Around this time last year I was celebrating the news of being selected as one of the Top Digital Influencers in the USA. After more than a decade of consistent efforts to empower, equip, and encourage moms to create a life and a lifestyle that is in alignment with who they are at their core, I was overjoyed to see my message backed by a reputable organization like LATISM (Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media). I feel so grateful to have the privilege to participate in the Latina Top Influencer Retreat, which is an enriching experience with high level training that aims to give a voice to the voiceless.
I was humbled to win the Best Latina Lifestyle Blogger award for 2015, because our accomplishments are never ours, and the award didn’t feel “mine.” It was the fruit of grace, support, love, friendship, and mentorship, granted by God and amazing people He has put in my life. What makes life beautiful is to share it with like-minded and like-hearted people who inspire you to be your best!
My achievements are yours because you’ve been with me through the years, seeing me, my daughters, and my business transform, change, evolve and grow. You made this possible and motivate me to be more.
Today, with great merit, I announce that you’ve contributed to my selection as a Top Digital Influencer for the second year in a row. I am proud to be among world-class Latinos and Latinas named as Change Agents, who are using their voice, platforms, and efforts to advocate for causes that impact the United States and the world at large.
I’ve long considered myself a digital entrepreneur and digital educator and I truly believe that my God-given purpose is to act as a catalyst for awareness, breakthrough, and transformation.
For 12 years now, as I was finding my purpose within my pain, I’ve been promoting tech and entrepreneurship for moms as a way to empower yourself and empower your family. I’ve been an advocate of social change in the areas of financial literacy, diversity and inclusion, domestic violence, and access to proper nutrition and healthcare, and many other social topics I am passionate about. I have your issues and concerns in the forefront of my mind… and I dream of a world where you are living the best life you can imagine, and on your own terms!
When I think about myself as a change agent, I can’t help but think of the famous Francis of Assisi prayer as my own:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love...
With every blog post I publish, every book I write, every workshop I teach, every interview or feature in the media, I pray I can be an instrument for moms worldwide to change their “once upon a time” into their “happily ever after.”
Perhaps the first experience as an active change agent happened when I was 12 years old. My friend Leybe and I had been writing plays for the school to enact social issues, but we decided to take it a bit further. We walked around the small town of Ocoa, where we lived, raising funds to create a beauty pageant – one focused on inner beauty! The event was a success and we recognized little girls of all ages for their dedication, talent, and efforts to improve themselves and the community.
Ever since I received the news about this humbling award, I’ve been pondering what being a change agent means and how I can be the best change agent I can be.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines change agent as a “person or thing that encourages people to change their behavior or opinions.“
In my quest to provide moms with awareness, tools, and motivation, I am committed to becoming an agent to indirectly or directly cause cultural, social, and human change. This is a role that I’ve assumed naturally over the course of my life.
Are you a change agent?
In my opinion and experience, there are many layers and roles involved in being a change agent:
- A change agent could initiate change.
- A change agent could help others in understanding there is a need for change
- A change agent could spread awareness of what change will mean and what will be required to effect it.
- A change agent could act as an influencer to enroll and recruit others to support a cause.
- A change agent could lead the process and facilitate conflict resolution.
These roles are fueled by a personal mission, personal values, and personal beliefs that can impact society in a positive way. I made this checklist of competencies so you can see that you are already a change agent, and recognize what you do to make your community a better place:
- You know you are a change agent when you work persistently toward an outcome.
- You know you are a change agent when you share your vision to everyone you can, even if that means you will be criticized
- You know you are a change agent if you often feel dissatisfied and sometimes even outraged with the issues your community faces
- You know you are a change agent if you have a BOLD vision of what you feel it should be and communicate it with clarity and passion
- You know you are a change agent when you are stubborn and relentless in your persistence, devoting time, energy, and effort to what some feel is a “hopeless” cause
- You know you are a change agent when your passion for positive change drives everything you do.
- You know you are a change agent when you are willing to stand alone and to feel uncomfortable, and to be misunderstood in order to for what is right
- You know you are a change agent when you embrace and empower people in your interactions
- You know you are a change agent when you leverage systems, technologies, and structures to accelerate your impact
- You know you are a change agent when you forsake political correctedness and pick the side you support, even when you are in the minority
- You know you are a change agent when you don’t know whether to call yourself a blogger, a coach, a researcher, a teacher, a trainer, an encourager, a sales person, or a counselor… your role will shift as much as the needs of those you are called to serve
- You know you are a change agent when you know how to listen, study, and observe, and report, yet also know that “keeping quiet” is not an option
- You know you are a change agent when you build solid relationships and partnerships based on trust and acceptance
- You know you are a change agent when you strive to be self-aware and are eager to learn how to uplevel your personal development and expertise
- You know you are a change agent when you are open, authentic, and vulnerable about your journey
- You know you are a change agent when you dare say what others are afraid to say
- You know you are a change agent when you are willing to ask tough questions and to act on the answers
- You know you are a change agent when you are approachable and take time to connect with others, because you recognize there is power in unity.
- You know you are a change agent when causes of public concern keep you up at night and wake you up early in the morning
- You know you are a change agent when you are not interested in creating followers, but rather inspiring others to become change agents themselves.
- You know you are a change agent when you embrace the spotlight as an opportunity to deliver in your responsibility to take a stand for your community at all times, in every way, and at all places.
I humbly accept the title of change agent and I commit before you to take consitent actions toward positive change, whether my position is embraced and celebrated or the other way around.
I’m counting the days ’til October 18-21, since another blessing in my recognition as a change agent is that it includes an all-expenses paid trip to Orlando FL, to attend the 8th installment of the LATISM annual conference at the Coronado Springs Hotel in beautiful Walt Disney World.
The 3-day conference, a vision and labor of love of Dominican creator Ana Roca Castro, features expert speakers leading a variety of panels that focus in either Business Entrepreneurship, Tech Entrepreneurship, Civic Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion, Education, Health, or Policy. Besides these interesting tracks, there will be a 36-hour Hackathon and a S.T.E.A.M. fair for kids from grades 5-12. This year, Elyssa is moderating a panel and Elisha is speaking at a panel, too! I’m so proud of them!!!
If you are ready to step up as a change agent, join me at LATISM and use “INFLUENCER16” as a discount code for 30% off the ticket price. If you can’t make it this year, I promise I will keep you posted and will recap my experience at LATISM’16 for you, so follow along and spread the word using #LATISM16.