NextGen Collective spotlights community leader, innovator, and healthcare professional Jovelyn Castellanos. Read on about her family, career advice, and more.
Where are you from?
I was born in Miami but raised in Texas.
What do you do today?
I am a community leader, innovator, and healthcare professional based in Dallas, Texas.
Who inspired you the most in your life growing up?
My mom and my Abuelita. My Abuelita came to this country as an immigrant and will never miss a day of work. She always wakes up early, makes breakfast and lunch, and is ready to conquer the day. With the famous “Vicks” cure and taking two Advil regardless of how she is feeling, you can guarantee she will be punctual, with a grateful heart, and full of energy. She also cooks amazing Guatemalan cuisine.
My mom became a single mother and raised four children due to family deportation and separation when I was in middle school. She worked three jobs to sustain our family and always said that education was the “way out” to persevere and achieve our dreams. Being the oldest child growing up in an immigrant Hispanic household, I saw my Abuelita and mother’s tenacity, grit, family values, love, and hard work every day which were implored in me and inspired me to become the person and professional I am today. My mom’s words of “Con fe y esfuerzo todo se puede” and “Ponte la pillas” are engraved in me.
What lesson did you learn early in your career that still serves you today?
There are a few. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your community by providing much-needed new insight. As a first-generation professional, oftentimes you may be the only Latino in the room. That’s a great opportunity to plant seeds for growth and create impact.
Find mentors that will guide and motivate you. While you seek mentorship, also make sure to mentor others regardless of which stage you are in your career. You never know who will be impacted by your mentorship, journey, and advice!
Visualize your future self and create habits that will allow you to grow into the “best version” of yourself every single day. Maximize your time and productivity through habits that feed your purpose, goals, and mission in life. Consistency and persistence are greater than perfection: Don’t wait for something to be perfect to go for it. You will learn along the way!
How can Latino professionals better advocate for themselves?
Invest in your own personal growth, confidence, and professional journey. Step outside your comfort zone, whether that’s going to events or conferences that you’re passionate about or discovering new things that interest you through reading. Enroll in professional development programs, certifications, and leadership courses. Having diverse experiences and perspectives allows for you to have a better outlook, approach, and understanding to create solutions and continue to equip yourself as a leader.
Lastly, I would recommend investing in understanding and assessing your strengths as a leader through different personality tests like the Myers Brigg and Gallup CliftonStrengths Assessment. This will allow you to use your strengths as a competitive advantage, opportunities for growth, and also insight into the type of leader, behaviors, and qualities you uniquely possess.
What podcast or lifehack can you not live without?
Listening to Audible during traffic to get ahead in my readings for the month. I love self-growth and development books and just finished the 10X Rule.
What is part of your daily routine that you look forward to every day?
My favorite daily routine is starting with an early morning workout followed by a cup of hot lemon water or coffee with a devotional to start my day. This helps feed my body, spirit, and mind before conquering a new day full of opportunities and life. Each season of our lives includes different routines and I am excited to see how my morning routine will continue to evolve to ensure setting the tone and mindset for my day ahead.
When you get a new idea what’s the first thing you do with it?
As a creative, I am inspired daily with ideas. After getting an idea, I make sure to write it down in my journal or iPhone Notes and try to do some research on whether this would be a viable idea, whether it exists, or a spur-of-the-moment inspiration.
What behavior or personality traits do you attribute to your success?
I am a passionate, motivational, ambitious, and life-long learner. I am also an empathetic person who loves people and learning about community, causes, and social impact through my work. My faith is my anchor to everything in my life. Two of my favorite mottos to live by are “Live boldly and be kind” and “Learn, grow, and repeat.”
Which causes are you passionate about?
I am deeply passionate about healthcare and health equity in our communities. Inequitable access to care and social determinants of health sparked a fire in me to learn about community health and how to improve health literacy through strategic communications, community building, and healthcare access. My goal is to continue to learn about the intersection between these disparities, health equity, healthcare, and innovation to improve the health of our underserved and uninsured communities.
What’s one thing we’d never be able to guess from your LinkedIn profile?
I am a classically trained violinist and musician since the age of 9. Music has always been a part of me and helps me find inspiration, serenity, and creativity.