Angélica Pérez, PhD, is best known as the creative force, Publisher and CEO of NewLatina, a Latina empowerment online guide focusing on personal development and career success. Angélica´s career has been anchored by a driven desire to empower others, especially women. She is a practicing Clinical Psychologist and Certified Life Coach. Angélica is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and other Latino-themed online platforms. Recently, she became the first iVillage Latina iVoice, reporting on issues related to Latina women. Here is our Q&A with her.
Q&A with Angélica Pérez:
Q: Angélica, you are the founder and publisher of New Latina. What prompted you to create this platform for Latina women?
A: For the past 20 years, I have had the honor of working with and empowering Latina women through my professional work as a psychologist and mentor. A few years ago, I began to feel the need to connect with more than one woman at a time, and expand my empowerment practice to a community of Latina women. I launched New Latina last year. It’s one of the first Latina empowerment websites for English-dominant Latinas, focusing on personal growth, career success and bicultural identity.
Q: You coined the term “New Latina.” What does it mean to be a “New Latina?”
A: I created the concept “New Latina” when I began to observe and appreciate the presence of a sub-segment of Latina women who were English-dominant, bicultural (or connected to their Latino culture/heritage), ambitious and talented. I came to realize that many of these women were are also pioneers – navigating new spaces that their mothers or grandmothers had not entered before – such as being the first one to graduate from college or with a Master’s degree; or having a leadership position in the community or in corporate America. The term New Latina captures the essence of these emerging women who are embarking and succeeding in new spaces.
Q: You write about personal empowerment, Latina identity and achieving success. What personal stories in your life have been transformative and empowering to you?
A: As the oldest U.S.-born child to immigrant parents, I grew up being the cultural broker, translator and navigator for my parents and extended family. As a young girl, I quickly developed a strong sense of responsibility at home, especially as the child of a loving but alcoholic father. I grew up quickly. These years were heavy in the heart, but tremendously empowering.
Another transformative period in my life was when I became a single mother at the age of 28. I was completing my doctoral program in Clinical Psychology, and was about to begin an intense clinical training program at a hospital. With an 11-month old daughter to raise alone, while completing a rigorous and demanding doctoral program, I took on life by storm. It was the hardest and most painful experience of my life, but the strength I gained during that time is at the core of who I am today. I came out of that feeling triumphant, confident and empowered.
Q: How do you incorporate your professional background into the content and mission of New Latina?
A: The content and features on New Latina address the personal growth and career success of bicultural Latina women. With a background as a Psychologist and Life Coach, I naturally write articles focusing on personal growth, self-confidence, work/life balance, self-imposed barriers and self-care, among others. As a bicultural Latina myself, I understand how busy today’s Latinas are, and the personal and professional challenges they are faced with. Our mission is to provide smart and relevant content that will motivate Latinas to find solutions to life challenges and pursue their goals.
Q: What exciting things are you working on for the year 2012?
A: The year 2011 ended on a great note, after being awarded the 2011 Top Latin@ Blogger Award by LATISM (Latinos in Social Media). I’m looking forward to a year filled with creative and socially minded enterprises. We are focusing on solutions this year –and going beyond informational content. By the spring of 2012, we will have some exciting new things to offer our Latina community.
Q: Angélica, as a working professional and mother of four children, how do you manage to do all that you do?
A: While I love being a mother and wife, I equally enjoy my career and being creative as a social entrepreneur. Being able to do everything I love makes me feel balanced in my life. My secret to managing a busy life is not allowing unrealistic expectations control how I spend my time. I don’t cook everyday, I don’t keep a super clean house, and I delegate tasks I don’t enjoy doing. I also believe in living fully in the moment. When I’m working on a project, I am fully focused on that. But when it’s time to be with my children, they are all that matter to me at that moment. This makes it easier to feel like I’m enjoying life as it comes. Last but not least, I never, ever, feel guilty about what I have not done or should have done. Guilt blocks you emotionally and mentally, and it limits your potential for success and happiness.