It’s even more true for the young professional women now that are coming into leadership in greater numbers and at a time of fast demand for evolution and yet without the system in place from previous generations of women to make it easy to follow. That’s where the personalities of other women from past generations and different professions can really help you stay motivated and strong in your decision making and self validation.
I am Consuelo Crosby – born with both sides of my brain fighting for attention.. structural engineer & creative, mother & mentor, center of any spontaneous fiesta if I’ve had my morning latte… I give it all to being a 1st generation Peruvian badass chica!
So grateful you’re here today, wanting to shed that armor, relax into your truth, your value… pick up your salsa step, tune out what’s getting to you and be lifted from goddesses in generations past that taught us to live life large and out loud… cuz we’re not blending in…
LIFE LNXX… knowledge you didn’t even know you had TO BE THE BADASS CHICA YOU WERE BORN TO BE!
Welcome to a new mid-week episode that lands on yet another Latina Celebratory day and in this case, celebratory month. Today is the beginning of Hispanic/LatinX Heritage Month here in the US; a day ordained to recognize the amazing contributions of the LatinX population to the success and well-being of this country and your life as a whole. This episode is going to highlight a few of the many Latina and Hispanic women who have sidestepped or full on changed the system towards successful careers that benefit the greater good and change our American daily lives permanently. Regardless of your relationship with these women or what they have chosen as a career, you have more in common with them than you realize. So much so, that many of these women are just what you need as role models in your current day, regardless of your profession.
MeseoAmerican Culture in Your Everyday Life
But before we go into their stories, and those of other women warriors, let’s sit in appreciation of the Latinx/Hispanic influence that makes any day a fiesta. So much of our daily lives our based on the knowledge and cultural standards of the past. When we talk about past, we tend to think of the imported European past because that’s what they still teach in schools today. We learned about the Euro monarchies of the 15th and 16th centuries probably to justify the white colonialism here. But, more of our current day actually revels in the MeseoAmerican cultures that thrived at the same time.
An easy place to start this appreciation is on food alone. If you love chocolate, pizza, fries, who doesn’t love fries, popcorn, pumpkin spice lattes, avo toast…. Yep, thank your Latinx populations of the past. All of these base crops were developed in Central and South America to the point that Peru, not Ireland, Peru has over 300 varietals of potatoes! The Euro culture you thought was influencing your life was actually taken from these MeseoAmerican cultures.
Now, add in your playlist of choice and surely you are grooving to some version of salsa, merengue, reggaton or cha-cha from Shakira, Camila Cabello and the blending of Afro Latina beats from Celia Cruz, the twin sisters of Ibeyi and Princess Nokia… It’s getting started in here, isn’t it? Now get your party look on and oh yeah, you know it. None of this is came from Euro culture, and all of it is lived out daily in your favorite foods, sounds and looks. So, maybe this month is when you go deeper into the culture and find new favorites and the story behind them.
That’s the beauty and power of the curious mind, a mind that seeks out new information to widen the success of one’s own evolution. We should always be tapping into what resonates for us personally, the pulse that comes from deep within, the pulse that we were born with and then expound on it. Staying true to who we are should be the guiding light to what we are doing throughout our day and into your full life.
Absence of Role Models for Women, Especially Women of Color
But it’s tough when we don’t see others like ourselves, even from within our family, that can give us guidance and help us find our way, right? It’s even more true for the young professional women now that are coming into leadership in greater numbers and at a time of fast demand for evolution and yet without the system in place from previous generations of women to make it easy to follow. That’s where the personalities of other women from past generations and different professions can really help you stay motivated and strong in your decision making and self validation.
This episode is really dear to me because, as you know by now, the idea of a role model in my life was non-existent. I had plenty of strong Latinas who surrounded me since birth and provided a very sexy vision of what an older woman could be – I say sexy as in strong, independent, vivacious, intelligent and empathetic – okay, that’s sexy. But, finding one here who also understood being the only female in her University classes or first female engineer, let alone Latina, hired at a SF firm… Yeah that was a big zero find. It was more the cultural time, then the personality or ability of these women because in their day, they weren’t even allowed in… period.
