Not too long ago, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato stood in front of 25 proud, soon-to-be high school freshman and with a tap of her clicker gave them a life-changing jolt. The 25 had just spent their summer completing an algebra course in hopes of getting a jump on their high school’s curriculum. Tiscareño-Sato was the keynote speaker at their graduation, and surrounded by the future of our Latino community, their friends and families, Tiscareño-Sato spoke.
“So now, it’s the year 2030,” she said, and they all stopped, thrown a little by the concept of time passing by so quickly. “So now you’re 32. Can you imagine being 32?” The room of recent algebra graduates filled with whispers and a couple of giggles.
Behind Tiscareño-Sato, the slide on the projected screen shined with the question:
What stories are you telling your kids? What are you inspiring your children with from your own life?
It’s amazing how quickly a room of whispers can go deafly mute, sounds of waves replaced by the birth of 25 new dreams, visions and a collective responsibility toward 25 different futures. That kind of silence is music to Tiscareño-Sato’s ears.
A glance at Tiscareño-Sato’s resume can be pretty intimidating at first considering the scope of her work — Tiscareño-Sato has done a bit of everything, from aviator to marketer, journalist to CCO to mother of three and today author of an award-winning book on Latinos in the green economy, Latinnovating.
But perhaps more valuable than all those titles, Tiscareño-Sato is a storyteller. Every bit and piece of her life takes the shape of a beautifully woven quilt of experience — every stitch has had a purpose and quite frankly, to try to tell it all in this space is an injustice.
Maybe all you really need to know is that Tiscareño-Sato is the LAM Member of the Month because she has a story that needs to be told — which is ironic considering that her current mission in life is to share stories just like hers.
Tiscareño-Sato is a bilingual sought-after speaker, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Gracefully Global Group, LLC, the premiere publishing and marketing firm for Latino innovation and entrepreneurship case studies. Currently, her groundbreaking book, “Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them” is the first book showcasing Latino-led innovation in the green economy. You can find Tiscareño-Sato speaking all over the world at universities and colleges, business schools, industry conferences, education conferences, middle school and high school career events, sharing the stories she wrote in “Latinnovating.” They’re 10 success stories, much like hers, of Latinos who have turned dreams of success into realities, each one begging to be shared with the world. As a tool for sharing these tales, “Latinnovating” stands alone and has garnered awards for its trendsetting. Yet, it’s also served as a terrific platform for Tiscareño-Sato and her desire to speak of these stories and share them with the future of the Latino community domestically. As a life’s work, “Latinnovating” is step one of the convergence of Ms. Tiscareño-Sato’s corporate sustainability experience, entrepreneurial drive and her desire to share compelling stories of innovation and leadership from the Latino community — each step in her life has been a new layer, a new stitch.
“I think it’s always goes back to observing,” Tiscareño-Sato said, “looking around and I think differentiating. I’ve always wanted to differentiate myself. I’ve always wanted to be the person that does the plus-1. I’m never going to satisfy the minimum requirement of anything; I’ve always wanted to do a little more. And it’s manifested itself, and it still does, through the writing and the paying attention and following up to get those stories.
“I think it’s being very intentional about wanting to tell the stories that I think have value and understanding that if you don’t write them down, you don’t document those stories, it’s like they never happened. At some point I had an awareness that we had to write our own stories. We need our stories shouted from the rooftops.”
“They really wanted to start businesses that were true to their families. And it manifested itself in different ways but at the end of the day, their entrepreneurship and their innovation was informed from what they learned as kids through the culture. That’s what makes the story so powerful.”
Perhaps the most overwhelming trend of the Latinnovating-10 was their education — the 10 account for 19 degrees of higher education. It was their commitment to their futures at a young age that propelled Tiscareño-Sato to take their stories and her message to the future of the American Latino.
“If we’re going to motivate young people to go to school, to invest the time and energy it takes to do so, we damn well better be showing them the success stories of those that have come before them,” Tiscareño-Sato said.
Tiscareño-Sato cites the 2 by 2020 Mentoring Challenge that aims to make sure the United States is once again the most educated nation in the world. To do so, the U.S. must account for 36 million college degrees by the year 2020. If you do the math, 5.5 million of those degrees must come from the Latino community to pull our weight — that equates to over 600,000 degrees over the next eight years.
Currently, that number sits at only 130,000.
The 2 by 2020 challenge aims for college graduates to mentor at least two students and make sure they earn a degree. In LAM, 86 percent hold at least a bachelors degree.
“I would say absolutely that’s where the burden falls,” Tiscareño-Sato said. “But it’s not just the Latinos, it’s anybody that has a degree. I would love to see 100 percent of the LAM community doing some sort of mentorship. There is so much that we can do and everybody should do something.
“Someone has to be that connector of that information and [take it] where it’s needed,” she said. “And my God, if I could only reach more people … It’s up to everybody to show them the long term view, those success stories of what does your life look like in 20 years, 30 years if you go to college versus if you don’t.”
Tiscareño-Sato said she left that Wednesday by posing the 25 students with a challenge and a request to aim as high as possible with their futures. And luckily for them and the rest of the LAM community, Tiscareño-Sato is a walking story we should all share with the future of the Latino community.
For more information on how Tiscareño-Sato can come speak for your school or company, or just to learn more about Gracefully Global Group LLC, visit http://www.latinnovating.com. For mentoring opportunities, check out EDGEuducation at http://myedgeucation.org/
About author Julio Lara: Julio is a LAM Member and sports reporter for the San Mateo Daily Journal. When he’s not at a ball game working on press row, he likes hanging out, listening to Rock En Español and sharing a good sangria. You can follow his personal blog here: http://ohmyjuly.wordpress.com/.
If you believe you or someone you know merits recognition, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line titled ‘Member of the Month’. In the body, please answer the following questions (keep answers short and informational):
- Name of nominee
- Previous/Current accomplishment(s)
- Community involvement story
- A biography of nominee (where born, grew up, profession, family, anything else interesting)
- Project they would like to promote during their feature (for example, if Giovanni, the founder of LAM, would be featured in a magazine, he would like to promote LAM)