New America Media, Question & Answer, Valeria Fernández
Editor’s Note: Rose Castillo Guilbault, celebrated author of the memoir, “Farmworker’s Daughter: Growing Up Mexican in America,” has just released a new work with co-author Louis E.V. Nevaer, entitled “The Latinas Guide to Success in the Workplace.” Guilbault spoke to New America Media about the new book, and her own experience growing up as an immigrant in the U.S.
New America Media: Why focus on Latinas in the workplace?
Rose Castillo Guilbault: I’ve been in the business world for a long time, and I always felt that I had no one to talk to or seek advice from. So I kind of conceived it as a book of mentoring. If Latinas come and talk to me with various work-related, career-related questions, these would be the [types of] things that I would tell them.
NAM: What was your own experience in the workplace?
RCG: I went to college — which was a big step to begin with — and majored in journalism. Broadcasting was a field where they were welcoming women and minorities, because of affirmative action in the 1970’s.
There just wasn’t anybody at that time that could mentor me. The few of us that were in broadcasting… were all at the same level. We weren’t getting the kind of advice that we probably needed. So often I found myself as the only woman, the only Latina in meetings and boardrooms. It was lonely.
And then when I moved from broadcasting into the corporate world, it was a whole other thing. I was always looking for other women that could help you figure things out. [But] there wasn’t a lot of help along the way — you have to make your own way.
I’d just thought that writing about what I have seen and what I have experienced — sort of the “rules of engagement” in companies — would be good advice for young Latinas who are thinking about what the workplace is like.
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