This is really relevant for you today still, unfortunately, and I really feel for your struggle, especially on the entry level positions of a new company. Forging your way into that job that took how many interviews? Only to find yourself dropped into a fast moving machine without a support system in place. Plus, negotiating that first salary or salary level that will hold you captive as your launching pad for future raises and promotions; that’s really daunting. All of this went through the roof with the pandemic causing us to work from home in an isolation that only worsens the feeling of being unsupported.
I fully admire the women that made a job or career move during this time of working from home. At a time when it would be more comforting to stay with something known, you still advocated for self and made the change for a better life, all from behind a screen. That is really courageous and being that proactive is truly admirable.
I am more old school that way. I need to be with someone face to face to get a feel of what they are really like, to see their body movements and how they express themselves outwardly. Seeing someone from only the waist up while negotiating a contract makes me feel like they have a secret under the desk. And then they put up a background screen and I’m like, oh-huh! What are you trying to hide? Okay, it could be your dirty laundry or cat, but whatever. (laughter)
But even before the pandemic, there was this absence of support structure for women, black and non-white populations in the work place, especially given the almost zero percentage of employees within the companies. In a past episode on diversity, we touched on those numbers of Black and LatinX leadership in a company, In tech it was less than 3%. If we look at women as a whole, therefore, even a larger population all at once, it still is less than 30% in tech and 20% in companies in general. So, yeah, finding similarity in leadership that can offer advice, camaraderie and support is going to be a little futile.
These professionals tend to also be the leaders of their family’s life structure, another full time job that is expected to be completed for free. This tends to dilute the experience further if these professionals need to be absent to attend to family situations and children. Again, that visual reinforces the ideas that women and nonwhite populations aren’t really supposed to be in a corporate environment. It reinforces a leadership mentality that under-represented professionals will be absent from their jobs so it’s a liability to hire them into leadership positions. The barrier is in place before you even walk through the door.
Finding Role Models Outside of Work
So, as women, what do we do to find the support or encouragement that is lacking in the workplace? Is it enough to wait until after work to connect with our Lnxx in order to validate our feelings and get answers to our questions on our careers? Thankfully there are community groups of all niches to provide support and networking. Many of these groups began 10 and 15 years ago when the first wave of women in new career fields launched and now have a global reach. Even more are developing on a regular basis by women who find themselves in still unknown territory.
But, what do you do in the meantime when there is no meeting or gathering and you are feeling at odds with where you are at in the virtual office, or career or life choices? With so few within your work circle, how can you reach out to someone who hasn’t already listened to your concerns? Where else can you discover a role model that you resonate with to empower your innate talents and your intelligence?
Anytime you feel your are struggling, it’s less about you having the capacity to work through your situation and more about educating a mindset that empowers you to make a sound choice. This is especially true when you have not seen and learned from another woman who has walked your path before. That lone wolf feeling, the inability to relay your turmoil to someone who would understand, the feeling that you will have to deal with it all by yourself, can be mitigated by learning about the lives of other lone wolves.
For instance, feeling like I was the only female structural engineer, because in my immediate, daily world, I was, didn’t prompt me to look for others out there in society. Again, there was no internet to engage with a community of women in the field, just the one professional organization that met once a month. Instead, I looked for women who had been here before, ventured out against all odds of being accepted in a world that viewed them as outsiders. It made me reflect on them, their vivacity and courage and reframe my own lone journey. Learning of their lives made me appreciate their tenacity and passion to just do what they wanted regardless of the barriers and lack of support from like-minded women.
Even though we spend a good portion of our day in work mode, we shouldn’t be limiting our role models to ones in our same profession or work title. That falls far short of the long game of learning life skills that we need for excelling at work which then helps us excel in life with abundantly more choices. The life skills we can learn from others don’t necessarily have to be mimicked, either. We each have our own unique way of doing life but we can learn so much from others in relations to ourselves.
