This week, we’re featuring millennial professional and entrepreneur Macia Batista as our Everyday Chica. La dominicana spoke with Ain’t I Latina? about launching Be Moxie, identifying as Afro-Latina and how Latinas can take their career to the next level.
You started Be Moxie, a platform aimed at helping young women, specifically first-generation immigrants and women of color; achieve their personal and career goals, with Joannie Diaz and Aline Murta. What inspired you all to start Be Moxie?
Be Moxie began out of sheer frustration and honest conversation amongst friends. Joannie, Aline and I have known each other since college. Since graduating and even while in school, we always had these moments of ‘I wish I would’ve known this, known that, been prepared for this, etc.’ Fast forward to the present, as young, ambitious women in the midst of our careers, we are still in search of resources for women like us, women of color, first generation women – Be Moxie was then born.
You were born in the Dominican Republic and came to New York City, where you were raised. You excelled in school, graduating with a BS in Psychology from Le Moyne College and now working at one of New York’s top business schools. What would you say has been the key to success for you?
Perseverance and humility. From adopting the English language as my own to being the first in my family to graduate college, success for me has always been about hard work and dedication. With every triumph and success, I reflect on my journey that has led me to this point in my life and where it all started. Never forgetting, ‘para saber a donde vas, tienes que saber de donde vienes.’
What are three tips Latina millennials can employ to take their career to the next level?
1- Personal Branding: One of the most common mistakes millennials make is not investing or creating a powerful personal brand. We live in a digital world, whether it’s via your LinkedIn or Twitter, make sure that the content you are sharing aligns with your brand.
2- Find a Mentor: When seeking career advice, especially when it involves a job recommendation or simply how to deal with a difficult situation at work, a mentor is the ideal person to ask for help. Having an experienced professional who can help guide you to the next step in your career is imperative to success.
3- Grow your Network: As a rising professional, having a network both in and outside your line of work is invaluable. Nowadays when the majority of opportunities are shared via connections, it’s important that you get out there and attend career/networking events, exchange business cards, and establish your brand.
How do you identity? Do you consider yourself Afro-Latina, or use another term to describe your race and/or ethnicity?
I identify as Dominicana, Latina and Caribbean. As a woman of color, I do consider myself to be Afro-Latina. In the Dominican Republic, as it is in other parts of Latin America, there is sometimes a denial of our African roots when we are in fact a melting pot of our European, indigenous, and African ancestors. I feel most connected to my Taíno and African roots.
What is your earliest memory of identifying as Afro-Latina? How did you come to identify as such?
I remember in middle school my classmates and even some teachers thought I was from South East Asia, India to be specific. During career day one year, an interpreter from the United Nations came to speak to the class. She introduced herself and asked the class a question in Spanish. I responded. Everyone was shocked and could not believe that this quiet, tall, brown girl was Latina. I wish I could relive that moment!
I learned at a young age that people will make assumptions and categorize me without my consent. That Latinas weren’t one shade on the color spectrum, and that I had a responsibility to educate them on our diversity.
Which Latina matriarch do you most identify with and why?
Dominican-American poet and novelist, Julia Alvarez‘s entire career has been marked by the blend of her American and Dominican cultures. Through her writings she celebrates what it is to be Latina and its complexity.
Who inspires you?
My sisters are my true inspiration. They inspire me each and every day to follow my dreams, to never settle for less and to always remember to keep smiling! I am so blessed and thankful for the gift of my sisters.
You can follow Be Moxie on Twitter at @Be_Moxie .