Think hard. How many women around you do you know that exude optimism, empowerment, and a positive attitude… 24/7? I’m happy to say that there’s one I know well. Think of her as a blend between the happy emoji, Rosie the Riveter, and the Energizer bunny. Yep, that pretty much describes Yizette Cifredo. Radio personality and TV host (not one show, but two), coach, vlogger, influencer, and did I mention wife and mother?
I think one of my earlier recollections of Yizette is when she came into my life through a picture, holding a Team Lola sign. That kind gesture of solidarity before my heart surgery spoke volumes as to the spirit of Yizette, empathetic and true. As luck would have it, we have bumped into each other through the years, but today, as a real treat, this incredibly amazing (and extremely busy) woman, shared with me a cup of coffee, a delightful conversation, and insight into what makes her tick.
Sometimes I would listen to Yizette and the first thought to pop up in my head was “How?” You’ll probably doubt me when I tell you that she is positive all the time. I once was a non-believer too, but trust me, I’m 100% honest; she is ALWAYS positive, and even the things that could make her angry are for good. I mean, when you meet Yizette, what you see is what you get. As we travel back and Yizette opens up about her past, and her childhood, it’s easier to see how this ray of sunshine came to be. “My childhood was so cool. I come from a humble family, and even though I know what people might think right off the bat, I always emphasize how I never missed out on anything. I never lacked anything I wanted or needed.” Immediately I knew that was going to be the comment that set the tone for the rest of my conversation with Yizette. Her bubbly spirit had me looking at her in awe, as she recalled how her childhood was so memorable and so fantastic that, to a certain extent, she still feels like a child in many ways.
Energetic on set and off, it’s hard to believe that this icon and influencer did not set out to be in the media. Even though her childhood dream was to be a teacher, life had different plans. And while the traditional blackboard classroom was not in the cards for her, this thirst for educating and inspiring foreshadowed the beautiful stage on which she teaches others these days.
“I feel like, in the back of my head, I always knew where my future was headed.” Unknowingly, Yizette had prepared for this chapter her entire life. Her dad, who she speaks of with total heart eyes, had always taught her the value of empathy. And that life lesson soon translated into sharing that same lesson and that humanitarian attitude onto people in need of inspiration.
“My dad would take me to different groups to motivate others; I believe he could see my purpose way before I could.” Her teen years were spent growing up beside HIV patients, and working in other volunteer groups. The desire to help others was ignited. That seed that had been planted was ready to bloom. “I have a purpose to serve, communicate, and motivate- and I’ve always known that was my reason to be.”
“I began to use hashtags as a way to tag my content to a specific idea, but now people see it as a part of me.” I’m not talking your typical #selfie or #Like4Like here, Yizette has made her hashtags a trademark that allows people to connect and identify with her. Her sense of incorporating the person she is into those tags have created a community of her followers who can both communicate and connect with her through them. Her ways of innovation and motivation go beyond speaking to a crowd or saying her peace on the radio in the AM. Her efforts reach mobs EVERYWHERE, because she makes herself available on every platform, for every single person.
But onto the pressing topic, is she THAT positive ALL the time? “I could tell you all the things that bother me, but I don’t dare to complain; because at the end of the day I look at all the other things I’m grateful for and they outweigh the ‘not so good things.’ We’ve grown to always look to others as a measure of how well we’re doing, and that’s something that Yizette strays away from. “I’m grateful, but never in comparison to others.”
As we wrap up our conversation, Yizette’s full schedule has me both rushing through my questions, and navigating through so many more popping up at the same time. With all of her amazing projects and incredible stamina, I don’t understand how she fits it all in one day. As a radio and television host who is also a corporate coach, MC and on social media 24/7, Yizette also boasts the title of “Eva’s mom,” and as the wife of television personality and performer, Victor Santiago, she is also #wifeygoals. No matter how complicated her days can get, she finds a way to have family time, couple time, and a moment to be thankful. “Sometimes, when our schedule is too rushed, we still find a way to spend time as a family, even if that means finding takeout and eating it in the car. But we do it together, and those are the moments I want my daughter to remember.”