Architect of Change of the Week: Nely Galan

This week, our Sunday Paper Q&A interview shined the spotlight on Architect of Change of the Week Nely Galan, a self-made media mogul, women’s empowerment advocate, immigrant and dynamic leader. Galan was the first female Latina president of a U.S. television network (Telemundo).

Galan now devotes her work to teaching other women how to become entrepreneurs. Her latest book, “Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self Reliant, and Rich in Every Way,” is about becoming successful on your own terms.

Was there one particular moment in your life that motivated you to become “self made?”

Galan: Yes, in my first job as a young station manager of a television station at age 22. The job became my 24-hour-a-day life and I acted and felt as if the business was my own. One day, three years into the job, I walked into work to find out the station had been sold. I didn’t even know it was for sale. I felt like I had been cheated on and now I was being dumped by my love. Sadness turned to anger. I confronted my boss about my devastation only to hear the harsh words, “Go get your own chips! Go start your own business!”

I went home angry and frustrated and a couple of days later when my anger began to subside, I thought, “Why don’t I go get my own chips. I don’t ever want to feel this hurt again. I will never work for anyone again.” My boss did me a favor. That was the beginning of it all.

Your book is the culmination of nearly four years on the road of meeting and training women. What’s one story that especially resonated with you?

Galan: In the book one of my chapters is called, “In Your Pain Is Your Brand.” I met so many women on the road that had the worst things happen to them. For some, that pain paralyzed them but for most of the others, the pain had guided them to their mission and their success. There was one lady, Gloria in Utah, who took physical abuse from her husband and then created a trauma massage business which healed so many others. This woman turned her pain into profit and her mission.

As the daughter of immigrants, what did you learn from your parents that has informed your own journey?

Galan: My book is dedicated to my parents. As immigrants, they sacrificed so much to bring me to a country where I could have freedom of speech and all the possibilities in the world. I have never taken the privilege of being an American for granted. My parents taught me to be grateful, hardworking, patriotic to this country, humble and unentitled. I wrote a chapter in the book called “Think Like an Immigrant” because I feel those are the values that most people are hungry for, in order to find meaning and appreciation in what they do every day.

As a women’s empowerment advocate, what were your thoughts on the comments made about women made during the presidential debates? What do you think this election means for women overall?

Galan: Women in this country are at a crossroads. We are in the most powerful time in history for women. Multi-cultural women are the sleeping giant of the economy and Latinas in the U.S. are the number one emerging market in the world. All together, we are the number one consumers in the country and our vote can make or break a president. We have unlimited power and it’s time we use it. We cannot be silent. We have to be brave and we have to speak up when we are being offended. We need to take the power that so many women before us have fought for and that we are now inheriting. Our power to buy from companies that support us and our power to vote for politicians that we believe in are the greatest forces we have for leverage. This is a moment to unite, understand, put aside judgments and align with each other. We need to be the juggernaut that we can be. I am with her, I hope all of you will be too.

What will you be thinking about this upcoming week?

Galan: This year, writing my book Self Made and touring the country has been grueling. Another challenge, another climb. Life is never easy for women. But when I am feeling tired or grouchy, complaining over my schedule, I go online. I look up Hillary Clinton’s schedule. I see her daily calendar where (in spite of all her lifetime of achievements) she does five, seven or nine events per day, proving herself over and over, one speech at a time. I then get over my bad mood and realize if she can do it, I can do it and you can do it, too.

Nely is a true Architect of Change, helping create a more caring, conscious and compassionate community.

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