Ikea: black Swede is not a fit for the Greek Market?


Swedish actor told he 'can't be black' for Ikea advert
Photo: Private
 From: The Local Sweden
UPDATED: A Swedish actor has complained of discrimination after he was told he “can’t be black for the Greek market”, in an e-mail rejecting him for a role in an Ikea advert. But the casting company says he was put forward for the job.
Fernando, a Stockholm-based stand-up comedian and actor, was cc’d on an e-mail from the flat-park furniture giant’s UK-based casting company to his Stockholm agent. 
Fernando said Ikea’s press office had been understanding.
“He can’t be black for the Greek market Sorry,” the e-mail read.
“I was sad and angry,” Fernando, who doesn’t want his surname published, told The Local after SVT first broke the story. “It’s common that these things happen, saying it to your face, but not actually to get it in an e-mail.”
But Tracie Saban, one of the owners of the casting company, Crocodile Casting, said that Fernando was in fact put forward for the job, along with another black actor and an Arab man despite not fitting the brief, “just to expand it a bit”.
“We saw his video upload and put it on our link which we sent to our client,” she said. “He knew he was put forward for the job, so for him to say that is a lie. Nobody got the job. It was cancelled in the end because of script changes.”
In early November, Ikea began looking for Swedish actors who could star in an advert to be broadcast in Greece before November 24th, the date of the so-called “Black Friday” shopping festival. 
“The actor needs to be really good at comedy, with a dry sense of humor,” the brief read next to a link to the Youtube video below.

Although the brief seemed to specify a white person who would suggest a more stereotypical image of “Sweden” to a Greek audience, Fernando thought he met enough of the requirements to apply. 
“I said, so I’m a stand-up comedian, and I sent a link to them of my showreel,” he said.
A day later, Fernando was included in the e-mail to his agents.
Saban denies his claims that Crocodile casting was “not polite” when Fernando rung to complain.
“My partner was almost in tears. She spoke to him for an hour on the phone,” she said. “He got his apology on bended knees. We felt so bad that he felt that that was a racist comment. It wasn’t at all, it didn’t come from any bad place in our heart, because we’re not like that.”
She said that after the phone conversation and an e-mail of apology, Fernando had seemed happy until he went public three months later.
Ikea told SVT that the company had indeed included skin-color suggestions in the brief for the advert.
“Sometimes you are looking for a blond man. Sometimes you are looking for a dark-haired woman, an Asian one or a South American,” Jakob Holmström, the company’s press spokesman, explained.
“There’s nothing unusual about that in itself. What’s unfortunate is the way this was formulated when he got a rejection.”
Fernando’s agent Fia Hammarström, who is part-Thai, said she was considering dropping Fernando for going public with his complaint.
“This will hurt other people in the agency as well,” she said. “I have 42 people in my agency and I know how the casting companies work, and they will be afraid to take him in.”
Saban said her and her partner were upset at the way “a very snappy e-mail with bad grammar” had been used to stir up a media controversy.
It’s been misconstrued and exaggerated to make us look like racist casting directors, which we’re not because we push for all inclusive casting all the time, especially in this country, we’re always saying ‘can we bring multi-ethnic people in?’.”
She said this even applied to the Greek market. “We’ve done loads of commercials for Greece where we cast black actors,” she said.
Fernando said Ikea’s press office had been very understanding, but he had wanted to speak out because he found it frustrating that advertisers and drama producers in Sweden so rarely cast black actors in ordinary roles. 
“They say they want a Swedish actor, and I came here when I was six years old, so I don’t know what more I can do to be Swedish,” he said. “It’s 2018, we are living in a multicultural country. So what is a Swedish actor? Is it a white actor?”
But it has also won plaudits for adverts which break down stereotypes and prejudices. 
Its Hooray! To the Wonderful Everyday advert, which came out last November, was praised by Michelle de Leon, the founder of World Afro Day, which celebrates wild afro hairstyles, because it “shows a black family and their curly, kinky, afro hair, living the good life”. 
She wrote in The Guardian that the advert had been the first that made her and her daughter “feel good to be black and British”.
“If this is a watershed moment, it’s been a long time coming,” she said.
Here’s a video of Fernando made by his agent, Hammarstrom.

