International Women’s Day has come and gone, and I am still absorbing the words of wisdom and lessons from the events, speakers and live streams.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Women’s Day Forum at the United Nations Headquarters with Nely Galán was one of the events I learned the most from. Galán, referred to as the “Tropical Tycoon,” and who I have been describing as the Latina Trump, founded The Adelante Movement to unite and empower Latina entrepreneurs across the country.
Adelante is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s global 5by20 initiative to advance women’s economic empowerment, and they provide training and tools for aspiring Latina entrepreneurs. During our interview, Galán discussed the buying power of Hispanic women in the U.S. and shared candid advice on how we can begin to build wealth of our own.
Use your pain to profit.
Nely is an advocate for finding and using your authentic voice, and being able to use your experiences as fuel for professional success. She has built multiple businesses as a self-made media mogul, real estate entrepreneur, consultant and speaker. She attributes her success to her pain and experiences, which allowed her to tell stories and create shows that others were able to relate to. “Let’s say that you are a paraplegic; you should be able to create the best wheelchair ever because you know what’s needed.”
Understand that there’s no such thing as prince charming.
Whether it’s your boss, significant other or father, no man will save the day. You need to become self-reliant and self-actualized by having your own. Set yourself up for long-term success. Look at emerging businesses and markets and research what careers are growing quickly over the next few years. She recommends having a side hustle as a way to begin to get your entrepreneurial feet wet, save money (that you will later invest) and learn a lot about yourself in a short period of time. You can use your side hustle as a test run for what running a business full-time is like. Think: How can I start a business online?
Forget about work-life balance.
The narrative around gender has been dominated by the pay gap and the ability to “have it all.” I was curious to hear her perspective on this and was pleasantly surprised by the response. “Work three jobs. Forget about balance. Kill yourself with work! Go make money,” she said. “You are young. You should use all the energy you have to do more, because once you’re older you have less. Worry less in the beginning about balancing your time. Balance comes with time. Be very focused on deciding what you are going to do with your life. Make money and save money. Invest it.”
While so many of us look to find some relief from feeling overworked and often underpaid, Nely advises us to use this time to build our brands and our fortunes, so that we are able to retire early and follow our bliss like she did. Because the profits from her real estate business give Nely financial freedom, she can now spend her time on passion projects like Adelante, and helping move other women forward.
Don’t buy shoes, buy buildings.
It is clear that the best way to have it all is to be an entrepreneur. However, many women don’t understand or take the time to learn how the American system works, how to find capital and acquire the resources we need to be successful. There are all kinds of opportunities and money for us to take advantage of. That’s why she started the Adelante movement. “I really want it to be a home for Latinas, where they can be unafraid to ask questions and have access to information that will help them succeed.”
Through 5by20, Coca-Cola and Nely are working together to address the most common barriers women face when trying to succeed in business. Initiatives like these is just one of many that offers women access to skills and resources, financial services and connections with peers or mentors — along with the confidence that comes with building a successful business.