Nely Galán: Self Made (In America)

Nely Galán:

Self Made (In America)

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Cuban immigrant Nely Galán, believes every woman has the power to become a millionaire, and she can do it on her own.

The former—and first female Latina—president of Telemundo Entertainment, emigrated to the US when she was five-years-old. Since then, the Emmy award-winning producer has certainly made a dent in the world for herself and for multicultural women through a career focused on self-empowerment.

“I think [being] self made means you realize that there is no Prince Charming, no one is coming to save you; not a mate, not a boss, not the US government, no one is coming for you,” says Galán, who wrote a book called, Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, And Rich In Every Way to share her story and teach women about entrepreneurship. “I’m very proud that I put on paper whats going on with women entrepreneurs, in particular women of color, who are crushing it in entrepreneurship and I think somebody needed to say that.”

Galán’s book includes information to help women face the challenges of business-ownership, including how to secure funds, an issue she faced throughout her own entrepreneurial pursuits.

“As a Latina, I was raised to never ask anyone for anything and I’ve had to really work on that,” says Galán. “One thing I found out is that there is all this hidden money for all of us and we don’t apply for it because there is an information gap.”

“…There is all this hidden money for all of us [women] but we don’t apply for it because there is an information gap”

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For Galán, whose company, Galán Enterprises, has produced more than 700 shows in English and Spanish, and helped to launch 10 channels around the world, this is an unprecedented time for women, as there are so many modes for self-empowerment, especially entrepreneurship.

“When you realize you are able to take full responsibility for your financial well being, for your happiness, and for your emotional and career wellbeing, your life begins to change,” says Galán. “It’s a mindset, a desire to DIY and to realize you can do it, whether you are a man, woman or immigrant.”

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To help women along the path to success, Galán founded The Adalante Movement, a platform dedicated to empowering the Latina community economically and entrepreneurially.

“‘Adelante’ is kind of like the Latino ‘Just Do It,” says Galán. “I [created] it because I wanted to give back and I started with my own community.”

“In Your Pain Is Your Brand”

Certainly, the road to Galán’s success wasn’t an easy one, as it began with fleeing her home country and starting over in a foreign land.

“I am an immigrant,” says Galán. “My parents lost everything. We were in the middle of a communist regime and we left with the shirts on our back. I’ve experienced the trauma of leaving my country, my parents being depressed, coming to a new country where none of us speak the language.”

It was thanks to the kindness of a family that took in Galán and her parents, that she was able to find her footing, eventually becoming the in-house family “translator,” a common role for immigrant children.

“I had the experience of so many people who immigrate around the world,” she says. “Being an immigrant gives you an edge over anyone else because it makes you grateful. We’ve come from far worse places. We have a drive and a work ethic and an appreciation that helps us succeed.”

“I think self made means you realize that there is no Prince Charming, no one is coming to save you; not a mate, not a boss, not the US government, no one is coming for you.”

-Nely Galán

Galán’s advice for women looking to build their own business is that slow and steady wins the race.

“Don’t do anything until you have two years of salary saved, one year for a rainy day and one to invest in real estate or stocks, or something that will make you money when you sleep,” she says. “If you’re in survival mode, living pay check to pay check, you cannot leave your job and become an entrepreneur.”

She also advises women not to run from the pain they may have experienced in their lives, but to embrace it, and capitalize on it as she did. “In your pain is your brand,” says Galán. “Your pain is not there to keep you from success but to make you an expert to turn your pain into profit. I have all that pain and the trauma of immigration, and I’ve made a lot of money making TV shows about immigrants and their kids.”

Start Small

Most importantly, Galán advises that anyone looking to follow in her footsteps starts small, taking just one hour a week to try out entrepreneurship.

“Feel good about doing something small in the shared economy, it is just as important as Sara Blakley inventing Spanx and getting into a billion dollar company,” says Galán, who advises women to do small things like driving an Uber or selling clothes from their closet to get a taste what feeling self made feels like. “Just start. Don’t think much further than that.”

“If you’re in survival mode, living pay check to pay check, you cannot leave your job and become an entrepreneur.”

-Nely Galán

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Nely's House

For Galán, who lives in a the country’s most Instagrammed house, a brightly painted contemporary along California’s Venice Canals, staying grateful and lighthearted are how she stays grounded.

“It’s almost impossible to be stressed out and unhappy in my house because it always makes me happy,” says Galán, who also practices meditation each week.

With a focus on living in the moment, Galán is taking her time in planning her next move. “I’ve reached every single one of goals and now I’m in round two of my goals,” she says. “Now I get to chose what to do next and I want to do that with a lot of care and thought.”

According to Galán, now is the time for women to step up and make their ideas into their dreams.
“Things are being disrupted right and left,” says Galán “I think everyone should engage their entrepreneurial muscle.”

Belisa Silva

Belisa is an editor with more than 10 years of experience. Prior to SWAAY, she worked as freelance writer, covering lifestyle, fashion and beauty industries. Belisa was a Market Editor at Women's Wear Daily for five years, where she interviewed rockstar business women like Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez and Iman. Belisa also contributes to Cosmetic Executive Women, where she highlights female executives making an impact in the beauty industry.

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