Hey all, and welcome back. It's a new year and it feels great to be back. I know many of us are in the job search, but many underestimate the power of attending panels or discussions. For instance, since the start of the industry, I have made it an objective to attend any workshop or panel that interests me. Yes, I already graduated from college, but there is power in attending events, especially right now virtually, and take notes while you are at it. I had the opportunity to attend NALIP's Diverse Women in Media Forum. It was an immense pleasure to attend as I was able to hear great conversations from women leaders in the industry like in NBCUniversal, Netflix, Starz, and Sony Pictures Entertainment to name a few.
Here are a couple of things that I learned from these women executives.
One panel that I attended was with NBCUniversal executives Monica Gil and Lori Montenegro and moderated by Network News Anchor Nicole Suarez. This was an interesting conversation as they talked about working in the industry as Latina women, especially the resilience that latinos have.
WHO ARE YOU?
Monica speaks from her experience of navigating college coming from a very family oriented Hispanic background. Something that I can especially relate to in my own college experience. She speaks on the trials and tribulations she went through and came to embrace her Mexican culture.
Lori Montenegro, on the other hand, in addition to speaking from her latino culture, she speaks on the black side of her as well. She considers herself Afro-latina, and learned to navigate her career path with this distinction in mind. She hadn't thought about the entertainment world, but from her school, she was encouraged to apply to a radio station internship, which she got! She didn't directly attend the 4-year college path, and attended community college first, which she was grateful. In the course of her career, Lori has found that she must educate others in order to understand her identity. She is black, but how does she speak Spanish. Well, because she is a PROUD cuban, that's why.
TO BE AT THE TABLE
Ever heard the phrase, "having a seat at the table?" This is what both Monica and Lori expanded on in their experiences in the entertainment industry. When they started out, they wanted a seat at the table. Now, years later, they are at the table and are opening doors for women of color. They come to realize, with more experience and leadership, comes the responsibility of using your influence for good. That they must "teach Latinas the rules of the game that you weren't exposed to." 20 or 30 minutes of their time is well spent on the future generation of women leadership.
As Latinos, we are almost hardwired to stay with what we're comfortable. Something that resonated with Monica as she was hesitant to leave California to pursue her Bachelor's degree in Florida. With leaving, she learned to become independent and incorporate this in her professional development. Lori also opened herself to other opportunities and went to a different opportunity when she realized she was stunted in professional growth.
In closing, both Monica and Lori gave such high recommendations to NALIP in fostering growth and advocating for the underdog. I would personally have to agree with this sentiment as I learned immensely from this panel and the others that I attended.
To learn more about NALIP click here.