So, today, we are raising a glass to all the women who inspire us across the globe; who we look up to for inspiration and hope, guidance and a deep desire to keep becoming our most amazing selves. The role models that are not adjacent to us on any given day but we have full access to just my knowing their story. We have more role models than we probably need but it’s up to us to discover these women and learn from them to help us through our life decisions. Unless you are living in a box underground, your life has been affected and improved by these, your opportunities have been broadened, all by women that you may know nothing about.
That’s not your bad, that’s the system in place here and in most countries where women were assigned roles of eye candy or home manager. Still, it’s up to us as women to speak the true narrative out loud and teach ourselves the women’s stories that have remained untold until more recently. It’s up to us individually to seek out other women and ask about their story in a way that only women converse, from the heart and with open vulnerability… and sassiness, always sassiness.
For instance, I wasn’t totally prepared for being a mom, let alone a single mom and still continue fighting to keep my identity and personality intact. So instead of trying to find mentors in my real life situation, because there were none that could meet all of my realities, I began to learn about women in history that disrupted the system. To me, these women resonated with the palms up, whatever attitude that I needed to thrive in my reality against a system that didn’t support me or the choices I had to make.
Dolores Huerta – Still Advocating at 91!
Just knowing that there were women fighting to create a more just system for me to make my own decisions in was very soothing. One of the woman at the time and who still is dedicated to supporting women today, is Dolores Huerta. Dolores just celebrated her 91st birthday in Los Angeles. She embodies the passion of Latinas who continue to fight for the rights and justice of women and children. She fought alongside Cesar Chavez here in California in the 60’s to establish rights for the agricultural workers who were and still are being taken advantage of for their grueling work efforts. She also fought with Chavez in areas where what was good for the men was not necessarily good for the women.
To me, Dolores embodies that spirituality that is lived outwardly in the Latinx/Hispanic cultures. Perhaps a belief that fighting for the rights of women and children is exactly why she was brought to this world. If anything, at 91, she could be resting on her past efforts and enjoying an easy life. But, then she would not be fulfilling her purpose here; one based on nurturing our humanity by acting in compassion and using her intelligence and vivacity to raise people into a better standard of living.
Reflecting on Dolores’ life and her mission fuels my Latina passion to continue to dismantle a system that doesn’t support or look out for women. It’s the Latina spirituality, the connection to humanity and the sacrifices made to bring joy to others. She reminds me that the process is long but that every day that is met with intent to continue to make a path for others is an improvement over the last one . Honoring her life’s work brings solace to soften the frustration that our achievements are rewarded on a different scale than the one that runs our corporate-centric daily life.
And, she doesn’t quit. From the start at age 25 and continuing on 66 years later, Dolores Huerta is relentless in her dedication to teaching us the power of our voice and numbers, to empowering women to rise into leadership and to fight for equity. She is the manifestation of her phrase, “Sí, se puede”, Yes, you can.
Now, Dolores’ life should help you sit up straighter in your office chair and feel empowered to bolster through whatever you are facing in the moment. This is what I am talking about in learning about other women and their livelihood or life’s commitment so that you can shift your mindset from one of struggle to one of power. It’s the same tool you will need for making decisions about your career, your partner and family, your life’s choices . Specifically to Dolores, it’s the tool you need to understand when sacrifice is most beneficial because you will feel its power deep within you, in a spiritual sense.
Plenty more women have helped me continue the good fight to maintain my identity while also fighting for women to be respected for their intelligence and contribution to society, women like Supreme Court goddess Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There are also ones that have changed life as we know it, like Alice Waters’ contributions to a healthy, from-the-Earth lifestyle. Women who broke all the rules and never felt the need to apologize, like Serena and Shirley Chisholm breaking onto the main stage of their professions in full, personal style and success. And, the women that society pegged only for their beauty when in fact they were all brains, like Hedy Lamarr, the fifty’s glam Hollywood star, who had an idea for a frequency hopping signal to disrupt radio signaled torpedoes of World War II. The idea was actually implemented by the Navy and later used as a base to develop our Bluetooth and early WiFi. But, to this day, no one really knows that of her. They know of her as the media sold us: a beautiful face, meant to be ogled on the main screen.
