Latin Business Today Spotlights Advisory Board Member Giselle Fernandez
Giselle Fernandez’s insights and expertise has already made an impact on Latin Business Today.
Latin Business Today proudly announced earlier in the year that national television news anchor and 5-time Emmy award winning journalist, Giselle Fernandez had joined our advisory board.
Her list of credentials even more esteemed as producer, filmmaker, and Latin media marketing entrepreneur. Bringing her unique blend of talents and style to our digital publication, I was thrilled to be able to interview this multi-talented, successful and ambitious Latina about the career path she’s taken, what she truly believes in today, and what gives her the drive and determination to take some of the chances she has in life.
First off, Fernandez has an extensive and impressive list of accomplishments and credentials under her belt starting early in her career as a correspondent and back-up anchor for the CBS News, anchor for the weekend news edition of NBC’s the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News.
She even managed to snag an interview early in her career with Fidel Castro during his time as dictator of Cuba.
Fernandez is Mexican born to an American mother and a Mexican flamenco dancer father. After the birth of a brother and Giselle, her family moved to the East Hollywood area of LA where her father taught dance and her mother sang ranchera songs in Mexican restaurants while also dancing with her father’s company and continuing to get her degree in Mexican folklore.
Their marriage lasted 10 years and then Fernandez’ mother took her children to the Valley to begin a new adventure. Although her mother was born Jewish, she raised her children in a home with both Spanish and English languages being spoken as well as honoring the traditional customs and culture of Mexico. Her mother truly felt herself to be Mexican in soul and always surrounded the family with her chosen culture and passion for all things Mexican including history, art, food, and song.
Fernandez’ mother remarried a German UCLA student getting his PhD in 19thcentury Spanish literature, who then taught for many years and then in a funny twist to the story of her youth, her mother and stepfather ended up becoming Mariachi singers who performed in East LA and Mexico under the name, “Ron y Tequila”.
Her mother and stepfather did encourage Fernandez and her brother to further their education. Fernandez went to Sacramento State University and graduated with a degree in journalism.
Fernandez states that she wanted to become a journalist for as long as she can remember and has always had a deep desire to tell stories. She attributes this aspiration becoming truly formed after her parents divorced when she viewed her mother as a young woman with two kids in tow being quite the maverick of her time.
Her mother’s job of collecting stories and interviewing campesinos in tiny pueblos for her dissertation gave Fernandez a love for interviewing. She could see first hand how the power of story told so much about a culture, people, history, and values.
She knew she wanted to do something along these lines in her future.
After graduating, Fernandez worked her way up through small television markets across America until she finally made it to the national networks. Through all of these jobs, she learned about every aspect of the news experience from being camera woman, to editor, to finally being on the air.
All of these processes groomed her for her eventual national and international roles as journalist and reporter. Fernandez lists many of the pivotal events that she was able to cover from the disaster of Hurricane Andrew, spending a week in Havana to scoop an interview with then leader of Cuba-Fidel Castro, reporting in Haiti, in Somalia, the war in Israel.
All of these were stepping stones to building her career. Fernandez thoroughly loved the work and the climb up to her hi-level positions while all the while still being a passionate observer of the human condition and wanting to be the voice of the common man.
Inquiring about Fernandez’ achievements that she is the most proud of, she replies that she prides herself on the values and ideals she adheres to in her work—“the feeling of fulfillment when you see that your work has touched people and possibly made a difference”. She also feels strongly about having a purpose and helping those who most need compassion and has created fundraising events that have helped causes that she cares deeply for.
She works with a refugee center in LA that helps children from Central America fleeing threats of violence, murder and seeking asylum.
These are children who need legal representation and are entitled to apply for it when they come fleeing from danger. In fact encounters are even that much more personal and meaningful to Fernandez being a mother to an adopted daughter from Guatemala. She hopes that her helpful offerings to these types of organizations in some way makes life a bit more decent and dignified for others.
Fernandez is clearly a strong Latina and I can guarantee she will have some very powerful answers when I ask her about her thoughts on young Latinas looking to start their own businesses and giving them some guiding advice.
Giselle gushes with passion for these young Latinas who are the dynamic dames of the new America. Calling out that they are the breadwinners in our families, the mothers of the new powerful generation of millennials graduating in higher numbers from colleges and starting businesses faster than any other demographic.
These females are the top super consumers that advertisers and brands want to capture to grow and survive. “…these women need to stand tall and assume their position.” stated Fernandez.
They are the all mighty and with “tanto poder” so use it. In her own words she added…“Humility is one thing, but holding yourself back to be humble is quite another. You are making brands billions of dollars so demand your future as you want if for your family and yourself”.
And with all of these strong words of empowerment, what does that come down to. Fernandez says that these women should not hesitate to demand capital to grow their business as a smart investment. Latinas are in control of a large amount of consumer spending and they should know and own their power.
As a topic that she is very passionate about, Fernandez moderated a 2016 Milken Global Conference panel on how Latinas are driving America’s economic growth.
Milken Global Conference panel on how Latinas are driving America’s economic growth
I also question her about the challenges she has come across as a journalist in what many consider to not necessarily be a “woman’s” field of work.
She says that she has experienced moments like this herself but has blown right past them. She says that those days of discrimination are over whether it’s gender or ethnicity and she will not put up with one ounce of discrimination.
“Do not put yourself in positions where that is the dynamic. Know your worth. Ditch false humility and be proud of who you are. Identify your dream, your goal, your mission and then every day take steps toward that dream.
Do not give up on yourself, do not doubt yourself. Every single person has insecurities and at one time or another fails to recognize their own potential and possible greatness. Do not be one of these people. There is no grace in not believing in yourself. Trust me it is a waste of time. Be bold and believe” said Fernandez.
Fernandez speaks about her transition from journalism and broadcasting to her current entrepreneurial business.
She found that she needed to re-invent herself and find ways to use her skills of writing, producing, observing the human condition to make a living on her own. Her most recent venture being “Big Shots” which is a series of interviews with thinkers and inspiring people who desire to bring their vision of change to the world. Latin Business Today is so fortunate to have Fernandez as an advisory board member share her expertise and professionalism with us.
If you haven’t already seen it, please see her incredible interview with musical living legend, Carlos Santana on Latin Business Today.
Three remaining series parts 2-4:
Fernandez plans to continue this series and she sees it as a place to share new and innovative ways to save our selves sometimes from our own selves. We need to be inspired.
I certainly agree with Fernandez that we can all learn something from the stories of these larger than life personalities that have experienced periods of greatness and also moments of low in their careers.
From Carlos Santana’s rise from a poor Mexican boy to guitar legend and his story of finding his faith, to Michael Milken’s incredible philanthropic reinvention of himself after his scandalous indictment for racketeering and securities fraud in 1989, to the incredible skyrocketing business of the Unanue brothers’ and their Goya brand, and Vicente Fox who in his post presidency of Mexico is still carrying on his mandate of a “better future today” in Mexico and the U.S.—these are just some of the incredible people she has had the opportunity to interview.
We are thrilled to have such a strong minded and talented Latina joining our advisory board and I especially look forward to sharing more of Fernandez’ achievements, interviews and thoughts with our audience.