Making a career change is never easy yet it can be a creative process and fill you with a joy you never experienced before. From corporate to entrepreneur and Web TV producer, Aymee Zubizarreta shares her story!
A desire to help give today’s Latina a voice in television puts Aymee Zubizarreta in the driver’s seat. Having spent most of her adult life working for Fortune 500 companies and national organizations as their “expert liaison” with the U.S. Hispanic market, Aymee, now in her early forties, has taken the keys to her future into her own hands by starting a company of her own.
If you’re among the millions of women who often feel as if the characters played on TV/online series, movies or soap operas don’t speak to or resonate with us, then you have to meet Aymee Zubizarreta— An award-winning, integrated marketing/communications professional who has spent most of her life helping large corporations successfully reach and touch the US Hispanic consumer.
Making a Career Change: the story
Just a few years ago, she decided to take a risk and become a female entrepreneur by launching the zubizarretA group, a full service PR, Marketing, Business Development and Social Media firm that specializes in helping brands meaningfully connect with the US Hispanic consumer. In doing so, she also became inspired to create and produce “Merrick Park” – America’s soon-to-be first English language, scripted series depicting modern-day Latinas for who they really are: smart, career-minded, family-oriented women who can be both caretakers and caregivers, all in the blink of an eye.
This upscale Latina web series is a far cry from the current collection of maid and overly sexy housewife roles that populate Spanish language media and barely sprinkle mainstream television shows.
Making a career change like Aymee did can be quite challenging. However, when you are in your twenties or thirties, you are more likely to be willing to do what it takes, and pay your dues. As one matures, it can become more difficult to break away from the brand you built for yourself, the network you created, the experience you acquired along the way or to do what every fresh start demands. Yet the advantage of a making a drastic career change later in life (as in Aymee’s case) is that you know who you are, what you want, and you hopefully have a financial cushion to carry you while you re-brand yourself.
What prompted you to making a career change?
I still vividly recall the day that the proverbial entrepreneurial bug began to leave its mark on my heart and mind. Just a few years ago, while attending a national Hispana Leadership Summit in Miami, Florida, I heard a fellow Latina entrepreneur recount how she had started a company in her very own kitchen and then turned it into a multi-million dollar success story. That got me thinking, “What if I…?”
When did you decide you needed a career change?
While working in corporate America, I made it a point to “pay it forward” by serving as a mentor for girls who had been identified by their school counselor as at-risk of dropping out of high school. It is through Women of Tomorrow, co-founded by Emmy Award winning Journalist Jennifer Valoppi and retired Telemundo Network President, Don Browne, that I found my new lease on life.
What provoked me to make this bold, “risking-it-all” career change was a burning desire to leave a legacy for the next generation of Latinas. I found myself challenging these young ladies to dream big and to accomplish anything that they set their hearts and minds to. As it turns out, the advice that I was giving them was also meant for me too.
At some point I realized that I needed to do a brand audit on myself. What did I learn, you ask? That the past 20 years of my corporate experience was in effect only preparing me for this new chapter in my career and for a drastic career change.
Is making a career change harder when you’re doing really well in your career than when you lose your job, for example?
Timing is one of the keys to success in just about everything we do in life. The decision to take a professional leap of faith needs to be done in a moment of clarity and coupled with a purpose, a passion, a vision and a well thought out plan.
Bottom line, get advice from those who know and love you. Then, think carefully, and strategically plan before you leap!
Making a career change can spark creativity
You are the creator, one of the writers and the executive producer for this series. Did making a career change elicit a sudden surge in creativity?
Having a creative outlet that helps you connect with your inner being is critical for your body of work. While some prefer to draw, paint, compose music, or play an instrument to express their creativity and talent, I began to gravitate back to where it all started for me, as a broadcast journalism graduate. When I write for the characters of Merrick Park, I am writing from within. I am able to project all those wonderful years of acquired wisdom and corporate experience onto each one of these characters.
Give us a taste of what Merrick Park is about.
In a city within a city, a group of very accomplished 30-something professional Latinas from diverse backgrounds and acculturation levels form a special sisterhood. Together they chase the same dream, celebrate conquests, and tackle similar challenges as many of today’s women living in the United States.
Today’s modern-day Latinas are well-educated, career driven, ambitious professionals who are capable of achieving their version of the American Dream.
What sets this English language web series apart from others in the mainstream media is that it finally showcases today’s Latinas for who we really are. Mothers. Wives. Small Business Owners. High Powered Executives. Doctors. Lawyers. US Congresswomen, Fashion Designers. Chefs. CEO’s of the Household and of our family’s destiny.
The three leading ladies of Merrick Park follow the guiding principle of the Red Shoe Movement. Through thick and thin each is supportive of one another, through their own personal and professional journey in life. And yes, each one of the lead characters has a true-life female role model that they can call upon for advice and support!
Bringing your skill set, experience and contacts when making a career change can make things substantially easier
For many years you specialized in creating major, national PR campaigns. What skills, knowledge, experiences from back then will you use in your new project?
The only difference between what I was doing back then and what I am doing now is that I am my own client.
All of the knowledge, experiences and skill sets that I have acquired during the past twenty years of my life are now bundled up in a beautiful, well-thought-out package, called Merrick Park.
How about the work you’ve done to help firms connect with the Latino consumer? Is any of that research going into the series?
My business partner, Maria O’Hollearn, and I have been providing consultative support to firms who desire to better align their US Hispanic PR and marketing objectives with their overall business plan. One of the most common reasons why clients typically seek our services is our team’s ability to help them better identify and then connect with what Nielsen has dubbed the “Upscale Latino.”
Even though Merrick Park was already being conceived prior to Nielsen’s findings, it only serves to strengthen the need for original content that speaks to the most important segment since the baby boomers, the upscale Latino.
Tips for making a career change
What would you tell someone ready to make a career change?
In order to be a good teacher, you have to be a great student. While others may call what I am doing a career change, I candidly view this a pivotal, evolutionary moment in my life.
Before you make a drastic career change, I highly recommend that you read Find Your Inner Red Shoes and then call a family meeting with your closest, most loyal friends and family. You’d be surprised. Sometimes, they know you better than you know yourself.
Be prepared to show them that you mean business and that you have exercised sound judgment in developing your exit plan as well as your new business strategy.
So far, what’s the most unexpected thing that came from having decided to take the plunge and go ahead with your career change regardless of the challenges you face?
One of my all-time favorite words in the English language is serendipity. For me, this word evokes so much magic, mystery and delight. I firmly believe that people and situations arise in our lives for a season, a reason and/or a lifetime. The trick is to figure out under what heading each life event or person falls under.
Once you have mastered that, it’s an epiphany – another favorite word of mine that you will hear plenty of times on Merrick Park TV.
You can connect with Aymee Zubizarreta and Merrick Park via:
Merrick Park TV