DACA Recipient Pens Book with Career Mentor to Help Millennial Women

It’s no secret that the Latinx community knows how to hustle

Photo: Unsplash@aaronburden

Photo: Unsplash@aaronburden

It’s no secret that the Latinx community knows how to hustle. As immigrants or children of immigrants, there’s this understanding that you work your way as far as up as you can go despite most likely not having financial stability or professional connections.

This expectation is just one of the aspects of being a young Latina in the workplace that Daniela Pierre-Bravo touches on in the book Earn It! Know Your Value and Grow Your Career in Your 20s and Beyond which she co-authored with journalist and career mentor Mika Brzezinski.

The guide which is set to release on May 7, is aimed at helping women in their 20s and 30s navigate the workplace at the start of their career. It breaks down essentials like networking, communicating effectively, and salary negotiations. Pierre-Bravo is the millennial contributor in Brzezinski’s career online platform, Know Your Value. This book was a natural extension of the work she’s already been doing to help women in their careers.

“I told her that I wanted to create this platform for young women to learn from people that they themselves could see becoming,” Pierre-Bravo tells HipLatina.

Brzezinski is known for her bestselling motivational guides including Know Your Value:Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth,  that empowers women with career knowledge.

She and Pierre-Bravo work together on the MSNBC show Morning Joe, Brzezinski as a co-anchor and Pierre-Bravo as a booking producer.

Now Brzezinski is specifically catering to younger women who are working on establishing their careers and she’s working with Bravo to share her story and highlight her career trajectory as an example of success despite several challenges.

“The future of the workplace is for young women to define. I want young women entering the workforce to understand and be able to communicate their value right out of the gate,” Brzezinski writes. 

The guide also features insights from entrepreneurs and professionals including activist/actress Eva Longoria, former Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles, and Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, the millennial co-founders of theSkimm.

“Organizations, companies, and media are yearning for diversity and for differences in voices and opinions and there’s so much push for our voices to be at the table,” Pierre-Bravo, 28, said.

It was this desire to be a part of the development of Latinx narratives that motivated Pierre-Bravo to pursue a career in media and it was her ability to overcome the hurdles she did to get to where she is now that intrigued and inspired Brzezinski.

Born in Chile, Pierre-Bravo moved to Ohio when she was around 11 with her family and didn’t learn she was undocumented until she was about to graduate high school. Realizing that scholarships were out of reach she began looking into creative ways to pay the $20k yearly tuition for Miami University, where she eventually earned a degree in international studies with a minor in marketing.

She began selling Mary Kay products to earn the cash to pay for college as well as applying for private scholarships and entering writing contests with cash prizes.

Unable to have internships while in school since she was working to pay her way each semester, she decided the summer before she graduated that she needed to find an opportunity in media to get her foot in the door.

She applied for internships in New York City using a local dorm address to avoid getting rejected because she lived in a small town in Ohio.

She got a call back from Bad Boy Entertainment requesting she come in for an interview the next day and without hesitation, she said yes.

Not able to drive or get on a plane, she got on a bus for 18 hours and cleaned up in the bathroom at port authority before heading straight to the interview.

She got the internship and afterward landed another opportunity at MTV and once she became a DACA recipient she applied and was selected to join the prestigious year-long page program at NBC.

“I think the main part of my story is for young people, especially Latinas and minorities, to put themselves out there and be aggressive and ambitious about getting to where they wanna go.”

Her story is an example is one of the key points of the book – if you can’t go through the front door, find a side door.

She emphasizes that she put as much effort into getting coffee and doing other menial tasks as she does the work she’s currently doing.

“Own the small opportunities and then really sell them so they become part of your narrative to the point that you get yourself to the door,” she says. “I didn’t want to do all the things I was doing but it was a way to get me to where I am now.”

She also recalls not thinking of all the reasons why she wouldn’t get into the NBC page program, which she says is believed to be harder to get into than Harvard. She claims if she would have entertained the negative thoughts, she would’ve found a way to talk herself out of it. 

“I think that things like choice overload and having so many different avenues to sort of pick the right path can cause inertia and we really have to start thinking of goal setting and taking small steps to get there,” she states. 

Statistics show that as women climb the corporate ladder, the environment becomes less diverse than it already is.

Overall, 81 percent of the workforce is white, but there are 33 occupations in America that are more than 90 percent white, according to the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To combat this feeling of otherness that can sometimes also mean there’s a possibility of encountering ignorance and prejudice, Pierre-Bravo believes the best defense is letting your work, an “objective measure,” speak for itself.

“When I got into the workforce I didn’t put myself in a place where I felt like a victim. I was ready to go,” she said. “I wanted people to know that despite my background I was gonna do the work and the work was gonna speak for itself.”

Eight percent of Latinas say that they want to be seen as who they really are at work yet they tend to play down their accents and play up their collegiate backgrounds, according to Latina@Work, a study released Monday by People en Español and Lieberman Research Worldwide.

I told myself if I didn’t learn English and got rid of my Spanish accent, then it wouldn’t be good enough and therefore I would not be good enough and so I was really hard on myself. So I think that I have very little patience for subconscious bias because of my experience growing up undocumented.”

The struggles unique to Latinas also include pay disparity: Latinas make 53 cents for every dollar a white man makes and on average, 31 percent less than white women.

Pierre-Bravo highlights a two-fold issue when it comes to Latinas and finances: their roles as caretakers in the family and a sense of contentment with having a decent-paying job.

“It’s a lot when you’re the caretaker, trying to invest in yourself, trying to pay bills, and you’re making very little money,” she said.

She likes to pass on the best advice she says Brzezinski gave her: “Business should not be personal,” and to switch up the narrative from being content with the status quo to becoming your own advocate in wanting more. 

“It’s not just asking what you deserve as a person, but what the work you put in and what the company deserves to give you for that work,” she explains. “At the end of the day you bring a set of skills that your company needs, they need you.”

Another issue that plagues Latinas and millennial women, in general, is networking. According to research they did with Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, only 35 percent of millennial women between 20 and 29 feel confident networking.

This lack of resources is something Eva Longoria mentions in the book through the research conducted by The Eva Longoria Foundation.  

She shares that 25 percent of Latinas in the U.S. live below the poverty line, and more than 50 percent are classified as very low income.

“There are fewer resources and a lot of educational barriers,” Longoria states in the book.

I think that minorities have a certain sense of pressure to be able to live up to the sacrifices that our parents or grandparents made for us. I always thought of that pressure not as a negative thing but as a motivator,” Pierre-Bravo explains.

She explains she had no mentors or guidance as she worked through the barriers placed before her but became her own  best friend and learned to be ambitious and “a little aggressive.”

“She is a great example of a fearless, ambitious millennial woman who is not apologetic about reaching her goals,” Brzezinski writes in the book about Pierre-Bravo.

The book dedicates a chapter to moving forward and an essential aspect Brzezinski highlights is building resilience. She writes “Those first trial-and-error years will help you shape that inner compass and polish that inner voice.”

The one piece of advice Pierre-Bravo constantly gives fellow millennial Latinas, in particular, is to “own your fire” because, she states, according to their research Latinas don’t view ambition as positively as their white counterparts.

“When you’re up against the competition or a tough statistic to break through, you’ve got to sell yourself and own your narrative. We’ve gotta be able to trust ourselves.”

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career advancement Career Development Career Growth Career Strategy DACA Latinas in business
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