 

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Superbowl 52 Justin Timberlake “Doomed from the Start”


Justin Timberlake had nothing to say at the Super Bowl and wouldn't stop saying it

 There are many blacks who gave Justin Timberlake as pass   (He was allowed to emulate the black culture/music) without question.   He had a very rare card that allowed him to appropriate black music and culture.

In 2004, he was one half of the firestorm at Superbowl 38, where he removed Janet Jackson’s costume exposing her breast.  By all accounts Timberlake distanced himself from Jackson, leaving her to take the blame for the wardrobe malfunction. Nipplegate damaged Janet Jackson career and left Justin Timberlake’s unscathed.    Leaving many in the black community calling for his card.

Years have passed and Justin Timberlake hung on to his card.  Welcomed at black events like the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards where he would support issues that affect black people at the event.   However, beyond the awards he was absent.

Timberlake owes much of his success to the black community who welcomed him.  Today he’s finding himself locked outside in the cold.

In an ideal world his appearance at the Superbowl would have boosted sales for his newest and worst reviewed album of his career “Man of the Woods” that dropped last Friday.

Chris Edwards of the Washington Post said: Timberlake tries to make the world forget about his dud album, and about that alleged purple hologram and — oh, right — about the last time he performed at the Super Bowl, way back in 2004 when he sang, “Bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song,” then proceeded to rip away a significant portion of Janet Jackson’s stage costume, exposing her right breast to 90 million unsuspecting television viewers. In the months of pearl-clutching that followed, Timberlake’s career went boffo while the rest of the industry encouraged Ms. Jackson to convalesce in the void — a stark and enduring example of how our culture allows some artists (white/men) to get away with any old thing, while others (black/women) are swiftly silenced for stepping out of bounds.

Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times said : Anyone who admires the skill required to get moving parts to move together could see something in this presentation to commend. But this was music, not civil engineering. And there was simply nothing to enjoy about Timberlake’s show beyond its careful planning. The performance lacked soul, meaning, humor; it had no message, nor was it taking any stand — soft, hard or otherwise.

The singing wasn’t even that memorable, and this was after Pink’s shaky (if valiant) stab at the national anthem, which she did while she said she was suffering from the flu.

Before you get going, allow me to stop you: I don’t need every Super Bowl halftime gig to explode like the one in 2016 did, when Beyoncé showed up with a small army of dancers in Black Panther-style berets to do “Formation,” the radical black-pride anthem she’d released one day before. Yet Timberlake wasn’t forsaking politics in order to provide joy, as Bruno Mars did a few years ago. Or as Coldplay did in 2016. (If you forgot, which you probably did, it was technically Coldplay’s Super Bowl show that Beyoncé crashed.)

Or, indeed, as Janet Jackson might have if Timberlake had invited that always-vibrant performer back this year as a means of rectifying the damage her career took after the 2004 incident — even as Timberlake went on to ever greater success. No, joy was in short supply Sunday.  This was a show about the dull reality of entrenched power: predictable, witless, a waste of the attention with which we all rewarded it. (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-super-bowl-justin-timberlake-20180204-story.html)

Like has album, last night Superbowl’s performance was largely panned. On Twitter there were calls for Bruno Mars and he was accused of lip syncing and controversy about his shirt.

At the end of the day, there were people who hoped for vindication or acknowledgement of  Janet Jackson by Justin Timberlake.   Yes, she has been banned from appearing on the Superbowl,  but what if?   What would it have done for Justin?  Unfortunately, that act requires courage and integrity.

