Interview by Selene Lacayo, featuring Valeria Aloe. "We must lose that fear of being too much and replace it with discovering the greatness within."
Dismantling colonization is a long journey, Valeria Aloe invites you to take the first steps with her.
Is Uncolonized Latinas (New Degree Press, 2021) a self-help or a business book? Could it be both with the flavor of memoir added to the mix? Author Valeria Aloe describes it as guide to transform our mindset and rise together as strong Latinas offering so much in our communities.
Aloe’s pages bring to our attention the colonial mindset that we have carried with us for generations and offers examples of how to overcome it and claim our rightful spots in the business sphere. She accomplishes this with a mix of statistics, interviews, and personal anecdotes. All carrying the message to stop apologizing for our presence in the US collegiate and professional spaces and to start making decisions that will only enlarge our possibilities.
Valeria Aloe is also the founder of Abundancia Consciente, a bilingual training, speaking, coaching, and consulting platform that helps Hispanic professionals and business owners in the US and Latin America overcome their inner barriers for personal and professional growth.
I met with her to talk about the moment that change her career direction, children, and when she learned to ask for help.
Let’s get right to the source of your change in pace. You were fully invested in your career while trying to juggle motherhood, family life, and maybe carving time for yourself when you had an epiphany. Did you notice signs indicating that change needed to happen or was this a sudden stop?
No, que va. Life had to basically stop me right on my tracks for me to notice that I was burned out. I was placed in a situation of crisis for me to take a break from that life of wanting to do it all. It was an accident on the gym floor that gave me a concussion, so quite literally, I was hit in the head with the need to stop and analyze my life. Tope con pared, but that is what led me on a deep spiritual journey. I’m studying spiritual science and ultimately, that helped me write this book.
With so many things happening for you professionally, would you say you have time for yourself now? How is it different than when you were a part of corporate America?
If I learned anything during my time of reflection is to make time for myself. That is something that I now prioritize. I feel very passionate about having moments of self-growth and of making my own decisions and forging my own path. This is very linked to my passion to help Latinas find their places in corporate USA with the aid of networking and mentorships to continue to grow.
How about as a mom? Have you been able to combine all your talents in that area as well?
I think with my children, I’m very focused on teaching by example. I of course want them to explore their areas of interest and to find who they are by themselves, but I always remind them of their roots and how to embrace them. I want them to be proud Latinos who know the value they have in their communities. TOMAR RIESGOS frente a los hijos y ser transparentes sobre nuestra experiencia como inmigrantes es la mejor manera de enseñarles sobre como estar orgullos de nuestra comunidad Latina.
When I finished this book and was looking for places that would carry hard copies, I decided to go into the mall and ask the manager of a Canadian book chain with stores in New Jersey directly. I brought my son along and told him about my plan of taking charge of the future of my book. He was very proud of what I accomplished and was thrilled to return to the bookstore on the day I signed copies of my book right there.
¡Me encanta! I think there are so many teachable moments for children of immigrants like ours in our day-to-day. You and I, in our current positions, and current mental states can be propellers of change in our homes and beyond. Your book already is attempting that by starting the conversation of valuing ourselves as assets in this society. What else would you like young Latinas to know?
That it is about time that we tooted our own horns and talked about our achievements without thinking that we are showing off. If we do not share our greatness, how else are others supposed to notice our effort and our results? We must lose that fear of being too much and replace it with discovering the greatness within.
We also need to learn how to balance all aspects of life and to show effort without sacrificing everything.
Well, Valeria, this has been an enriching conversation. Do you have any final thoughts to share?
Systemic change can only be possible if we have honest conversations not only within our communities but also in our places of work. Remember that we will be 1/3 of the US population in 2060. Our time to educate ourselves is now.
We must start finally seeing that we add tremendous value to this society and to get rid of those outdated notions that make us feel smaller and ask for permission to be a part of decision making and conversations.
Valeria Aloe is a speaker, entrepreneur, and award-winning author of the book Uncolonized Latinas: Transforming Our Mindsets And Rising Together. She is the creator of the mindset transformation and behavior change movement, called Rising Together, that supports Latinas and other women of color as they unlearn ancestral cultural mindsets holding them back from a fulfilled life and career.
Before launching her book and movement, Valeria worked +20 years in brand management, business development, and finance in leading companies across 7 countries, including Procter & Gamble, Citibank, Reckitt Benckiser and PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
Her award-winning book Uncolonized Latinas has recently been acknowledged with a Gold medal by Golden Door Awards, in partnership with iCONGO and the United Nations, a Gold medal by Bookfest, and the Grand Prize among 510 submissions at the Firebird Book Awards.
Selene Lacayo is a writer and translator living with her husband and three children in The Greater Philadelphia Area. She holds a master's degree in English from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she focused in creative writing. She is a staff writer at Alebrijes Review and her writing can also be found at Somos en Escrito, Latinx Lit Magazine, LatineLit Magazine, Acentos Review, and elsewhere. Her short story Amalgam forms part of The Best Short Stories of Philadelphia of 2021.
Image from Abundancia Consciente.