Women's History Month Spotlight: Marisol Hernandez
Introduction written by Carolyn Tucker
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting these inspiring local women entrepreneurs. Each business owner featured here has been selected by the WISE Women’s Business Center for their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to bettering the lives of women and their community. Each of them is either a partner or client of the WISE Women’s Business Center.
WISE Women’s Business Center helps women start and grow their own businesses. WISE offers free business counseling and targeted training sessions to encourage strategy and access to smart resources and capital. Check out wisecenter.org for more information!
Q&A with Marisol Hernandez, Editor-in-Chief, CNY Latino
The CNY Latino is a Hispanic Media Consortium that publishes the ONLY Hispanic oriented newspaper in Central New York, produces two weekly “Spanish” radio shows, manages, hosts, and maintains a popular Latino Website portal for New York State, provides Translation Services, and serves as a Marketing & Advertising agency for the Latino Market and the Hispanic Consumer.
What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?
As a business owner, I enjoy networking, meeting like-minded people and utilizing my skills and experience to help others reach their own entrepreneurial goals.
As an entrepreneur I love the fact that I can make my own schedule and attend events that are meaningful to me and our mission. When the girls were younger (Alex and Rachael), I was able to attend their school events and be present for their track meets and basketball games. Recently, I take one day a week off to babysit my Step grandbaby. I love spending time with him and creating memories.
What made you decide to start a business?
When I met my partner in life, we both realized that he needed help with 'his Spanish', and my ability to find mistakes - along with the feminine touch of a Latina perfectionist, make him realize, the value I bring to our business. Once I started it, I could not think of anything more powerful than a community newspaper in both English and Spanish, to impact my community, to represent my culture, and my people. With time, I realized that being my own boss will give me the flexibility to spend my time doing things that are important to me, and at the same time, I am able to make a difference in many people's life. In February we celebrated the 18th Anniversary of the CNY Latino Newspaper. In my mind, to be celebrating another anniversary edition in the 'newspaper' industry, AND in our culture, as a small ethnic publication and a small minority business, is a “HUGE” accomplishment.
What advice would you give to those looking to start a business?
Do your research and learn as much as you can about your industry. Do not be afraid to ask for help to figure things out, nobody does this alone. It takes time to create a business plan, but it is worth it. That business plan becomes not only your map, but also your compass. It will guide you thru the different levels of growth in your business and you can adjust it as needed, when the industry change or new opportunities arise. Take the leap even if you think you are not ready. Life is too short and following your passion will make it worthwhile.
I will also say, take it one day at a time but plan for the future. Listen to your guts (instinct) and do not be afraid to change, to get out of your comfort zone.
What are some of the challenges and joys specific to being a woman entrepreneur?
There were many challenges for me, changes that come with any startup business (like personnel, funding, marketing, sales, etc.) and changes that come with the Industry or Trade of any business (like manufacturing, production costs, distribution, technology, etc.). Not only I had to learn and adapt to the digital world, but to learn it for a profitable publishing business, and not being a 'techie' made it more challenging to me. I had to learn how to do the newspaper both in paper and digital formats, and learn how to use the platform and software, for both; and then finding the time to learn and use our social media tools.
The joy is to be able to share and celebrate my culture with others. One of the things I love and enjoy about being the editor in chief of this publication, is getting to know the people that contribute with articles, content and those who advertise with us. I believe that we bring content that its meaningful and impactful to our large 'diverse' readership, whether they understand or not Spanish or English. And it is definitely a big joy, to celebrate 18 years of existence and accomplishment.
How does your business create a positive impact on women?
When I look back at all of the content we have provided, all of the events we have promoted and attended, it makes me feel very proud, not only of my Hispanic roots, but also of being a woman in this industry. Being in CNY Latino helped me to connect with many Latinas (women) that wanted to start a business - or better an existent one, and guided me to make them proud of being a woman and being Latinas.
I believe we are the bridge that connects - as our slogan says - the Hispanic community with everyone else in Central New York. I think we have done a great job at helping our community cross that bridge.