From the first moment you meet her, Judith Duval exudes confidence, poise and style. She is very much an entrepreneur and a TV personality. She is also well schooled: Wharton, and Stanford Business School and companies like JPMorgan, Bain and Sephora have benefitted from her expertise. And though she credits her coaching background for her passion to live the very best life possible every single day, what comes across more significantly is her cultural pride.
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Judith believes that the way she carries herself shows her pride and that is just something one should do and be.
“Some of my best memories are my childhood ones in the DR. Like my grandmother taking a walk to our home as exercise and visiting us on Sunday mornings, or my aunts pushing all the cousins to achieve the very best at school. And the friends who became family through holidays spent together, through so many celebrations. There was a sincere solidarity there,” she said.
Judith’s family immigrated to the US when she was in junior high and her new country brought her all sorts of experiences which led to a whole spectrum of feelings. “From interesting moments to sad, happy, tough, fun, scary, joyful, painful, healing, discouraging, and encouraging.” They went through it all. Today, she is on a mission to bring wellness to those around her. “I love life, and my hope is for everyone to love life.”
Judith grew up speaking Spanish until she entered junior high school. When she moved to the United States, she became bilingual. Married to an Indian American in 2010 in an intimate wedding in NYC, she and her husband plan to raise trilingual children. A new mom, her baby is four months old and she already speaks to him in Spanish. “I understand the importance of raising a child with two or more languages. It is going to be part of my son’s education. Education was extremely important in my household. It was seen as the road to creating a successful life. Fluency in many languages is a big part of that.”
Keeping her Dominican traditions was also important for Judith’s parents, and food played a big part of how they instilled pride for their heritage. “Coming home for college meant lots of mangu, friend salami, and eggs all topped off with sautéed onions for breakfast, a typical dish in my country,” she said.
When I asked Judith who inspires her, she quickly replied her husband. She said he is her best friend and her confidant. And she appreciates the way he sees her and all that she is capable of doing. “He is incredibly intelligent and a true leader. He knows immediately how to add value to any situation, both as a person and in the products he creates.”
Though in the beginning she saw herself in the world of finance, Judith is now the owner of a multi-media company that teaches and inspires leadership and wellness through TV, radio, an online magazine, workshops, and speaking engagements. Her online magazine has great advice on how to live a purposeful life (JudithDuval.com). She appears regularly on her local Univisión station and has a weekly podcast series.
So how does she balance her busy career with a family?
“I’ve sought to integrate things more, rather than keep them separate. So yes, that means there are times I am on email on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but that also means that I might do a family activity on a weekday morning. What has helped me the most is seeing my family as a team, and working with my husband as a united team, on the same side, solving the same problem.”
And to the Latina young women climbing the corporate ladder while raising a family, she says, “Forget about listening to how things “should” be. Figure out what is right for YOU and YOUR FAMILY and make that happen.” She would also like to remind them to be themselves and walk the world owning their cultural pride.