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Latina career coach and author Cici Castelli shares key tips to unlock your success mindset in new book

Mindset is everything when it comes to achieving success. Whether it be climbing the corporate ladder or starting a new business or venture as an entrepreneur, your mindset is what will determine your success. 

Latina career coach and author of Mindset Unlocked, Cici Castelli shares some key insights in mindset management and how to unlock your success mindset to take you to the next level. 

Latina career coach, Cici Castelli

Certified High Performance Coach and author, Cici Castelli. (Photo courtesy of Cici Castelli)

As a first-generation immigrant, Cici came to the US from Venezuela at the age of 17 without her family because she strongly believed she wanted to succeed on her own. For ten years she lived the life of an immigrant while she put herself through school and eventually started her career as the Director of Interpreter Services in two major hospitals in the Boston area. 

After eleven years in this career, Cici decided to make a change during the beginning of the dot.com era, pivoting to the tech industry and starting over in California.  

It was a challenge, giving up her Director’s role to take on a much lower administrative position, moving from Boston to California, and basically having to start at the bottom of the ladder again in a new industry, but Cici had the right mindset and set herself to the task. 

“I had the vision that I would climb the corporate ladder again, now in the technology industry, and attain a much higher salary range and benefits than if I stayed in the medical field,” she says. 

Now, Cici is a Technology Executive in the travel and hospitality industry, a real estate investor, and a Certified High Performance Coach offering coaching services on her site www.cicicastelli.com

As a coach, she works with people that are hungry for success and are willing to change to reach their next level in their career and her experiences as  a Latina who has changed her careers while being a single mom; moved across the USA and the worlds more than once; her success in climbing the corporate ladder in different industries; being a female leader in a male dominated industry; and her strong project management background makes her a remarkable individual who can help others succeed.

Through her work, she helps clients obtain clarity, productivity and courage in order to be successful and achieve balance and personal happiness! 

“My passion is empowering my clients to live a better life by helping them discover and build healthier habits and find their individual success in their own game of life.”

Jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey with inspirational titles on Audible today!

Key tips to unlock your success mindset 

In her book Mindset Unlocked: Do What Others Can’t, Won’t, or Don’t Do for a Successful and Balanced Career, and Life, Cici teaches you how to level up your mindset and maximize your potential by unlocking your ultimate competitive advantage. 

“To succeed in every area of your life you need to unlock your mindset, be bold, be flexible, take risks and start doing what other people can’t, won’t or don’t do,” says Cici. 

As a coach, she has witnessed time and time again how a shift in mindset can produce a total transformation and help people achieve the success of their dreams. 

“I worked once with a lady that had worked as an admin for years and that is what she had in mind for herself and what those around her believed that is what she was best at because she was ‘super cooperative and helpful to others.’ After we worked together for a while, through my mentorship and guidance she received the schooling and training she needed and the right opportunities for herself. Now, she has is a senior project manager in technology earning a six-figure salary and having balance in her personal life. She has shuttered everyone’s expectations including her own! Today she is a leader herself!” Cici shares. 

You might be interested: Healing Leadership: A conversation with Dr. Ginny Baro about the need for great leaders

Stories like these are what make Cici so eager to continue to coach others. She wants to help people become successful, whether that be directly through her coaching and mentorship or indirectly through the work of others she has helped, with her book, or her soon to be published online course. 

For other aspiring minority women and Latina entrepreneurs or career women looking to kickstart their mindset shift and start unlocking their maximum potential, Cici offers three key tips. 

  1. Ditch “living one day at a time” and instead plan each day, week, month, and year for optimal goal achievement. Many people are successful for a day, a week, a year but to have sustained success you need to learn how to maintain that success for a lifetime. 
  2. Passion is the key to becoming a better leader—you need to make yourself feel passionate about every single thing you do. 
  3. Take risks, embrace challenges, and never give up. Starting a venture or taking a leap of faith can be daunting, but the key to achieving success is often doing what other people can’t, won’t or don’t do. So take that leap! Don’t accept average when extraordinary is possible—with a simple mindset shift!

“Only you can define what success looks like to you and when you figure out how to maximize your potential and unlock your competitive advantage without sacrificing it all, your whole life will be transformed,” says Cici. “You just need to start doing what other people can’t, won’t or don’t do. And being a minority is part of our competitive advantage!”


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Latina entrepreneur, Life 100 Podcast

Meet Rosie, the Latina entrepreneur amplifying diverse voices with “Life 100” Podcast

Meet “Rosie”, a Latina entrepreneur, content creator, and producer and host of Life 100 Podcast, a bilingual English and Spanish podcast featuring insightful stories, remarkable guests, and everyday tips for life. The podcast celebrates Hispanic diversity, creativity, and living to the fullest. 

