Gratitude for Those who Helped Me Survive (and Thrive) in 2013

My oldest child had surgery earlier this month, which forced me to completely slow down and stay home in a caregiver role. As a business owner, in previous years this necessary medical activity would surely have led to thoughts of lost productivity and anxiety. But this is 2013- the year I was violently mugged and injured and the year my two other children had brushes with death.

So to satisfy my need to write one more article before the end of the year, I have chosen to only write about one thing: GRATITUDE.

I have tremendous gratitude to the lady who was there to call 911 as I got hit from behind simultaneously by two violent ghosts I never saw. Without her assistance and description of the attackers, it would have been a very empty police report. The evil pair apparently had watched me before I left the coffee shop before dark because they knew where I had secured my smartphone; I lost my laptop, phone and sense of security that night, about five feet away from my car. I’m grateful too that they wanted my tech and not my life.

I am grateful for Linda, our former au pair from Germany who took care of me when we arrived in her town for our long-anticipated first European vacation with our children; my knee injury from the April mugging lead to a subsequent worse injury on a Belgian train within an hour of our arrival. That was followed by crutches, an orthopedic appointment in a German hospital, a wheelchair, prescription drugs. Without Linda’s help there and elsewhere, our family vacation would have been a complete disaster. Thank you Linda for your love, assistance and extraordinary patience with your comadre!958782_10201201056567817_119106324_o 968671_10201212361410431_366584603_o 987086_10201212341009921_429794170_o 958205_10201206226497062_48352660_o




I’m extraordinarily grateful to our former au pairs in Germany and their families for their tremendous hospitality and for assistance rendered to the injured “host mom.” Thank you Gaby and Rolfy for hosting our family in your home in Germany and for memories that will truly last a lifetime! Thank you Mandy for 24 phenomenal hours in Braunschweig. Thank you Nansin and your family for meals in Bebra that we’ll never, ever forget (or work off!) Thank you Gunther and Rolfy for pushing me up and down hills along the Rhine River in Cologne and giving my husband a break.959282_10201189656442821_1243555512_o

I am indescribably grateful to my husband Genro who spent our vacation that wasn’t, pushing me in a wheelchair in four European countries, in train stations, airports and cobblestone streets. Imagine Venice, Italy, the city of canals and hundreds of stepped bridges. Now imagine Venice in a wheelchair – nightmare! My husband’s physical and character strength was my crutch when it all got to be too much for me one particularly difficult day in that city.958896_10201212194206251_1431647764_o968614_10201212227247077_1599389109_o 958247_10201206272898222_74627091_o968629_10201206284178504_1689928554_o




I am grateful to the driver of the SUV who somehow managed to avoid hitting my nine year-old daughter on the 4th of July as she decided to sprint across the street back to me when all the cars were stopped watching fireworks…or so she assumed. If you’ve ever watched your child miss certain death by about three inches as you scream her name, you know exactly how traumatized I still am by that moment, and how truly grateful I am to hug her tightly every day and night. If you never have endured that horror, count yourself double lucky.

With the backdrop of all that going on in the first half of the year, I am deeply, deeply grateful to the entire team of creative women who helped me birth my first bilingual children’s book, Good Night Captain Mama, on our planned launch date of July 4th weekend. 1048614_10201460426411901_1586154727_oWe somehow got there despite the mugging, the broken femur and the wrecked car and other unpleasant things that happened to several of us on the team. Small business owners are ferociously tenacious creatures, aren’t we? I’m proud to call Ruth and Suzi friends and express gratitude for pushing with me all the way to the end. Linda, Anabel, Rosi and Ivonne – thank you for all you did to keep the project on track and excellent.

I am forever grateful to my friend Stacy who was watching my kids when I was at a physical therapy appointment to heal my injured knee. It was that hour of that summer day my son choked on a Lego while using his teeth to pull two pieces apart. Thank you Stacy for the quick thinking and knowing how to do the Heimlich maneuver! How do you express gratitude to the friend who saved your son? I’m trying….

I’m grateful to Dr. Angelica Perez, founder of the ELLA Leadership Institute and the ground-breaking Latinas Think Big event that took place at Google’s L.A. office in October. I met many of the women from the Latina Leadership Network Facebook group, most notably my host in L.A. Gina Espinoza and Dr. Nelly Cardinale who traveled from Miami. 1379520_10202183776695206_2131983286_n1278871_10202177096808213_1084989899_o 1272967_10202170868572511_336580214_oIt was the first time that a Fortune 100 corporation had hosted a Latina leadership event and it foreshadows what’s to come. Thank you ladies. Thank you Angelica, a woman I know will be my life-long amiga.

