I consider myself a "Latinalogist." Let me explain.
Over the past 20 years, I have worked closely with Latinas from all walks of life: newly arrived immigrant women, professional women across many disciplines, entrepreneurs and small business owners, high school and college students, millennials, executives and leaders.
As a professional Clinical Psychologist working with these women, I have had the honor of intimately understanding Latinas' deepest challenges, aspirations, needs and talents. As a mentor, I have guided them in the direction of their dreams, using myself as a mirror from which they can reflect themselves as another bicultural Latina navigating life and career in America.
As a researcher, I have studied the sociocultural factors that impact their decisions, thoughts and behaviors as Latina daughters of immigrant/cultural parents, and daughters of this great country and modern era.
As a social entrepreneur, I have leveraged technology and social media to connect Latinas to career-related resources and influential networks. It is through social media and social networking platforms that I have gained a robust understanding of the 'New Latina' -- the name of the digital media platform I launched back in 2010.
As the creator and moderator of the Latina Leadership Network, an online community on Facebook with 4,200 Latina members, I have approved over 10,000 posts shared by Latinas in this community since 2012. I have read over 20,000 replies and comments. And, I have read hundreds of the career-related questions and challenges they have posted on the group, seeking peer mentoring from this tremendously supportive community of Latinas.
This deep understanding of what matters and challenges Latinas as young as 15 years old (and as old as the women I worked with as a nursing home clinician) is something I hold dearly, with tremendous respect. That, and my unyielding commitment to champion Latinas, keeps me close to the pulse of Latinas' hearts and ambitions.
As a "Latinalogist," I observe and study important social and economic trends among Latinas, especially millennials and women of my generation. Over the past 20 years, Latinas have achieved unparalleled progress, and currently are significantly contributing to this country's economic, social and cultural well-being. Yet, compared to their non-Hispanic female counterpart, there is an undeniable gap in economic prosperity and leadership. There is much work to be done, and it will take more than one person, more than one organization, and more than one company to bring us to where we need to be.
So, what do I know today, for sure?
I know that entrepreneurship is the quintessential pathway to personal and economic empowerment, and real social impact. Whether we fully embrace entrepreneurship through a startup or small business, or embrace the entrepreneurial spirit at work and in life, this I know for sure: Entrepreneurship and innovation are the key to our success today and tomorrow, and throughout the 21st century.
This is why Latinas Think Big's vision is laser-focused on promoting innovative ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. Our successful Latinas Think Big Innovation Summit last October, in Silicon Valley, proved that Latinas are natural innovators and entrepreneurial at heart. I strongly believe that embracing the entrepreneurial model will propel Latinas to a new level of success, regardless of their entrepreneurial aspirations, professional background, age or circumstance.
Last year, Latinas Think Big unveiled Latinas as the new face of innovation. This year, we will build and grow thriving communities of Latina innovators and entrepreneurs. It is time to disrupt the status quo.