Meet Rosie, Latina entrepreneur, content creator, and host of Life 100 Podcast. (Photo courtesy of Rosie)

A life-long learner and dreamer, Rosie came to the US from Puerto Rico to attend university in Florida. Today, she lives in Texas and is working to amplify the voices and experiences of Latinas with her platform. 

“Representation matters,” she says. “Growing up in Puerto Rico, it was a challenge to see all of our beautiful faces and great accomplishments represented in the media.”

The representation she grew up with was lacking and incomplete. She grew up surrounded by people who were a living example of diversity and inclusion. 

Her parents always provided her with examples of diverse cultures, physical attributes, professions, and more. Yet representation in the media still had a long way to go.

Now, Rosie is determined to create the things she wished existed when she was growing up. 

“I am constantly inspired by the memory of my parents. Their descendants inherited their tenacity and determination. I know they are proud of our accomplishments, of seeing us breaking barriers, moving forward, and pursuing our dreams while making the world a better place.” 

Rosie’s parents, Luis and Maria, were a big inspiration in her entrepreneurial journey and always encouraged her to follow her dreams. (Photo courtesy of Rosie).

People call Rosie “The Visionary,” because she is honest in sharing that “I don’t know how, but we will find out.” Rosie is always looking for ways to make her dreams a reality and help others on their journeys as well. Her own podcast started as one of these visionary situations where she had something to share with the world but did not yet know-how, so she found a way and made a path for herself. 

“I started podcasting as a result of what the world considered a failure, my presentation for a conference in town was not chosen,” Rosie shares. “I had worked on this presentation for weeks and it would have been a disservice to not share it so I investigated ways to share these ideas with the world.” 

Rosie’s goals were to share her presentation in a way that was easily accessible, convenient, available on-demand, highly engaging, free of charge to the listener, downloadable, and shareable. These objectives led her to the world of podcasting and soon Rosie was learning everything about the podcasting industry from the technical aspects of it, audio recording and editing, submission to listening platforms, and the business aspects of it, including forming the legal entity, marketing, promotion, and daily operations. 

Finally, on February 27, 2020, Rosie published the first episode of her podcast. Launching right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit meant there were some challenges and struggles along the way, but Rosie met those challenges head-on and persevered.

Check out: 5 Podcasts every Latina entrepreneur should be listening to 

Start your own podcast here

Rosie finally made her dreams a reality on February 27, 2020 when she launched Life 100 Podcast. (Photo courtesy of Rosie)

Follow Rosie on social media! And listen to Life 100 Podcast. 

She shares some words of advice to aspiring Latina entrepreneurs on how to navigate and overcome challenges: 

“Launching a business is a process with everyday challenges and opportunities,” she says. “Remember, your passion and commitment will be critical factors in overcoming roadblocks along the path of your new business. Yes, it will take time, money, lack of sleep, and maybe working other jobs while building your new venture.  Resources are abundant, free of charge in many cases, to guide you and inspire you along the way. Ask questions, ask for help. Practice presenting your business concept and its value proposition. Nurture your enthusiasm, and do not fall into the trap of denial.  Discipline and adaptability will play a role in your success.  Try and try again, get out of your comfort zone, keep your vision alive, and be humble enough to accept change when needed. Value progress instead of perfection. When you achieve success in your business venture, remember to help others do the same.” 

You might be interested: From backyard chef to restaurant owner, Chef Yala shares her entrepreneurial journey and rise to success

Rosie is grateful for the opportunities her podcast has opened up for her thus far, from meeting new inspiring people to share their voices and their diversity with the world, it has been “a beautiful journey,” she says. 

She hopes to continue to amplify Latina voices and promote diversity as she expands the Life 100 Podcast into a full-time venture. 

“Your voice matters. It is never too late. Be determined to move forward. Pa’lante amigas. Go and make it happen! I look forward to sharing your story.” 


*This article contains affiliated links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

Brittney Castro, woman in finance

How Latina entrepreneur Brittney Castro built a career on femininity in a male-dominated industry

Brittney Castro is a Certified Financial Planner and is a leading speaker, host, and brand ambassador who has worked alongside top brands like Chase, Mint, ETrade, CNBC, Gemini, AirBnB, Zoom, Altruist, Refinery29, and more to promote financial literacy. Today she shares her journey as a woman in finance and how she leveraged her femininity to build her career in a male-dominated industry. 

Hustling, role models, and growing a business

Brittney Castro, Certified Financial Planner, speaker, host, and brand ambassador. (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

At the age of 22, Brittney began her career as a financial advisor straight out of college and by 28 launched her own business, Financially Wise Inc. Over those 15 years, she worked with thousands of clients on their financial journeys. In 2020, she sold her private practice to focus full time on speaking, content creation, and brand partnerships. She now also offers coaching services to help other financial advisors do what she did and grow their businesses online through social media, get paid speaking sponsorships, and market in a modern way. 

