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NextGen Collective recently spotlighted Unstoppable Latina CEO Paulette Piñero. Read about her work, what she’s most excited for in 2022, and more.
Where are you from?
I’m from Ponce, Puerto Rico and am currently living in Springfield, Massachusetts.
What do you do today and where do you want to go in your career?
I’m a Latina leadership coach and the CEO of my company, Unstoppable Latina LLC. Every day I get to work with senior-level Latinx changemakers and entrepreneurs on how to become better leaders. My vision is to create a world where leadership is diverse, purpose-driven, and joyful.
One of the things I’ve been focusing on these past few months is identifying how I can support more Latinx professionals in their journeys and crafting my líder development framework, which I now call my Líder Blueprint. I see a lot of opportunities in my future to collaborate with companies and associations that, like me, are working to close the leadership and wage gap for nuestras comunidades, and especially Latinas.
Who inspired you the most in your life growing up?
The two people that have inspired me the most are my two abuelas. They showed me the importance of building comunidad, leading from your strengths, and trying new things. Even though their journeys were completely different, one a stay-at-home mother and the other an entrepreneur, they were constantly helping others and being active participants in their local community.
What do you wish you had known at the start of your career?
The one thing I wish I had known at an early age was to embrace imperfection. I grew up with a lot of pressure because I’m the oldest and expected to represent my family in every space I occupy. It meant that I was constantly trying to overcompensate at work. I defined leadership based on my perception of other people’s success rather than my own. I tell folks I’m a recovering perfectionist, and redefining success and what it means to be a líder allows me to attract the right opportunities and people that align with my values.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see for Latinx professionals early in their careers?
One of the biggest challenges I see early career Latinx professionals face is defining professional success. Growing up, we constantly see success stories in folks that don’t represent our intersectionalities. Whether it’s our familias or the media, we start creating a perception of what is expected of us and a linear path to achieve it. Even for young Latinx professionals who seek non-traditional degrees, we tend to believe that career growth is a ladder, and we keep going up.
When you are clear about what success means to you and your non-negotiables, you can create a plan and set goals for yourself beyond a title or what looks good on a resume.
What are you most excited for in 2022?
I am launching Unstoppable Latina Society this summer! This virtual platform creates opportunities for Latinx leaders that have been systemically overlooked so they can lead authentically, find their gente, and make things happen. This platform is a labor of love, and I am excited to offer more folks access to the same resources and content my one-on-one coaching clients get to experience in addition to a virtual comunidad because we are all looking for our gente.
When you get a new idea, what’s the first thing you do with it?
Too much! As a neurodiverse jefa, I have difficulty prioritizing and de-prioritizing my ideas. One strategy I now use to help me identify if it’s an idea I should pursue and spend time and money on is to ask myself these two questions: “Do I have the capacity to work on this?” and “Will this idea give me more money, time, joy, peace of mind, etc.?”
If I can’t respond “yes” to both questions, I write them down in my idea notebook and explore them later. I have a similar strategy for organizing my daily and weekly tasks to spend most of my time with work that is meaningful to me.
What behavior or personality traits do you attribute to your success?
I am clear that my success comes from my belief that I have no competition. I believe that there are endless opportunities for all of us, so instead of competing, I collaborate. Every “competitor” I’ve met or heard of is someone that I connect with. When I launched my business, one of my goals was to meet with a woman of color entrepreneur every week, and outside of vacations, I’ve kept that promise for two years.
Whether it is to learn about their business, find ways to work together, send referrals, or offer a helping hand, I am committed to amplifying and sharing opportunities with others.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Trabajar con mi gente. I am the luckiest Latina because I get to work with my ideal client, and not the client avatar that a business coach or mentor tells you to create; I live out my dreams every day. Even before I launched my business, mentors and coaches said to me that working with the Latinx community only would be detrimental to my business, and it’s been challenging. Still, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Which causes are you passionate about?
One of the most passionate causes is closing the wage gap for Latinas in the US. Through my líder coaching services, I help Latinas negotiate and, in many cases, double their salaries. To do this on a larger scale, I lead monthly workshops, write for BeLatina News about the wage gap, and plan a summer summit. We need more companies and organizations to do this work collaboratively. This work allows jefas in any field to have the confidence to ask for more dinero, learn how to review their compensation packages, and explore new opportunities when companies don’t live up to their equity values.