My Story

A few years ago, I suffered a very painful divorce. The separation impacted my personal finances in a significant way. There were days that I couldn’t get out of bed because of the depression.

Anxiety overwhelmed me. I realized that in most cases, even when there is a two-income household and even when both men and women suffer emotionally, the woman usually deals with a greater economic impact due to the gender-pay gap and other socioeconomic factors.

My story starts there, with the need to increase what at that time was my salary and my obsession to find an industry or path that would allow me to keep my head above water so I could also help my then 13-year-old daughter.

My goal, by sharing something so intimate and real, is for any woman who reads my story to identify with it. We, as mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters and nieces, weave stories that revolve around a myriad of issues pertaining to personal finances. Money is the second most prevalent taboo in Latin American society, only after sex. Although both topics are ingrained in our culture, we don’t discuss them often – openly. Often times, religion undermines our ability to create wealth because of its context of shame and guilt, when in my opinion, money should be a secular issue.

At school they teach us about triangles and chemical formulas, but not about how to invest and multiply our money or how the stock market works. They do not prepare us for the real world. They leave us in the dark when in reality, knowledge and a bit of pragmatism could actually help a person move up the economic pyramid: from low to middle and from middle to high class. This formula is controlled – and understood only by a handful of privileged people. This cycle happens in any country regardless if the country is a super power or it’s an emerging economy.

On my quest to generate more income, I started reading and discovered the wonderful world of technology. I became obsessed with certain subjects, got some certifications, went back to UCLA to study a master’s degree and began to participate and speak at conferences. I often appeared on media outlets such as CNN en Español providing analysis on technological trends. A proposal made me a partner in the company I was working for at the time and along the way, I launched other companies. With that, I fixed my economic situation.

My everyday goal is to motivate girls and young women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math/Business) careers. I want to empower more women so they can reinvent themselves. I’m proof that reinvention is possible. Data shows that if a woman works in a STEM field or owns her own business, she will increase her salary by 33%, thus narrowing the gender pay gap. Therefore, I share here not only my story, but a way of life that should help empower women. We should not be afraid of our “personal finances.” Instead, we need to learn how control money, so that money doesn’t control us. Learning about personal finance and technology is the best way to create our own future and to build the right legacy for our daughters.