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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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Sandy Tejada

Actress Sandy Tejada speaks candidly on overcoming obstacles as a Latina in Hollywood

During our March 25th virtual event, Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make it in America, speakers and panelists explored if the American Dream is still possible for Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, and shared the obstacles and barriers they overcame to get to the top.

In our first panel,  How to Overcome Being a Latina, a Woman and an Immigrant to Achieve Success, actress Sandy Tejada spoke candidly about her journey as a Latina in Hollywood and the struggles she has faced and overcome in the industry. 

Sandy Tejada

Latina actress and model, Sandy Tejada. (Photo courtesy of Sandy Tejada)

Proud of her Dominican heritage, Sandy was born in Manhattan, New York and raised by a single mother and is a bright, up and coming young star, attracting a lot of attention from directors who often compare her to J. Lo. Still, she is very much her own flavor. 

She has acted in productions such as FBI, playing the role of the wife of actor David Zayas;  The Deuce, co-starring James Franco;  Angelfish playing the best friend of rapper Princess Nokia, stage name of Destiny Nicole Frasqueri;  Goatface, produced by Hasan Minhaj.  

Most recently, Sandy opened the reboot of the first season of the famous original series Sex and the City called And Just Like That, on HBO Max and shared screen with Sarah Jessica Parker.  She appears in the first episode of the series and in her role, Sandy personifies the hostess of a well-known restaurant host in New York City.

“Growing up watching episodes of the Sex and the City series, I was always inspired by the free and easy character of Sarah Jessica Parker.  I never imagined that I, being Afro-Latina, would participate in this program that would become a cultural phenomenon after so many years,” said Sandy. 

Her mother was a huge influence in her life, bestowing upon her the wisdom to achieve the American dream, and to seize control of her own destiny. Her mother instilled in her an appreciation for learning, encouraging her to first focus on her education as a solid foundation to then pursue her dreams. 

And Sandy’s big dream was to perform. As a young girl, Sandy loved acting and making people laugh. She would reenact scenes from popular Hispanic shows for her family and was always drawn to fun, interesting roles. 

“I always wanted to play the roles where they switched it up,” she said during the Latina & Success panel. 

Acting was also a way to escape the often turbulent times growing up in a single-parent immigrant household. 

Still, despite challenges, Sandy was determined to succeed and she excelled in everything she set her mind to. Modeling, dancing, swimming, basketball, and softball were some of the ways that Sandy got to show off her natural talents. 

She attended St. Francis College on a four year Presidential Academic Scholarship, and majored in Communications with a concentration in Film and Broadcasting. At St. Francis she was exposed to the world of television, theatre and film, which allowed her to further pursue her love and passion for acting. 

 

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“Not Spanish-looking enough for roles”

As she began breaking out into the industry, Sandy soon found herself facing new challenges, primarily around diversity and inclusion. One of her biggest on-going challenges is that she is often not considered for roles based on her looks. Due to stereotypes in the industry, many do not consider her to “look Spanish enough” for Latina roles. Casting directors expect a certain stereotypical look for Latina characters, but Sandy does not fit this rigid mold. 

“For Hollywood, when you watch TV and film, it’s basically a Latin role requires someone with dark hair, dark eyes, pale skin. And so my dad was Black and my mom was white and I look like this, I’m mixed,” said Sandy. “People don’t often believe me when I tell them I’m Dominican. Dominicans don’t even believe me that I’m Dominican. That’s the biggest challenge I have is that I’m not Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz looking, I’m Afro-Latina.” 

She has been told she is not white enough for roles or not biracial enough for roles and not Spanish enough for roles. She has tried to change herself to fit the mold, wearing wigs and trying to lighten her skin but still the struggle to fit in and get roles continues. This struggle is part of a larger problem within Hollywood and the work that still needs to be done to expand diversity and inclusion for actors. 

Watch the full panel below

Facing these obstacles has motivated Sandy to push for greater representation and diversity in media. 

“My greatest wish is to pave the way for greater representation of Latinxs in film and television,” Sandy said.

To other Latinas looking to get into the industry, Sandy emphasizes the power of giving back. Together we can all find success and realize the American Dream.  

“To get a little you have to give a little,” she said. “And pay it forward. So if I help you, you help the next Latina and then we can all grow together and that’s how we can become stronger and more successful together.” 

You might be interested: Ariana DeBose reminds young Latinas that dreams do come true with historic Oscar win

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

Announcing Panel Speakers for Latinas & Success at the 4th National Conversation with Latina Leaders

“Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America” 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 live-streamed on Facebook. For free registration to this event visit https://latinas-success.eventbrite.com. The event is open to all entrepreneurs regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. 

PANEL 1. Latinas & Success: How to Overcome Being a Latina, a Woman and [an Immigrant] to Achieve Success

These female founders had to struggle with all odds to become who they are today. Learn from their experience of discrimination, language barriers or lack of networks how they prevailed to succeed.

