Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is a successful entrepreneur, an award-winning author, a public speaker, a mami and a Latinnovator extraordinaire! Graciela’s publishing and marketing firm Gracefully Global, LLC is the premiere publisher of entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership stories from the Latino community, her award-winning book Latinnovating is used in college classrooms across the country and her new children’s book Good Night Captain Mama promises to provide both the Latina and military community with long-overdue literary representation. Join us as we shine this week’s Latina Spotlight on Graciela Tiscareño-Sato!
You have quite an impressive resume, having gone from being a military officer to becoming the founder of Gracefully Global Group, LLC. Tells us about your career trajectory, so far.
Today I am the founder and Chief Creative Officer of San Francisco Bay Area niche publishing and marketing firm Gracefully Global Group, LLC. We are the premiere publisher of entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership stories from the Latino community. To get here, the following roles on my resume were needed: military officer, aviator, global marketing manager, author and speaker.
Previously I have worked in a global corporate sustainability role, in an industry creating software-based technologies designed to enable brains to collaborate from wherever they may be, without commuting and polluting. The technologies we developed were also about significant energy reductions for large global corporations – reducing corporate footprints in multiple ways: less energy to operate, less cars on the road and less planes in the air. I also recently wrapped up work in the solar energy industry developing the marketing strategy and content for an Israeli company that innovates the power electronics behind the solar panels.
I have positioned my expertise at the intersection of green economy industries, the multicultural Latino community and content development. My award-winning book Latinnovating is used in college classrooms and schools in subjects ranging from communications to Honors English to Sustainability to Entrepreneurship. I speak frequently at universities and colleges, business schools, industry conferences, education conferences, middle school and high school career events. You can see my speaking topics here.
Currently I am interviewing the next set of “Latinnovators” for the next book which I hope to launch next year. Ahead of that, on the 4th of July 2013, I plan to launch my first children’s book titled Good Night Captain Mama. It’s a reassuring, bilingual bedtime book for ages 4-6 to explain the meaning of military service, uniforms and the colorful patches on my flight suit which my son calls my “pilot costume.” I can find no children’s books on the market written by Latina military veterans so I hope to start a trend that will encourage more of us to tell our stories gained through our military service.
Why did you create Gracefully Global Group, LLC?
I created this marketing, content development and publishing firm to create messages, literature and products that will cause actionable inspiration in the audiences they address. I believe that multicultural marketing has a long way to go and those of us with extensive education and work experiences doing all types of marketing processes must lead. Reflecting on my extensive freelance writing career and my corporate marketing background, I decided that creating with the written word was the strength that could bring the most value to clients and customers in a wide variety of formats. The process of writing whatever needs written for specific audiences to achieve specific results is fascinating and never gets boring for me.
As keynote speaker and publisher, I’m focused on bring innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership stories from the Latino community to the global audiences where they can have the most impact. There are many people in many countries eager to learn about Latinos in the USA; once you start to understand how huge that global market is, it gets really exciting to do this type of work.
I also founded this business with my husband to teach our children delayed gratification over instant gratification that’s far too prevalent in today’s young people and in our culture. Creating books and literature is a many months process; marketing, speaking and promoting our products is an ongoing process requiring discipline, planning, and tenacity. Our children help out with our business in age-appropriate ways and learn every time they do. I want them to have permission to create their own, whatever that may be.
What led to you to write Latinnovating?
My experience working in a global corporate sustainability role led me to wonder what, if anything, Latinos were contributing to the American green economy. An article I was commissioned to write for Hispanic MBA magazine gave me the opportunity to explore the curiosity. This quest led me to the people featured in Latinnovating and to many others that will make up future volumes in this planned series. I’m already actively interviewing for Volume 2!
Here’s my statement from my media kit (at www.latinnovating.com MEDIA tab) about why I wrote this book:
- First, I am a military veteran and former aviator. I have seen from the air and from the ground more of this Earth than most people ever will see. I have tremendous and deep appreciation for our planet because I understand the smallness of it. I get the big picture. That’s a core value.
- Second, I have worked in a global corporate sustainability role, in an industry creating software-based technologies designed to enable brains to collaborate from wherever they may be, without commuting and polluting. The technologies we developed were also about significant energy reductions for large global corporations – reducing corporate footprints in multiple ways: less energy to operate, less cars on the road and less planes in the air.
- Third, I’m a highly educated Latina and part of a vast network of educated Latinos. I know first-hand the importance of higher education to propel you into leadership positions where you can actually make a difference. I know the difference between talk and action. I share the culture of the Latino innovators of whom I write. I, like them, have always known not to waste, to always reuse and to always conserve. While Americans generally talk about “going green” Latinos have already been living this way. It’s who we are. It’s only natural to find Latinos innovating and in positions of leadership in our new green economy. I’m determined to bring these stories into the light and into the mainstream, to change the conversation about Latinos in America.
- Fourth, I’m an insatiable writer. At every stage of my life, regardless of actual career title, I have made time to communicate and publish stories that matter, stories that inform and inspire. It’s who I am. People fascinate me. I like to disseminate stories of mentors and their paths to success directly to our youth. As an entrepreneur, I have found a way to take this passion and creativity and turn it into a business that empowers future environmental entrepreneurs while giving young people the all-important long-term view of higher education.
- Lastly, I’m a mother of three future global citizens who will inherit the Earth in whatever condition we leave it when my generation passes. That more than anything motivates me to inspire our youth to emulate the environmental entrepreneurs and their leadership which fill the pages of my book. My children’s current and future health and lifestyles depends on this.
What advantages do you think Latinos have in the sustainability movement?
