For Ha Na Teresa Park, growing up in a bicultural household was no easy matter. As a first-generation Asian-Latina immigrant, Park never felt like she truly belonged — she wasn’t Asian, Latina, or American enough.
This personal experience allowed her to understand the impact that feeling of not belonging has on self-image, how we present ourselves in life, and how we choose to participate in it.
This is why today, Park has put her efforts into entrepreneurship to create social impact through the power of belonging. In addition to teaching at the University of Washington, Park is the founder of the Facebook group Mujeres del Futuro Unidas y Poderosas, which she started in 2019 after reflecting on her own experiences.
Mujeres del Futuro Unidas y Poderosas is a way to connect and create a community among multicultural and multilingual Latinas from around the world to heal and grow together.
BELatina had the pleasure of speaking with Ha Na Teresa Park about her work, initiative, and vision for the future.
What drives your work and passion?
I am driven and guided by my values. My values are love, honesty, impact, playfulness, and wonder. I am focused on who I am when I take action.
I believe in being intentional in what I do, and I intend to create more love and connection in this world. I’m driven by being honest with myself and honoring who I am. I hid who I was for a long time because I was afraid of rejection—contorting and shapeshifting to fit in. Today, I am passionate about owning my truth and expressing who I am unapologetically.
Talk to us about Mujeres del Futuro, Unidas y Poderosas
The Mujeres del Futuro Facebook group is a safe space of belonging that centers on the potential of Latinas in the future economy. Some studies show that over half of Latinos will be underprepared or shut out of 86% of jobs by 2045. This is devastating.
This is why I created Mujeres del Futuro. We’re a community of leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers from over 100 cities worldwide. We provide training programs to help Latinas grow professionally and personally. We believe in the power of supporting each other to live out our full potential and shape the future as agents of transformation.
Do you remember when you conceptualized this passion project/community effort?
I traveled around the world for a year while conceptualizing this community initiative. I met incredibly courageous, smart, and entrepreneurial women everywhere I went. However, they all expressed feeling alone in their personal and professional journey. They often felt discouraged or criticized by their families or friends. They all desired a community of powerful and united Latinas celebrating and helping each other thrive.
I went onto Facebook and asked if more women felt this way. The response was overwhelming. With a simple click, the Mujeres del Futuro Facebook group was born. A place focused on lifting each other, embracing when we feel down, and celebrating when we take steps forward.
Facebook helped us connect to women around the world and provided a space to create a sense of belonging and foster new friendships in a profoundly meaningful way.
What have been some challenges you’ve faced?
I’ve often been asked why an Asian woman is representing and serving the Latina community, and others have undermined me for not being Latina enough.
Oftentimes, we take for granted what is given to us, but we honor and care for what we’ve had to earn. I’ve had to earn the right to serve the Latina community. This is why it’s personally meaningful to represent and embrace the diversity in our Latinidad and highlight the diversity within our community. So many of us are navigating multiple worlds of identities, and I stand for embracing the fact that we are both de aquí y de allá—from here and there.
What is something you hope to achieve with Mujeres del Futuro?
To date, through our digital communication and entrepreneurial coaching programs, we’ve helped Latina entrepreneurs generate over $1.5 million in revenue. We’re now looking to create programs to help Latinas generate $100 million in revenue by 2025. However, we want to inspire Latinas to start businesses, grow their careers in a soul-fulfilling way, and center their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Anything else you’d like to share with the BELatina News audience?
If you believe in the power of Latinas supporting each other to create a meaningful impact in the world, Mujeres del Futuro is eager to meet you. Join us at www.facebook.com/groups/mujeresdelfuturo or www.mujeresdelfuturo.com