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Category Archives: LATISM

Expectations

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I was recently speaking to a lovely, smart, high raking executive, who’s also a latina, mom, and an immigrant.  She was telling me that due to her particular circumstances her family’s expectations of her were for her to be an unwed, teenage mom.  

For some reason that really struck home.  It was something that I’ve never thought of, that I’ve never reflected back on and yet, WOW…  

Let’s start off with the fact that my parents really have no idea what it is that I do professionally.  My mom knows that I’m smart and wonderful and all of those fabulous adjectives created to be generally supportive.  My dad is happy that I married a good man and that I have a good life and whether or not I actually “do” anything is neither here nor there.  My best guess is that this blissful ignorance is cultural.  

Growing up, I had my own views on things, and one of them was image.  I often told my mom “who cares what I look like now?!  I’m in school, I’m a teen, now is the time to take advantage of my freedom” and I did.  

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Then I found myself on a wonderful journey of life, and learning that had nothing to do with a traditional education, but again to my family my path has always been misunderstood.  To the point that I wonder if I’m crazy, or if they’re not listening.  What’s even more hilarious, frustrating, ironic is that they gave me the foundation for my career.  When I was born my father already owned his own business, so I was typing and taking messages at a VERY early age to the point of being able to run an office by 14.  Yet at one point in my life my father suggested that I was a secretary, which left me a little stunned as I looked at him and said, “Papi, I HAVE a secretary”.  

I gave up on trying to explain to my parents what it is that I do eons ago.  They see that I’m happy (and in my dad’s case he sees that I’m married and happy) and this makes them happy, y ya.  Until I told them about going to the White House with the LATISM Top Bloguera retreat.  

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Yes, they were excited, but what struck me was the phone call I received from my mom after sharing pictures with her, “mija, es que para mi ir a la Casa Blanca y a l a luna es lo mismo“, in other words, going to the White House is as attainable as a trip to the moon.  Which I appreciate.  It is a pretty big deal, depending on what circle you’re in.  For me it was an honor, one for which I am very grateful for, and  but it’s a little overshadowed by my wondering, is it that my parents had no expectations from me or that the world is so amazing that they did not want to achicar las posibilidades (limit my possibilities)?

Either way, I tell you what… it’s given me the desire to aim for the moon!! #SiSePuede #YesYouCan

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Y padres (parents) let’s give our little ones something to aim for.  Perhaps giving them concrete ideas (astronaut, doctor, inventor, teacher, mother, race car driver, all of the above) and positive role models (within the community, not just on TV).  Let’s have our little ones shoot for the moon!  Even if they miss they will land among the stars. 

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It’s a wrap!

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As you may know I was on the organizing committee for the LATISM’11 Conference this year.  Working from the inside gave me a unique perspective which, despite the difficulties, I would not change for the world.  My poor husband saw me slowly transition from wife and mother with a project to a consumed woman and mother who occasionally made him dinner.  The machine that is known as Casa Dieppa in the last couple of weeks before the conference was in crazy mode, and he found himself stepping in to make up the slack.  When Frick and Frack met Reina (@Soylamar) Frick said, “I’ve heard you say that name a lot on the phone” and when we were looking and some of the fantastic pictures and videos many other directors and attendees have posted, Frick excitedly pointed at the people she knew in the pictures, Ana (@AnaRC), myself, papa and even my mom who attended the Gala (ella nunca se pierde una fiesta! she never misses a party!) and what a party it was!

For those of you who don’t know about Latinos In Social Media, or as we lovingly call it #LATISM, it is a volunteer based organization that started two years ago with a tweet and has grown into chapters around the country, a sustainable development program in Montecristo, Dominican Republic, a relationship with the White House, Latino2 (our tech conference), and most recently the LATISM National Conference this past week in Chicago.

As a volunteer based non-profit, we were wowed when so many great sponsors expressed their interest, put their dollars on the table and – more importantly – put together unique experiences with the LATISM community in mind.  There was an incredible amount of attention to detail put forth to ensure that our conference and community needs were being met in a manner that’s consistent with the LATISM mission of educating and empowering our community.  Take for example the Sears/Kmart opening reception “Noche Buena, Cartera Llena“.  A delightful way to kick off the conference with tastes and sounds from around Latin America.

And the sounds of Latina America followed us throughout the conference thanks to SoundCulture who provided all of the live bands that greeted us for every meal.

                  

                 

Then there were the wonderfully appointed suites, which I hope everyone had a moment to visit – PBS kids partnered with us and brought their new bilingual “Virtual PreK” program which was developed in conjunction with the Chicago Public School system, and a tool I will use at home since no one will accept a 3yo in preK.

