquez, Emmy Winning Host, TV Personality, Style Expert & Author and Erika Hernandez, Co-Founder & President of Latina Made Not Maid brought to their Instagram communities. On Aug 31st, Lilliana went to her Instagram to discuss “Why the September cover of Cosmopolitan Mexico is so problematic!” and Erika participated in this conversation. Erika also started a trend where she posted her very own CosmoMX cover and invited her community to do the same, so I joined! #letsgetlatinxloud
Be Productive’s #hispanicheritagemonth “30 Powerful Latina Trailblazers” came shortly after I posted my CosmopolitanMX cover. I decided to do my part to empower the powerful Latinas in my life and celebrate our heritage at the same time. In a very Be Productive way, I got to work!
I have chosen these 30 Powerful Latina Trailblazers carefully as they are experts in their related fields. As a Career Strategist and Coach, my mission is to help people utilize their natural talents to do exciting and fulfilling work. The Latinas that I introduced to you this week are all passionate and doing work that they love.
I want everyone to share these stories of inspiration to anyone that would benefit from hearing them. Sharing these stories will inspire and motivate men and women alike to support one another, follow their dreams, and do what they love.
For me, when COVID struck in March, I was uncertain about the future, just like everyone else. After a week or so, I said, “Wow, I finally have time to catch up on unfinished projects.” I launched my re-brand and a new website on Apr 15th. After speaking with my Hubby, I decided to take some risks and hired social media and sales coordinators. Most importantly, I did not focus on how BAD things were. Instead, I thought to myself, “The Future Is Bright!”
Each of the women was asked to tell us how they have stayed productive, positive and maintained their life balance in 2020. They’ve shared some great quotes and life lessons. If you missed my earlier posts, visit my Be Productive Coaching Blog at https://beproductivecoaching.com/blog-2 to read the full responses about their incredible 2020 journey.
Let’s take one last look at these amazing women.
#latinxheritagemonth #latinatrailblazers #femaleleaders #juntassomosmasfuertes #letsgetlatinxloudion