VP of Marketing for Siempre Mujer Reveals Her Secret to Success

There is no better way to get inspiration than to hear from successful Latinas themselves. This summer, I attended a Hispanic Professionals Networking Group event featuring a meet up and Q/A with Ruth Gaviria (first to the right in the photo above), the Vice President of Hispanic Ventures for Meredith Corporation. Before the Colombian marketing guru launched “Siempre Mujer” a Latina lifestyle magazine targeting Hispanic women in the U.S. in 2005, she worked as the Director of Marketing and Brand Development for the publication “People en Español.” Fast forward five years, and now Gaviria is in charge of Meredith’s Hispanic magazine portfolio including “Ser Padres,” “Ser Padres Espera” and “Ser Padres Bebé,” which she re-launched and redesigned in 2008.

During the HPNG event, she revealed her experience as a Latina leader in corporate America and shared her secret to success:

I want to share one experience that changed my life. It’s not even job specific. I was identified by management that I was leadership potential and I was sent to the Center of Creative Leadership. I was honored. I was sent there and I was the only Latina woman, and I was the youngest. When you go to these programs they break you down to your core and they build you back up. The goal is to make you a better manager and it’s a formula that works. During that process, a counselor sat next to me and said, “As a woman of color you have to tone it down. You aren’t going to succeed if you act like a part of these people.”

She continued on to explain that she received this feedback because people weren’t used to seeing women of color or Latinas take control in a corporate environment. Gaviria then gave a list of lessons related to her experience at the Creative Center for Leadership: First, adapt to your environment. Second, know when you can be yourself in a professional environment. Lastly, find a company that aligns with your passion.

Thankfully her tips for success didn’t end there,

“Your first advocate has to be yourself. You have to believe in yourself and the biggest part of leadership is listening. When you are saying, “Look at me! Look at me! I’m Latina and I have done this, this, and this.” You are showing me that you are not open to other opinions. What I have learned is that the process of listening and aligning your goals with your client or company is what is going to help you win. The second thing is that you can’t do it all alone. What fuels me is to create that group of powerful Latinos and have us join together. We [as Latinos] aren’t very cohesive. When you look at the American community, you definitely feel a sisterhood or brotherhood. With events like this, I would have to say that things are changing.”

Gaviria’s strong passion and powerful diction made me feel like a part of that change. I secretly walked away pretending that she was my mentor. I recorded the entire lecture, and whenever I feel like I need that motivating push, I listen to her speech all over again. I hope you leave here a little inspired as well.

Share your secrets to success or your view on women of color and leadership below.


Image: Google Images



Theory On Unproductive Work Spaces Justifying Laziness?

Sure, most people have endured the annoying co-worker or a day full of meetings, but is the office really the worst place to work? According to Jason Fried the co-author of “Rework,” the modern day work space (or what he calls the interruption factory) doesn’t necessary encourage a high level of productivity. He explains in his lecture:

When you’re in the office you’re lucky to have 30 minutes to yourself. Usually you get in, there’s a meeting, then there’s a call, then someone calls you over to their desk, or your manager comes over to see what you’re doing. These interruptions chunk your day into smaller and smaller bits. Fifteen minutes here, 30 minutes there, another 15 minutes before lunch, then an afternoon meeting, etc. When are you supposed to get work done if you don’t have any time to work?

I have experienced full-time work days at home and in-house, and call me crazy, but I personally prefer working in an office. I must admit that working at home has it’s benefits when it comes to wearing pj’s or sweats all day and saving money at lunch time, but working at an office offers a priceless sense of comradeship. Productivity should come from within, and we should be able to properly allocate our time between meetings, office talks, or casual Friday’s.

Fried’s speech sounds like a real life version of the movie “Office Space.” He advises people to try passive forms of communication, skip some work meetings, and launch no-talk Thursdays. Is his theory justifying laziness or boosting productivity?

My answer is don’t try this at work.

Source: CNN


The Power Of Beauty: Getting Underneath Your Cover-Up

I was asked to write a guest blog for “The Power of Beauty” website for DermHa, a natural skincare line. Check it out below!

Ever since I was in grammar school, my mother would powder me up and add blush to my cheeks before walking to school. She would say, “This is so you won’t look so pale. Que linda. (How pretty).” I looked in the mirror and felt beautiful with my Cover Girl-covered face. There I was, a bilingual kid with an accent who wanted acceptance more than anything else in the world. If my mother told me that makeup made me look prettier-I believed her. What I was unaware of was how those early years would mark my relationship with makeup and its relation to beauty as an adult.

When I think about not wearing make-up publicly now, a voice inside of me is saying, ‘no just some under-eye concealer, mascara and lip gloss please!’ I should be able to walk around barefaced from time to time, but why don’t I feel comfortable? I don’t lack inner beauty or self-confidence. So what is the problem here? After reading a women’s magazine blog post, I sent an email out to some of my close girlfriends asking them to challenge that voice along with me and not wear makeup in public. No one wanted to join my made up makeup revolution.

As a Latina, a lot of my earliest life lessons with beauty and makeup were cultural. We take pride in looking good for ourselves and others. It is ingrained in us from the time we are able to walk, but the bigger picture is also society’s view on the ‘power of beauty’. We are living in a society that teaches little girls that looks are a part of who we are and sometimes, that looks are everything. Ad campaigns, magazines, and reality television shows don’t help the idea either.

After taking the challenge on my own, I realized that the voice or idea that we can’t be beautiful without makeup is conditioned. It runs deep and normally it takes looking in the mirror and talking to that little girl with the Cover Girl-covered face. There is nothing wrong with makeup. It sparks our creativity and makes us feel good, but when we become dependent on it, then we need to have a little makeup challenge–even if it means just going to the grocery store without anything (and I mean anything) on. I challenge you to do the same.




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