PANEL SPEAKER: Sandy Tejada, Actor

Sandy Tejada is one of the brightest up and coming young stars. While attracting a lot of attention from directors who often compare her to J. Lo, Sandy is still very much her own flavor. Proud of her Dominican heritage, Sandy was born in Manhattan, New York and raised by a single mother.

Her mother was a huge influence in her life, bestowing upon her the wisdom to achieve the American dream, and to seize control of her own destiny. A performer since the age of six, Sandy excelled in everything she set her mind to. Modeling, dancing, swimming, basketball, and softball were some of the ways that Sandy got to show off her natural talents. 

As a Latina in Hollywood today, Sandy says, “My greatest wish is to pave the way for greater representation of Latinxs in film and television.”

PANEL SPEAKER: Carmen Mercedes Baez (Chef Yala)

Chef Yala, is a private and executive chef, born in San Cristóbal, a small city in the south of the Dominican Republic, the daughter of Dominican parents and raised in New York City. Growing up she  always had a curious and restless mind, which eventually motivated her to start her own business. 

With more than nine years in the culinary field, she launched “El Patio de Yala” out of a passion, and years later, founded her restaurant “La Cocina de Yala” located in Bronx, NY. She is also the author of the book “Becoming Chef Yala: From A Backyard To A Kitchen.” 

PANEL MODERATOR: Moderator: Dr. Ginny Baro, Thought Leader and Founder of Executive Bound

Dr. Ginny Baro develops senior leaders to create business growth, high-performing teams, and personal well-being. She spent over 20 years in various leadership roles in financial services and technology, and today Ginny is an international transformational speaker, leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 bestselling author. 

Named one of the Top 100 Global Thought Leaders, Ginny created the Fearless Leadership Mastermind™ training to help leaders gain critical leadership skills to lead, engage, and influence their teams to surpass business goals and thrive together with purpose. She has successfully delivered leadership training and coaching programs for organizations, individuals, and Fortune 500 partners, impacting global audiences. To learn more, please visit www.executivebound.com.

Panel 2. 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. These successful Latinas can tell how to overcome those stereotypes and who is really the boss in their own businesses. 

PANEL SPEAKER: Paola Santana, Founder and CEO of Social Glass

Paola Santana is a lawyer, public procurement expert and tech entrepreneur, creating the next breakthrough in government systems. She’s the founder and CEO of Social Glass, a software ecosystem using Artificial Intelligence to power high-performing governments.

She co-established the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court, and worked at the National Elections Court coordinating the Elections Litigation Chamber. She has also collaborated with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the OECD, developing striking public infrastructure projects and strategic partnerships integrating exponential technologies.

She’s best known for her ability to create things from scratch at the intersection of the public, private and regulatory domains, and for her track record introducing cutting-edge technologies into highly-regulated markets. Her most recent experience includes co-drafting the public-private partnership enabling the first multi-state Hyperloop system in the United States.

PANEL SPEAKER: Brittney Castro, Brand ambassador, Founder of Financially Wise Inc.

Brittney is a leading speaker, host, and brand ambassador and has worked alongside top brands like Chase, Mint, ETrade, CNBC, Gemini, AirBnB, Zoom, Altruist, Refinery29, and more to promote financial literacy via media interviews, video content, celebrity, and expert interviews, TV appearances and more.

At the age of 22, Brittney began her career as a financial advisor and at 28 launched her own Registered Investment Advisory, 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 all her time on speaking, content creation, and brand partnerships.

In 2021, Brittney co-hosted and produced “Chantel’s Money Moves” a show backed by Facebook to teach Gen Z’s personal finance and investing.

PANEL MODERATOR: Rosario B Casas, Co-founder, VR Americas and Brooklyn2Bogota Incubator

Award-winning Colombian-born entrepreneur with more than 7 years of practical experience in data and technology platforms and more than 20 years in executive roles. Spatial Computing expert and developer. She is obsessed with having more women prepared to solve problems with technology.

Co-founder of XR Americas, a software company that uses spatial computing systems (AR + VR + AI) focused on improving workforce learning. Co-founder of BCPartners Tech, a consulting firm specializing in digital adoption and transformation. Co-creator of the 4 Dimensional Quotient guide. Co-founder member of Dreamers & Doers. Co-Founder at #Brooklyn2Bogota, digital transformation incubator for Hispanic small business owners.

Rosario is a member of the Big Data Advisory Board of Rutgers University, SXSW Pitch, XR In Learning, The World Innovation Network – TWIN Tech, and a member of the Board of Directors of Kaleidoscope Premium VR Grant. 

PANEL 3. Funding Strategies to Achieve your Dream Business – Grants, Angel Investors and Venture Capital 

These successful female founders are now leaning in and giving back! How they found purpose in helping fund other women’s businesses in a formerly male-dominated field. 

PANEL SPEAKER: Monika Mantilla, Co-founder of Altura Capital and Small Business Community Capital 

Monika co-founded Altura Capital in 2005 to allow institutional investors and strategic partners to invest in high-performing small and diverse businesses that supply value-added goods and services to corporate America. In her 30-plus year career, Monika has focused on offering significant returns to investors while delivering valuable economic impact to communities. 