CityFella

Another Anti LGBT Politician Goes Down


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He was called the conscience of the conservative movement. His wife is the assistant director of an Anti abortion rally called “March of Life”

Earlier this month Westley Goodman was allegeldy discoved having sex with man on the his desk in one of the state offices.

Mr Goodman was elected to represent the 87th District, in north-central Ohio, just last year. Prior to that, he worked as an aide to US Representative Jim Jordan, a highly conservative, anti-LGBT Republican.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT advocacy group in the US, named Mr Jordan in their Hall of Shame in 2014 for attempting to block marriage equality in the District of Columbia

There were rumors about Goodman being gay.  Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger heard rumors that Goodman was gay and cheating on his wife as early as May 2016, a House spokesman confirmed Tuesday. But little could be done because Goodman denied those rumors when confronted, and they never involved another lawmaker or House employees.

Cleveland.com first reported Saturday that Goodman, a married man, had sex with men while working in Washington, D.C. and sent unsolicited, sexually inappropriate messages to younger men he met in conservative circles. Goodman, 33, continued sending messages while he was a sitting legislator, men who received the messages say.

 

Johnny Hadlock, a former congressional staffer, told the AP he engaged in sexual banter by text and had phone sex with Goodman while the two worked in Washington in the early 2010s. He said he was furious when, years later, he saw Goodman campaigning on the issue of “natural marriage” between a man and a woman, “because I knew differently.”

“Wes is a good guy. He’s a nice guy. He’s a gregarious guy. He’s a good networker. But he’s a hypocrite,” said Hadlock, whose story was first reported by cleveland.com. “He’s engaged in things with me and with others that I know are the antithesis of what he’s publicly proclaiming and standing for in his public life.”

 

The Washington Post reported Friday that another conservative group, the Council for National Policy, handled internally a complaint that Goodman fondled an 18-year-old college student while he was sleeping in a hotel room at its 2015 conference.

The student’s stepfather brought details of the encounter to president Tony Perkins, who also heads the prominent Family Research Council.

“If we endorse these types of individuals, then it would seem our whole weekend together was nothing more than a charade,” the stepfather wrote to Perkins, according to the Post.  “Trust me… this will not be ignored nor swept aside,” Perkins replied. “It will be dealt with swiftly, but with prudence.”

In early summer, a non-House employee came forward with evidence of computer and cellphone screenshots suggesting Goodman had been unfaithful to his wife in suggestive or explicit photos and messages.     The activity involved all appeared consensual, but Goodman was called in and warned that if he ever engaged in acts with House staff or on state property, it would become Rosenberger’s business.

Representative Goodman denied all of it and said that ‘fake screenshots’ were being circulated,” 

When he resigned his House seat, Goodman said in a statement that he hadn’t served his constituents “in a way that reflects the best ideals of public service.” He has not responded to repeated requests for comment on media accounts published since then.

This story isn’t over, men are slowly coming forward saying Goodman either fondled them, had uncomfortable conversations with him.  Some of the men have released explict conversations Goodman had with men on Twitter and Craigslist.

 

CityFella

Australia says YES to same-sex marriage


Marriage equality could be legal by Christmas after 61.6% of participants in the voluntary survey approve a change to the law

Marriage equality advocates in Melbourne celebrate as the result of the postal survey is announced.

Marriage equality advocates in Melbourne celebrate as the result of the postal survey is announced. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

By: Paul Karp/UK Guardian

Australia has taken a decisive step towards legislating marriage equality by Christmas after 61.6% of voters in an unprecedented national postal survey approved a change to the law to allow couples of the same sex to marry.

With a turnout of 79.5% the result in the voluntary survey is considered a highly credible reflection of Australian opinion and gives marriage equality advocates enormous momentum to achieve the historic social reform. Australia’s chief statistician, David Kalisch, announced the results at a press conference in Canberra at 10am on Wednesday, revealing 7,817,247 people voted in favour and 4,873,987 voted against.

At a press conference in Canberra, Turnbull said that Australians had “spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality”.