“A lot of times people are very knowledgeable in the financial world, but they really just don’t know how to market or do video creation that educates and inspires people. So that is my sweet spot. I think that’s where I operate the best,” said Brittney during the March 25th virtual panel, Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America.

Speaking on her journey as an entrepreneur and where she is now, Brittney said she is excited to have reached where she is now, where she gets to do what she loves. 

“It wasn’t always that way, you know, we have to hustle to put in a lot of hours and time and do things we don’t necessarily love. So I’m very blessed and grateful to be here now.” 

Brittney shared the struggles she faced growing her business at a young age in a male-dominated industry. Being “real” she said candidly, “It’s not easy. I self-funded my business. I wish I would have been a little bit more creative in the beginning and maybe got some sort of loan but I didn’t.”

She had to figure out her own path forward and learned a lot from her experiences as a new entrepreneur. Now she tells people not to shy away from funding and “go get that money!” 

“You just have to kind of figure out, are you going to self fund? Are you going to get angel investors, or a small business loan? Every Avenue takes work effort, you’ll probably get denied. So you have to have that kind of persistence. Stay resilient. There’s so many creative resources, you just have to find the right one for you.”

“I don’t really think there’s a destination because I’m just working every day on making myself better.” (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

Another key lesson Brittney learned throughout her career is to embrace change and always be in “flow.” For Brittney, there is no end goal marker of success. She is constantly learning, growing, and evolving. 

“People would ask me years ago, ‘What does it feel like to have made it?’ And that’s a weird question to me because, yeah, you have success, and I think it’s very good to celebrate, I’m not saying not to embrace it and celebrate it. But I don’t really think there’s a destination because I’m just working every day on making myself better.”

Part of that growth mindset comes from mentors. Early on, as Brittney was first establishing her own company, she began to build her network and learn from others who were already doing what she wanted to do. 

“I would find women-focused events to go to, and I would just look at other women business owners, and I thought, ‘Okay, they, they’re doing it, I could do it too.’ But I also read a lot of books. I think that’s the power of mentorship, it doesn’t have to be physical in person, you can learn a lot from other people’s stories. And now we have YouTube or you know, social media, where you hear people’s inspiring stories through video.”

As Brittney read and connected with other women entrepreneurs, she was inspired and pushed forward along her own path. Those mentor figures really helped solidify the belief that she too could build her own business as a woman in finance. 

Watch the full panel below

Embracing femininity in a male-dominated industry

When Brittney began her career as a young woman in finance she faced pressures to change herself and downplay her feminine side. Navigating her space in this male-dominated industry was difficult as a 22 year old fresh out of college. 

“When I was just starting I would try to look like a man more. I would wear all black, I remember I’d put my hair so tight and a bun just so people would take me seriously. And it made me sick health wise, I was just always rundown and sick because I was trying to imitate someone else, instead of just being me, a woman in finance and leveraging my feminine power and strengths,” said Brittney. 

“Now I just think it’s so beautiful to be a woman in finance, like, do it my own way, create my business my own way.” (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

Eventually she learned to fully embrace her identity not just as a woman but also culturally as a Latina in the industry and leveraged her identity as her niche when she launched her first business. 

Her manager at her first firm criticized this move to market her business specifically toward women, stating that it would be “stupid” to miss out on half the population. 

Brittney, however, knew there was a market for financial services catered toward women. 

“Every woman I talked to doesn’t relate to the financial industry, and I’m in the financial industry, and I don’t relate to any of these things and how they talk about money. So I literally built my first you know, company, Financially Wise Women with the focus of helping women and it was like, almost girly, in a way the color palette. I would dress more like feminine. I was just more me basically.” 

You might be interested: Latina tech entrepreneur Paola Santana owns her CEO title in a male-dominated industry

After fully embracing her femininity and focusing on helping women in finance, Brittney’s confidence grew and the success started to come and finally she felt like she didn’t have to be anybody other than herself. 

“Now I just think it’s so beautiful to be a woman in finance, like, do it my own way, create my business my own way.” 

Brittney finds that staying true to herself and not worrying about competition has worked best for her in her career thus far and she encourages other women entrepreneurs and professionals to stay true to themselves and not worry about what others are doing. 

“I just put my filters on and put my head down and work, I don’t really pay attention to what a lot of the people are doing in the financial world. That always works well for me, you know, because then I’m happier. And it attracts the right things into my circle.”

Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose reminds young Latinas that dreams do come true with historic Oscar win

Ariana DeBose makes history as first openly queer, Afro-Latina actor to win an Oscar.

Yesterday’s 94th Academy Awards ceremony saw a major iconic first for Latinas. Following in the footsteps of the legendary Rita Moreno, Ariana DeBose won her first Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake.  

Rita Moreno won her Oscar in 1962 for the same role, becoming the first Latina woman to win an Oscar. Now, 60 years later, Ariana makes history as the first Afro-Latina to win the award. With Ariana’s win, the two actresses have also become part of the exclusive club of performers who have won Oscars for portraying the same character. 

Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose as Anita in West Side Story. (Photo via Anita DeBose on Instagram)

“Your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me. And I love you so much,” Ariana said to Rita Moreno in her speech last night. 

In her acceptance speech, Ariana also reminded young Latinas, DREAMers, and anyone who identifies with being different that dreams do come true and there is a place for everyone in America.

“You know what, now I see why Anita says, ‘I want to be in America,’ because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true. And that’s really a heartening thing right now,” she said.  

She thanked her mom and family for helping her and supporting her on her journey. Reflecting back on her childhood and how far she has come Ariana said, 

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus. When you look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina, who found her strength in life through art. And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate.” 

“So to anybody who’s ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us,” she added.

The Oscars also saw another historic first for Latinas when Disney’s Encanto won Best Animated Feature. With this win, producer Yvett Merino became the first Latina to be nominated and win in the category. 

“I am so proud to be a part of a film that puts beautiful diverse characters front and center,” she said in her speech, “and that people everywhere are seeing themselves in the film.”

Historic wins like these will continue to pave the way for future Latinas and women of color, just as Rita Moreno’s win paved the way for Ariana DeBose.

As more diverse representation in media becomes mainstream, young girls and women will see themselves and their stories reflected back. Seeing other Latinas and women of color succeeding will show them that their dreams can come true too and that achieving success is possible. 

Full Speakers’ Lineup for Latinas & Success at the 4th National Conversation with Latina Leaders

Latinas in Business Inc. announces full speakers’ lineup for the 4th National Conversation with Latina Leaders titled, “Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America.”

The event, sponsored by Valley Bank Women in Business and Investors Bank, will explore if the American Dream is still possible for Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, with national speakers and influencers sharing the obstacles and barriers they overcame to get to the top.

The virtual event will be held on Friday, March 25 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST – 9:00 am to 11:00 am PST on Zoom and will be live-streamed on Facebook. For free registration to this event visit https://latinas-success.eventbrite.com. The event is open to all regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity. 

National Conversation with Latina Leaders

First Panel: Latinas & Success: How to Overcome Being a Latina, a Woman and [an Immigrant] to Achieve Success to discuss the struggles female founders have to endure to achieve success. Speakers include actor Sandy Tejada and Carmen Mercedes Baez (Chef Yala). The panel moderator is Dr. Ginny A. Baro, Author, Coach and Founder of Executive Bound. 

Second Panel: Latinas in Male-Dominated Industries: Who’s the Boss? Male-dominated industries and occupations are particularly vulnerable to reinforcing harmful stereotypes and creating unfavorable environments that make it even more difficult for women to excel. Rosario B. Casas, Co-founder of VR Americas and Brooklyn2Bogota moderates this panel with Paola Santana, Founder and CEO of Social Glass, and Brittney Castro, Brand Ambassador and Founder of Financially Wise Inc. 

Third Panel: Funding Strategies to Achieve your Dream Business – Grants, Angel Investors, and Venture Capital, female founders discuss how they help other women-owned businesses access funding in a formerly male-dominated field. Speakers include Monika Mantilla, Co-founder of Altura Capital and Small Business Community Capital; Betty Francisco, CEO of the Boston Impact Initiative; and Susana Marino, Founder and President of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Maria del Pilar Avila, Founder and CEO of Interductus | Renovad will be moderating the panel.

Susana G Baumann, President, and CEO of Latinas in Business Inc said, “As Latina entrepreneurs, many of us have had unique hurdles we had to overcome in order to live out the American dream that so many aspire. We cannot stop fighting to help others overcome issues affecting Latina business owners today, and most importantly, achieve the success they deserve.”

Join Latinas in Business in bringing real solutions to America’s backbone, small businesses, and especially minority women and Latina-owned businesses, their talent, innovation, and their constant sense of purpose to support their communities. 

For registration please visit: https://latinas-success.eventbrite.com

The immortal – and false – myth of the workplace Queen Bee

Isabel Fernandez-Mateo, Professor of Strategy and entrepreneurship at London Business School and Sarah Kaplan, Professor of Strategic Management at University of Toronto share their findings on the unfair biases women leaders face and the myth of “Queen Bees” in the workplace.


Cat fights, mean girls, Queen Bees.

We’ve all heard these terms stemming from a popular belief that women don’t help other women, or indeed actively undermine them.

Women leaders are often portrayed in popular culture as suffering from Queen Bee Syndrome (think Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada). The media is filled with advice about “what to do if you work for a Queen Bee.”

But what if the Queen Bee isn’t real? Or at least she’s sorely misunderstood?

Gendered differences in expectations make us see Queen Bees when they aren’t really there.

Looking across a wide range of studies, there is no evidence that senior women are less helpful (or more harmful) to junior women than senior men are to junior men. Studies find little evidence that women are more competitive towards other women than men are towards other men. And women and men do not differ in their use of aggression. Indeed, having a female manager is, with few exceptions, either positive or neutral on women’s rates of promotions and wages.