I am grateful for artist America (of Global America) who arranged for me to attend the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce convention as an exhibitor. Relationships started that day led to all kinds of wonderful activities in the latter half of 2013. I met John Estrada and Duane Goff of the storied American GI Forum. One Friday night, a Facebook message from John “Can you be in a parade in San Jose on Monday?” led to a conversation with his sister Marie of the AGIF and a dinner in San Jose where I met a kindred spirit named Gloria sitting with Duane. That chat with Marie also led to one of the best memories for my family and I for 2013.

1412420_10202404748019351_660329088_oI am deeply grateful to the AGIF for honoring me in the San Jose Veterans Day Parade and to Tony of Blvd Bombs, owner of the gorgeous, red 1953 Bel-Air convertible lowrider, who drove my children and I in the parade. We will always remember the sign on the car introducing us to the crowd as “Captain Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, Captain, Iraq, U.S. Air Force” as we shared our ride with former Navy SEAL Leonard Sanchez and my hubby marched ahead of us as a part of the color guard. 996651_1420000241562395_406088992_nWhat a happy, joyous day after all the trauma we had survived the previous months!


Thank you America, John, Duane, Marie, Gloria and all the Latino military veterans my son met at the AGIF dinner that night. You all made quite an impression on all of us! I was truly honored to meet each of you and look forward to 2014 activities.1412811_10202404749099378_1808230199_o

I’m grateful to all of the reporters, editors, journalists and producers who responded to our bilingual media blitz for Veterans Day to promote our children’s book nationally, with the strong message that “Mommies and Latinas are veterans too!” Judging by the media response, the country is ready to see more positive images of women and Latinos in military uniforms in service to this nation we love dearly. Thank you National Public Radio, CNN, Univision, Voz de America and the many others who amplified this message this fall.

I’m grateful to people like Irene Vilar, who have huge visions to do important things in the world and have the ability to make those things actually happen. 739993_10202480073182433_992632171_oI’m grateful for her vision to create the first annual Americas Latino Festival in Colorado and her ability to attract a global, environmentally-committed creative community of speakers, authors, artists, entrepreneurs, and for including me in this labor of love. Those four days in the state where I grew up, getting to spend more than one minute chatting with my fellow 1402225_10202482562124655_983747153_oauthor Rick Najera, presenting with Saachi & Saachi S marketing guru Nayelli Gonzalez, visiting my sister and returning to my home town of Evans and high school in Greeley – priceless.

I am extraordinarily grateful to my brother Ben who arrived ahead of my daughter’s surgery to help with business operations, housework, homework and entertaining my children as only an uncle can do. What a blessing! Thank you Ben.

Lastly, I am grateful that my parents are healthy, happy and were able to drive to California to be with us for the surgery day and recovery that followed during the holidays. 1479068_10202661525518628_130921414_nThey spent the entire day at the hospital with my husband so I could keep the other two children on their school routine and keep their experience as normal as possible. How do you express gratitude for parents who will be there for you under these circumstances? All I can do is try. Gracias Mami y Papi por estar con nosotros en este tiempo, como siempre han estado. And gracias too Mami, for making the bunelos with me on Christmas Eve! 1471344_10202696169904716_1089152586_n

I am truly blessed to have spent this holiday season with my parents and brother in our home, helping me nurse our daughter through her post-op recovery, for her healthy attitude through it all and for all the amazing adventures we have shared at area Mission lands, Las Posadas on John Muir’s property, the ocean, the dinner at the marina…..I’m truly, truly grateful to have survived this year, surrounded always in love.

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Ahead of LATINAS THINK BIG event Friday at Google HQ L.A., a Momtrepreneur Moment of Gratitude for Mi Mami’s Choices

I was reading a post from telecom engineer Eva Smith earlier this week. In it she mentioned that her mother made cakes at home to make extra money for the family. Mi mami also made birthday, quinceañera and even wedding cakes (!!) so I was smiling and recalling.

Suddenly, a memory from 4th grade popped into my head. My mother was sitting at our fishing pole guidekitchen table which was configured more like a factory station during the day while we were at school. She was wrapping fishing rods, which meant attaching the guides (the circles that hold fishing line for you non-fisherman –see photo at right) by applying colorful thread to hold them and then lacquer to shine them up. My sister and I, the two oldest children of four kids at the time, learned to use the pedal-operated thread-wrapping machine (essentially a giant sewing machine but the thread wraps around the rod instead of a needle into fabric) and helped my mom continue production as she made dinner. I didn’t know it then, but my mother was teaching me how to bring in revenue for the family while being home with her children.

