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SELF MADE Stories

Ruth Behar, Self-Made Anthropologist & Writer

Ruth Behar’s family is both extremely Cuban and very Jewish. Her family left Cuba by way of Israel, and eventually settled in New York. Growing up, her family’s lifestyle was a mix of cultures – they spoke Spanish at home and celebrated Jewish holidays like Passover and Yom Kippur. They enjoyed pork dishes at Cuban Restaurants and ate kosher dishes ...

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Meet Renata Rensky: Make-Up Artist to the Stars

When Renata and her family left the former Soviet Union, they came to the U.S. as political refugees and started over with absolutely nothing. Renata needed to make money and help her parents, and the experience left her hungry to embrace every opportunity her new country had to offer.

Renata decided to pursue a passion she’s had since ...

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Meet Sandra Cisneros: Renowned Novelist, Poet and Activist

Sandra Cisneros is an internationally renowned Latina novelist, poet and activist, most famously known for authoring The House on Mango Street. Among many honors, she is a MacArthur Genius Fellow and earned the National Medal of the Arts Awardee from President Barack Obama. As Sandra celebrates her 64th birthday, Nely Galán sits down with her for an intimate conversation about ...

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Meet Cristina Jiménez: Co-founder of United We Dream & MacArthur Genius Fellow

Cristina Jiménez transformed her pain into power when she founded United We Dream, a nationwide movement that unites young undocumented immigrants in a quest to impact national and local policy. United We Dream was born out of Cristina’s own story as an undocumented immigrant. It was as an answer to the pain she experienced growing up living in fear of ...

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Meet Yalitza Aparicio Oscar Nominee and Star of the Film “Roma”

One day Yalitza Apraricio made a decision that changed the trajectory of her life. Encouraged by her sister, she decided to attend a casting call hosted near her town in Mexico. As a preschool teacher of Mixtec decent, Yalitza had never acted before in her life and was normally terrified to be in front of a camera, but she decided ...

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Meet Beatriz Porto: Co-Owner of the Family Business Porto’s Bakery & Café

To Beatriz Porto, being self-made means keeping her mother’s dreams, ambitions and entrepreneurial spirit alive. Beatriz comes from a legacy of self-employed women who shaped their own destinies through hard work, determination and even reinventing their lives. When Beatriz’s mother relocated to the United States from Cuba, she was driven by a desire to survive and see her children thrive, ...

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Meet Monica Ramírez: The Latina who Ignited the ‘Times Up’ Movement

With one letter, Monica Ramirez ignited a movement that would create a remarkable shift in culture and change the course of history for women and men across the nation.

After members of the entertainment industry came forward to disclose sexual violence by powerful people in Hollywood, Monica authored a letter on behalf of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, raising the powerful voices ...

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Meet Anne Thomopoulos World-Class Television Producer & Business Owner

Award-winning television producer Anne Thomopoulos comes from a traditional Greek family where the idea of prince charming was very real – men were the breadwinners who took care of the women. Yet, when her parents divorced and she saw how powerless her mother felt, Anne was determined to never be dependent on anyone else. She started to forge her ...

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Meet Jean Chatzky: Financial Editor for NBC’s Today Show, Best Selling Author & Motivational Speaker

For women, our relationship with money can often be complicated. Making, saving and spending money can be filled with emotional complexity, and the world of finances can be intimidating, overwhelming or stressful. Jean Chatzky has dedicated her career to helping women solve these challenges with money. She is the financial editor of NBC’s Today Show and Founder and CEO of ...

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Meet Cynthia Ambres, M.D. CEO of Health & Beyond, LLC

Born in New York City to a family of humble beginnings, Dr. Cynthia Ambres knew from a young age that her calling in life was to help others. With her passion for math and science, becoming a doctor seemed written in the stars. Her parents had made many sacrifices so that she and her sister could access opportunities and ...

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