Daniela Guevara’s natural curiosity lead her to find her passion in radio and Mass Communications, and thanks to her commitment to excel throughout her school and career, she is now forging her way in sales and business development at NBCUniversal. She continues to live her passion, building her career while making herself available as a resource to other Latinas. Read on for her story of hope and empowerment.
NENANI: Had you thought about moving to the US when growing up?
Daniela: No, moving to the US was never even a topic of conversation in my family. After a natural disaster happened in my hometown in Mexico, and we lost everything, my parents made the decision to move us to the United States. My dad had been temporarily in Georgia, so in a matter of two days, we packed up and took off to the US without a set plan, other than looking for a second opportunity. I was 13, so having my world completely changed seemed like the end of the world as a teenager. Now, I realize that my parents made the best decision they could have made, but it took me many years and experiences to get to this point of appreciation for their sacrifices and efforts. Now, I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else.
NENANI: What is your current profession? How did you prepare for it, both in education and prior experience?
Daniela: I currently work for NBCUniversal in Media Sales and Business Development in New York. I never thought that I would be in sales, but throughout the years, I discovered my passion for it. Since the age of 6, I have worked as a radio personality, and as far as I can remember, I always knew that I wanted to go to college for Mass Communications. I would find any activity related to Communications and volunteer or work for nearly nothing.
It was all about doing what I wanted to do. Even when I moved to the US, I quickly found a radio station to continue working as an on-air personality. In high school, regardless of my professor’s disapproval of my accent, I worked in the school newscast, and was a columnist for the city’s local newspaper. These experiences were never lucrative, but would allow me to have a strong college application. Later, these experiences would help me receive a $60,000 scholarship to a private college in Georgia where my professors were key players in the media industry. A dream come true.
At college, I worked more than I work now in the real world. Mass Communications is my passion, so I was like a kid at an amusement park wanting to try everything. I volunteered any chance I had to be part of various projects within the department. Not only did this help me gain some experience, but it also helped me develop great relationships with others who would become also key people in the industry, and allowed me to showcase my talents and loyalty to a project. Later, those things would become very important in my career.
Taking on more responsibility was key for me. As I continued to work at a radio show in Atlanta while in college, I was also working for no money for CNN Radio as a correspondent, and managing to be the college’s TV Station and Radio Station Manager. Unlike many college students, I spent most of my time working, but it was absolutely okay since everything I was doing was related to my passion, and was done with one sole purpose, to grow as a strong candidate for a great job in the future.
NENANI: What do you consider are your contributions to your community?
Daniela: When I had just moved to the US, I was assigned to a couple who mentored me through my initial years in the country. We would meet once a week during school hours and they would help me with my homework, or just talk to me. It was nice just being there with them because I felt safe. At the time, I didn’t realize the impact of their time devoted to me, but now I realize that they kept my spirits up, and helped me stay strong to face my everyday challenges. It wasn’t easy being one of the only two Latinas in my middle school. It wasn’t easy being a teenager and dealing with racial discrimination and exclusion in school and on the streets. It was tough, but those mentors made it be okay.
Now, I devote myself to being a voice of hope and empowerment to those who are facing a challenging situation. I have volunteered my time to go speak to high schools and meet young Latinos with a lot of potential for their future and for this country. Sometimes, they just need someone to believe in them, or someone they can identify with. Speaking to college students who are about to face the real world has also been part of my strategy to contribute to the community. I stay in constant contact with the people I meet, and I focus on empowering them through my social media outlets. I want them to see what I have accomplished, so they believe that they can do the same. I want them to say, “If she can do it, I can do even more!”
Throughout my years working as a radio personality, I created a fan base, to which I now devote my efforts to empower, understand, and encourage to go after whatever goal they have. No matter the age, I want to be that safe place for them, just like my mentors were to me.
NENANI: What is your passion? Can you describe how this came about and how you express and live this passion?
Daniela: I discovered my passion by just being curious. At a very young age, I used to sneak out of summer camp at a library, and walk into the radio station next door to ask for a job. The magic of communicating, entertaining an audience, and impacting someone’s life is fascinating to me. Of course, being just a 6-year old, I got turned away several times, but one day I ran into the General Manager and he understood that hunger in me to be a radio personality. He spoke to my parents and gave me an opportunity. Even though I had to wake up at 4:30 AM every morning during the summer to be at the morning radio show, it was never an issue for me. I loved it. Without realizing it, I had found my passion. A combination of my curiosity to try something I found fascinating, and the support from my parents was key. From there, that passion evolved. Throughout the years, I learned more about the business side of Mass Communications, and became more involved on that. I am now able to combine three of my strongest passions to make up my career: Challenges, Creativity, and Mass Communications.
Taking on challenges – being in business development, I have to have tough skin to take many “no’s” and do anything possible to turn them into a “yes”. I love the challenge, and always see it as an opportunity to grow.
Creativity – there will always be competition, but what makes you different and takes you to the top is what makes you unique. I use creativity to look after my client’s best interest, keep innovating, and keep our audience engaged. It’s a commitment to everyone and I am up for the challenge.
Mass Communications – I still get to be involved with my initial passion. Media is crucial for the communities and has an impact all over the world. I still get to be part of that very important piece that celebrates our freedom of speech, manifest a form of art, and has the ability to connect the world.
NENANI: What advice would you give to other Latina professional women, whether coming from other countries or already in the US, to grow in their career?
Be curious, and never conform.
If you are coming from another country, know that it will be one of your biggest challenges in life and in your career, but don’t see it as such. Face the experience as that, an experience. You are absolutely fortunate to be facing the situation because you get to learn and develop through it. It’s an amazing opportunity to bring the best out of you. It will not be easy, but it is absolutely doable. To keep your head on the right state of mind, keep a journal. Write the challenges that you are facing and be completely honest on how they make you feel. Afterwards, you are also responsible for writing how you overcame them. Think of this journal as the book that will be published once you get to the top. No matter how bad the situation gets, just see it at as another great chapter for your biography book, making it even more interesting. At the end of it, there is a success story to tell, and that is the main focus.
For those Latinas already in the US, never forget where you came from, but don’t let it define who you are. Be empowered to be whoever and whatever you want to be despite of where society wants to place you. You are a Latina, and should never be boxed for that, on the contrary, let’s fight for those boundaries and stereotypes to not define who we are and who we should be.
NENANI: Anything else you would like to share with us?
Daniela: It is important to remember to work hard to climb the ladder and achieve our goals, but it is just as important to always be a resource and a support for other Latinas. We need to be there for one another, and help each other succeed. Grow your network, commit to be loyal, and learn to be a resource.
Thank you Daniela for sharing your story and keeping us motivated to stay curious!