Cristina pictured with Jennifer Mc Kay, (left) Cristina’s mentor, business partner and Rodan + Fields RFX Achiever and Sandra Duhe, Ph.d, (right)Cristina’s professor, dear friend, mentor and Rodan + Fields business partner
Cristina Proaño Beazley is a Rodan + Fields consultant / entrepreneur whose business is succeeding by helping women grow personally, professionally and financially. Read her touching story here.
NENANI: Had you thought about moving to the US when growing up?
CPB: My parents are/were from South America. My father is from Quito, Ecuador and my beloved mother was from La Paz, Bolivia. Mami unfortunately passed away in January of 2015. She was, and will always be, my inspiration, my mentor, my best friend and my biggest supporter. She was an incredibly strong and brilliant woman who always believed in me. I could write a book about her life and the many incredible lessons that she taught me.
I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma a little over a year after my parents married, while my dad was pursuing two master’s degrees from the University of Tulsa. We then moved to Houston due to his petroleum engineering job with Schlumberger. My beloved brother Andres was born there. Dad’s career then took us to Esher, Surrey in England for two years. Moving around gave me a wordly experience—it opened my eyes to the world, but more importantly, to be open to different people and different cultures. It gave me the ability to adapt in every situation.
Throughout my childhood, I was also able to travel extensively to Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina, where my maternal grandparents were living at the time. In March of 1987, we moved to Quito, Ecuador. Dad decided to take a break from petroleum engineering and became president /CEO of my grandfather’s tourism company. My years in Ecuador were amazing for many reasons. I had the incredible opportunity to connect with my very large extended family to discover more about my roots. I also was able to find out more about my grandfather’s company and that was when I realized that entrepreneurship was truly part of my DNA. My grandfather was known as the founding father of tourism in Ecuador. He traveled the world sharing his vision of giving people the opportunity to discover this breathtakingly beautiful and diverse country. He worked tirelessly to make Ecuador a world class travel destination. His and my dad’s very hard work for the love of this land and their entrepreneurial spirits inspired me to forge my own professional path.
Cristina’s beloved parents: Elena and Eduardo, pictured with their grandson David
NENANI: What is your current profession? How did you prepare for it, both in education and prior experience?
CPB: I obtained an undergraduate degree in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism and Sociology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Shortly after graduation, I pursued a master’s degree in Communication with an emphasis Public Relations and minor in marketing from the same institution. While I was working on my master’s degree, a fellow master’s colleague and friend recommended me for a position as an Account Executive for a prestigious media company. I was offered the job, accepted, and went in without a client list– so I had to build one from scratch. And at the time, I was a full commission employee. I had to succeed at all costs—especially since I had to finance my husband’s degree in Architecture (he already had a degree in Industrial Design but chose to change careers and the Architecture curriculum was so demanding that he did not have much time to work). I had no handouts in my job and worked tirelessly to build a respectable client list on my own terms. By the time that I decided to quit, I had literally doubled my salary from when I started.
Success, however, came at a cost: my monthly goals soared due to my consistency in achieving and surpassing them and my commissions decreased every year. I felt penalized for achieving my goals, which did not make any sense at all. Also, the long hours were incredibly difficult– it felt like I would never stop working. The stress began to take a toll– especially when I found myself pregnant with our first son. I knew in my heart that, as much as my career had fulfilled me professionally as well as financially, I did NOT want to bring that stress to my home. In addition, I did not want to be at the mercy of a corporation deciding my goals: I wanted to make my own. I longed to be able to stay home with my children and quit when our first son was four months old. I loved my time with him!
However, I wanted the best of both worlds—to be able to be with my children while experiencing professional and financial fulfillment on my own time. This is when my former boss Shanna Nauman approached me with an intriguing business opportunity. This is a woman who was a mentor to me, who has extensive professional experience and who quit her job as Vice President and General Manager of the company for all of Louisiana four months prior to me because she wanted more time with her family. In addition to all of her professional accolades, she was always one of those incredibly successful women who believed in uplifting others and always encouraging and mentoring them to achieve their own success—and that was what I always wanted to do. She explained that she had partnered with Doctors Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, the Stanford-trained dermatologists and founders of Proactiv, who had created their name sake company.
Cristina with her mentor/ former boss who introduced her to Rodan + Fields, Shanna Naumann (pictured far right) along with their business partners Rebecca Doucet and Christie Faugout
This company offered more skincare solutions than just the teen acne brand that Proactiv targets: with Rodan + Fields they created multi-med therapy skincare solutions for aging skin, for sensitive skin, for adult acne and for dull skin. These doctors’ legacy brand was poised to follow the global domination of Proactiv, allowing entrepreneurs like myself to build the business of their dreams and to empower other women and men to do the same. I was immediately interested because I knew that with the incredible global domination that they achieved with Proactiv, the best was yet to come with their legacy brand. The thought of building my business on my terms was a perfect fit and an answered prayer! I work with a brilliant team of incredibly supportive women. These women come from various professions and include attorneys, CEO’s, a professor at Harvard and cardiologist, marketing executives and the list goes on. We all are inspired to support women and our motto is women helping women.
