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Latin American Book Author and Career Success: Beatriz Parga

Beatriz - LibrosBeatriz Parga is a renowned Latin American book author. Her most recent work, La Maestra y el Nóbel, is a return to Macondo, the fictional town described in Gabriel García Márquez’s novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. She is also the author of el Macho Latino. A true career success as a journalist, Beatriz was recognized by Hispanic Media as one of the 100 most influential Hispanic journalists in the United States.

Born in Bogota, Colombia by the age of 24, Beatriz Parga had a solid name in “El Tiempo,” the most influential newspaper in her homeland when she won a contest from the Inter American Press Association that allowed her to expand her studies of journalism in the United States or Canada. She chose Florida International University and got a second fellowship from Florida International University and a third grant from the Rotary Club in California. She took advantage of this last opportunity to interview United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez. By that time she was a syndicated writer with around sixteen newspapers.

What motivated you to become a book author?

The first person to ask me to write a book was Carmen Balcells, the most successful literary agent in the Hispanic world. I was an avid reader in those days, but at the same time I had too much passion for journalism to think out of the box. I missed then one of the best opportunities for any writer, but Carmen’s invitation stayed in my mind.

As a female book author, what are some of the biggest challenges you face and how do you manage to overcome them?

I am a multitasking woman who always wants to be number one in what I do. It has nothing to do with pride, but with doing a good job. I have to work very hard and many hours to be the best I can in each one of my tasks: as a writer, as a journalist, and also as a Realtor, a profession in which I also have been very successful.

What do you find the most satisfying part of your work?

One of the most satisfying parts of my work has been when Oscar winner Vittorio Cecchi Gori and Puerto Rican director Frank Marrero read one of my books and were interested in taking it to the big screen, as it happened with “La Maestra y el Nobel” (The Teacher and the Nobel Laureate) about Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s first teacher. I confess I am not insensible to past compliments on my writings from a Master like Garcia Marquez, but in the same way, I was moved when I discovered in YouTube that students and teachers in a very remote town I have never visited decided to take to stage a play based on one of my books.

What advice do you have for other women who have unusual (or challenging) career goals?

To be sure that they invest their energies in what they are good at and achieve career success. I have seen women with great talent work hard for something they are not the best at. I know a woman who is a great composer, but went on to study chemistry.

Give us an example of how you’re currently helping other women advance professionally or fulfill their career goals?

When I meet someone that can use my help, I am ready to give a hand. Two former employees give me credit for teaching them the skills to become editors of their own magazines. My manicurist’s niece, a bright young woman, with my help ended up working for Sony Music. Someone who wanted to be a radio DJ took my advice for a bright future in sales. Offering good advice and guidance or just sharing career strategies can help others achieve career success.

Could you mention one or more women who have helped you get to where you are now?

I would not be where I am without the support of Cristina Saralegui who gave me her hand after I moved to the United States, 34 years ago. She has also been a great inspiration and a great friend. As a writer, I have also received support from other women, but nobody to the extent of Cristina.

You can connect with Beatriz on:

Twitter: @BeatrizParga

Facebook: Beatriz Parga Carrizosa

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]If you would like to have a daily reminder of Beatriz’s inspirational message to be who you are meant
to be, you can purchase her Red Shoe Movement’s uniquely designed Beatriz bracelet.
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Mariela Dabbah: The Red Shoe Movement

Mariela DabbahWhen Nora Bulnes, Publisher of Selecta Magazine—a 30-year old, well-known, glossy South Florida magazine—grabbed the microphone at the recent launch of my book, Poder de Mujerat Neiman Marcus Bal Harbor, the high profile attendees were in tears. This indisputable leader in the Miami community talked about an experience all too common among women: being the target of envious peers of the same gender. “How many of you know that I arrived in this country with $5 and a young daughter? Or how tough it was at the beginning? Throughout my life, many women envied the shoes I bought, but where were they when I needed help?” asked this powerful woman who is a frequent guest of Donald Trump and whose magazine covers the life of the rich and famous.

My new book came out in March for Women’s History Month with a picture of red stilettos on the cover to signify that women can achieve their goals with their own feminine style. Concurrently, I launched the Red Shoes Movement inviting women to wear red shoes to work as a way to show their commitment to support other women. I wish there were no need for this kind of initiative, but unfortunately, just as Mrs. Bulnes’ story demonstrated the day of the event, this is not a new problem and it hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years.

Given the multitude of obstacles that women face in gaining income parity and equal access to powerful networks in the workplace, it is sad to see our own gender-mates adding fuel to the fire. Why do women tend to be harder on each other than men are? Many theories address this issue. Some point to the evolutionary advantage of jealousy, others to the internalization of messages of oppression, sexism, and misogyny that permeate cultures everywhere.

There’s probably more than one way to explain this phenomenon, yet we have outgrown many traits that were useful at some point thousands of years ago and that no longer serve us well. What will it take for more women to realize that helping other women grow professionally is a key aspect of our survival in today’s workplace? Only when women help other women reach their full potential will we really move the needle. There will be more women executives. More woman-owned companies will have access to capital to take their businesses to the next level. And there will be a woman President of the United States.

At the Neiman Marcus cocktail party, I had the privilege to be on the receiving end of this empowering behavior. A group of strong women such as Nora Bulnes, Remedios Días Oliver, founder and CEO of All American Containers, Inc, and Beatriz Parga, renowned journalist and author of La Maestra y el Nobel (soon to become a movie,) put their power behind me. The result: not only did I get a chance to share my book and vision with an influential audience, but the guests at the event got to connect with each other. Everyone’s network got stronger and larger.  Therefore, everyone’s opportunities multiplied.

I’m encouraging women to share their stories of success while wearing their Red Shoes to work as a way to create a positive movement to inspire more of us to continue to open doors for each other. Eventually, the sheer force of peer pressure will make it a norm for women to wear red stilettos to walk side by side rather than to step over each other.

Mariela Dabbah’s new book Poder de Mujer was just released by Penguin. She’s a leadership consultant for corporations and organizations, an award winning author and renown public speaker. She’s the founder and CEO of Latinos in College, a not-for-profit organization that helps students and families find everything they need to succeed in college.  

Photo: Victor Villanueva @ Flickr

Mariela Dabbah’s latest book Poder de Mujer will be out in English April 2013 by Penguin. She’s the founder and CEO of Latinos in College, a not-for-profit organization, and of the Red Shoe Movement, an initiative that invites women to wear red shoes to work on Tuesday to signal their support for other women’s careers.

This article was originally published on Fox News Latino.