Johnson & Johnson, a long time supporter of LATISM, from the sustainable development project in Montecristi to LATISM’11 where they brought information about their Text4Baby program as well as interviewing Ana and other LATISM directors in their suite throughout the conference.

And I know many, many of you had a moment to recharge, play and chat in our Wifi lounge, sponsored by Nintendo.  This groovy space was perfect for recharging your laptop, phone, tummy (there were snacks) and mind (hello, we’re talking gaming people!) as a proud member of the WiiFamilia I was happy to have them at LATISM’11 and know you were too.  The only time there was an empty seat in the suite was during the breakout sessions!

In between the suites, breakout sessions and days of running from break out sessions to the ballroom to handle catering details and run-of-show, there were the cafecito breaks.  Sears and Kmart were kind enough to provide us with delicious snacks, espressos, cappuccinos and lattes – que rico! I don’t know what I would’ve done without that special touch to get through those long and amazing days.

The sponsors gave LATISM’11 cache.  As you walked in, you knew that you were dealing with an organization that meant business, not as a friend put it, a meeting de las comadres.  We had large corporations, like McDonalds hosting breakfast, Google+ (how cutting edge Latino’s In Social Media is that?!) giving Google+ workshops and teaching us about the new business pages, Cricket mobile had their @MiCricket team there providing us a fun-filled dessert break with music from their Cricket phone – yes, that was a phone that we were Muving to!

Let’s not forget the amazing awards gala, and the generosity of Toyota, that not only brought us a lovely evening, their Corporate Communications Specialist, Javier Moreno (@Javi_NYC) and two gorgeous Camry’s which were displayed in the ballroom (I don’t know why I get a kick out of cars when they are inside), but they also brought a fleet of cars!  Many delegates also got to test drive the Prius and Camry during the conference thanks to @jeanmanolo.

And last, but certainly not least, Amway brought their makeup line Artistry.  After listening to the incredibly inspirational and moving closing keynote by Tony Melendez con bocas abiertas  (thanks @latinorebels for this clip), many of us were crying from exhaustion, happiness, euphoria, and epiphanies as we digested this amazing persons life.

Then as we composed ourselves and began the last dance of LATISM’11 we were able to have our makeup touched up (or in my case put on) by the Artistry makeup artists.

The glam was back, the cocktails were served, la tribu de LATISM was ready to go out with a baile!  And baile there was!

Overall the conference was amazing, at one point I was telling @TonyHTonyH that it was like “meeting old friends for the first time” which is something that only social media can do.  Instead of waiting for introductions and the right moment, it was all besos y abrazos as we shared handles, retold online jokes IRL and shared new jokes (#JSS)!

But it’s not all about branding, there were many other sponsors that helped in so many other ways, from design to media and scholarships, we received an overwhelming response from the business community.  So mi gente, what does that tell us?  That we should keep on doing what we’re doing, having honest conversations online during our Twitter parties and then taking those ideas offline through our chapters, our volunteering and collaborations to then all meet in Houston next year for LATISM12!! And let’s never forget que sin trabajo y negocio no hay fiesta, without business and hard work, there won’t be a party, so GRACIAS to everyone who made LATISM’11 possible, the sponsors, the community, my husband and YOU!!  

To really get a feel of the conference take a moment to watch this video compiled onsite by the creative genius @EdwinGil  (thank you!) y nos vemos en LATISM ’12!

Many thanks to http://www.photopeddler.com and Jacinto Ariza for their amazing coverage of LATISM ’11.  You can see more pictures on LATISM’s page at Google +


Eight days…

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Yes, eight.  Count them!  8 days until the LATISM conference here in Chicago.  The conference that I’ve been working on since the beginning of the year – or spring?  I can’t remember, it’s all been a blur.  One fantastic, mind-blowing, inspirational, frustrating, amazing, stupefying ride.  And it’s not over yet!

During those months there were so many other amazing things that happened in my life (a girl cannot live from work alone right?!) a few highlights include:

  • The time I Zaarly‘d someone to come clean and @AHauntrepreneur from the Zaarly Chicago dream team was the one to respond (which for the record, his mama did a good job, that boy can clean!)
  • The fabulous BlogHer-a-thon with @AnaRC and @ergeekgoddess, that’s 72 hours en tacones learning, networking and meeting all the fabulous twitterati like @LaLicenciada @laflowers @typeamom @presleyspantry and, WHAT?! Nipples and feet?! NOOOO @nibblesNfeasts !!!
  • A live radio interview with Poco A Poco bilingual radio show in Chicago with the energetic and intelligent Maya Escobar and her fabulous father, Gonzalo Escobar.
  • Frick attended a high tea with me at the Intercontinental Chicago for the Royal Wedding and it was executed phenomenally!  Every detail, every flower, every delicious morsel.
  • My husband and I celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss!  More like my husband and I and our kids (they keep following us around!!  Something about make us breakfast, help tie my shoes, I can’t do my buttons – geesh!!) celebrated our anniversary.
  • We took a family vacay to the Choo-Choo Hotel in Chattanooga, TN.  It sounded like a cool experience for the kids, and, thanks to my fabulous shopping techniques, I scored a deal for 2 nights in the converted train cars (1 night would have sufficed).  We also went to Rock City while in Chattanooga, and it rocks!  Plus, there’s a Starbucks right across the street.

