Exclusive Q&A with Nely Galan About Motivating Young Girls to be Leaders Early On

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A teen Nely Galan at 17.

A teen Nely Galan at age 17.

Nely Galan, a Cuban-born self-made media mogul, motivational speaker and NY Times Bestseller, knows a thing or two about being self-motivated and motivating other women to also follow their dreams.

Nely, a former President of Entertainment for Telemundo, founded  “The Adelante Movement” in 2011, which provides Latinas with the tools, the knowledge, the facts, and the access to move themselves and their families forward.

We were honored to have a chance to get Nely to share her insights about Latina women, self-confidence and how to motivate young girls to be leaders early on.

Q: Why do Latinas seem to suffer a lack of confidence in general? Is it how we’re raised? Is it the macho Latino culture? While these stereotypes are changing, we still have many Latinas who suffer through a lack of confidence in the workplace and at home. Why do you think that is?

A: I think a lack of confidence can arise for many reasons. As immigrants, for example, our parents (and/or grandparents) arrived to this country and had to face a monumental paradigm shift. They had to encounter a massive unknown, and in some cases that meant playing it safe, not rocking the boat, keeping things low key. But the flipside of that, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship, is that there is quite a lot to learn from the immigrant mindset.

Immigrants understand the self-made mindset because they have to; it’s their way of coping with the inevitable ups and downs of life. Immigrants don’t subscribe to magical thinking, and instead tend to be more resilient and determined to bounce back from setbacks and to do a lot with a little because they understand that uncertainty is a part of life.

I also meet a lot of Latinas who, for some reason, believe that their accent is too thick to get ahead. This is a limiting belief, and more than that, it’s just not true. I can think of many examples of powerhouse Latinas with accents who have made it to the top—Charo and Sofia Vergara, to name a few.

Q: What tips do you have for Latina moms raising young girls to help them build confidence early on?

A: “Choose Yourself” is the mantra that I believe all moms should teach their young daughters early on in life. Choosing yourself means declaring yourself to the universe. It means articulating your goals and dreams. When we choose ourselves, we set an anchor point, and we start the path. So, the sooner a young girl is able to do this in life, the clearer she can be about taking the steps to get there. This type of clarity and action fuels confidence!

Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way

Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way was published on May 2016 and is now available in Spanish with the title “Adelante!”

Q: Helping young girls balance humility with self-confidence is NOT easy – any tips to keep girls focused on their goals and drive strong leadership qualities?

A: I agree there is a very fine line between humility and self-confidence. But the way I see it (and have personally experienced it), the road to becoming self-made is fundamentally paved with many opportunities to be humble. I always tell young women starting out, for example, that the very first thing they have to do is embrace sacrifice. They have to forget bling and lower their overhead and take the word “grandiosity” out of their vocabularies.

I’m also a serious advocate of women helping women, and I believe we all need to adopt an attitude of mentorship—both as mentees, when we are first starting out; and later on as mentors to the new generation of aspiring self-made women. In this way, we all participate in the full-circle experience of giving and taking.

Q: Which strong women role models did you have growing up? Any mentors as a teen and/or as a young adult that helped you visualize yourself as a successful woman beyond marriage and kids?

A: As the iconic leader of the women’s movement of the 1960s and founder of Ms. Magazine, Gloria Steinem has always been one of my all-time role models. I believe in the power of “acting as if,” which means emulating our mentors, studying them, and truly behaving as we were them, until we reach our own goals.

Q: From your experience with The Adelante Movement, do you think that a woman’s desire to build a better future for her family, through entrepreneurship, is a positive influence on her kids?

A: Absolutely. I believe that for all women, becoming self-made is the new ticking clock. By cultivating an attitude of self-reliance and building our own financial independence, we not only take care of ourselves, but we also pass the torch to our children, who learn by example, and navigate through life with real tools for growth.

Nely is hosting a series of FREE online webinars presented by Coca-Cola, between November 1 and November 30, 2016, to empower women to become entrepreneurs and to show them how to start and grow their own food business. Visit TheAdelanteMovement.com/Food to watch your first webinar today!

Watch Nely give the keynote speak at the National Council of La Raza conference 2012:

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