Today’s New Latina Spotlight shines on Lisa Velazquez, founder & CEO of Wonder Womyn!
Country of Origin or Family Heritage: I am first generation Puerto Rican and I was born in Queens, NY. I grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY.
Family & cultural heritage: My father was born and raised in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico. He migrated to the Bronx, NY at the age of 14. My mother was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and she migrated to Spanish Harlem in New York, NY at the age of 4. My father is the youngest of nine, my mother is the fourth oldest of eleven and I am the youngest of two (girls).
Career and Professional Information: I attended Teachers College, Columbia University for a Master of Arts, Clinical Psychology and the City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice for a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies and Certificate in Puerto Rican/Latin American Studies.
Current occupation and title: Founder/CEO of Wonder Womyn, Sex Educator, Lovestyle Coach™ & Motivational Speaker
Career/Professional Bio: I am the Founder and CEO of Wonder Womyn, where I am a Sex Educator, Lovestyle Coach™ and Motivational Speaker. I offer women straight practical advice with compassion like a trusted girlfriend over lattes and mimosas through private coaching, workshops and my online advice columns. With a deep passion for empowering women, I couple my professional expertise with my intuitive guidance to get to the heart of every love matter. My overall goal: to help women revamp their sex, dating and relationship styles by guiding them through self-love to lead more fulfilling love lives.
Professional/Social Achievements: Please share with us all the professional/social achievements you are most proud of.
I am the first person in my family to earn a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. During my undergraduate studies, I received a Commencement Award for Distinguished Service for serving as the President of the Association for Puerto Rican Studies and the Student Government, Senior Representative. Throughout serving my college community, I learned how to run a business, create a budget, negotiating skills, leadership, public speaking, community service, politics and the power of networking. This is why my friends starting calling me Wonder Womyn, hence my company’s name.
In 2006, I became the first Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Program Coordinator for The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc. at Walton Educational Campus within six high schools in the Bronx, NY. About 16 months later in 2007, (while I was still in graduate school) I took a leap of faith and quit my full time job and started my own business (Wonder Womyn LLC). In 2009, I was featured on Power Women Radio for their Valentine’s Day show to discuss the topic Love in the Current Economy. It was my first time on the radio and I fell in love with it!
Later that year, I was approached to become the first advice columnist on sex, dating & relationships for Identity Magazine, which was a dream come true for me. I am grateful that I continue to be approached by numerous publications and radio shows. Becoming a Contributing Author in The New Latina Guide to a Fabulous 2011 Year and being selected to participate in the Mentoring Hermanas Initiative with New Latina are two achievements that make me proud to be Latina and grateful that I was brave enough to follow my passion. I am currently in the process of redesigning my website and my latest venture for Latinas! If you enjoy reading my articles here on New Latina, you’ll love what I have coming up next! So stay tuned to for the re-launch all coming in Spring of 2012. Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates. Interested in working with me? Contact me at email@example.com.
Who Has Always Inspired You to Be Your Best? My parents and my sister have always instilled a strong work ethic in me that has inspired me to be my best. Generally, people that do their best to make smart choices, share their knowledge, that have overcome adversity to achieve their career and life goals that remember to give back are always a source of inspiration for me.
25 Million Latinas and Counting! Your thoughts? It is absolutely amazing. Let’s continue to show this world what we are REALLY made of by inspiring each other to pursue an education, career ambitions, self-love and happiness. This will create strong Latina leaders (on the inside and out) that are influential and in powerful positions for years to come. Que Viva Latina!
Your Favorite Magazines? New Latina, Essence, Self, Oprah, Latina.
Your Favorite TV show? Too many to choose, so here’s the list: Real Time with Bill Maher, How to Make It In America (I can’t believe they cancelled it!!!), 2 Broke Girls (I love watching 2 young women build their business and friendship), Sex and the City (of course), How I Met Your Mother, Dexter, CSI: Miami, Once Upon A Time, Desperate Housewives, 60 Minutes, Meet the Press, Shameless, Law & Order: SVU, Modern Family, Castle, Revenge and just about anything on the Food Network. I love my DVR!
Stilettos or Flat shoes? Stilettos (with flats in my bag in case I have to run).
Countries You Have Visited, and Your Favorite One: I have only been to Canada and Puerto Rico (yes, to me PR is a country). Traveling more is on my list for 2012 and for years to come. The countries on my list at the moment are Spain, Italy and France. I’ve been invited to Australia and California this year, so I am staying open.
Describe a Perfect Day Off From Work: My morning would start with a full spa day (alone) and meditation in nature, then reading a good book. In the afternoon a delicious Brunch with my sister and my mother afterwards we go for a nice walk around downtown Manhattan.
In the evening, I’ll get all dressed up for an elegant dinner party with great company and conversation followed by Latin dancing (salsa, merengue, bachata y mas salsa).
What Has Been Your Biggest Challenge in Life? Time Management is my biggest challenge. I have had creativity strike at the strangest times and in the past this has thrown me off schedule. My solutions: I meditate to ground my energy, get proper sleep and eat right, because if I am not physically and mentally healthy nothing will get done. If I have a writing deadline, I start writing with ample time ahead and trust that the inspiration will follow (and it always does). I stick to my schedule and get tasks done. I am honest about my schedule upfront, so when someone wants to meet with me they understand I value my time as well as theirs. Sometimes, I have to turn down project offers rather than overwhelm myself. It is all a balancing act and I do my best with this challenge everyday.
What is Your Next Big Dream? Becoming a Latina Mogul! I am a multi-dimensional woman. Publishing my first book (and a series of Wonder Womyn books for women and girls), webinars/tele-seminars, a video blog, a Wonder Womyn LIVE (the conference). After I build the Wonder Womyn brand, I will create 2 more companies and/or products, so stay tuned!
The overall dream is to do what I love, give back and create financial wealth for myself and my future family. Latinas need to believe in their ideas and make their dreams a reality and stop being afraid of success and the money that comes with it. If this sounds crazy, yet you feel inspired, get a notebook and write your ideas down and take it one step a time to achieve your goals.