Trying to belong or fit in comes with a set of difficulties, as many of us know. This is especially true when your parents are immigrants and are limited in their capability to guide you into your academic and professional career. Not having the proper tools can feel isolating sometimes. However, Latina entrepreneur, Melissa Rodriguez, took the challenges of a first-generation and molded them into her personal assets.
Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, to a Puerto Rican father and a Dominican mother, Melissa Rodriguez always knew that she must do all in her power to deviate from the limitations that are often present for first generations.
But it was not only hard work as it is popularly believed that allowed her to be successful. She strategized and used everything to her advantage. Even the naivete in not knowing certain processes became a tool for her.
Once she mastered key behaviors key to reaching her goals, Rodriguez founded two digital marketing agencies in 2016. Social Media Relations (SMR) and Mel Rodriguez & Co, a consumer and culturally relevant agency focused on the Hispanic population in the United States. She currently resides in Los Angeles and is focused on uplifting and supporting as many women as possible.
After hearing about her tremendous success and at such a young age, we needed to get into the mix. Were there steps she followed? Was there a recipe? Well, surprisingly, she did use a method that allowed her to excel, and she is now sharing those tips with the BELatina audience. Best of all, these tips should allow anyone to succeed in any industry while taking back their power.
Tip #1: No matter what you do, you have permission to seek to understand
“A lot of times people expect us to show up with answers and solutions,” Rodriguez told BELatina. “What I learned from my consulting experience and even now running a business is that it’s okay to show up with a curious mindset.”
“Let people know that you want to understand their processes.”
Tip #2: Everything is a relationship
“A lot of times, you will forget about the work you have done, you’re not going to remember the results, but you will remember the people you worked with,” Melissa Rodriguez said.
“Every single person has a story, and I learned more from my relationships sometimes than I do from the actual work. So it is important to get to know the people you work with.”
Tip #3: Take all the time that you need to understand the root cause of a problem
“The problem is never surface level. There’s always a layer beneath it. It’s really important that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you take the time to peel back the layers to really understand the real problem, not just focus on the surface-level problem.”
Tip #4: Getting crystal clear on the desired action or solution that needs to come out from what you’re doing
“Every single person has their own interests and their own desired outcome,” she said.
“If you’re not crystal clear on that, you will go down many different directions, and you will finish, and you won’t have the result that you wanted to get. Also, never lose sight of the end goal. Always keep the end goal in and make sure that it’s clear, meaning what the end goal is to every party involved. They’ll still have their own additional, but at least have one universal goal that everyone can work towards.”
Tip #5: You want to understand what motivates everybody around you
“So, the five love languages became popular because it was the first time people started talking about intrinsic motivation, intrinsic desire or interest, and needs for people,” Melissa Rodriguez told us. “Everybody has different intrinsic needs, which brings us to how they can be applied in your career or any business.”
“Everybody has an intrinsic need, a different motivator. Some people need time with their family. Some people want to get paid a lot of money. Some people need a vacation or lots of vacation.”
She emphasized the fact that once you figure out and you’re clear on everybody’s intrinsic needs, you can build a team that is always motivated.
Tip #6: Don’t be afraid to reach out to strangers
“We all have a soul. We all we’re all people. We all crave connection. We all crave understanding,” she said.
“The connection and the community outreach are vital for our souls and for the growth of each of us.”
In order to connect with more people, Rodriguez also created a women empowerment group named EmpowHer Sisterhood, which, according to her, is an inclusive community for women who may usually feel like outcasts. This community provides valuable resources, training, and coaching, hence helping women not to feel alone.
EmpowHer Sisterhood has monthly events that are absolutely free.
“We have incredible speakers join us every month that talk about their strength and their experiences.”
Melissa Rodriguez is a reminder to all Latinas and women that our power is ever-growing.