In 2012, I invited a small group of women from my sorority to join an informal listserve. The message was simple. If you are a higher ed professional or you want to break into the industry, let’s share information about jobs, conferences and training opportunities. I was already doing this on a regular basis, as an unofficial career counselor and coach. What started as a 24-woman listserve turned into a blog that then evolved into Latinas in Higher Education – a professional networking organization – with a newsletter subscription of over 350 people. It’s not an overwhelming number but I have always believed in quality over quantity. This is a unique endeavor with an even more unique niche.
As I come upon the start of the fourth year of this “side hustle,” I am closer to my goal of non-profit status with a board of directors in place, a proper logo and motto, social media channels and a host of programs and events that are quickly growing in popularity. Admittedly, I haven’t made any money yet. But I am happy to say that the programs and events are now paying for themselves. And even more importantly, the programs that come out of LHE have impacted the lives of the women who attend. That is payment enough for me. And by the way, a non-profit is a viable money making business.
Latinas in Higher Education provides low-cost, professional opportunities for women who want to be recognized and promoted. In January, we hosted the Breakfast of Champions: Issues Facing Latinas in the Academy. It was a free program where women were enlightened about some of the barriers to women’s professional development. In June, the organization hosted Command the Room: Executive Presence for Women. Attendees were treated to a one-day conference that allowed them to boost their confidence, increase their career mobility, harness their leadership potential and strengthen their network.
So where do you find the time? It’s the question I most commonly get. And what I have learned is that we find time for the things we are passionate about. Helping Latinas achieve their goals, no matter what chapter of their lives they are in, is my calling. It’s my passion. And there is always enough time to do it as far as I am concerned.
I love being an SAPro and because my #SASideHustle is directly linked to my professional passion, my woo and my extroversion, the work is easy and gratifying. Higher ed is what I know. Latina is who I am. Hustle them together and you get a non-profit organization that strives to lift as we climb in order to insure an applicant pool at our colleges and universities that is diverse. All of the work and promotion occurs on my own time – no office, no staff, no investors. Just creativity, hard work and a constituency of women who want to be empowered, enlightened and emboldened in their careers. LHE does that and more.
Check it out at www.latinasinhighereducation.com.
This post is part of our #SAsidehustles series, which focuses on the SA pros with a second passion. These Student Affairs Professionals transition their mental and physical energy into a project that acts as both an emotional release and some level of supplemental income. From Etsy shops to horse braiding, these stories are bound to make you want to find your “by night” side hustle. For more information, check out the intro post by Tom Krieglstein. Be sure to read the other posts in this series too!