PASSION + PURPOSE. Passion will get you started and will motivate you to sale your idea and move others by it, but it is purpose, which will sustain you when things get tough (as inevitably they will during your entrepreneurship journey)
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Davina Ferreira. Davina is an author, speaker and entrepreneur, founder of Alegría, a digital and multimedia company that connects the world with Latinx content via experiential and influencer marketing as well as event activations and luxury print & digital content creation for international brands looking to connect with the multicultural, bilingual & millennial consumer with international appeal. The Alegría bilingual platforms include Alegría bilingual magazine, a quarterly print and digital vehicle; Alegría Mobile Bookstore, a traveling bookmobile that brings the joy of reading to younger generations in their own neighborhoods; and Alegría Video Series, a compilation of interviews with outstanding Latinx arts and culture figures. Alegría also creates live events featuring brand activations. Alegría is dedicated to empowering and enriching the Latinx community in the United States by highlighting the stories and contributions of outstanding Latinx men and women whose remarkable achievements have historically been overlooked or under-represented. Its mission is to transform the public’s perception of the beauty and strength of the Latinx experience and culture. Alegría connects Latinx entrepreneurs with other like-minded businesswomen who can help them find 1) Inspiration via success stories; and 2) Collaboration with other entrepreneurs. Ferreira was born in Miami but grew up in Colombia. She is the quintessential symbol of the immigrant’s American Dream. Upon arriving in the U.S. Ferreira attended college, receiving a B.A. in Fine Arts from UC Irvine and worked as an actress at with the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. Later on, she attended The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London (RADA) to pursue classical acting. Ferreira then completed a Journalism Certificate at UCLA Extension and began a career in journalism, which led her to launch ALEGRÍA Magazine. She then wrote her first book, Take Me With You/Llévame Contigo, a bilingual compilation of short stories and poems of love. Her latest book, Finding My ALEGRIA is an inspirational memoir, which she hopes will motivate young entrepreneurs around the world to pursue their dreams regardless of their circumstances. Ferreira has received The Rising Star Award, given to an entrepreneur under 35 by the prestigious National Latina Business Women Association, and the Latina of Influence Award by Hispanic Lifestyle magazine. This year, she received the CSQ Magazine New Gen Award for entrepreneurs under 40 at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. She is also a sought-after speaker; whose passion is to inspire others to succeed as entrepreneurs.This Year, she has just returned from speaking at Harvard’s Latina Lead Conference & Google’s Women’s summit. She is also an official advisor to The Chairman and CEO of Spiritú as well as their head of content & Latin American partnerships.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It was during one of those moments in my life when I was at a crossroads after a traumatic event in my life that I travel back to Colombia. I went there to find some inspiration and enrolled at an Artist’s Way Seminar, which is all about unlocking one’s creativity and after finishing it, the idea to create a bilingual magazine for the Hispanic/ LatinX community came to me.
As a lover of the arts and culture, I saw an incredible opportunity to educate and share with others about the beauty of our LatinX heritage from an angle that was not being communicated — without stereotypes and through a luxury format.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
So many stories, but I can tell you that the most incredible one to this date — after almost 8 years of running my company – is how ALEGRIA was launched by a major US brand, one month after I had returned to the US from my Colombian trip thanks to a female executive, who believed in me and my idea.
I had no capital, no business plan, but a very clear and designed vision of what ALEGRIA would look and feel like and a huge passion in my heart.
This one moment literally altered my life, brought my company to light with an incredible contract for a start up and the rest is history.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Funniest mistake to this date, it’s that I did not know A LOT about the industry I was getting into, but I would always act like I did and then go do my research, study and show up.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
ALEGRIA means joy in Spanish.
This name means a lot to us as a culture and everyone can identify with it.
Since day one,our brand has been this haven of good and inspiring news, events and a community that prides itself on its passion to include and embrace EVERYONE as well as celebrating the marginalized and usually unseen my mainstream media.
Real people and real stories, which for us define the true heroes, heroines and influencers.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
This year, we have created a mobile bookstore which travels to different underserved areas in Los Angeles County and bring the beauty of Latin American Literature and supports independent authors of color.
This project means a lot to me as a writer myself and we can already see the impact it has created in people’s lives as they come to mingle and share around books and stories.
Our message is simple: Your Story Matters.
This December I will announce the launch of Alegria Publishing, an indie, self-publishing platform specializing in women’s titles. In addition, the Alegria Magazine Holiday Issue launches on December 11 with an intimate dinner for a group of Latinas of Impact in Malibu.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
I have learned a lot this year about the ever – present obligation as a leader to keep growing and learning in order to be more of service to our team and our audience.
For me, self-development at every level is crucial: constant and disciplined reading on entrepreneurship and innovation, going on retreats for wellness and inner healing, inviting spaces of intentional solitude to create and writing as an outgoing practice for inner clarity.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
I feel that no matter the size of your team, the responsibility remains the same: you need to inspire your team every day to live out their best life and potential, both inside the company and outside of it. They will always be grateful for it and they will become your best advocate for everything you create naturally.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
A woman. I am proud to say that! In a world, where we still need to learn to embrace the spirit of collaboration above competition mentality among women — to know that it was a WOMAN, the one who created my first big break and opportunity is so beautiful to me.
Her name is Rochelle Newman Carrasco.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
That’s my mission every day.
I have to make a conscious effort every day to keep driving revenue to my business, so I can support all the not- for profit elements of it: bringing yoga and meditation to schools and women in need, promoting bilingual education and books through our mobile bookstore and hosting wellness days for women recovering from cancer or mental health issues.
I can say these are all initiatives that I love and are close to my heart.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1.PASSION + PURPOSE
Passion will get you started and will motivate you to sale your idea and move others by it, but it is purpose, which will sustain you when things get tough (as inevitably they will during your entrepreneurship journey)
2. ADAPT or DIE
Keeping an open mind that is always learning from others and life itself will help you and your company evolve.
3.WELLNESS is KEY
I have learned that without implementing a wellness routine to my life, the burn out factor is real!
Taking care of oneself must come at the top of the list. It is not longer just a luxury or option. It is essential to thrive in today’s world.
Play and joy are essential for creativity. Life is fun, life is creativity in motion. Be willing to laugh at yourself and enjoy the ride!
It is great for one’s heart and it multiplies blessings!
I can attest to its magic!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Creating a movement that brings JOY to someone in need every day.
ONE ACT that brings JOY to someone in need every day could truly impact our world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Turn Your Wounds Into Your Wisdom.” — Oprah
I truly believe that if I had let all my family history and obstacles taken the better part of me, I could have never created what I have so far. Now, I believe that all of these experiences have been my biggest gift as they have made me resilient, focused and always grateful.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Oprah or Michelle Obama.
Does it get better than this?
These are women who live their passion and serve the world by it and because of it.
Medium, please make it happen 😉