The Queen Bee myth has more to do with how companies are structured than it does with women actually undermining one another at work. (Photo created by freepik)

Women expected to be helpful, warm

So why do people believe that Queen Bees are so prevalent? The answer has to do with our expectations of leaders. Because women are expected to be helpful and warm, people perceive women who take on leadership roles more negatively. So even if women leaders aren’t behaving any differently than men, they will be seen as unsupportive because of the double standards women face.

Demanding male managers are seen as strong leaders, while women don’t get the same credit. And when conflicts arise at work, as they often do, clashes between two women are seen as much more problematic by others in the organization than those between men.

It’s assumed that women should align themselves with other women no matter what. As former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright said: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

In corporations, we expect senior women to take on responsibilities for championing other women in management, heading up women’s leadership committees and, in general, doing the organization’s heavy lifting when it comes to increasing diversity.

This is, however, a lot of extra (and undervalued) work that is not expected of their male peers. If a woman chooses not to take on these roles, she may be labelled a Queen Bee, while men who don’t do diversity work are not.

Marginalization is the culprit

If women do behave like Queen Bees sometimes, why is that?

Sometimes we observe that women don’t advocate for other women in their organizations. Experimental evidence shows that this is not about being a prima donna, but instead a product of what scholars call “value threat.”

Value threats occur when there are negative stereotypes of women in highly masculinized workplaces. Women who do manage to “make it” must constantly fight these negative stereotypes in order to hold onto their own positions in the organization. Their concern about whether they are valued at work may shape their willingness to assist other women. Women might not support other women if there is any question about these women’s qualifications, because they don’t want to do anything that might fuel the negative stereotypes.

women in the workplace

Women may be more willing to help other women if they have confidence in their qualifications and skills, particularly in a highly masculinized workplace. (Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels)

In this context, there are often few opportunities open to women — “implicit quotas” that limit chances for leadership roles. One study of 1,500 firms showed that once a company appointed a woman to a top leadership role, the chance that a second woman would join the leadership ranks dropped by 50 per cent.

Another study of corporate boards showed companies seemed to be gaming the system: appointing two — but no more than two — women to their boards, a phenomenon the researchers called “twokenism.”

As a result, women may not support other highly qualified women because they know they’ll be competing for the same small number of opportunities. Our conclusion: being a Queen Bee is not an intrinsically female behaviour but instead a reaction to marginalization.

Again, it’s the context that matters. In studies of networks inside organizations, women were more likely than men to cite a woman as a source of difficult work relationships, but this propensity was lower for women with more women in their social support network. Similarly, an experiment with women police officers found that women who identified closely with their gender actually responded to gender bias with increased motivation to help other women, while those who were less gender-identified were more likely to exhibit Queen Bee responses.

Women may be seen as Queen Bees when in fact the organizational context is the origin of the behaviour. When organizations are not inclusive, women are more likely to experience value threat and therefore more likely to avoid supporting other women.

You might be interested: Gender washing: seven kinds of marketing hypocrisy about empowering women

No male equivalent to Queen Bee

Beyond the evidence against the Queen Bee myth, the mere existence of the term is part of the problem. If men are as likely to be competitive with other men as women are with other women, then gendered terms such as Queen Bee are sexist.

In this regard, language matters. Calling women Queen Bees is its own form of devaluation, with its impact on the denigration and marginalization of women in leadership.

At a time when corporations are struggling to address gender gaps at all levels, killing off stereotyped myths such as the Queen Bee Syndrome is essential.

The Queen Bee is dead! Long live women leaders!The Conversation


Isabel Fernandez-Mateo, Adecco Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School and Sarah Kaplan, Professor, Strategic Management, Rotman School of Management; Director, Institute for Gender and the Economy, University of Toronto

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Microsoft Excel MVP

How I became a Microsoft Excel MVP after 20 years as an accountant

Economics expert Yolanda Cuesta Altieri shares how she became a Microsoft Excel MVP after changing careers and how you too can take action to turn your profession around. 

If you have ever heard the term MVP, something related to sports—basketball or soccer—will come to mind, since it is named a lot to give recognition to outstanding players.

Yolanda Cuesta Altieri, Microsoft Excel MVP. (Photo source)

The acronym, if we are talking about sports, comes from English and refers to Most Valuable Player, which means something like “most valued player” or “outstanding”. But what you may not know is that there is another MVP recognition related to technology. They are the recognitions, awards in English, that the Microsoft company grants to people who stand out for sharing their technical knowledge with the community in an altruistic way.

In this case, the acronym MVP corresponds to Most Valuable Professional, which we can translate as “most valued professional”. It is a person that the company recognizes as a specialist in the field who can be trusted.

