By Sandra Navarro
“To achieve your goals you must wear out your shoes. You have to move!,” says Marcela Hede, a very persistent Colombian woman who came to the United States 16 years ago. She came to perfect her English skills and decided to stay to take advantage of the opportunities offered in this country.
A few months later she married her Irish Scottish husband. She faced many challenges, such as the language barrier, her legal situation, validating her studies, but she never gave up. Hede succeeded in becoming the senior project director of marketing in a multi-national company, where she combined work with her graduate studies towards a master’s degree in marketing.
When her first child was about to be born, Hede decided to make a career change and began teaching Spanish in a Montessori school. But she considered that, with her academic background, she could contribute much more to the Latino community, so she decided to launch a website. “Because of its flexible schedule, this was the perfect vehicle to be able to spend time with the family, and you can make money if you know how to do it,” Hede says. This is how Hispanic Culture Online (www.hispanic-culture-online.com) was born, which thanks to her perseverance and hard work, is enjoying great success with an online traffic of 50,000 to 70,000 people per month. The site also provides space for advertisers and digital products she creates.
Hede is currently working with various colleges in Manhattan on a business initiative for Latinos that teaches them to create blogs and websites, and offer products online. “In order to move forward we must change the mindset of our community,” Hede says. “I remember when I was a teenager I was sitting at the dining room table drawing a runway because I wanted to own a discotheque. My mother told me that I was a dreamer, and that it would be very difficult… and my mother was an enterprising woman.” Hede says that you must not tell your children it cannot be done, but instead help them to reach their dream. “I always wanted to live abroad, although I was told I could not, I still went forward. And I am doing the same thing with my dream of training people in the Business Initiative of Cyber Networks. I work with people who want to share their knowledge with others and have a lucrative career. I am persistent and sure that I will achieve it. There is always a way. We must work, we must move forward to obtain what we want; it can be done. Faith is what keeps us from collapsing, even when you think all the doors have been closed. If you don’t have faith and inner strength, and you don’t nurture it, then what is the meaning of life? For me having been raised in a Catholic family was very positive. Faith is the strong pillar on which I lean at all times, good or bad. Faith, persistence, and work, these are the key words.”
What dreams have you had that seem unattainable to you and to others? Have you abandoned them easily? What would you like to do now? What will you rely on?