In 2012, Monika co-founded Small Business Community Capital, one of the few Latina-led SBIC funds in the United States. SBCC and Altura are playing a pivotal role in developing an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and corporations working together to harness opportunities.

Monika sits on the board of directors for various companies and organizations including Cidrines, Coastal Painting, 9th Wonder, the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI), the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) She is a fellow member of the Aspen Latinos in Society program and the author of a chapter in the book “Advancing U.S. Latino Entrepreneurship.”

PANEL SPEAKER: Betty Francisco, CEO, Boston Impact Initiative

Betty Francisco is a seasoned business executive, board director, angel investor, and community leader. She is known as a powerful convener and changemaker, unapologetic about creating visibility for Latinx and people of color.

Betty is currently the CEO of Boston Impact Initiative, a social impact investment fund that invests integrated capital in regenerative local enterprises in Eastern Massachusetts that are owned and controlled by entrepreneurs of color or are serving communities of color. She is the co-founder of Amplify Latinx, a social venture that is building Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latino civic engagement, economic opportunity and leadership representation in Massachusetts. Betty is also co-founder of the Investors of Color Network, a consortium of Black and Latinx accredited investors working to close the racial funding gap in startup capital.

She serves on the Boards of Directors of The Boston Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Beth Israel Lahey Health, and Roxbury Community College. She is also a founding member of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy which is building an equitable small business ecosystem for entrepreneurs of color in Massachusetts.

PANEL SPEAKER: Susana Marino, founder and President, Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

Susana Marino is the founder and current President of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – NOVAHCC. Susana is a first generation Latina and immigrant from Venezuela, South America. 

Susana decided to launch the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2018 to improve the level of access to diversity supplier opportunities for Latinos, and other multi-ethnic businesses in Northern Virginia.  NOVAHCC is an international business and trade association representing people of all entrepreneurial backgrounds and industries.

The goal of the chamber is to focus on delivering bottom-line results with B2B/B2G matchmaking, creating opportunities for economic growth for small business through contracting opportunities with the private and public sector, access to capital, revenue accelerator training and career opportunities.   

Susana also serves in the Board of Directors for Virginia Career Works. As part of the board, Susana and a team oversees how the organization partners effectively with programs to assist job seekers in the Northern Virginia region.   

PANEL MODERATOR: Maria del Pilar Avila, founder and CEO, InterDUCTUS/Renovad

Maria del Pilar Avila, founder of interDUCTUS, is an organizational change management consulting practice with clients including impact & ESG focused investment funds, foundations and nonprofits. Through our Renovad executive development and wellness programs, she aims to elevate the impact of global leaders.

She began her career in hospitality with Hilton & Puerto Rico Convention Bureau and eventually was transferred from San Juan to Washington DC, where she was immersed in the burgeoning Hispanic market as a VP of Marketing & Events of U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Previously as CEO of New America Alliance, she led implementation of the NAA mission focused on building on American Latino success while bringing diverse leaders and communities together to forge a stronger America. Under her leadership, NAA opened access to billions of dollars for diverse asset managers, enabling members to expand aggregate assets under management (AUM) to almost $80 Billion. Pilar led public advocacy focused on The White House, US Congress, Federal & State agencies which resulted in the first-ever US House Financial Services Comm hearing on diversity in finance; advancing support for diversity in corporate boards and the initial version of the DREAM Act; and launching state hearings & legislation aiming to diversify management of public pension assets.

You might be interested: Women’s History Month celebration gathers nationally recognized speakers and influencers to discuss Latinas & Success at the 4th National Conversation with Latina Leaders 

Women’s History Month celebration gathers nationally recognized Latina leaders and influencers

“Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America 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.

 

National Conversation Latina LeadersIn celebration of Women’s History Month, Latinas in Business Inc. announces main speakers for their 4th National Conversation with Latina Leaders to discuss “Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America.”

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 live-streamed on Facebook. For free registration to this event visit https://latinas-success.eventbrite.com. The event is open to all entrepreneurs regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. 

Bibi Hidalgo, Associate Administrator, SBA Office of Government Contracting & Business Development (TBC), has been invited as Keynote Speaker. Hidalgo oversees and reviews procurement-related policies for small business contractors hoping to work with the Federal Government, including Woman-owned, Veteran-owned, Socially Disadvantaged, HUBZone, and 8(a) Minority Business Development Program small businesses.

Albania Rosario, founder and CEO of Fashion Designers of Latin America, has been confirmed as Celebrity Speaker. Originally from the Dominican Republic, she uprooted and moved to the New York City with her parents in 2000, and launched her initiative that has now an international reach to several countries in Latin America. 

Susana G Bauman, President and CEO of Latinas in Business Inc said, “Once the fastest demographics opening businesses in the USA, Latinas and other minority women have fallen behind during the pandemic. 

We are asking the question if the American Dream is still possible them, a long overdue discussion about opportunities, resources and funding discrimination, and what can be done to close that gap. We are gathering a successful lineup of national speakers to share their experiences with others.”

Join us and all supporting organizations 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