Leaning In: Latinas Take Control of their ProfesiĆ³n

Despite the controversy surrounding the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, many women, including professional Latinas, are joining what is now a movement to help women achieve their career and life goals.

The concept of “leaning in” means different things to different people. Adriana J. Moreno, the Art Director at US Squash and Squash Magazine, believes that this new way of thinking has completely changed her life. Moreno says, “To me ‘Leaning In’ means letting go of fears. Many times I was afraid of stepping up with confidence and saying I was able to do a certain task or role, and watched other people with less experience get ahead of me.” Moreno also learned that making mistakes is part of the process of becoming better.

Moreno says that she has also faced many roadblocks in moving up the professional ladder due to her accent and gender. She learned how to articulate her skills and abilities using the lessons of Sandberg’s book. Now she believes that learning to “Lean In” is not just for the professional world. She explains, “It is important to understand that this is our time to shine. Behind are the times when machismo dominated the Hispanic home. Learning to ‘Lean In’ will guarantee you not only financial stability, but also a happier life.”

For Marie Ferraro, “Leaning In” has a different meaning. It means saying “no” and enforcing boundaries with other people. Marie has a typical problem that many children of immigrant parents feel: The constant pressure to offer support and to be available. “I don't have the time to play to the archaic gender roles and be the woman behind the stove or follow these long-standing traditions upheld by Latino culture,” she explains. “My time is valuable and it is a resource that I need to protect if I want to get ahead.”

Marie has learned that “Leaning In” is all about putting her own needs first instead of the needs of her family. She says, “There's a satisfaction and self esteem boost that comes with working on improving yourself.  You are your greatest asset and you can bring more to the table by changing your focus.”

by Stacey Brecher