Inspiring Latina of the Week: Rita Ferro, Executive VP of Disney Media Sales & Marketing

How would you describe someone who has what it takes to make it in sales?

I look across my really good salespeople and they are all different, but they’re all curious. You have to want to know as much about your business and your client's business. You also have to be an amazing listener. All of my really good sales people are amazing listeners, because it’s incredible what you can take when a client actually tells you what they want from you. But you have to be willing to listen and actually hear what they’re saying to be able to come back with the right proposal. And then, you know, above all else you have to believe in what you’re selling. You got to believe in the company and the brand that you’re representing.

Do you take risks in your career, and if so, do you feel that that’s helped you advance and get where you want to be in life?

I think the times in my career that I grew the most, was because I took a risk. I’m a big believer in calculated risks; I’m not saying be reckless. When you feel like something is a challenge, when you feel it’s slightly out of your comfort zone, when you feel that it’s the right thing to do, you have to do it. I think those are the moments that you grow the most as a leader and as an individual…I tell my teams all the time “I want you to try it, I don’t care if you make a mistake.” If you don’t take risks you’re not going to know what the possibilities are. And there is nothing worse than regret. 

One of the things that we see especially women struggle with is balancing their personal and professional life. Are there any tips that you could give to young women on how to create a better balance in their lives?

I don’t know that you pick "work" or "life." I think you have to live and do what makes you happy. I love what I do every single day, which is why I do it. Does it sometimes take me away from my family more than I would like? Absolutely. But I’m fortunate that I work in a job that I can do work life integration. I can bring my daughter to great events because I work for the company and the brand that I work for. Like today we’re hosting clients at the Taylor Swift concert for Radio Disney and I’m bringing my daughter with me. But I think you have to work for companies that value you, your family life as much as they value you as an employee.

If a young Latina asked you “How do I get to where you are today?” What would you tell her?

One thing is you have to study. You have to go to school. You have to learn everything that you possibly can, because knowledge is power. And you have to be willing to work hard. Nothing is going to be handed to you.  Lastly, surround yourself with really good people; people who challenge you and bring the best out of you and who encourage you. That’s really important. 

Do you have an inspiring Latina story to share? Email us at InspiringLatinas@Latina.com!

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