By / Por: Adriana Ruggiero
For six years Yai Vargas was juggling two big projects. Her work as a National Latino Marketing Manager for New York Life and the creation of a nonprofit to help other women grow professionally. Today, the hard work has paid off. Not only she has found her true path in her career, and it’s working on it now full time, but she has also been able to build a strong network that fulfills her dreams of helping Latinas and the Latino community.
Becoming a successful full-time entrepreneur is something that sounds like a dream to many women. However, as she proves it with her example, that is not impossible. And also, as she mentions it in this interview, becoming an entrepreneur is not the only “best scenario” for women to feel fulfilled in their careers, and that’s exactly where “The Latinista” becomes their best platform to go further.
Read below, my full conversation with the founder of “The Latinista“, Yai Vargas, or watch it here (subtitles in Spanish):
Adriana: Yai is in New York, I am in San Diego California, and today we are going to be talking about an organization that she has created, “The Latinista,” which helps women, empowers and helps them to take their career to the next level. This girl from the Dominican Republic has developed a very exciting career in Marketing and just became a full-time entrepreneur! Very excited for you!
Adriana: So, tell us, Yai. What’s the secret?
Yai: That is exactly right. So it is now my third week as a full-time entrepreneur. I spent many years in Corporate America, and it was very good to me. I met a lot of sponsors and mentors, as wells as champions that showed me a lot of what Corporate America had to offer. Being part of really big brands and organizations helped not only to develop as a professional but also helped me give back to the community. That is where I learned to do a lot of the volunteering work that I do today because of this big foundational programs that happened.
Adriana: What was the call for you to start this type of organization?
Yai: I always had the Latino community at heart. And so it was very important to me, a very long time ago when I started giving back, that it was always to the Latino community as well as the women in the community. More specifically, (to those) who were not necessarily sure what they were passionate about or what they wanted to do or even really understood what they were good at. And so, six years ago when I started “The Latinista,” I started focusing on helping women understand and having them articulate what they are good at, and what they are not so good at. AND REALLY HELPING THEM DETERMINE WHAT IS GOING TO BE THEIR NEXT STEP. Are they looking forward to staying with a big organization? Would they perhaps like to work for a nonprofit? Or, maybe they’ll be better off growing their own company and giving other people the opportunity to give back.
Adriana: What is the first or the main type of connections that you have noticed women want to make when they go to these events with “The Latinista”?
Yai: The number one connecting that these women are looking for is to be able to meet someone who has walked IN THEIR SAME FOOTSTEPS or someone who has accomplished something that they would also like to achieve. So we are always looking for either a mentor, a sponsor, a champion, someone who can show them that this can be done in this type of environment, with this type of experience or credential. So although the networking is very robust among “The Latinista,” we make sure that is a very relaxed environment. But at the same time, we urge people to, if you are an engineer and you’re looking for a new position, please make sure that you announce that and you tell other people exactly what you are looking for. Because, honestly if you don’t start sharing what you are passionate about or what you are looking to accomplish, people won’t understand how they can best help you, or help you get there.
Adriana: Latinos are creating more businesses than any other ethnic group. Why do you think that is?
Yai: The entrepreneurial spirit is one major thing, and it is also the current environment. We are able to see so many other women accomplishing all of these huge brands, products, and services. And when you think about their stories, you can relate, you can say “wow they were a mom too” or “they were also in Corporate America” or “this person just immigrated here five or ten years ago, and they have been able to accomplish a lot. Why couldn’t I do that?” And so a lot of people, just jump right in, test themselves and ask for help. They take a lot of risks, which is a great thing in our community.