NENANI: What would you say are your contributions to your community and the country?
CPB: One of the biggest reasons that I decided to pursue a master’s degree focused in public relations is because I am passionate about building relationships in my work and personal life—and in order to do so, effective communication is essential. When I was working on my master’s degree, I chose the topic of effective communication with Latin publics in the U.S. as my topic. I was so tired of seeing us portrayed as maids on television. I thought about how important it is for people not only to understand how to view us, but how to be able to connect with us. As a woman of Latin American descent in the United States, I feel compelled to share my story and to correct misconceptions about our many cultures. I was invited to share findings from my professional paper at the Association for Education of Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference in August of 2005. It was a very special moment. In addition to relationship building, I believe it is my duty to continue to inform people of our cultures as well as dispel myths and misconceptions about who we are.
I am honored to have had the opportunity to help my clients in my former position. It was wonderful to have been named Account Executive of the year in 2005 and other various accolades, but my biggest satisfaction came with seeing how my efforts helped my clients’ businesses grow. I loved it when clients would share how much the advertising schedules that I designed helped them gain new clients. When I quit my job, I kept in touch with my clients and have maintained excellent relationships.
Cristina pictured with Betsy Malambri, her former Local sales Manager at her former job , friend, mentor and Rodan + Fields business partner
In my capacity as a Rodan + Fields consultant/entrepreneur, I have the honor of helping women grow personally, professionally and financially. I feel that what I have to offer with this incredible business is a gift– so I am compelled to share it. I am helping my customers achieve great skin and self- confidence. One of my customers recently remarked how she used to feel incredibly self-conscious about her skin but now is free of that! I feel that I am also helping my business partners achieve freedom from financial pressures. Our local economy has been hurt due to its dependence on oil and gas. Rodan + Fields has given them bill-paying money, funded vacations, and has provided for those whose spouses have experienced pay- cuts due to our economy (including myself). The beauty of this business is that I can continue to serve in this capacity on a national and soon- to- be global basis. We recently opened in Canada and will expand into Australia later this year and will continue to develop on a global basis.
I believe that my most important contributions will be to raise our sons to be excellent global citizens. I want them to always know where they came from and to keep God, our culture and our values at the forefront of all of their endeavors.
NENANI: Why have you decided to stay in the US?
CPB: We moved back to the US in 1994 (Plano, Texas) when my dad was still working for the representative branch of my grandfather’s company, then moved to Louisiana in 1998. I have been here ever since, as I met and married my husband here. I also love this is a country that embraces so many different cultures. That being said, I will always love my Ecuadorian and Bolivian roots and will never forget them. I love those roots because they taught me the value and importance of family and the importance of walking a straight path, in addition to many additional wonderful aspects. I love this country for many reasons— there are tremendous opportunities for all.
When I think of the U.S. I think of freedom –and I am a huge believer!! This country has given me the opportunity to achieve this freedom—to me this means the ability to do what I want when I want. This is why I do what I do every day. My almost 9-year-old son fortunately still asks me to have lunch with him and his friends at school—and I am able to do that whenever I want. So, a typical day will consist of virtual meetings with my business partners, checking on my clients via phone, e-mail, or listen to a training call before I go and see my son. I love being able to work on my own schedule!
Cristina pictured with her family: husband Adam, sons David, 8 and Daniel, 3
NENANI: What do you feel is your passion? Can you describe how this came about and how you express and live this passion?
CPB: My passion is to serve and bless others. I believe in the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated, and my mom taught me this as a little girl. Mami always told me to let my light shine, and I tell this to my sons every day. To me, this means serving others with love, compassion and professionalism. It means being supportive of one another: cheering each other on in the good times and being there for each other in the bad times.
NENANI: What advice would you give to other Latina professional women, whether coming from Ecuador or other countries, or already in the US, to grow in their career?
CPB: I would say : 1) Believe in yourself and 2) Be yourself. Remember where you came from. I am proof that you can maintain your roots, your heritage, customs and history and yet still assimilate into this wonderful country. Love is a universal language and I strive to express that every day in my profession.
NENANI: Anything else you would like to share with us?
CPB: Ana, I am honored that you asked me to participate in this interview. I congratulate you for your tremendous work in promoting the success and support of Latinas. I feel so blessed to have reconnected and to be a part of this extraordinary work that you are doing. I believe that we all are making such a difference because we are all working for the success of our communities. My mami always said “hechos, no palabras”(deeds, not words) – we will always be communicating who we are by the work we do. Surely people are gaining a better understanding of our countries and our roots thanks to this. It is incredible to see Latina women supporting and building each other up. That, to me, is a HUGE key to success and happiness in life.
Thank you so much Cristina for sharing your touching and inspirational story with us and for all the wonderful things you are doing to empower yourself and other women!
Do you know an inspiring Latina who deserves to be featured? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.