Businesswoman Feature: Nely Galan
Who is Nely Galán?
The story of TV executive and producer, Nely Galán, proves that ambition drives success, and that no one is too small to make it big. Her confidence and desire to uplift both herself and others has made her an icon for aspiring women in business everywhere.
Galán’s story begins when she and her family immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1968 when she was only five years old. She and her parents did whatever they could to make ends meet in their new home, which included Galán selling Avon as a middle school student to pay for her school tuition. From living in this environment as a young girl, Galán learned the value of hard work and of making money in an “honorable, humble way."
While many girls idolize their favorite TV and movie stars, Galán obsessed over successful Hollywood executives. To work towards that dream of one day running the show behind the scenes in Hollywood, she started as the station manager of a small Spanish TV station in New Jersey when she was 22 years old. Unfortunately, that job only lasted for a short while, as the station was suddenly sold three years after she started that position. Galán remembers working very hard and being heartbroken when it came to an end. However, this setback only propelled her forward in her career.
From there, Galán began working even harder towards achieving her dream of being a Hollywood executive. She started her own production company kickstarting TV stations across the globe and consulted for other TV networks. Galán struggled with this endeavor for four years until she finally started making a profit. Her entrepreneurial efforts, while challenging, did get her some recognition and valuable experience. In fact, it landed her a job being the first Latina president of Telemundo, one of the largest Spanish TV networks in the world. After many years of hard work, her dream finally came true.
Galán thrived in her new position, and her success in Hollywood empowered her immensely, giving her the courage to continue producing TV shows and other media under her own production company after her career at Telemundo came to a close. Galán Entertainment has been responsible for launching ten Latin American TV channels, as well as producing over 700 episodes of English and Spanish TV content, since 1994. Her most noteworthy creation, The Swan-- the reality show on Fox, has been viewed all over the world .
Seeing her own success as a way to uplift other women similar to herself, Galán used her desire to teach others to publish a book containing her advice on how to be a successful female entrepreneur. SELF MADE: Becoming empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way promotes women pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and working hard to fulfill whatever professional dreams of success they may have. This book has become a New York Times bestseller since its publishing. Galán also created The Adelante Movement (this translates to “let’s get going” in Spanish) in 2012. This movement encourages Latin women to empower themselves, be ambitious, and helps to train them on key entrepreneurial skills via large-scale events. This movement has ended up attracting and including women of all different ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Currently, Galán manages her production company, but also invests her time being on the Coca-Cola Advisory Board, being an Emeritus Member of the Smithsonian Board, working on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to empower Hispanic students across the U.S., and speaking publicly about female entrepreneurship and diversity at some of the influential institutions in the United States. She emphasizes utilizing her influence and success in media to uplift and improve her community and fellow entrepreneurs .
From her many years of entrepreneurial experience, Galán has a few pieces of advice she would impart to any woman looking to be self made:
Don’t wait for someone else to be your “prince charming.” Galán says not to rely on your boss or your company to provide you with all of your opportunities and to do everything for you. You should look out for yourself and be confident in what you can do!
Fear and failure are normal challenges of living a fulfilling life. Galán emphasizes although many people believe that she is fearless, that she of course, is not. She advocates for accepting fear and failure and working towards what you want, even if it scares you.
Use challenges in your life, or your “pain,” to help to construct your personal brand by embracing them, working hard to overcome them, and becoming an “expert” on how to overcome those particular struggles.
Your cultural identity can be one of your biggest assets. Be proud of where you came from and utilize that fact about yourself to build on your personal brand, or take advantage of it when connecting with others and building your business.
Try looking at your goals from a different perspective. By making your goals for both your professional and your personal life long term, instead of focusing on instant gratification, you can increase your quality of life and create better, more fulfilling plans for the future.
Remember to advocate for yourself, but also to “pass the torch” to others who want to be where you are today. Support female entrepreneurs by paving the way and bringing them up to the top with you!
By: Lauren Miles