From that production experience in my kitchen, I got the idea to apply the pretty colorful thread to my plain yellow #2 lead pencils. If you can’t quite imagine that, I’m realizing as I write this that those pencils I decorated looked a lot like the military ribbons on my Air Force uniform as seen here. military ribbons As soon as I took my jazzed-up pencils out of my school bag, immediately I heard, “Wow! Where did you get those cool pencils?” Yep, you guessed it. At the age of nine I replied with, “My mom has special equipment at home to do this.  I can wrap pencils for you for only $0.25 each. How many would you like me to decorate?”

As word spread of this unique pencil customization service throughout the school, I begin taking orders in my school notebook—number of pencils they provided, what color combinations they wanted, deposit collected, balance due, etc –all while applying my math skills. I also remember sitting down with my dad and creating a pricing table, offering volume discounts for wrapping pencils and special pricing for decorating entire packages of pencils. We even added a service where we would provide the pencils instead of my classmates having to provide them to me. I remember one Sunday while watching a Denver Bronco game on TV that I decided to start wrapping pencils in orange and blue sometime during halftime; I sold all 24 of those babies on Monday!

I learned many important business principles before school, after school, during recess and at lunch time. You can read the rest of the story here for those lessons, to learn how that first, fast-paced business ended, how that experience can inform your own children with life skills and more.

But today, I’m reflecting. After nearly a decade of military service and a decade of corporate marketing and always working globally, I want exactly what my mother wanted: to contribute to the family revenue stream, to teach my children life-long business skills and to be there to pick them up after school and help with homework as needed. It’s a heck of a thing to admit to myself because for so many years, I have believed I was trying my best to diverge away from how Mami did things. Suddenly, the wisdom of her choices is obvious to me. It’s humbling and gratifying to connect these dots…a lovely benefit of the mid-forties experience!

Although I’m going about it very differently in starting my own publishing and marketing company and creating unique and differentiated literature to put into a national and global distribution, I am realizing that I’ve always been prepared for this. And, like my mother, I love to involve my children in the family business. From inspiring a children’s book series to assisting in a piece of the order fulfillment process, all three of my kids are learning about creating value and serving customers at a young age. Instead of counting fishing hooks as I did, they count books that came out of Mommy’s brain (and imagine themselves as authors too.) Instead of packaging hooks in bags with a fishing equipment brand, they package books in boxes with OUR publishing firm’s brand. And instead of pencil design, they’re learning 21st century skills like blog, app and web design. And the all-important skills of communicating the unique value and asking for the business…if you’ve seen them with me at events, it’s obvious they’ve got that down pat!

tiscareno family circa 1982Thank you Mami, for the choices you made to do it differently, for having business aspirations (fishing poles, fishing hooks, Tupperware, Princess House, etc), to contribute substantially monetarily in partnership with Papi to bring in the revenue our family needed, for putting your children first and involving them in your business endeavors. Looks like I’m imitating you after all and I know I am blessed for it.

I’m heading down to Los Angeles tomorrow and on Friday when I gather with 150 Latinas in leadership at Google headquarters for the ELLA Leadership Institute LATINAS THINK BIG™ L.A. stop, all the ambitious-in-their-own-ways mamis who raised us will be there with us too. With the foundations of strength, resilience, creativity and constant teaching and giving upon which we were raised, we are launching ourselves into the future, thinking big and doing bigger, together as I was taught. I can’t wait to meet the members I’ve been so engaged with online for over a year now, and to support the ELLA Institute initiatives as a Twitter Ambassador.

ELLA Leadership Institute was created by Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin and her team to Latinas_Think_Big_ELLA_Institute-500x373organize ambitious, professional, entrepreneurial and social-impact-minded Latinas determined to make a difference in our communities and across American society. Peer mentoring, resource sharing, support during product launches, discussions of the role of Hispanic and mainstream media in the 21st century and other tough topics are all part of the daily intellectual exchange among members. ELLA Leadership Institute recently launched the LATINAS THINK BIG™ national tour to showcase Latinas who are making a difference. The second stop of the tour is Friday, October 11th at Google headquarters in Venice, California.

I will enjoy the company of fascinating women, including professors, business owners, executives, researchers and non-profit leaders gathering from around the nation to recognize and celebrate innovative, influential Latinas. I’m looking forward to hearing the speakers and discussing innovation in all its forms.

