♦ Author of several award-winning and best-selling books: Latinos in College: Your guide to Success, Help your Children Succeed in School, Help your Children Succeed in
High School and Go to College, How to Get a Job in the U.S., and co-authored The Latino Advantage in the Workplace
♦ Mariela is also a sought after national speaker and has presented at General Electric, Citigroup, AIG, Exxon/Mobil, HBO, etc. , JPMorganChase, McDonald’s, Procter and Gamble
♦ Created an online platform, www.latinosincollege.com, to help Latino student succeed in college.
City you live in:
Briarcliff Manor, New York (Westchester Co.)
Occupation and why?
I’m a writer because I didn’t know what else to do, a speaker and media contributor because I love it and it feels as if I was born to do just that.
A regular day consists of?
Not two days are the same. Very few things are fixed on my schedule, like my morning meditation, my exercise classes and, if I’m writing a book, the time blocks in which I write. Other than that, my days are all unique depending on whether I have meetings, presentations locally or somewhere else in the country, or if I’m writing blogs, or managing my various projects.
How do you define success?
To me, success is doing what you love to do, being who you love to be and being surrounded by those you love. That recipe is different for each one of us. For some people success means to have a lot of money, and for others is having a healthy family. This country seems to define a successful person as someone who is in a leadership position and lives a comfortable lifestyle and, in that respect, that is also success in my book.
What has been your biggest challenge?
To write literature in English at the same level as I write in Spanish. And although I openly admit that I’m prepositionally challenged, I think I’ve pretty much mastered that art. It’s taken me a few years of hard work with an editor but I can now write short stories, poetry and non-fiction in both languages.
What advice would you give a Latina who wants to follow in your footsteps?
You can’t really follow on anyone’s footsteps. You have to create your own path. Joan Manuel Serrat says “Se hace camino al andar” (You create your path as you walk it) and I believe that’s true. Throughout your life you should seek people you admire and who you learn from but you should aim to create your own footsteps. It may help you to answer these questions: How will you impact the world around you? How will the fact that you were alive change the world? How would you like to be remembered?
What’s on your bucket list?
Lots of places that I’d like to visit, publish a book of short stories in English (I’ve always published short stories in Spanish), fall in love again and yes…sitting down with Oprah.
I am proud to be Latina because:
It gives me the ability to look at the world from a multitude of lenses. It imbues my thoughts with perspectives that others may not have access to and that in turn, enriches my experience of the world.
How do you get your Latin fix?
I love listening to Latin music and exercise to its beat!
Spanglish, English, Spanish?
All of the above!
My favorite Latina stereotype is:
Latinas are sexy! Because of course, it’s absolutely true!
Best advice from mami and/or abuelita:
My mom has given me one incredible piece advice that I’ve been carrying with me since… well, since I can remember: “Never travel without your bathing suit in your carry-on because you never know when the flight might be delayed and you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere, but there’s always a swimming pool at every hotel.” You can’t beat that kind of wisdom!!
Favorite home remedy:
Whenever I feel I’m coming down with something, I drink lemon juice with honey and I get better right away.
[fun] ♦ I have written since I’m 9 years old. But when I was 9, my dad (an orthopedic surgeon) used to bring me the orange sheets that were used to keep X-Rays from getting stuck together. That’s where I wrote my first 6 novels! I stitched the pages together, illustrated the cover and bound the book.
♦ When I moved to the U.S., my first (and only) pet was a lopped eared bunny called Booties. He lived 9 years and was hysterically funny. I used to feed him Cluster’s cereal.
He was also potty trained!
♦ I own a Mini Cooper (it’s my second one) and I love speed! In a recent trip to Turkey, I got a speeding ticket two hours after I rented the car. Don’t try this at home![/fun]
[career]♦ Published 6 books in 6 years, most of them focused on education, job search and career development.
♦ National speaker at professional conferences, corporations, universities and school districts across the country. Some examples: NSHMBA, ALPFA, the College Board, Harvard, Yale, Columbia University, Los Angeles Public Schools, New York City Public Schools, ExxonMobil, GE, HBO, Citigroup, American Express, New York Life, Procter and Gamble.
♦ National Spokesperson for McDonald’s Education program for Latinos.
♦ Education/career coach for www.tuvozentuvida.com a women empowerment site sponsored by Ford on AOL Latino.
♦ Education expert on Univision 41.
♦ Frequent contributor on Despierta América, Noticiero Univision, CNN.
♦ Founder of www.latinosincollege.com[/career]
[description]“Se hace camino al andar” (You create your path as you walk it).[/description]