Inspiring Latina of the Week: CNN Editor, Cindy Rodriguez

Cindy Rodriguez isn't the kind of girl who sits around waiting on the world to change. Instead, she's the kind of girl who makes change happen!

Growing up in West New York, N.J., this driven and hardworking Latina noticed a lack of coverage about Latinos in mainstream magazines and on television, and from an early age, Rodriguez felt compelled to change that. “The art, culture, and historic footprint in this country was changing, but no one was really writing stories about it," says Rodriguez. "I wanted to change that.”

And that's precisely what Rodriguez has done! The 29-year-old Peruvian-American journalist was instrumental in the launch of the Latino Voices vertical at The Huffington Post -- where she worked as an editor and produced culturally relevant content for the Latino audience. Whether she was interviewing Victor Cruz or writing an inspiring story about a nine-year-old Latino boy who built his own makeshift arcade, Rodriguez worked around-the-clock to find stories that resonated with the Latino community.  

And now, Rodriguez is working as an Editor at CNN, where she writes and edits content for Latinos. “Part of my job will be serving as a liaison between CNN Español, CNN Mexico and CNN International to help spot newsworthy topics and trends that best serve the acculturated Latino audience in the U.S.,” Rodriguez explains. 

Read on to find out about the numerous jobs and internships that made Rodriguez stand out from the competition, why she chose happiness over riches when choosing a career, and why she feels every Latino should “read, read, read in BOTH languages!”

Tell us about your job!

I was hired in late August at CNN as the Editor of Latino Audiences. I work across the network to identify, report and help others produce content in English for Hispanic audiences.

What steps did you take to get to where you are now?                                     

I feel like every job I’ve had in journalism has prepared me for my position at CNN. My time at WNBC helped me understand the ins and outs of broadcast news. Interning as an events assistant at strengthened my networking skills. I also took advantage of the perks there by taking almost every single one of their career-building courses, which helped me land a job as an Online Producer at Doubledown Media and then American Express Publishing.

Then, freelancing as a translator at a public relations firm helped me strengthen my Spanish and pitching skills, which I still use today. But, helping launch Latino Voices {atThe Huffington Post} was probably the position closest to what I do now, that I needed to help me get where I am now. Everything I learned at The Huffington Post was invaluable (both the people and the experience).

How do you deal with challenges in your career?

My first boss at WNBC told me, “No one is indispensable in this career. If you won’t do it, they will find someone who can and will. So hop to it.” So, if there was ever a massive cutback at a company, I would just think, ‘okay, what’s my next step?” If I was ever faced with someone at work who gave me a hard time, I just thought, ‘Well, it’s better than being ignored.’ My perspective on things is what has always kept me afloat in such an unpredictable business. Plus, my family is super supportive. Nothing ever fazes them. Just keep trekking, they say, things could be worse.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career?

Getting hired at CNN! My dream job that never existed 10 years ago was created and now I’ve got it. It feels like everything I’ve ever worked for brought me here.

What advice do you have for other Latinas looking to make their dreams come true?

If you are trying to figure out whether or not to pick a career that makes you money or makes you happy, pick the career that makes you happy. Nothing good ever came easy. There will be rocky times, but that doesn’t mean you give up. That means you have to fight harder for what you want. And, read, read, read in BOTH languages! And, if there is one regret I had in high school, it was not taking Spanish. I took French instead. I thought that because I spoke it at home it wasn’t necessary. But I learned the hard way when I realized in college how much I really wanted to perfect my reading and writing in Spanish. Let’s just say getting my BA in Spanish Literature in college was extremely difficult! Plus, it made me an easy hire when job hunting!