My Wall of Women…. W.O.W
My “mentors”, my role models, rotate in and out as my life shifts through experiences that I either revel in or find myself up against a wall. Recently, I decided to frame their photos and create a gallery wall of them so I can look them in the eye and declare that I am fighting a good fight. It was a tough decision to decide what age I wanted to see them on a daily basis. For Dolores, even though she began at the really young age of 25, I wanted to see her face in the present day as a reminder of the longevity I could instill within myself.
At the center of them all, is my mother, hers at the age of 26. She is the matriarch who infected me with the Hispanic DNA, the spiritual power of sacrifice to clear a path for more women to rise into leadership position. I like remembering her at that young age because it’s a face I never got to see and it reminds me of how early we can start, just like Dolores. She sits next to Hedy as soul sisters to beauty being skin deep and brains running the show.
And most importantly only wall, off to one side of my gallery of women, is a mirror at eye level so that anyone can see themselves amongst these great women and feel like they belong. If you can see it, you can be it, that’s Geena Davis, yet another female out to make change.
You can see my Wall of Women, my WOW, on our website at TheLnxx.com that’s L-N-double X, and get more info of how they frame not only my life, but yours as well. It might prompt you to discover some of your own women mentors that fuel your personality and wants in life. Women whose known endeavors can spark something in you to say, “Yes, I can, too. Sí, me puedo. And that woman would be really proud of me.”
And the beauty of it all, okay, no pun intended, is that there are so many women, past and current day, who continue to be heard and recognized. Your own Wall of Women would be forever changing out to match your needs and wants, your growth and evolution. Stacy Abrams is my more recent addition… the woman and her peers that saved our country, no thanks to the masses who continue to try to oppress her efforts and our people. She is the definitive role model for your “Against All Odds” moments. Against all odds, you will persevere.
So during this month of LatinX and Hispanic Heritage recognition, we have lots of opportunity for reveling in the sassiness and strength of people who embody this heritage and most especially, women. Beginning with the culture we are rarely taught, even though we are literally neighbors with it, and through the people who bring it to life and make our world more beautiful, like Isabel Allende, more just, like U.S. Congresswoman Iliena Ros-Lehtinen’ and more sexy – remember my Latina definition of sexy – like Gloria Estefan, J Lo and Selena.
This is a perfect time to break out your favorite foods of the MeseoAmericans and the beverages that have developed from the various countries. Of course, I will start with the epic Pisco Sours, the protein drink of choice. I am going to go on a hunt for the Mexican limes that we had in San Miguel de Allende because they made the best everything! Pisco Sours, Margaritas, Ceviche…
The villa we stayed in had supplied us with so many limes, (honestly, I think we were supposed to make many more Margaritas) that we were left with dozens the night before we were leaving. There was no way I was going to leave them behind, so I spent the night squeezing all the juice into a plastic bottle and bringing it home in my checked luggage. Definitely a get-it-while-you-can moment.
We are going to be posting some videos on making some of these specialties that are from my mother’s recipes. I hope you will learn to make them for you and your friends and family because it will be like I’m hosting you at my home and you can learn at bit of the Peruvian culture to start off this special monthlong celebration. Everything from the bevvies you received in the July Newsletter to some endearing dishes like Arequipeñan Ceviche, I say Arequipeñan because it is really different from the recipes you will find in Lima, Peru, and traditional beef empanadas that have raisins and hardboiled egg.. Yep, so different than you would expect. You will find them on our website at TheLnxx.com and also our YouTube channel so be on the lookout on our social media at Life Lnxx for when these post!
Be sure to ramp up your playlist and have some great conversations about the women you discovered and whose lives impact you in a way that makes you joyous and empowered, with some sass in your step. Take some time to learn more about the fabulous women mentioned on this episode, especially Dolores Huerta, and their contributions that have changed our every day for the better.
Can’t wait to share with you and learn from you! Happy LatinX and Hispanic Heritage month! Salud!
I really appreciate the time you take to rate and review the podcast. Get the backstory and what you’ve heard here today, and reach out to us at TheLnxx.com. That’s L N double X, because it’s about time, it’’s about us. Stay in the groove on our social media @LifeLinks and get ready to make your move, ladies.