7 women have just received the Latinas Poderosas 2016 Award by Mundo Hispánico. I’m one of them. Today I want to share with you what being a Powerful Latina means to me and, at the end of this article, what it could mean to you and to the people around you.
When somebody calls you out of the blue to let you know you have won a prestigious award it can leave you thinking. At least, that’s what happened to me. A few weeks ago, the people at Mundo Hispánico called me to let me know I had won the Latinas Poderosas award. Imagine my surprise. I didn’t even know I had been nominated.
And that’s exactly the point of this piece. To share with you how, more often than you can imagine, when you help others, people are watching – and not because you posted it on Facebook 😉
As the purpose of the Latinas Poderosas award is to recognize Latino women for their accomplishments so that their efforts don’t go unnoticed they asked people to nominate unsung heroes: Women who have made significant contributions to the Latino community or to society in general. This is how I ended up in the pool of nominees. Somebody was watching.
Who was Behind my Nomination as Latina Poderosa?
What’s interesting is who nominated me and why. Back in 2003, while I was leading and organizing the Target Latino project – yes, my company was born out of a community project (you can read more about how we did it here) I met an incredible human being: Gigi Pedraza. At the time, Gigi was the Director of Resource Development & Marketing of The Latin American Association, the largest provider of social and legal immigration services to the Latino community in Atlanta. She became heavily involved in supporting the Target Latino project.
To give you a very brief overview of the project, its goal was to make American companies aware of the importance of the U.S. Hispanic market. The 2000 Census data showed a very clear trend: the Hispanic population was growing. It was destined to become the number one minority group (a fact which came true with the 2010 census) and nobody was paying attention. The project was a success and some time later, instead of letting it die, I decided to make Target Latino an official Hispanic Inbound Marketing Agency.
After the original Target Latino project Gigi and I lost contact. But she never forgot me, and unbeknownst to me, she was the person who nominated me for the Latinas Poderosas award.
As with everything I do, I never undertook the Target Latino project for the recognition. I did it because I felt strongly about the Hispanic market opportunity. But Gigi was watching. And she watched me keep on contributing to the community and to the world in general when I never knew anybody was watching. She was watching when CNN asked me to be one of the panelists to the VIP launch of their documentary “Latino in America.” She was watching when the Government of Kansas invited me to be a keynote speaker on Latino Culture to “Hispanic Day on the Hill.” She was watching when others like Mariela Dabbah, international speaker and founder of the Red Shoe Movement, would graciously make my contributions to women empowerment public, when I would not. She was watching when I was invited to inspire Latino students at Universities. Even when I was invited to join the Smithsonian Latino Center 10th anniversary celebration as a keynote speaker, thanks to the referral of another Powerful Latina I admire, Elianne Ramos. She was watching when I became a foster mom for dogs. And in so many other occasions.
Even though I always felt like nobody was watching.
The Impact of Receiving the Latinas Poderosas Award #wearenotinvisible
Receiving the Latinas Poderosas award has made me think of others who also feel they are invisible. There are thousands of us. People who every single day reach out and enrich other people’s lives. Most of the time, without anyone acknowledging it. We all deserve to be recognized.
So let me make ask something of you, dear reader. In my faith, the Jewish faith, we have something called Tikkun Olam or repair the world. It is our “mitzvah,” our obligation to make the world a better place. And this award has moved me to launch my new personal version of Tikkun Olam.
This is my request to you: every month, just once a month, take 2 minutes to reach out to somebody that has impacted your life in a positive way, it doesn’t matter how or when and it doesn’t matter how you do it. A phone call, a text, an email or a Whatsapp. And once every month recognize a new person. Let them know how they impacted you or even that they did. Let them know you are watching.
Let them know they’re not invisible.
Let’s all launch the #wearenotinvisible movement. I hope you do, I know I will.
For those of you who understand Spanish, here is the video of my interview: http://bit.ly/1UNUCyp