I share the culture of the Latino innovators of whom I write. I, like them, have always known not to waste, to always creatively reuse and to always conserve. While Americans generally talk about “going green,” and all the lifestyle changes that represents, we Latinos have already been living this way. It’s who we are. It’s only natural to find Latinos innovating and in positions of leadership in our new green economy. I’m privileged to have been entrusted to tell their stories.
I talk about this creative advantage when I speak at educational conferences. I have a key message for K-12 teachers: I ask educators to please stop looking at their Latino students only in socio-economic terms (a.k.a. “disadvantaged”) and instead look at them through a different prism, to see that they’re actually “creatively advantaged” then figure out how to harness that gift. Outcomes typically follow expectations. The stories in Latinnovating have the impact of causing educators to experience “expectation reform”—I’ve seen it happen; I’ve seen it happen to school board members too. I want this to happen in classrooms all around the country so that our children are seen as potential “Latinnovators,” as economic contributors to America and not continuously positioned as needy takers.
What has been your most important professional or social accomplishment, thus far?
My first book Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them –The first book showcasing Latino-led innovation and entrepreneurship in the green economy (ISBN: 978-0-9834760-0-9) became an Amazon bestseller in the multicultural category one year ago on my birthday. In April of last year, at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, at was selected as 1st Place Winner of the 2012 Latino Books into Movie Awards, Documentary category. I have already worked with a producer to draft the treatment for the screenplay. Sometime in the next few years, if all resources come together, you’ll see some of the Latinnovators’ stories at a theatre near you!
Then, in the middle of last year, my publishing firm picked up three honors at the 2012 International Latino Book Awards in New York City for Latinnovating.
- 1st Place, Best Business Book
- 1st Place, Best Nonfiction eBook
- 2nd Place, Best Nonfiction Young Adult Book
In 2012, I was privileged to share the stage with our Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as keynote speaker at the Green Schools National Conference. That was a tremendous honor for me and a day I will never forget.
That our first published work achieved all this has motivated us to commit to publishing a new book every 18 months. Besides the children’s book mentioned above, we have several other projects in the planning stages, including an important collaboration with the ELLA Leadership Institute.
In what way(s) have you seen your work/book/public speaking impact others?
Two things come immediately to mind:
- The school board member in Denver who immediately after I delivered my keynote speech approached me and purchased 15 books for her fellow school board members. She said, “they need their expectations about Latino students reformed,” using the words I had just spoken from the stage.
- The middle school science teacher who arranged my first reading at an east coast school told me that one of his 7th grade Latinas went home with her copy of Latinnovating and made her mother sit down with her and listen to the first story about Carmen. She told Mr. Leonard that after she shared that chapter with her mother she told her, “Mami, THIS is why I want to go to college.” She used my book to start the conversation about what her life could be if she becomes an educated person. I know in my gut she’ll be the first in her family to go to a university.
Those are two impacts I know of; I pray there are others that I may one day hear about because I believe that feedback is a precious gift.
What is your next big dream?
We will be launching a membership site this year as part of our www.gracefullyglobal.com web presence to teach others the processes we have created to conceptualize, plan, write, market, publish and market (*for emphasis) original works that win awards and launch speaking careers. I know there are many Latinas who want to learn how to do what I’ve done and this is the best way to teach many while continuing to build my business to bring more literature to life. Members will enjoy premium content in bite-sized, ACTIONABLE chunks, with the goal to achieve the skills, templates, confidence and knowledge to publish and successfully promote original works across various print and electronic platforms. The site will capitalize our business and I’ll be free to bring more books featuring more accomplished Latinos with stories that have not been written, to the world. We’ll create information products as part of this next phase so that I don’t have to travel everywhere to speak to middle school students; the teacher will be able to share chapter-by-chapter content about the lives of “Latinnovators” in digital form. I’m very excited about realizing this next phase of the business plan!
Currently I am interviewing the next set of ten “Latinnovators” for the next volume in the book series which I hope to launch next year. Ahead of that, on the 4th of July 2013, I will launch my first children’s book titled “Good Night Captain Mama.” It’s a reassuring, bilingual picture book for ages 3-8 to explain the meaning of military service, uniforms and the colorful patches on my flight suit which my son calls my “pilot costume.” It will explain why mommies serve and will make the point quite visually with the Latino characters that we serve this nation every day with pride and honor.
What is your advice to Latina students and professionals?
For far too long, I have been bothered by negative media images of Latinos. I find it sad that mainstream American media does not regularly seek and feature successful Latinos like those in my book. I want positive images of Latinos to become part of our collective consciousness as a nation. I’m determined to bring these stories into the light and into the mainstream, to change the conversation about Latinos in America.
The advice is this: be angry about the portrayal of Latinas in the media. Vow to change it. Understand “they” won’t come looking for stories to shatter their stereotype. WE will write these stories to document our accomplishments. WE must present and promote them so that our entrepreneurial spirit will finally be seen and appreciated by the masses. It’s got to be an intentional effort to show the opposite of the status quo to begin to change minds about the images that the words “Latino” and “Hispanic” represent. It’s what I learned to do as a marketer –if you want to change minds, you must show the success stories. WE must create these positive media images and very importantly, bring them into MAINSTREAM media. It’s not enough to preach to our choir; we must find the side door or back door to put ourselves in influential places so that WE are making content decisions to show to America at large.
WRITE your memoirs, write about your successes. Pitch to mainstream media. Stand up and get visible. It’s time to flood the blogs, the TV, the magazines, YouTube, etc with positive media images of educated, accomplished Latinas and Latinos from our communities. It’s time to collectively assert our political power. When we do this, we’ll open opportunities for ourselves and others that we can’t begin to imagine. But it starts with our own action to promote our own successes.
Latinnovating is available in print and Kindle versions via Amazon.com
For author-signed copies, purchase through www.latinnovating.com