NextGen Collective recently spotlighted Jefa in Training author Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda. Keep reading to find out more about her book, the most rewarding parts of her job, career advice, and more.
Where are you from?
Queens, New York, by way of a Mexican mom and a French-American dad.
What do you do today and where do you want to go in your career?
I’m a business development coach for the new majority entrepreneurs and author. My vision is to be able to create more opportunities for my comunidad by becoming an angel investor, writing more books, and helping other Latinas get published!
Who inspired you the most in your life growing up?
It’s always been my mom. It takes a tremendous amount of bravery to leave your country of origin and completely start over to raise children in a place where you don’t speak the language and feel like you have no support system. She taught me how to be a leader and to be my own best advocate.
What do you wish you had known at the start of your career?
I wish I had known that asking for help was not a sign of weakness. In fact, not asking for help can stunt your growth in so many ways. We don’t have to do everything on our own!
What are some of the biggest challenges you see for Latinx professionals early in their careers?
Two main challenges are not knowing that what they see as their differences are actually their strengths, and undervaluing their worth and being afraid to put themselves out there. I think both of those stem from not knowing exactly what they bring to the table and if they do know, they don’t know how to use it to their advantage. A lot of us grow up being told it’s not good to show off or “calladita te ves mas bonita,” but the truth is if we don’t advocate for ourselves, no one else will.
How can Latinx professionals better advocate for themselves?
Having a support system that can guide you through negotiations, building your business, and any other new milestone is extremely helpful. A good friend and industry colleague, Paulette Piñero, taught me about having a personal board of advisors to give you feedback, help you make connections, and give you advice. Having those people in your corner, and also joining communities of like-minded peers that you can mastermind and share resources, are strong keys for success. 🗝️
What are you most excited for in 2022?
To continue seeing the impact of my newly released book, Jefa in Training. It’s been incredible to watch the effects of the book and see people starting to use the tools and inspiration found in the book to launch and pivot their businesses. I can’t wait to see the amazing things our comunidad will do!
When you get a new idea, what’s the first thing you do with it?
I have a vision notebook, specifically for new ideas. They all go in there until I do my monthly and quarterly check ins to see how I can implement them!
What’s been the biggest surprise or highlight of your career to date?
Jefa in Training is 100% the biggest highlight and surprise. I always knew I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t know how soon it would happen, nor did I imagine it would be something that would resonate with so many people. Jefa in Training is more than just an item I checked off on my bucket list. It is about sharing experiences and knowledge to empower other women with similar life paths to not be afraid to build something for themselves. It is about creating change and cultivating opportunities in spaces where we feel like we don’t fit in. It’s about embracing our culture and using what makes us different to do something that no one has done before.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Watching my clients’ businesses grow. Every time I get a text about them surpassing last month’s sales goal, or a major press feature or collaboration, I cry with tears of joy. My clients truly are not just my motivation but also my inspiration.