Are you crafting a business plan? Do you need to see live examples of successful Latinas in entrepreneurship to take the leap? If so, the Friday evening LATINAS THINK BIG event is the ticket! The onsite event at Google HQ in Venice, CA has been sold out for weeks.  So please join the conversation online via Google hangouts and Twitter (links below) and be a part of the virtual part of the event.

The Los Angeles tour will be historical, one of the very first times a Fortune 100 corporation has hosted a Latina Leadership event at their headquarters, and one that will be live streamed to reach women and men wherever they may be.

We ten TWITTER AMBASSADORS will connect with you via Twitter, tweeting live highlights with the hashtag #LATINASTHINKBIG, expressing thoughts on events as they occur. Our Twitter handles are below; feel free to follow us in advance of the event.

We look forward to having you join us. This one will be one for the business history books!


Register for your virtual pass HERE:


4:00PM – 5:00PM New York Life Career Consulting Hour
5:00PM – 5:50PM Registration, Hors d’Oeuvres, Mingle & Live Band Music
6:00PM – 6:20PM Welcome Remarks
6:20PM – 7:40PM LATINAS THINK BIG™ Presentations
7:40PM – 8:00PM Monica Gil Interview
8:00PM – 8:25PM Awards Ceremony
8:25PM – 8:30PM Closing Remarks
8:30PM – 9:30PM Mingling with Presenters and Honorees

Jacky Diaz | @amigapreneur
Monique Frausto | @BLOGSbyLATINAS
Deborah Deras | @DeborahDeras
Eva Smith | @Eva_Smith
Gina Linn Espinoza | @ginalinn
Graciela Tiscareno-Sato | @GraceTiscareno
Hilda Ramirez | @HildaRamirez1
LaLa Castro | @latinageeks
Nelly Cardinale | @nycrican2
Stephanie Bravo | @stephanierbravo

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Thank You Facebook

I was speaking to my brother recently, (a security professional, U.S. Navy chief on weekends, daddy of three), who’s never been on Facebook and refuses to join. Those of us who have been actively using social media for years can’t believe that somebody actually refuses to join Facebook, but understand it’s a personal choice. I hear him and others describe what they think Facebook is and chuckle. But, what very few of us do is stop and reflect on how this platform has impacted our lives and the lives of others.

So today I will stop and reflect on this for a moment.  It’s not about the number of friends you “collect” as I’ve heard it described – it’s about the quality of relationships you make, with extraordinary people you would have otherwise never have met and how you transcend that friendship into real life. Some new friendships made possible this past year because of Facebook are downright miraculous.  Here are just four powerful examples of how Facebook has impacted my life and allowed me to impact others.

1. Because of Facebook I met Dali Rivera, a fellow veteran and entrepreneur, on the opposite side of the country. She told me about the program at Syracuse University called V-WISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship). V-WISE is operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. Dali introduced me to the V-WISE Executive Director, Tina Kapral and we had a series of phone conversations and signed a Memo of Understanding. Because of those connections made on Facebook, global sales of my new bilingual children’s book titled Good Night Captain Mama will share revenue with V-WISE for years to come; here’s the news release that details that relationship. Our unique literature will directly help military members leaving active duty (and those who are already veterans) learn entrepreneurship skills and match up with mentors and coaches. That way, instead of waiting ten years after leaving the military to start a business like I did, today’s V-WISE student veterans and conference attendees can start their businesses sooner, create economic activity in their communities and create jobs for others. I’m so happy to contribute to their important mission that perfectly aligns with my passions in this way.

Dali then invited me to speak at the Towson University where she works in the Student Veteran Services department. I led a “Personal Branding for Veterans” workshop and met more military veterans from different services enrolled as college students. I left there knowing those veterans, unlike most, will now go forward attacking graduate school applications or employment journeys, with a very different sense about how to tell their compelling stories. They will be able to differentiate themselves in the civilian marketplace.

In addition, I had the distinct honor of speaking with Dali’s 6 year-old daughter after she read my book. The inquisitive child had several questions for the author and asked her mother to please arrange a phone conversation. I cannot imagine ever having been able to do that as a child -how difficult would it have been to arrange a phone call with the author of a new, beloved book before social networks made these connections so possible? Thank you Facebook.

