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Monica Smiley

Monica Smiley is editor and publisher of Enterprising Women. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). To learn more about how you can become a mentor in the Peace Through Business program or donate to the organization, visit www.ieew.org. Contact her at msmiley@enterprisingwomen.com.

Let’s Raise a Glass to the Power Latinas of 2016

Dear Hermanas,

I think we can all agree that 2016 was like a giant bowl of sancocho—it had a little bit of everything. But we can also proudly say that it was a year when so many inspiring Latinas had a groundbreaking year that opened the door for so many of us. We must always remember that when one of us wins, we all win. Their success paves the way for us all to follow in their footsteps. So let’s say bravo to these incredible Latinas who did not let fear stop them from speaking up and taking action, and let’s toast to their continued success in 2017. Their example helps all of us to move ADELANTE!

To Sandra Cisneros, who received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama, “for enriching the American narrative through her novels, short stories and poetry as she explores issues of race, class and gender through the lives of ordinary people straddling multiple cultures.”

To Rosie Rios, the most recent U.S. Treasurer who was responsible for putting a woman on the twenty dollar bill; created Teachers Writing History, an educational project that highlights historic American women in classrooms across the country; and who was also the first Latina ever to have her portrait painted at Harvard.

To Ingrid Duran & Catherine Pino, who, through their work always bravely honor communities and voices that don’t get heard. They not only executive produced The Latino List, The Out List, The Boomer List, and The Women's List, but their current groundbreaking HBO Film, The Trans List, is also sweeping awards. They also founded the PODER PAC, a political action committee by Latinas for Latinas, which is a national effort to increase the number of Latinas to Congress.

To Maria Contreras-Sweet, the 24th Administrator of the Small Business Administration n (SBA) under President Obama, whose work gave every entrepreneur in America with an idea and a dream, the tools and resources they need to build that idea and achieve that dream.

To Laurie Hernandez, who was not only the first U.S. born Latina to ever join the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team since 1984, but who also gave one of the most memorable performances in Olympic history.

To Ana Navarro, who publicly spoke her mind throughout the entire election, was not afraid to be loud or disruptive, and who even voted against her own party for the sake of her ideals.

To Julissa Arce, of whom we are so incredibly proud for going from undocumented to SELF MADE, and who bravely told her story this year in her debut book, My (Underground) American Dream.

To Catherine Cortez Masto, who won Nevada to become the U.S.’s first Latina senator ever.

To Melissa Villaseñor, the first-ever Latina cast member of the hit infamous television show, Saturday Night Live.

To Tanzina Vega, the Latina journalist who wrote a powerful piece, “How newsrooms can stop being so white,” and challenged companies by giving them concrete steps as to how brands can diversify and give journalists of color a chance to grow.

To Alicia Machado, former Venezuelan beauty queen who was not afraid to stand up and speak up during the election.

To Eva Longoria & America Ferrera, who used their moment at the Golden Globe Awards to stand up for the respect of Latinas in Hollywood; and to Gina Rodriguez for honoring young women in her first network special.
For my own part, I am proud to have written a book, SELF-MADE, in English and Spanish that made the New York Times Bestseller list, and which I know will encourage so many of you to write your own book, tell your own story, teach that which you feel you know best. What are you proud of this year? Who inspired you to forge your own path in 2017 and break your own glass ceiling?
Hermanas, this is it. A new year. A clean slate. A chance to evolve and re-invent, on our terms, using all the lessons of the last year to propel ourselves forward. I invite us all to take our cues from these fabulous women. Let’s choose ourselves in 2017 and make it our best year yet!
Happy new year and all my love!

Happy new year and all my love!
Now. Here. Go. Adelante!

All My Best,
Nely

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The initiative supports the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentors — women and men — to increase the interest and confidence of young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.

Read the full news release.

 

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