Like that, there are many other great stories and people I’ve met along the way, but now, eight days before the conference, I’m freaking out because we’re moving to the suburbs at the end of this month!!!!

To be or not to be, a Latino with a degree…

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One of the many sources of pride for me is that my parents came to the states and were able to build a life for themselves, and their family, I’m sure that you can relate.

 

My Cuban father made it through grammar school before he was put to work to help provide for the family, his family focused on survival over education.

 

My Colombian mother, the youngest in her family, made it through grammar school when father (the sole provider) was killed, so again, survival overrode education.

 

The big difference is that my mom’s family has always emphasized higher education.  Most of her older sisters and brothers are both highly educated and are now educators throughout the country.  Although the means were not available to my mother, she kept this value throughout her journey in life.

 

Fast forward 40 years – did I just tell on myself?! My parents immigrated to the states, both are successful entrepreneurs, have provided for us, and all without the benefits of higher education.  My father learned in the school of hard knocks, and my mother (remember education was valued in her family) returned to school in the states after starting her family, has her GED and some college, but what about me?

 

I took my father’s path.  Yes, I made it past grammar school.  Yes, I love to learn and do so every day, but I’m not a college graduate – wait, did I write that out loud?!  Most people assume that I am, because most people are and because, thankfully, I am educated, albeit not in the traditional sense, but enough about me, what about my children?  I want them to earn a college degree.

 

The degree-less path is not a common path, nor is it an easy path, and although having a degree doesn’t guarantee you any success, it does ensure a certain amount of inclusion, and I want my children to be included in all the wonderful things life has to offer.  The love of learning starts young, as does the reverence for school.  So, I am involved.  I am involved in preschool (remember, I said it starts young?).  I volunteer; I speak to my daughter, her friends, her teachers.  I tell her that she can go to school, learn and be whatever she wants to be.  She can be a mommy and a fireperson and a doctor and an astronaut, as a matter of fact, she is Spiderman as we speak, but she has to go to school and learn to do these things.  She will have to study, it may not be easy, she will get frustrated and she will persevere. We have college funds for them both (although we are hoping for scholarships), and both my husband and I have agreed, we will do everything in our power for them to have a college degree.

 

And me?  Do I think from time to time that I should go back to school, yes, alomejor ahora es el momento.

John Quinones is listening!

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I really don’t think that I have to preach to anyone about the power of social media. There are the many stories that we’ve heard:

  • Ann Taylor’s response to Facebook fans wondering what pants would look like on regular women
  • The journalist who was arrested and then freed thanks to people following his tweets
  • Egypt
  • More recently, the racist and generally vicious comments made by the BBC show “TOP GEAR” where Julio Verla caught wind of the story and was one of – if not THE – front runner demanding an apology and disciplinary action.

Then I got to see it for myself…

The other night, I tweeted a clip of ABC’s “What would you do” a show hosted by John Quinones where there actors create different scenarios to see how people react.  On last wee’k episode, John & his crew went to Arizona.  This came about after John received a voicemail from Arizona’s Governor, Jan Brewer telling him to “go back to Mexico”, the same Jan Brewer that could see “beheaded bodies on the border“.

John and his crew headed to Arizona to see exactly how widespread the anti-immigrant (Mexican, because let’s face it, no one cares about the European immigrants).  They set up a scene in a restaurant where a “policeman” (actor) harassed a Mexican laborer (John Quinones) for his papers, and it was interesting to see how everyone in the restaurant defended the laborer (John Quinones).

I tweeted the clip, and the LATISM family – ever so supportive – took over.  So did many other people, to the point that as of last night, Tweetreach had the clip reaching over 50 thousand people Even better, he (yes, John) tweeted @SOYLAMAR “Thanks for watching. Good to know people care about these issues”.  @SOYLAMAR responded truthfully, “We need more like you in mainstream media”.

So, mi gente, yes, we may chat about our children, and the weather, but online mimics life.  Through the details of our life that bring us together, we have passion, a voice.  We see injustices, and how this great country can improve to become better.  We continue to turn heads, together.  One tweet at a time.

Oh, and my darling Jan Brewer, it seems more and more that the only person who has a problem with immigrants (Mexicans) is you!

XOXO

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