Midy Aponte is certainly a Power Latina! She is a bicultural and bilingual communication strategist, and an expert in conceptualizing and executing multi-faceted digital media strategies. In 2009, she founded The Sánchez Ricardo Agency, a nonpartisan communications firm in Washington, D.C., that provides expert counsel in the areas of digital media and multicultural public relations. Some of her clients are AOL Latino, New Latina and Tu Voz en Tu Vida.
She is also a Fellow in the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s 2011 Executive Leadership Program and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
A first generation Cuban American, Midy named her communications firm after her mami and abuelita.
Her grandmother, Manuela ¨Nenita¨ Sánchez was born in Havana Cuba. Midy says that her abuelita´s political and cultural views helped her establish her own values in life. Her mother, Miriam Ricardo, was also born in Cuba. On her website, Midy says of her mother: “She is the definition of fight, grit, work and perseverance.”
Midy explains her mother and grandmother are very different from each other and yet are joined at the hip, which has always made for interesting exchanges between them.
“I remember always listening in on their adult conversations as a child,” Midy reminisces. “The sound of their voices as they told stories or caught each other up on the day’s activities. To me, it was delightful. As I grew older and I came to understand the hardships they’ve each endured, as immigrants to a new country and as women leading the household, my respect and admiration for them deepened.”
When Midy was a teen, her mom encouraged her to get office jobs. She told her it would help her acquire the skills to survive in the workforce later in life. Midy followed her advice throughout high school and college and always worked full-time while also going to school full-time.
“My last year in college, I became an intern at a public relations firm in Miami. When I graduated FIU with a degree in communications, I was quickly hired by that firm. My career took off, and 20 years later, I get to tell my mom, I have my own office now!´”
ESTABLISHING HER OWN BUSINESS
Sánchez Ricardo Agency was founded in June of 2009. “After President Obama got elected into office and Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court, I felt a palpable shift taking place in our society,” recalls Midy. “One where individuals of diverse backgrounds were poised to leave an indelible mark in our nation’s history. I was also bearing witness to a new kind of technology—social media—that was beginning to take shape at the time and provided people with a powerful platform to elevate dialogue and conversation on important issues. These two themes were colliding at a very rapid pace. So, I left my position as a vice president at an issues management firm to develop my own business—merging multicultural communications with digital media strategies. I wanted to be on the front end of this phenomenon and have never looked back.”
THE SATISFACTION OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
“I feel like the luckiest girl in the world sometimes. I get to dream up creative ideas and then implement them! I get to talk to the most fascinating people—other entrepreneurs, celebrities, politicians, and business leaders. I get to travel and experience different cities and cultures. But ultimately, the greatest satisfaction my job gives me is the sense that I get to pave the road in front of me.”
“There are days that have been very sad. I’ve poured myself into a new business proposal only to lose the account to another firm, for example. But being a small business owner is not for the faint at heart. When I started, I reminded myself each day to have a strong mind and a tough stomach. That still rings true today. And it may never go away.”
TAKING AFTER MAMI AND ABUELITA
“Ay, my mother. She is a tough woman. She has fight. She has grit. She has determination. And she expects you to live up to the highest moral standards. She is a woman of faith and reminded me daily that I would be judged by the testament of my character, my actions, words and deeds. I take that responsibility very seriously—even today.”
“My grandmother on the other hand is quite the lady. With her tall heels, classy skirts and jewelry you can always count on her for any adventure. ‘Till this day, my favorite thing to do when I visit Miami is call her up and yell, “¡Abuela! ¿Vamos?” She always replies, “¡Si!…. ¿A dónde?” Enough said!”
LEARNING FROM HER ELDERS
“I appreciate the strong guidance that my mother’s discipline offered me. Just as I hold dear my grandmother’s carefree spirit. But, I’m lucky I had both. One or the other may have just been too much of one thing. In my own family, when I do have kids, I plan on merging both styles and rule with a velvet glove.”
LATINA MOMS IN SOCIAL MEDIA
“Today’s social media landscape provides Latina moms with an amazing opportunity to fully explore their entrepreneurial spirit. This means: 1) Direct access to information and resources that can help build their small businesses; 2) An ability to elevate their personal and professional profiles as subject matter expert in their respective issues; and 3) Links to an expansive network with like-minded individuals with whom they can collaborate, merge, grow and innovate. The arena provides a banquet of opportunities that can and should be explored by Latina moms.”