Well, here you have an MVP in the Office and Services category, which from 2014 to July 2022 has been recognized uninterruptedly year after year with this recognition by Microsoft.

This has been specifically for my contributions and dissemination of my knowledge in the spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel. And what I want to convey to you is that you can also become an MVP if you have a technological background. Extrapolating, I also imagine that there will be this type of recognition in other areas of knowledge, it is a matter of looking for information about it.

First steps 

Back in 2011 I decided to change direction in my profession and I made the decision to voluntarily leave a boring job with endless hours. Of course, it was full-time, indefinite and relatively well paid (this was not easy, since in my environment I was not well understood).

I changed it by choice for a part-time job in the mornings. And in the afternoons, as I have always liked to pass on knowledge, I began to write a blog about Excel and other spreadsheets that had some success, so much so that I won an award at the regional level with it, and I began to be known in the Excel community.

Two years after starting the blog, one of my followers told me about the MVP program and I decided to apply. Here is a first piece of advice: you already have the “NO”, so everything that comes ahead is welcome.

After a few months, already in 2014, I received the news that I was awarded the Microsoft MVP award. I haven’t said it yet, but it doesn’t have an associated monetary prize, but rather it’s a seal of quality, which gives you great professional value.

 

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A post shared by Yolanda Cuesta (@excelcontatic)

2014 and already MVP

From then on, I was invited to attend the technical events organized by Microsoft, both at the level of European countries (for example, I participated in the meetings in Barcelona, ​​Rome, Lisbon, Madrid…) and at the annual Summit level at the central offices of the company, who are in Seattle, United States, that same year of 2014.

Over the years, I have not only had the opportunity to travel thanks to the award, but also to meet a lot of super valuable colleagues and professionals, who have provided me with knowledge and help whenever I have needed it.

And not only that, but many doors have also been opened professionally; with opportunities that would not even have crossed my mind before taking the step of changing my job in that year 2011.

The first year in Spain there were only two women with this recognition, with about 60 men being MVPs. Now, in 2022, there are 14 women with the MVP Award.

I have made a small calculation and, in percentages, the female representation of MVP in Spain, in 2014, accounted for 3% of the total. Now it is 19.4%, which represents significant progress, but there is certainly room for improvement.

You might be interested: From books to dating to DREAMERs, 6 apps by Latinas in tech to celebrate

Conclusions and one last piece of advice

So, what I want to convey to you, my second piece of advice, is that it is never too late to change. If you really want it, you have to take a step forward and start turning around in your profession. It doesn’t have to be as drastic a decision as mine to leave the job indefinitely, but it is up to you to take small steps to change the course.

What can you do? Well, for example, sign up for some training that interests you, update your resume, apply for job offers that seem attractive to you, delegate family tasks, talk to your acquaintances about your new concerns. 

I hope that this story can help you so that you can also adjust what you are not comfortable with in your profession and that it gives you strength and encouragement. I am at your disposal for more information about it.

See here to read the original article in Spanish and connect with Yolanda on LinkedIn.


Article translation by Victoria Arena. 

social media trends

Top social media trends for brands and small businesses in 2022 

Social media is constantly changing. How we use it and the features available are continuously evolving. Every year social media platforms roll out new features, update layouts, and reshape how we use their platforms. Businesses benefit greatly from the digital age with the opportunity to connect and market their brands to global consumers right at their fingertips. However, to make the most of social media and utilize all its features, it’s important to keep up with the latest social media trends. 

Today we’ve compiled a breakdown of popular social media trends and features by platform that you can use to better market your brand and small business in 2022.

social media, facebook

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Facebook 

Facebook is a huge platform for brands and small businesses with tons of opportunities for customer engagement, brand promotion, and advertising. Four top Facebook trends brands and businesses should be sure to utilize and incorporate into their marketing strategies are: User-generated Content, Longform Posts, Facebook Stories, and Facebook Groups. 

User-generated Content (UGC) is content created by customers that (with permission) you may re-share on your own feed. This type of content is fun for your audience to see their videos, photos, reviews and comments shared by the brands they love. By incorporating UGC into your marketing you’re showing your customers that you value their brand-loyalty and engagement and it creates a greater bond between brand and consumer while bolstering the community. Additionally, UGC is authentic content that is mutually beneficial for both the user and the brand. 

Longform Posts are usually used to promote long ad copies. Typically accompanied by a visual such as an image, banner, or video, longform posts have been shown to perform well. According to research conducted on this topic, long ad copies tend to see “a lower cost per action (CPA)” and provide audiences with more information before they click, leading to a higher chance of engagement. 

To utilize longform posts in your branding use some eye-catching emojis as bullet-points, include a visual and testimonials, and use the longform format to give your audience the full scope of your offerings. 