Turnbull said the result was “unequivocal and overwhelming”, implicitly warning conservatives including in his own government that the public are “our masters” and the parliament must now deliver on the result.

“They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love. And now it is up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the Australian people asked us to do and get this done,” he said, stressing the law should change before Christmas.

At a rally in Melbourne, the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, said: “What a fabulous day to be an Australian – because in this survey the Australian people have declared overwhelmingly Australia is ready for marriage equality.

“And I just want to make one promise: today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate,” he said.

Bill Shorten celebrates the results of the same-sex marriage postal survey in Melbourne.
 Bill Shorten celebrates the results of the same-sex marriage postal survey in Melbourne. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Turnbull, same-sex marriage supporters in Australia’s ruling Liberal-National party Coalition, the Labor opposition, Greens and other cross-bench parties have reached a consensus around a cross-party bill that makes minimalist changes to protect religious freedom without legalizing discrimination by commercial service providers, such as cake makers, as some conservatives in the Coalition government have demanded.

Appearing alongside Turnbull, the finance minister, Mathias Cormann, said the cross-party bill was a “good starting point” but he believed “there is a need for some additional religious protections”, signalling amendments could still be contentious within the government.

The bill will be introduced in to the Senate on Wednesday for debate on Thursday and Shorten has offered the opposition’s support to help “stare down the conservatives seeking to delay marriage equality”.

A bill is expected to pass, with many opponents of marriage equality in parliament promising to respect the result, although parliament may consider amendments. Coalition parliamentarians, who were previously required to vote against marriage equality will now be given a free vote, Labor MPs are almost universally in favour and a majority of crossbenchers will also support the bill.

On Tuesday, Turnbull said the government “would not countenance”legalizing discrimination against same-sex weddings by commercial service providers and warned a rival conservative bill to do so would have “virtually no prospect” of passing parliament.

In a speech after the result Equality Campaign spokesman, Alex Greenwich, said: “Today love has had a landslide victory.”

“Together we have achieved something truly remarkable, a win for fairness and equality, not only for the LGBTI community and our families, but for all Australians,” he said.

Greenwich said the campaign had made more than 1 million  phone calls and knocked 100,000 doors, an “unprecedented” level of support that had exceeded “any campaign in our history”.

“In doing so it has delivered an unequivocal mandate to federal parliament to vote this through by the end of the year.”

With the positive result, Turnbull, a supporter of same-sex marriage leading a party that straddles both liberal and conservative traditions, looks to have finally achieved a win against reactionaries in his party that oppose the social reform.

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/charts/embed/nov/2017-11-15T00:54:29/embed.html

Some conservatives have suggested they will put forward their marriage bill in the Coalition party room in two weeks, but senior ministers including Cormann have protected the prime minister’s position by insisting the parliament will choose which bill and amendments to allow.

Same-sex marriage has been banned in Australia since 2004 when the Howard government changed the Marriage Act to define marriage as between a man and a woman. As many comparable countries such as the US and Britain allowed or legislated for same-sex marriage, Australia looked increasingly out of step. After the successful marriage equality referendum in Ireland in May 2015, pressure grew on the Australian government to legislate but the Coalition party room agreed on a national plebiscite instead, although there was no legal requirement to do so.

A crowd celebrates the results of the postal survey in front of the State Library of Victoria Wednesday.
 A crowd celebrates the results of the postal survey in front of the State Library of Victoria Wednesday. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

When Turnbull took the prime ministership from conservative predecessor Tony Abbott. In September 2015, he retained the Coalition’s commitment to hold a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage before changing the law.

Labor, the Greens and other opposition parties blocked the proposed plebiscite in the Senate in November 2016 and August 2017, leading the Turnbull government to launch a $122 million voluntary national postal survey to fulfill its election commitment to give Australians a say.

