Ride through Life with the Window Wide Open
Excerpts from Carmen Nazario’s presentation: “Leadership Experiences”
Carmen Nazario, President and CEO of Elyon International, Inc. opens up about her background and the life experiences that helped shape and mold her leadership skills. Carmen believes we are a product of our environment and life experiences — everything, from our early life has an impact on how we respond to what comes along the way.
She begins by sharing a poem she read from Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (www.chickensoup.com):
Carmen was born in Puerto Rico, a small island straddling the Atlantic ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico is nine times smaller than Cuba, roughly 100 miles long by 35 miles wide (3,578 square miles). Carmen recalls, “My early years were spent in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and New Jersey. At the age of five, we moved from Puerto Rico to New Jersey.”
“The first words I spoke in English were in my kindergarten class. I remember being applauded by my classmates after I spoke the first sentence in English. Without realizing it at the time, that defining moment when my classmates cheered me on gave me the courage to face new challenges.”
“We spoke Spanish on the island, but being that Puerto Rico was and continues to be an American Commonwealth, English was a mandatory subject in schools. We are American citizens, however, life and culture on the island is very different from life in the mainland US.”
“For example, there was a much more intimate level of interaction with one’s neighbors. In the Puerto Rican culture, neighbors were a kind of extended family. We shared food, family events and many aspects of daily life. That isn’t common in the States.”
“Every now and then, one of the chickens found its way into the pot for Sunday dinner. My grandmother would grab them by the neck and spin them around in the air to dispatch them into the next life. There was a sugar cane plantation across the road, and not far away, the monstrous facility where the canes were converted to sugar. It was a wonderful life at my grandparents’ farm. They were not rich, but had such enriched lives.”
“Growing up with two cultures prepared us for the changing world around us, and my siblings and I had big dreams ahead of us. I remember my brother telling me that once he was finished with high school, he was coming back to the States to study. And he did. He was the first to leave, followed by my sister and I.”
Life Experience #1, Carmen says, “At an early age, I learned to be sensitive to people who come from other cultures.”
Up Next: More on Leadership Lessons from Life Experiences
Part 2: Life Lesson #1 – Be Sensitive to People Who Come from Other Cultures.
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