Facebook Stories are a great way to share quick, short-form content and share videos, images, or links to other content. With Facebook Stories you can easily cross-post your stories to Instagram as well and vice-versa. Facebook Stories also has tools to create unique, eye-catching designs and visual content. To utilize stories in your branding, upload videos, photos, boomerangs and more to create story-specific content for your brand’s Facebook marketing. 

Facebook Groups are a great way to build your brand’s community and promote engagement. Groups can be invite-only or available for anyone to join and use. Brands and small businesses can use Facebook Groups to share tips and tricks for using products or services, generate brand awareness and become a thought leader in your industry, and build a community of loyal customers and followers. 

social media, instagram

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Instagram 

Like Facebook, Instagram is another top social media platform for brands and small businesses. However, unlike Facebook, where text posts and longform content is more prevalent, Instagram is largely dominated by visual media. More focused is placed on eye-catching photos and enticing videos. Three top Instagram trends to take advantage of in 2022 are Story Links, Social Justice, and Collaborative Albums. 

Story Links are a big new feature in 2022 for small businesses. In the past, swipe-up story links were only available to accounts with 10,000 followers or more. However, Instagram has recently lifted this restriction, allowing anyone to include links to content in Instagram Stories. This gives smaller brands the opportunity to direct traffic to other sites and platforms, increasing engagement and sales! 

To utilize Story Links,  just tap on the “add sticker” icon in create mode and select the “link” sticker. You’ll then be prompted to add the redirecting URL and have the option to customize the sticker text.

Social Justice is a hot-topic on social media right now. In 2022, the interest in activism, especially with Gen Z users is high, and social justice advocates are some of the most active users on Instagram. If your brand is connected or aligned with a social cause, charity, or non-profit, this is the perfect time to use your social media presence on Instagram to promote those causes. 

Collaborative Albums are a new interactive feature introduced to Instagram in the Fall of 2021. This feature asks users to share their own Story based on a specific theme. Anyone can create a new theme with “Add Yours” stickers. Brands can use this feature to create challenges or calls to action. Followers can then add their content to the collaborative album. Like User-generated Content on Facebook, Collaborative Albums allows consumers to be involved in the branding and promotion of the businesses they love.  

You might be interested: How Instagram is helping Latina entrepreneurs survive the pandemic

social media, twitter

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Twitter 

Twitter is a platform best known for its short-form content and opportunities for engagement. On twitter, fans are able to interact with celebrities, and content is spread rapidly through re-tweets and hashtags. Brands and small businesses can make the most of Twitter’s features by incorporating the platform into their marketing strategy. Some latest Twitter trends to try out include: Livestream Announcements, Asking Questions, and Relevant Hashtags. 

Livestream Announcements help direct traffic to your latest stream. For brands with many followers this is a great way to get the word out about live virtual events. Brands can also use Twitter to Live Tweet during the streams, so viewers can interact with brands live as they watch. 

Asking Questions is another great strategy to implement on Twitter. Since Twitter is known for it’s quick, short content and “retweets” and “replies”, asking questions on Twitter is a great way to engage in conversation with customers. Ask relevant questions, use questions as an ice-breaker to get larger conversations started, or utilize poll features to better gauge the opinions of your followers. 

Relevant Hashtags are super important on a platform like Twitter where hashtags are used as doorways to new audiences. Users searching specific hashtags will come across your content and this can be a great way to draw in new followers. To best utilize hashtags on your content, be sure to use simple hashtags that aren’t generic and don’t overdo it. Using too many hashtags, especially ones that are not relevant to your content will annoy users and decrease your credibility.

You might be interested: Lights, camera, action! Key strategies every Youtube newbie needs to know

youtube

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Other Useful Tips

Live Streaming – People enjoy engaging in live interactions, especially since the pandemic livestreaming has become a way for people to connect and socialize. Use your livestreams as an opportunity to build your community. Be consistent with your streams. Go live on social media at the same times each week or whenever you schedule your streams and be sure to include engaging calls to action for your audiences.

Free Giveaways – People love free stuff! And most will usually exchange contact information for a freebie such as their email. Building up your mailing list is important for any brand or small business, so consider offering something for free on social media to build up that list and potentially obtain some new customers too.

Popular Video Platforms to utilize – Visual media is becoming increasingly important in our lives since the pandemic. As we mentioned, livestreams have become more popular in the past few years, but stories and other short-form video content are also on the rise as social media trends in 2022. Be sure to incorporate some of these video platforms in your branding and marketing strategies this year.

  • IGTV
  • Instagram Reels
  • Twitter Fleets
  • Facebook
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat

Be sure to keep these social media trends in mind as you plan your marketing and branding strategies in 2022!

Latina Publishers

Latina Publishers call for cultural diversity in children’s books this upcoming Read Across America Day

As educators prepare for Read Across America Day on March 2, children’s book buyers are invited to a “Meet Latina Publishers” live virtual event Feb 10th.

— Independent publishers suggest less Seuss and more literature that reflects America’s diverse student populations —

Across the nation, shopping for books and other preparations are underway for the annual community celebration of literacy.