In a bruising three-month campaign, opponents of marriage equality including the Australian Christian Lobby, and the Catholic and Anglican churches in Sydney, claimed same-sex marriage would have far reaching negative consequences for gender education. Former prime ministers Tony Abbott and John Howard warned that religious freedom and freedom of speech were at risk.

The yes camp’s Equality Campaign combined with moderate Liberals, Labor, the Greens, unions and progressive campaign organisation Get Up to argue that same-sex marriage was a matter of equality and fairness.

The campaign featured everyday Australians, their friends and families, emphasising that the only question was whether LGBTI Australians should be able to marry the one they love.

Despite assertions from Turnbull that the survey would be overwhelmingly respectful , the campaign has been marred by homophobic incidents and campaign material which continued largely unabated despite a special law passed to apply electoral law safeguards to the survey, such as authorization requirements for campaign materials.

The campaign also featured two unsuccessful high court challenges against the expenditure of $122m for the survey, as marriage equality advocates fought to prevent the poll seen as an affront because it determined LGBTI people’s equality before the law by a majoritarian vote.

Public polling throughout the campaign showed consistent support for marriage equality and weekly estimates showed the survey was on-track for a record turnout.

The no campaign took increasingly bizarre turns, with Abbott using an assault that even his attacker said had nothing to do with marriage to rally Australians to his cause, and conservatives attempting to use rapper Macklemore’s performance of his hit Same Love at the rugby league grand final to claim the national campaign they called for had inappropriately politicized Australian institutions.

The cross-party bill will be debated in the Senate on Thursday and the parliamentary sitting week beginning 27 November, with supporters of marriage equality aiming to pass a bill through both houses of parliament before they rise on 7 December.

THAT GOOGLE MANIFESTO REALLY PUT EXECUTIVES IN A BIND (Google and Women)


Image result for google and women

By: Nitasha Tiku/Wired

A GOOGLE EMPLOYEE’S screed against workplace diversity thrust company executives into a tight spot: Discipline the author and risk criticism that Google is censoring speech, or stand by and inflame concerns that the company does not welcome women, an issue that is already the source of internal debate and a government investigation.

The 10-page missive was posted on an internal discussion board and went viral inside, and outside, the company Friday and Saturday. The document cited purported principles of evolutionary psychology to argue that women make up only 20 percent of Google’s technical staff because they are more interested in people rather than ideas, which the author considers an obstacle to being a good engineer. The author, James Damore, said Google’s liberal leanings and emphasis on training around “unconscious bias” have created an ideological echo chamber that make it difficult to discuss these issues openly inside the company.

Late Monday, Damore told Breitbart that he had been fired. (He confirmed this to WIRED, saying he was “fired for ‘perpetuating gender stereotypes.'”) Also Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees that the missive’s author had violated the company’s Code of Conduct, a Google spokesman confirms. In a memo first reported by Recode, Pichai said the author had crossed “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

The post sparked an internal and external uproar, with many Google employees shedding their traditional deference to the company’s confidentiality agreement to criticize the memo, and their employer, on social media.

Google’s new vice president of diversity and inclusion posted a response late Saturday that underscored the internal tension. “Like many of you, I found that (the post) advanced incorrect assumptions about gender,” wrote Danielle Brown, in a company-wide memo first reported by Gizmodo. At the same time, she added, “building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.”

Nicole Sanchez, the recently departed head of diversity at GitHub, understands the tension. “I guarantee this is the struggle they have inside the company: people who want to come out really strong against this manifesto and say there isn’t a place for this at Google,” she tells WIRED, while still maintaining “that an opinion shouldn’t jeopardize your job.”

“How do we ride that line that by law you are entitled to your opinions and write whatever you want but the culture we are trying to build does not support these ideas?” says Sanchez. “What you end up getting when something finally comes out is a such a compromise, a Frankenstein monster of a statement. Everyone got what they wanted and no one got everything they wanted.”

