Puerto Rican-Latina Natasha Marquez on being #bicultural

Natasha Marquez is a bilingual Latina originally from Puerto Rico. She is currently the Digital Media Director at Voto Latino, where she oversees the execution of digital civic engagement and advocacy efforts for the organization. She graduated from Emerson College with a bachelor’s in integrated marketing communications.

Confident, self-motivated and sharp, Natasha has over 8 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and brands for their digital branding and communications. She’s passionate about the power of social media, analytics, and digital media; specifically, how these help humanize brands, while keeping the best consumer experience in mind.

Natasha has collaborated in the execution of integrated campaigns for the US Hispanic, Latin America and Puerto Rico markets. She has worked on consumer brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Walmart, Powerade, and Colgate, among many others.

Natasha is equally passionate about her family and her bicultural life. She goes to visit her family often, whether in Puerto Rico or Miami, and makes every effort to highlight her cultural pride wherever she goes.

I caught up with Natasha recently, in person, for the first time. She is as bubbly, exciting, impressive and as beautiful inside and out, as the person I met via #WeAllGrow Latina Network.

 

MB: Where were you born and raised?

NM: I was born and raised in Puerto Rico.

 

MB: Were you raised bilingual, bicultural?

NM: Yes, my dad is Puerto Rican and my mom is Cuban. I was raised as a bilingual and bicultural Latina.

 

MB: What was one thing your parents did that instilled your Latina pride?

NM: My parents were very cautious and made sure I was raised with those Caribbean values that shaped the Latina that I am today. Even when I went to college in Boston, they made sure I didn’t forget my background and how I was raised. Besides my parents, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents while growing up and my grandma was one of my family members that really instilled that Latina pride in me.

MB: Do you think you have a career advantage by being bilingual and bicultural?

NM: Definitely, I think biculturalism and exposure to different values from diverse cultures is always an asset career wise. Coming up from the advertising brand world and now with my involvement in politics, being in touch with so many different backgrounds is one of the precious gifts life can provide you with and your career will be richer and many opportunities can come up. A really good book that gave this perspective is called Culture Code. I totally recommended it.

 

MB: Can you tell us about the mission of Voto Latino? What kinds of culturally relevant programs are you working on?

NM: Voto Latino is a non-profit civic media organization that has been around for more than 12 years. Our mission is to empower the American Latino young demographic through culture, technology and harnessing their own power to become agents of change in their communities. We pride ourselves on being on the forefront of trends and the pulse of what young Latinos across the country are doing and feeling. From our inception, we’ve focused on reaching and educating Latino youth through media, technology and culture. Our goal is to work with partners across the board, to prepare young Latinos to be leaders across all sectors and help enact positive change for their communities. Among of the issues that we touch upon include anywhere from civic engagement, issue advocacy, to leadership development.

 

MB: Are they more interested in Millennials or do you also try to engage the boomer generation?

NM: Voto Latino’s focus is to engage young, Latino Millennials and Gen Zers without ignoring the older Millennials that are currently running for office and taking leadership positions that will inspire and serve as an example for the younger generations. We identified this demographics specially Generation Z to be very vocal and standing up for their values especially when it comes to racial and social justice. For this reason we believe in creating content that is relevant, resonates with them but more importantly that is authentic, intersectional and culturally inclusive to them.

 

MB: Favorite bicultural activity?

NM: I would say traveling because of two reasons: I love being on a plane and because of the educational component. When you travel you don’t only get to bring your biculturalism with you but you also come back with a suitcase full of new learnings from that place that you visited.

 

MB: Who inspires you?

NM: There are two very important people that inspire me. One is my grandfather and the other one is Lillian Rodríguez López from Coca-Cola.

 

MB: What is your message for your generation about being raised bilingual and bicultural?

NM:

-Always remember where you’re coming from and be clear where you’re going.

-Be proud of your culture and language

-Lift other young Latinos up with your example and with your support

-It is proven that the first latino in a family who goes to college will inspire and make sure other members of his/her family will do it as well

-Try to celebrate in Spanish because it is a celebrating your culture

-“La vida es un carnaval” Celia Cruz

 

I’d say Natasha is a pretty amazing young Latina, don’t you think?

Bai, Bai,

Maritere

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