2. Through Facebook’s American Women Veterans page, I met Kerrin Torres- Meriwether, another military veteran. She wrote me an email after preordering some books. She touched my heart when she asked me to sign one of the books to the daughter of her twin sister, a Captain in the U.S. Marines, currently deployed to Afghanistan.

with Kerrin in MD

with fellow Latina and U.S. Navy veteran Kerrin

This email conversation continued and before I knew it, I was standing in her middle school in Maryland presenting to about 80 middle school students in the Cafeteria. I will always remember telling my story of how I became “The Unlikely Military Aviator,” the title of the presentation. I remember pretending to be an airplane as I talked about the STEM of aviation, about thrust, lift, drag, weight and described the aerial ballet that is KC-135 air refueling, all in English and Spanish. I will forever cherish the memories of the children of recent immigrants, all teenagers learning English as a second language, as they tried on my military flight suits and we took pictures remember the moment. Thank you Kerrin; thank you Facebook.

3. In the fall of August 2012, I was invited on Facebook to attend a party on Twitter. “Use the #LLN hash tag because we’re going to be discussing Latina Leadership,” I was told.

That Twitter party was attended by approximately 100 women. Someone suggested the organizer, Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin, create a Facebook group so we could connect with each other after the Twitter chat ended. We had realized during the Twitter party that in the group we had Latina professors, authors, business owners, PhD candidates, leaders of non-profit organizations, business executives, attorneys and more. That Facebook group was created the next day and within a few weeks grew to over 2000 Latinas. Many of us met up in the Silicon Valley when Justice Sonia Sotomayor came to town in February; one of the women in the group, a fellow Air Force veteran named Pam Campos, drove from Portland to meet up with the LLN hermanas she’d met in the Facebook group. Amazing.

Francesca E and me

Fun with Francesca in California

Today, it’s a closed, secret group of nearly 3000 Latina Leaders and a group I interact with daily because we have so much to give to each other, so much wisdom to exchange. One of those women, Francesca Escoto-Zavala, reached out to me one day in June. She was coming to San Francisco to speak at a conference and said she’d love to meet in person. After months of sisterhood and online conversations in the LLN group, we were both comfortable enough to have her stay at my house. She met my three children who all loved her. Francesca helped us fulfill book preorders since her visit coincided with launch week for the children’s book; the whole thing felt like we had known each other for years. I now have a place to stay in Tampa and a friend and hermana in entrepreneurship. Thank you Facebook.

4. I first heard of Condor Book Tours on Facebook, a few weeks after launching my first book (Latinnovating) at Stanford in May of 2011. I wondered who the woman was that was helping promote authors and their books; they seemed to be present at so many blogs and I wondered how that happened. I reached out to Nilki the founder, but I got too busy with my keynote speeches and travel and didn’t get around to adding book blog tour to my marketing plan.

Bestsellers in Childrens Military Fiction CROPPED

#1 “Hot New Release” in children’s Latino books and only bilingual book in military category

Two years later in early 2013, as the time approached to launch my first bilingual children’s book, I connected with Nilki again. This time, I made the book blog tour that she creatively offered the cornerstone of my marketing and launch plan. Boy, am I happy I did that! Nilki introduced my work to bloggers and reviewers that I never would have connected with on my own. The reviews, the connection with one of her clients who offered to review, the buzz generated via the social media connections we made on both Facebook and Twitter, all that activity led to the children’s book debuting on three different bestseller lists, reaching number #10 and #21 in the categories of Hispanic/Latino books and military books, respectively. Bestseller rankings on Launch day

Plus, it also made the #1 spot on the Hot New Releases lists in both of those categories. Thank you Nilki and Condor Book Tours. Thank you Facebook.

I don’t know if my brother will ever join Facebook or how it could positively impact his life, but I do know this:  it’s likely that for the rest of my life, I will be part of Facebook groups that have real conversations about meaningful topics. I know that I will start and participate in conversations with like-minded people (and those that are the exact –opposite minded) around the country and globe that I otherwise never would’ve engaged with, ever. I will receive advice from experts that would’ve been otherwise unavailable to me; I will share and exchange expertise with others.

I call that miraculous. Facebook has give me the ability to connect with people whose lives can be enriched through the work that I do, to positively impact the communities they serve, to actually be able to find them and to be found. It has brought people into my life that have greatly enriched my life with wisdom, ideas, networking connections and life-long friendships that have transcended into physical, offline life. Again, thank you Facebook; now, about that stock price…..

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Inspired by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Social Media, Silicon Valley Latina Leaders Unite

The collective power of Latina Leadership in action is highlighted in this piece featured in The Huffington Post.

Please enjoy, comment and share.

