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Nely Galán: Self Made (In America)

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Nely Galán:


Self Made (In America)

Cuban immigrant Nely Galán, believes every woman has the power to become a millionaire, and she can do it on her own.

The former—and first female Latina—president of Telemundo Entertainment, emigrated to the US when she was five-years-old. Since then, the Emmy award-winning producer has certainly made a dent in the world for herself and for multicultural women through a career focused on self-empowerment.

“I think [being] self made means you realize that there is no Prince Charming, no one is coming to save you; not a mate, not a boss, not the US government, no one is coming for you,” says Galán, who wrote a book called, Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, And Rich In Every Way to share her story and teach women about entrepreneurship. “I’m very proud that I put on paper whats going on with women entrepreneurs, in particular women of color, who are crushing it in entrepreneurship and I think somebody needed to say that.”

Galán’s book includes information to help women face the challenges of business-ownership, including how to secure funds, an issue she faced throughout her own entrepreneurial pursuits.

“As a Latina, I was raised to never ask anyone for anything and I’ve had to really work on that,” says Galán. “One thing I found out is that there is all this hidden money for all of us and we don’t apply for it because there is an information gap.”

"...There is all this hidden money for all of us [women] but we don’t apply for it because there is an information gap"

For Galán, whose company, Galán Enterprises, has produced more than 700 shows in English and Spanish, and helped to launch 10 channels around the world, this is an unprecedented time for women, as there are so many modes for self-empowerment, especially entrepreneurship.

“When you realize you are able to take full responsibility for your financial well being, for your happiness, and for your emotional and career wellbeing, your life begins to change,” says Galán. “It’s a mindset, a desire to DIY and to realize you can do it, whether you are a man, woman or immigrant.”

To help women along the path to success, Galán founded The Adalante Movement, a platform dedicated to empowering the Latina community economically and entrepreneurially.

“‘Adelante’ is kind of like the Latino ‘Just Do It,” says Galán. “I [created] it because I wanted to give back and I started with my own community.”

"In Your Pain Is Your Brand"

Certainly, the road to Galán’s success wasn’t an easy one, as it began with fleeing her home country and starting over in a foreign land.

“I am an immigrant,” says Galán. “My parents lost everything. We were in the middle of a communist regime and we left with the shirts on our back. I’ve experienced the trauma of leaving my country, my parents being depressed, coming to a new country where none of us speak the language.”

It was thanks to the kindness of a family that took in Galán and her parents, that she was able to find her footing, eventually becoming the in-house family “translator,” a common role for immigrant children.

“I had the experience of so many people who immigrate around the world,” she says. "Being an immigrant gives you an edge over anyone else because it makes you grateful. We’ve come from far worse places. We have a drive and a work ethic and an appreciation that helps us succeed.”

“I think self made means you realize that there is no Prince Charming, no one is coming to save you; not a mate, not a boss, not the US government, no one is coming for you."

-Nely Galán

Galán’s advice for women looking to build their own business is that slow and steady wins the race.

“Don’t do anything until you have two years of salary saved, one year for a rainy day and one to invest in real estate or stocks, or something that will make you money when you sleep,” she says. “If you’re in survival mode, living pay check to pay check, you cannot leave your job and become an entrepreneur.”

She also advises women not to run from the pain they may have experienced in their lives, but to embrace it, and capitalize on it as she did. “In your pain is your brand,” says Galán. “Your pain is not there to keep you from success but to make you an expert to turn your pain into profit. I have all that pain and the trauma of immigration, and I’ve made a lot of money making TV shows about immigrants and their kids.”

Start Small

Most importantly, Galán advises that anyone looking to follow in her footsteps starts small, taking just one hour a week to try out entrepreneurship.

“Feel good about doing something small in the shared economy, it is just as important as Sara Blakley inventing Spanx and getting into a billion dollar company,” says Galán, who advises women to do small things like driving an Uber or selling clothes from their closet to get a taste what feeling self made feels like. “Just start. Don’t think much further than that.”