The controversial memo landed amid national debates over the limits of free speech and tensions within Silicon Valley over the role of women in tech companies, where most engineers, and top executives, are men. Speeches by political conservatives have been disrupted or blocked on many campuses. At the same time, several prominent venture capitalists have resigned their posts in recent months, following allegations that they harassed employees or entrepreneurs seeking funding. Google itself is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, which says it has found evidence of a gender gap in pay.

The post also drew some supportive comments on discussion boards for Google employees, underscoring that executives may alienate significant numbers of employees – and users – no matter what their response.

Before the firing, activists said Google’s response to the memo would demonstrate the company’s commitment to diversity. “Google can claim they value inclusion but this is a test of whether or not their values actually have any teeth,” Erica Baker, a former Google employee and cofounder of Project Include, told WIRED. “If they choose not to take measure against someone who has gone out of their way to make a large percentage of their coworkers feel excluded, then their inaction will speak much more loudly than their words have.”

Elizabeth Ames, the senior vice president of marketing, alliances, and programs at the Anita Borg Institute, which aims to advance women in technology, said tech companies historically have been reluctant to fire bad actors. “For years whenever anybody stepped forward with sexual harassment allegations, did anybody get fired? Not so much. Now we’re seeing at least some people held to account,” says Ames. She believed the author should have been fired for creating a “very divisive issue” inside the company.

In the memo, Damore took particular aim at Google’s recent emphasis on unconscious bias training, effectively claiming that hiring women and minorities is lowering the bar and he should be free to say that.

Even some Google employees who support the company’s diversity efforts wonder whether the company’s internal documents may have emboldened the memo’s author. Tim Chevalier, a Google engineer, says one internal document for reviewing prospective hires specifies that Google is not lowering the bar by hiring more women. The comment “came off as defensive and conceding ground,” he says.

UPDATED: 6:36 pm PT, August 7. This story has been updated to include Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s memo to employees. UPDATED: 7:02 pm PT, August 7. This story has been further updated to include Damore’s statement to Breitbart that he has been fired. UPDATED: 8:04 pm PT, August 7. WIRED included Damore’s confirmation that he was fired from Google.

Danish priests marry more gay couples every year


Danish priests marry more gay couples every year
Danish television doctor Charlotte Bøving (L) and partner Pernille Lok after their church wedding in May. Photo: John Randeris/Scanpix
The number of gay couples marrying in Danish churches has increased on a yearly basis since the law was changed in 2012.

 

416 same-sex couples have exchanged vows in churches around the country since the law change, according to figures from Statistics Denmark.

During 2012, the first year in which same-sex weddings were allowed, 51 couples were married, compared with 105 in 2016.

The total number of same-sex church weddings has increased every year since the law change came into effect.

Lesbian couples form the largest proportion of the weddings, according to the report.

Gay and lesbian couples have been able to marry in civil ceremonies in Denmark since 1989.

READ ALSO: Denmark maintains positive record on LGBTI rights

Bishop of Copenhagen Peter Skov-Jakobsen, who was at the forefront of the committee that developed the same-sex marriage ritual for the Danish church, told Ritzau that he was glad to see so many taking advantage of the new law.

Bishop Skov-Jakobsen also criticised the tone of the debate on the issue at the time of the law change.

“The tone was strong sometimes – it also got inappropriately strong – but when we look at the figures we can see that the LGBT community has taken to this opportunity,” he said.

The bishop added that only a minority of Danish priests continued to oppose same-sex church marriages.

 

“Priests that do not wish to conduct this type of marriage can be exempted. But the law is fortunately such that if a priest exempts him or herself, the couple will be referred to another priest that will conduct the ceremony,” he said.

“It is always possible to marry in a parish church. Neither the priest nor the parish council can prevent that,” Skov-Jakobsen added.

The differences between Danish marriage rituals for homosexuals and heterosexuals are subtle – the words for ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ are exchanged for ‘partner’, for example.

Priests are also advised to use a biblical text of their choice as the basis for their wedding sermon, as opposed to the traditional use of the story of creation from the book of Genesis.

