"As a child, I learned how to lead in many different ways from the women around me. My creative grandmother and aunts, my very active mother, my teachers and later my supervisors each had their own leadership styles and perspectives on life. While some shouted their ideas from the rooftops, others moved their ideas forward quietly and still others negotiated their way through it all. My experiences with them as I organized, taught and advocated for change helped me realize the power, potential and diversity that Latinas bring to each conversation. It also exposed me to the fears, insecurities and concerns Latinas have about leading at home and in their professions.
In 2011, I took a week long transformative yoga retreat at the mouth of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Near the end of my journey, I recognized all the amazing experiences I had been blessed with and a real sense that all Latinas should have the opportunity to embark on a personal journey of transformation at any point in their lives. Each of us has the capacity and the ganas to succeed. We only need to activate and set forth a plan to make it real. When we surround ourselves with others who have that will, we embark on a new journey that often exceeds our own vision for success. I find myself in the strongest places in my life to make decisions, embrace change- even when it’s tough- and to appreciate the diversity of leadership and success that surrounds me. Its an honor to share those leadership experiences with each of you and that we might continue to learn together as we affirm our ability to make things happen in our own lives.
As a Professional Certified Coach, I am thankful for all the amazing women and men who believed in me, coached me and put me through countless leadership trainings and educational opportunities. Thanks to my alma maters American University and the University of Wisconsin Law School; thanks to the many teachers and leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and all the personal and professional experiences I have had in the United States and abroad. Special thanks to Leadership That Works, the Rockwood Leadership Institute, Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, my mother and the many mentors and coaches who have provided the space for transformative change."
To learn more about Ana Polanco's work, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Instagram @coach.ana.