Recap: A Leadership Luncheon

Carmen Rita Wong shares wisdom on smashing people’s assumptions and how the next generation of women can find success at Hispanic Executive’s first event of the 2018

Carmen Rita Wong speaks to the audience gathered at Café Boulud in Palm Beach’s Brazilian Court Hotel on Friday, March 2.

Carmen Rita Wong stood behind the podium, looking out at the crowd of one hundred guests. “I never let the bias stop me,” the founder and CEO of Malecon Productions told the audience. “I let it fuel me. When you’re in a place with assumptions, all you can do is smash them.”

Wong was the featured speaker at Hispanic Executive magazine and Northwestern Mutual’s Leadership Luncheon: A Woman’s Worth. Northwestern Mutual’s Peter Striano of the Striano Financial Group and Hispanic Executive CEO Pedro Guerrero opened the event. Guests gathered for lunch at Café Boulud in Palm Beach’s Brazilian Court Hotel for Hispanic Executive’s first event of the season. Wong spoke on her inspiring personal and professional journey as an American Latina of black and Asian descent, offering words of wisdom and secrets to navigating the world as it is.

“As a woman of color in the white male world of media and finance, it wasn’t easy. There were challenges, but there were also advantages,” Wong said.

With more than twenty-five years of experience, she told the crowd, she has learned a lot. What has benefited her immensely is working with different communities. “There is so much value in who we are.”

Wong also spoke on the importance of the change happening in today’s world because of their daughters. “I think teenage girls now, they know their worth tremendously,” she said. “This generation of young women is amazing.”

She offered two pieces of advice for the next generation of women. The first is to have grit and focus. They need to focus and do the work to get ahead; the roadblocks are not all encompassing. The second is that they should go outside of their community to see how other people live.

“Living in different communities with different people has been huge,” Wong explained. “I can empathize with anyone. There is a need to get outside of your comfortable space.”

Another piece of wisdom Wong shared with the audience was how to reinvent yourself from one role to another and one industry to another. She draws on her creativity to find solutions, and she takes advantage of blockades. “When things crash, I already am looking at what’s the next thing I can get into,” she said.

Then, always know how the business you’re in works and be good at what you do because it’s your reputation that helps you handle transitions. If two of those three things are accomplished, she said, you’ll be surprised at your value.

“Just keep the quality of work up and your momentum up,” Wong explained. “Never stop believing. Blow some people’s minds, and they will never forget you.”

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