Latina Vida


By: Bel Hernandez /Latino Magazine

At the age of 17, Cecilia Mota was already on her way to becoming an influential community leader, entrepreneur, radio host, motivational speaker, mentor, and women’s empowerment expert.That was when she was sent to an ad agency to deliver a baseball signed by her famous father, legendary baseball player Manny Mota (then an L.A. Dodger) for a dying patient.

There she met Carmen Hensch, a pioneer in the realm of Hispanic marketing. Hensch would become a lifelong friend and mentor who took her under her wing and taughther the art of creating, positioning and the importance of a public relations campaign.
That training would come in handy in 1997 when Cecilia was appointed as the Executive Director of her father’s Manny Mota International Foundation. She was already married and raising a two-year old. “When the foundation was handed to me I did not know anything about running a non-profit so I took to the internet to learn.” Additionally, she asked her board members for names of persons that could mentor her. She spent hours with them as they talked about grants, grant writing and funding. “I learned that your learning has to be intentional and that is what I teach leaders,” Cecilia relayed. “It is not going to come to you…you have to go find it.”

Soon Cecilia found herself embarking on the most ambitious enterprise of her life so far. In 1999, she traveled back to the Dominican Republic (with her child in tow) for two consecutive years to produce the Manny Mota Celebrity Classic. A three-day event which culminated in a baseball game. She flew in celebrities and sports dignitaries from all over the world, all there to support the mission of the charity organization to raise funds providing educational, health and recreational opportunities for underprivileged youth.

With the support of the president of the Dominican Republic, Cecilia was able to secure over $250,000 in sponsorships. She sought in-kind gifts for the more underprivileged attending the baseball game, and personally asked the president to donate a house as a giveaway. Amused, he laughed and remarked, “You’re brave and bold.” Cecilia recalls, “Hey, if you don’t ask you don’t get. The sky is not the limit for me…because when you are doing it for the good of someone else, you go all out.”

However, she soon found her true calling. Recalling how other women had helped her, she now found the need to pay it forward. It was about this time she began working with the National Latina Business Women’s Association, an organization which is dedicated to the development of women’s business and professional skills through their educational programs, financial workshops, and business referrals and networking. Cecilia dedicated seven years to the organization, working herself up from volunteer to serving three years as the national president.

Sometimes Latinas find themselves confronted with hard decisions when it comes to balancing family life and business. For Cecilia that choice was difficult, but in the end she decided to put her career on hold to help her then-husband launch his business. Unfortunately, the business did not survive and neither did her marriage. “I ended up broke, no home, nada — ni carro, living in one room. My kids and I were the little gypsies in one room.“ But with her parents’ help, Cecilia was able get back on her feet.
She bounced back and became a member of the board of the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. But she realized she preferred to work for the CHCC Foundation.“One of my initiatives at the CHCC Foundation was to develop a Latina Woman’s program for the Chamber,” Cecilia recounts. “That is how I met Maria Hernandez, one of the co-founders of Latina Vida.”

When Cecilia resigned from the CHCC Foundation, Hernandez promptly asked her to be fill the position of the executive director at Latina Vida.    Latina Vida was founded by Maria and two friends who came from a corporate background, and saw the lack of Latina diversity in the corporate world. Cecilia began by figuring out strategy, planning, and training on social media.

Rebranding started with a new website, LatinaVida.org. and she has added new programs to the organization’s “Rise To the Top” signature program. “I added the financial track because you can’t tell people, ‘go make more money’ and not teach them how to manage their money or grow their money,” Cecilia informs. “I guess that is why I’m always put into situations where I work structure and figure out what needs to be done,” she states. Sometimes things just fall into place. While promoting Latina Vida, Cecilia was offered the opportunity to host a radio show called Mujeres Y Yo. It airs on http://www.radiolatinoinc.com/ and for her, it’s just another way to continue empowering Latinas. “It’s all about reciprocity,” Cecilia smiles knowingly.