Anchor, News, Univision Network
“One of the definitions of power is the possibility to influence others and/or exercise control. As a pioneer in the field of Spanish-language news broadcasting, I am proud to say that thanks to hard work and dedication, I have earned the trust and respect of both colleagues and the audience which we serve. That trust is something I take extremely seriously because as a “familiar face” that comes into viewer’s living rooms every week, I am aware that the stories and interviews I do impact the decisions they make. From encouraging viewers to register to vote, to raising awareness about the importance of getting involved in your child’s education, to an in-depth investigation or exclusive interview, I know I am empowering, educating, and informing millions.”
What city best describes your personality?
Although I was born in Havana, Cuba and have lived in Miami, Florida since I was nine months old, the city that best describes my personality is Paris. International in nature, multicultural and multicultural, this metropolis is the epitome of all things beautiful-art, literature, fashion, and of course, impeccable cuisine. A vibrant, romantic, timeless place whose people are hard-working, passionate, and proud of their heritage.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever ignored, and the worst advice you’ve ever taken?
The best advice I’ve ever ignored has got to be about taking chances in life. I remember at the beginning of my career when there were no Hispanic females on English-language national news shows, I declined two major network offers to move to New York. The question was posed, “Would you rather be a small fish in a big pond or a large fish in a small pond?” I chose the latter. Little did I know that at that point I could afford to take risks, I had no children and was married to a television executive who supported me, regardless of my decision. He later became the father of my two children. Although I’ve had a prosperous career and enjoyed a great life, I can’t help but wonder…what if I would have taken advantage of those opportunities? What if I would have become the first Hispanic female on a major English-language news program? Was the market ready then? Would I have been ahead of my time or a pioneer, paving the way for other Latinas to join mainstream network news programs? I guess I’ll never know, but those opportunities don’t come too often. The worst advice I took was making a financial investment with a friend. Not only did the “sure fire” investment prove to be a horrific loss, but the experience ended that friendship. Lesson learned: never trust blindly in someone, regardless of the extent of your relationship. When it comes to money, do your homework and leave the investing to someone with whom you strictly have a business relationship.
What is your best read? What book would you want to be a character in?
My latest best read is Lean In by FaceBook COO and former Google executive, Sheryl Sandberg. I identified with several anecdotes in the book and found some of her points to be thought-provoking and motivational. The book is about the need for more women in leadership positions and calls for an open acknowledgement and discussion of gender roles in the workplace. My second recent best read is the late Swedish novelist Steiger Larsson’s best-selling trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Hornet’s Nest. Perhaps the book appealed to me because the stories revolve around a journalist investigating a murder and a remarkable heroine, or perhaps it was the author’s writing style, but I couldn’t wait to finish the first and move on to the next. I would love to be a character alongside Atticus Finch or play his character in To Kill A Mockingbird. This attorney who defended a black man accused of raping a white woman epitomized integrity, dignity, and courage. He opted to do the right thing despite knowing he would lose and in doing so, he showed others that giving up is not an option. To quote Mr. Finch, “Because we are licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”
How do you define power? Do you enjoy it? How do you live with your success?
One of the definitions of power is the possibility to influence others and/or exercise control. As a pioneer in the field of Spanish-language news broadcasting, I am proud to say that thanks to hard work and dedication, I have earned the trust and respect of both colleagues and the audience which we serve. That trust is something I take extremely seriously because as a “familiar face” that comes into viewer’s living rooms every week, I am aware that the stories and interviews I do impact the decisions they make. From encouraging viewers to register to vote, to raising awareness about the importance of getting involved in your child’s education, to an in-depth investigation or exclusive interview, I know I am empowering, educating and, informing millions. How do I live with my success? I add a dose of humility to keep me grounded. After all, my success is a product of a team effort. I enjoy the fruits of my labor, but don’t allow power or fame to rule my life and never lose sight of where I came from. I treat others as I would like to be treated and feel an incredible sense of fulfillment when a story we do helps others or provides answers. A wise woman once told me that the key to success was not about getting there, “It was about staying there.” That said, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. And when you do get and “stay” there, don’t forget to pay it forward. Share the wealth of information you have and help those future generations of leaders.
When do we stop asking questions about gender equality? When will it be Power People instead of Power Women? Is gender more important than politics?
When do we stop asking questions about gender equality? I guess it depends on who’s asking and who’s answering. Despite the advancement of women in corporate America, sexism, discrimination, and negative examples of how gender plays a major role in career advancement still prevail. I don’t know if it will ever be about “Power People” instead of “Power Women,” but I do know that as women we have made great strides in networking, demanding equality, and proving that we can successfully function at work and also run a household. Granted there is still a lot of work to be done and women themselves need to become more comfortable with other female leaders, but the foundation is solid.
I don’t think gender is more important than politics. I look at what a candidate stands for, his/her educational background, his/her platform on different topics, and his/her leadership capabilities. I am, however, surprised that there aren’t more women in high-level political positions in this country. Unlike Latin America, a continent typically known for its machismo, today, there are numerous female elected heads of state. While in contrast, here in the United States, even First Ladies are expected to take on noncontroversial causes. Perhaps Latin America got the message early on: the rise of more female political leaders is inevitable. Personally, I think we in the United States are overdue for a female President.
What do you think of social media?
As a journalist who’s witnessed the birth and phenomenal growth of FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few, and a mom whose kids have grown up using technology to connect with friends and family, social media is redefining the way we live. It’s no longer just the major news organizations delivering breaking news, more and more people are becoming adjunct news reporters, sometimes providing play by play developments while traditional news outlets are rushing to confirm the events. Social media is also revolutionizing the way we watch television, movies, our shopping habits and how we share personal moments and express our grievances about a particular company or entity. In my opinion, this colossal shift in our lifestyles is here to stay, fueled by a generation that enjoys and is accustomed to being socially connected, mobile, and informed. Case in point, despite the limited internet access in some third world countries, if a family can afford a cell phone or a computer, they may not have running water, but their children have the latest tools to keep them in touch with the world.
What’s one place you’ve always wanted to visit on your travels?
The one place I’ve always wanted to visit is the Great Wall of China. As a child, I remember being taught about how this man-made structure was visible from space to the naked eye, a claim that has since been debunked many times. However, in my opinion, this continues to be one of the great marvels of the world. It is high on my list of future vacation spots before parts of it continue to erode from sandstorms or are closed to the public.
When sending a child out to see the world for the first time, where would you send them?
I firmly believe that the internet has made the world a much smaller place. With the touch of a key, in an instant, we can communicate with someone across the globe and explore unimaginable places that we could only dream of visiting in the past. That’s why when sending a child out to see the world for the first time, I would first advice them to read about the continents, countries, and cities that interest them in order to make a better informed choice. If they are sons of immigrants, I would highly encourage them to visit the country of their forefathers and get to know their roots and embrace their heritage. I strongly feel that in order to know where you are going in life, you need to know where you came from and appreciate the sacrifices of those loved ones who came before you, paving the way for future generations to follow.
What advice would you give to a young woman starting out?
The best advice I can give a young woman starting out is to make sure you are passionate about your career because the reality is that given the competitive marketplace, you will spend much more time at work than at home. Don’t be afraid to ask questions–it’s best to look foolish and stupid in front of one person versus a group of people. Don’t take “no” for an answer, be persistent and offer alternatives. Be yourself, learn what your best traits are and develop them to the max. Work hard and take pride in what you do–it carries your signature.