“If you’re in survival mode, living pay check to pay check, you cannot leave your job and become an entrepreneur.”

-Nely Galán

Nely's House

For Galán, who lives in a the country’s most Instagrammed house, a brightly painted contemporary along California’s Venice Canals, staying grateful and lighthearted are how she stays grounded.

“It’s almost impossible to be stressed out and unhappy in my house because it always makes me happy,” says Galán, who also practices meditation each week.

With a focus on living in the moment, Galán is taking her time in planning her next move. "I’ve reached every single one of goals and now I’m in round two of my goals," she says. "Now I get to chose what to do next and I want to do that with a lot of care and thought.”

According to Galán, now is the time for women to step up and make their ideas into their dreams.

“Things are being disrupted right and left,” says Galán “I think everyone should engage their entrepreneurial muscle.”

3 min read
Culture

Please Don't Forget to Say Thank You

"More grapes, please," my daughter asked, as she continued to color her Peppa Pig drawing at the kitchen table.

"What do you say?" I asked her, as I was about to hand her the bowl.

"More grapes?"

I shook my head.

"Please?"

I stood there.

"I want green grapes instead of red grapes?"

I shook my head again. I handed her the bowl of green grapes. "Thank you. Please don't forget to say thank you."

"Thank you, Momma!"

Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children?

Many of us are busy training our young children on manners on the other side of the Zoom camera during this pandemic. Reminding them to say please, excuse me, I tried it and it's not my favorite, I am sorry, and thank you. And yet somehow simple manners continue to be undervalued and underappreciated in our workplaces. Because who has time to say thank you?

"Call me. This needs to be completed in the next hour."

"They didn't like the deck. Needs to be redone."

"When are you planning on sending the proposal?"

"Did you see the questions he asked? Where are the responses?"

"Needs to be done by Monday."

Let me take a look. I didn't see a please. No please. Let me re-read it again. Nope, no thank you either. Sure, I'll get to that right away. Oh yes, you're welcome.

Organizations are under enormous pressure in this pandemic. Therefore, leaders are under enormous pressure. Business models collapsing, budget cuts, layoffs, or scrapping plans… Companies are trying to pivot as quickly as possible—afraid of extinction. With employees and leaders everywhere teaching and parenting at home, taking care of elderly parents, or maybe even living alone with little social interaction, more and more of us are dealing with all forms of grief, including losing loved ones to COVID-19.

So we could argue we just don't have time to say thank you; we don't have time to express gratitude. There's too much happening in the world to be grateful for anything. We are all living day to day, the pendulum for us swinging between surviving and thriving. But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?

If you don't think you have to say thank you; if you don't think they deserve a thank you (it's their job, it's what they get paid to do); or if you think, "Why should I say thank you, no one ever thanks me for anything?" It's time to remember that while we might be living through one of the worst recessions of our lifetimes, the market will turn again. Jobs will open up, and those who don't feel recognized or valued will be the first to go. Those who don't feel appreciated and respected will make the easy decision to work for leaders who show gratitude.

But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?

Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children? Remind them with flashcards? Bribe them with a cookie? Tell them how I proud I am of them when they say those two magical words?

Showing gratitude isn't that difficult. You can send a thoughtful email or a text, send a handwritten card, send something small as a gesture of thank you, or just tell them. Call them and tell them how thankful you are for them and for their contributions. Just say thank you.

A coworker recently mailed me a thank you card, saying how much she appreciated me. It was one of the nicest things anyone from work has sent me during this pandemic. It was another reminder for me of how much we underestimate the power of a thank you card.

Apparently, quarantine gratitude journals are all the rage right now. So it's great if you have a beautiful, leather-bound gratitude journal. You can write down all of the people and the things that you are thankful for in your life. Apparently, it helps you sleep better, helps you stay grounded, and makes you in general happier. Just don't forget to take a moment to stop writing in that journal, and to show thanks and gratitude to those you are working with every single day.