I came to this country when I was five years old from my native Cuba. I think when you are an immigrant and your parents don't speak English, by default you become the translator and savior of your family in this new land. You also know early on that helping your family financially is your norm.

So, I believe we become natural entrepreneurs because it's a muscle we engage early on.

Our parents may be educated (as mine were), but have to tap into other skills to make money and to make ends meet. My mother would babysit kids after school, and became a seamstress who made Quinceañera and wedding dresses. My dad painted cars on the side, while working for Goya Foods (the Latino food company). The mindset was about always making extra money in an honorable, humble way. I started selling Avon in middle school to help pay for my tuition at all-girl Catholic School.

Since then, I have had many jobs and worked for many people including five iconic billionaires in the entertainment industry, and I still believe the answer for so many women is to become Self Made.

I was a station manager of a Spanish television station when I was 22 years old. I worked day and night and, three years later, my boss suddenly sold the company for a lot of money. When I asked him how he could do this without letting me know, he said, "Young Lady, those are my chips... go get your own chips!"

He was right and I did. I went and got my own chips.

I started a business launching television channels abroad (it took me four years before I made a single penny). Later, as president of the Telemundo Television Network and after creating 700 TV shows in English and Spanish including the Fox Hit The Swan, I became a Self-Made Entrepreneur.

I have now turned my attention to my own community, Latinas, who like me have hopes and dreams and yet need access to inspiration, training and access to information to start their own businesses.

I founded The Adelante Movement in 2012 to help Latinas, an emerging market in the U.S. and the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in America.

We have been traveling the country for nearly three years meeting and training Latinas in entrepreneurship and building a digital hub that has helped us create a community.

I want Latinas to experience financial independence because I believe being self-reliant creates a feeling of wholeness and self-actualization that makes you powerful inside. That is as close to happiness as we can get.

So, as I say to my Latinas, "Don't buy shoes, buy buildings"!

Dream bigger and do the work day to day to get there.


Nely Galán, founder of The Adelante Movement, is a Latina media dynamo and women's empowerment advocate. A first-generation immigrant and self-made media mogul, Galán was the first Latina president of a U.S. television network (Telemundo). She is an Emmy Award-winning producer of more than 600 episodes of television in Spanish and English, including the FOX hit reality series "The Swan" and is the first Latina to appear on "Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump" on NBC.


The Adelante Movement (Move Forward!) is a grassroots movement that empowers Latinas financially and entrepreneurially in the U.S. and is a part of Coca-Cola's global 5by20 women's economic empowerment initiative. Learn more at www.theadelantemovement.com and www.5by20.com.