Three independent press owners, all mothers, and authors of color ask educators and parents to pause and ask this question: Do these books reflect the diversity of the students I serve?

Sandra Gonzalez-Mora, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, and Naibe Reynoso are all founders of independent publishing companies. They are social entrepreneurs, investing their energy, time, and money to offer children’s book buyers and communities across the USA innovative literature that more accurately reflects them, their language, their culture, and their world.

These three publishers invite curriculum directors, librarians, teachers, and parents to gather for a live Meet Latina Publishers Zoom chat on February 10th from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific to learn more about their work.

REGISTER for the event here: https://bit.ly/3GtOwNz

They are leading the impassioned, national movement demanding a shift in how school districts buy books, typically from large incumbent publishers slow to respond to the needs of a minority-majority student population.

Latina publisher and author, Sandra Gonzalez-Mora shares bilingual stories with young readers. (Photo source)

Graciela Tiscareño-Sato said, “In August 2014, in an Education Week article titled U.S. School Enrollment Hits Majority-Minority Milestone, we learned that ‘Latino, African-American, and Asian students in public K-12 classrooms were expected to surpass the number of non-Hispanic whites.’ The questions educators and parents must ask themselves are these: WHY haven’t more buyers of curriculum materials, books in classrooms and books in school libraries kept up with our schools’ demographic changes? WHY haven’t institutional buyers sought out indie publishers like us who have been ahead of the curve creating ground-breaking literature that reflects and inspires our diverse student populations?”

How can books in classrooms and public libraries across the country better reflect the diversity within the communities they serve? With Latinos accounting for about half (52%) of all U.S. population growth between 2010 and 2019, this question becomes much more critical. Latinos are the country’s second-largest ethnic group, behind white non-Hispanics, a fact not currently reflected in the children’s books that circulate in public and school libraries and classrooms.

Latina Publishers,

Sandra Gonzalez-Mora, M.Ed., award-winning author and publisher and founder of Skillful & Soulful Press. (Photo source)

“Latinx-owned publishing companies are galvanizing to change this landscape in the children’s publishing industry, it’s time,” said Sandra Gonzalez-Mora, author and owner of Skillful & Soulful Press.

2020 data on books by and about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color published for children and teens compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison state that out of the 3,115 books they received from U.S. publishers, only 212 books were written by Latinx authors and 191 books were about Latinx characters.

“Latinos are almost 20% of the population but we are largely invisible across all forms of media,” said journalist and Con Todo Press publisher, Naibe Reynoso. “This is a disservice not only to our community but it’s a missed educational opportunity for all classrooms.”

It is clear from the data collected by the CCBC year after year that traditional publishing is comfortably holding the status quo that isn’t serving all children in this country. The approach these women are taking to help children’s literature become more inclusive and reflective of U.S demographics is to write, illustrate, publish, and market their unique stories, often in multiple languages.

You might be interested: Ronit Shiro shares the gift of bilingualism with children through FeppyBox

Latina publishers call educators, librarians, and parents to action! (Photo source)

March 2 is Read Across America Day. This day is synonymous with books by Dr. Seuss, considered classics, which are created by white authors about white children and white families.

This year, these Latina creators have a call to action: they encourage more teachers and librarians across the USA to think about the young faces of students they serve and to intentionally purchase stories that represent them, reflect their communities and ambitions, and recognize their undeniable value across America.


About Gracefully Global, LLC: 

Since 2010 Gracefully Global Group LLC has published award-winning, educational literature and digital classroom content for K-12 school districts worldwide. Literary properties include the following award-winning titles: 1. Good Night Captain Mama / Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá and Captain Mama’s Surprise / La Sorpresa de Capitán Mamá -the first-ever children’s book series created in two languages where Mamá is flying a military jet, Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them, and for the military community B.R.A.N.D. Before Your Resumé: Your Marketing Guide for Veterans & Military Service Members Entering Civilian Life. See our offerings at https://www.gracefullyglobal.com/commerce 

About Skillful & Soulful Press:

Skillful & Soulful Press is a Latina-owned publishing company in Whittier, CA. We publish bilingual children’s books that celebrate languages and help develop children’s early literacy and language skills by introducing them to robust vocabulary words during family reading moments. Our small business is addressing the need to offer more diverse books, written and illustrated by people of color, that introduce young children to exciting new words in languages other than English. See our offerings at: https://www.skillfulandsoulful.com/shop

About Con Todo Press:

Established in 2018, Con Todo Press is a Latina-owned publishing company that creates children’s books that celebrate diverse cultures and highlight Latino leaders to help fill the gap in the publishing industry, where Latino stories are vastly under-represented. Con Todo Press has published many award-winning books including “Be Bold, Be Brave: 11 Latinas who made U.S. History,” and “Fearless Trailblazers.” See our offerings at https://www.contodopress.com