Maria I. Melendez gave up a high-profile job in the music industry to pursue her true passion: helping others capitalize on their potential and embrace their legacy. It wasn't an easy decision, but she knew she had a different path in life. So, she founded Embrace Her Legacy, a company that provides media, workshops, events, coaching and community designed to help women and girls lead purpose-driven lives. Specifically, Melendez wants to use her platform to help black and Latina girls achieve their potential and live their purpose.
"As a Latina, I knew that a lot of my family members would think I was crazy to leave the comfort of a safe job to pursue a dream — but now it's time for us to take the baton from them and run all the way to the finish line," she told us. "Once you believe in yourself and your ability with conviction, then others will have no choice but to respect you and your decision."
This month, Melendez will take one more step on the road to achieving her own legacy. On June 16, her first book hits shelves, Take The Limits Off Your Legacy: A Woman's Guide To Unlock Purpose and Vision (Amazon, $11.99), a guide to help women and girls fearlessly unlock the opportunities in their lives.
We spoke to Maria I. Melendez about Embrace Her Legacy, her advice for fellow Latinas, why she admires Jennifer Lopez and more. Read it below:
You gave up a great job to found Embrace Her Legacy. What was the most difficult part of that decision?
The most difficult part of my decision was actually facing the fact that my dream job was not what I thought it would be. Plus, the fear of rejection of my loved ones. I grew up in a very traditional Latino household where the American Dream is about going to school, completing your education and securing a good and safe job with benefits, paid vacation etc. — which I did accomplish.
After graduating from Hofstra University, I landed my “dream job” at a major record label in the music business, but after a few years, I was not happy for several reasons. Actually, I had become miserable. I was so frustrated [that] my childhood dream of working in the music business was slowly becoming a beautiful nightmare. It was so difficult to face the fact that I had to go against tradition and pursue my dreams. I had to choose faith over fear. I had to choose courage over comfort and that was not — and still is not — easy.
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