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Are You Effectively Reaching Skeptical Latinos with Your Green Marketing?

In a recent Huffington Post article, I explored the implications of a Cone Communications study when marketing to various Latino market segments. I’d love to hear comments, especially from those actively marketing green products, services, organizations to different U.S. Latino market segments.

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Celebrating Latino Entrepreneurs in Global Elite Start-up Contest

As I reflected this past holiday weekend about the incredible year that 2011 has been for me and my family, I was struck by one thought: the most important gift resulting from my book launch, my speaking engagements and the many networking events I have attended around the nation, has been the opportunity to meet some tremendously interesting and accomplished people. Two of the most interesting are featured here, in an article I contributed to the Huffington Post. Titled “Latino Engineers Selected Among Global Elite Startups,” it celebrates a key accomplishment of the Martinez brothers of San Francisco. In a country spewing negative images of Latinos, these two engineers are shining bright. They, like so many others, are taking time to mentor high school students who need to see positive role models. They are an example for us all, plus they’re a couple of really fun people I am happy to call my friends. Enjoy!


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A Teaching Moment About the Green Economy

This post first appeared in the Huffington Post. I was inspired to write it by the hype and bad reporting that flooded the American media after the sudden bankruptcy of Solyndra, located just a few miles from my home in the San Francisco east bay. It’s intended to open eyes to the tremendous opportunities that exist, across many industry sectors, for those courageous change agents who will apply their talent and energy to improving on the status quo. Enjoy “A Teaching Moment About the Green Economy”!  Don’t forget to leave a comment there at HuffPost!



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The Buzz around Latinnovating is Building

I finally had a quiet day to reflect on achieving the milestone of publishing and launching my first book. The members of my publishing team at Thrive Publishing took me out to dinner recently to celebrate. One of them reminded me to “treat this project as a tasty meal, take time to slow down, savor the flavor and swallow.” So I finally am doing that.

Today I sat down to appreciate the great press that the book has gotten so far. The complete list of articles profiles and feature stories is here. Here are two highlights. Enjoy!


7-page feature story, Latino Leaders Magazine

7-page feature story, Latino Leaders Magazine

Latinnovating author profile, NSHMBA magazine


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Grateful for friends with Radio Shows

I was recently privileged to be invited on two radio shows to discuss my entrepreneurial mindset and the creation of Latinnovating. Dr. Arlene Barro and Daniel Gutierrez (a.k.a. Motivator Dan), both published authors and entrepreneurs themselves, were kind enough to host me for conversation. You can hear those interview here:

BlogTalk Radio Show with Daniel Gutierrez

“Storyteller Stars from WIN Without Competing! Propelled by Passion”, BlogTalk Radio Show with Dr. Arlene Barro

Thank you Arlene. Thank you Dan! I look forward to someday returning the favor!

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Surrounded by Excellence in Washington D.C.-a Gala and an award

Robert Bard and honorees at 2010 Gala

Last night, I was accompanied by an old friend and a new friend to receive the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award at the Anna Maria Arias Memorial Business Fund Gala and Dinner. This event hosted by LATINA Style Magazine honors several Latina business owners selected from a national pool of applicants. The event introduces us to the LATINA Style Magazine ecosystem and gives each honoree a chance to address a very supportive audience. It was a beautiful event of glamorous moments and I was blessed to be surrounded by amazing, business-savvy Latinas.

a silly moment on stage with fellow honorees Alba and Monika

Very special to me was the opportunity to sit next to the mother (Rita) of Anna Maria Arias. I got to hear childhood stories and learn much more about the late founder of the magazine who was intent on lifting up Latinas. Rita said to me, “My daughter is alive in you and in all acts you do for others.” I will always remember the chills I experienced when she said that to me.

my special guests Justine and Kimberly

My two invited special guests were Justine Cromer, my dear friend and fellow officer/aircraft navigator from my Air Force days and my new friend Kimberly Herrera from Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. I was honored that they came to enjoy the evening with me and to expand their own networks of accomplished people.

new friends - a new military officer and his lovely wife

In addressing the audience in my acceptance speech, I asked for help to get the stories within the pages of my upcoming book into the mainstream media. The events that have unfolded since I asked for this help have been quite extraordinary. These include an invitation to a private lunch where I was introduced to three congressmen and the Presidents and CEOs of several key leadership groups and media outlets.

“When you’re on the right track, the whole world conspires to help you.” I read that quote in a recent LATINA Style article that profiled the two women now holding the reins at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I’m finding out this indeed is true. I’m excited for what’s next!

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