Empowerment Series: Mexican-American, Multi-Emmy Award-Winning Journalist, Peabody Board Member, Producer, Host, Author, and Founder of Con Todo Press, Naibe Reynoso Shares her Entrepreneurial Journey with AW
Mexican American, Naibe Reynoso is known by millions around the world as a 4-time Emmy award-winning Journalist, and Television Host. She has also made great strides working on the radio and as a Producer. The investigative journalist is a Board Member of the prestigious Peabody Awards since 2015, the same year she was cited with a BIBO Award for “Outstanding Work in Media.”
Naibe has been on Hola! LA, Univision Network, CNN En Español, the Biography Channel, Fox News Latino, Larry King’s ORA TV. Audiences may also recognize her from filling in as a co-host on ABC’s “The View.” However, her contributions do not end in media. The entrepreneur entered the publishing business with a vision to inspire our communities to dream big and is succeeding!
In 2018, she co-created Latinafest LLC, a cultural event that connects Latinas. It aims to empower and support females in the US through events held in the Los Angeles Area. In the same year, she founded Con Todo Press, a publishing company that highlights stories with characters of color and deals with subject matter that is culturally relevant. The co-creator of “The TRENDTalk,” a one-hour talk show that discusses Latinas and highlights trending topics is determined to break barriers and leave the door open for those seeking greatness.
AW had the honor of sitting down with Naibe to discuss her journey of entrepreneurship and the mission behind it. Her first children’s book, “Be Bold, Be Brave: 11 Latinas who made U.S. History,” was an Amazon #1 best seller. It spotlights Latinas who have stood out in the fields of medicine, science, sports, the arts, journalism, and politics.
Congratulations on everything! Have you ever been asked, “How do you do it all?” Many mothers will want to know and may wonder how you handle the demands of entrepreneurship and motherhood. Luckily, I don’t have a full-time job. It isn’t easy when you have a 9 to 5, it’s all very draining. I’ve had to do it, be out the door, commute, deal with office politics, and fulfill the responsibilities of an office job. Then come home after commuting to prepare dinner, etc. It has all been possible because I don’t have that job. I created multiple businesses that gave me the time and freedom to do what I wanted. Also, I have a supportive husband. I have to give my hat off to him. He is the little league coach, he cooks dinner often, and picks up my son almost all the time – I give him props. The fact that I have a flexible schedule is how I do it – there is no other magic formula.
What has been one of your greatest lessons, the one that stands out for you at this moment? One of the biggest lessons that I have learned in life which you can apply to both personal and business is to really listen to your gut! Our intuition, that feeling is so much wiser than we are. As humans, we tend to rationalize and think, use our calculator to figure out what the next right move is but when I have followed my heart (gut), I’m never wrong. When I have been wrong, there is always a lesson to be learned. You have to trust yourself.
I read the year you began Con Todo Press, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) statistics showed that only 10% of characters seen in children’s books were African American, 5% Asian, 5% Latinx, and 1% American Indian. You decided to create a business to fill a need. You showcased the voices of underrepresented communities so that our children and those of the future learn about cultural pride and heritage in an engaging way. You already have a brilliant career in journalism. What inspired you to pivot into the publishing world and start your own small business? It is not an easy feat, especially while juggling life as a mom. There were a couple of things that came together and became the perfect storm. The seed was planted to create my company way before it actually released. The political climate was not favorable to Latinos. We were being portrayed as criminals, gang members, etc. As a mom, it really made me so sad, not only to see that other communities were going to see us in that light, but our own children were going to see themselves in that light. This was the thought that planted a seed.
Secondly, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I don’t know if it is a Latina thing but it’s in our DNA! When I was 5 years old, I sold toys to the neighborhood kids.
Lastly, as a mom, I wanted to nurture my son’s cultural pride. When I walked into a library to look for books for him, I couldn’t find any in his age range. There were books for babies or teens and college kids but none for the 5–6-year-olds, at the time.
All of these things collided, and I used my intuition and passion to guide me. Luckily, the barriers to entry have lowered for publishing with the help of platforms like Amazon. It allows me to self-publish my books without asking for permission. No need to knock on doors to say “Is this book, okay with you? Can you publish it?” I took advantage of the technology that is available to us today. It lets us put our work out there without anyone saying “No” or putting up any blocks.
With small business support from companies like Amazon, we can grow customer reach and gain the loyalty of a following. In your experience as a small business owner, how important has it been to have this type of partnership while pursuing entrepreneurial goals? It has been invaluable because the barriers to entry for publishing were so limited before this open marketplace. The self-publishing space that currently exists is a tremendous resource. For example, I use Amazon which sells my books on consignment. I ship them a bunch of books and they mail them out to their Prime members. If there are any returns, they handle the logistics. As a small business owner, I’ve used my resources to figure things out on my own without a Master’s, internship, or job in the publishing space. Having all the information in tutorials and self-guides to learn how to upload a book, create ads, and drive customers to my storefront is priceless. It is a platform open to anybody who wants to do what I have done.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates there are over 30 million small businesses in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics approximately half fail after 5 years. Con Todo Press and Latinafest have reached the 5-year mark. You are not only successful, but you are thriving! In your speech for the Mexican-American Cultural Educational Foundation, you said, “You fight words of hate with words of hope. You’ve had the bravery to put your words into action.” Inspiring! Can you share with us how you have endured the challenge of the entrepreneurial journey? Sometimes, it is frustrating because you don’t have a consistent income. You ride the wave of feast or famine, so you have to keep pushing yourself to move through those times of famine. These moments are going to happen in any business. The benefit of having a boss and a job is the consistent salary and medical coverage, but there are many downsides. The upside of having your own business is the freedom and flexibility but the challenge is the famine.
Also, if you don’t get things done, they won’t get done! You are in charge of figuring out what systems should be put in place in case you are sick or want to take a vacation. You have to oversee hiring, salaries, finances (local, state, and federal) taxes, and documentation required for your business. When you own a small business, you are not only involved in the creative part but the business, too. It is hard to be well-versed in all those areas, so there has been a learning curve to keep all that together, but we are here five years later! I don’t think we are going anywhere! We are going to keep going.
We have to take about the power of the pivot. You have done it not once but twice. What advice do you have for anyone having trouble making that move? How can we zoom into that power? For many decades, I was a journalist and resistant to opening myself up as a freelancer. I became a freelancer not by choice but because the landscape of journalism is very difficult and competitive. The media landscape changes on a daily basis. One day you have a job, another day, you do not. When I became freelance, it hurt a lot emotionally. My stability was taken away. I had many months of reflection to ask myself “What do I want out of life?”
I had this career, all I knew how to do was journalism, and reporting but it’s so unstable. I got so frustrated and tired of depending on someone else to give me a gig. It came down to listening to my intuition, asking myself “What does not feel right?” It is a very simple question. The thing that did not feel right was depending on someone else for an income or opportunity. I had to think about what else can I do to complement or supplement my income. It was when these ideas began surfacing that everything changed.
Latinafest came from a need to celebrate Latinas. We are not celebrated enough in this country. My business partner and I, Bel Hernandez created Latinafest, as a result. I wanted to contribute to counteracting the negativity out there about Latinos. As a journalist, I knew writing, being resourceful and I was not afraid to do the research. The bottom line, in order to pivot, you have to really believe in your intuition and what feels right and wrong. How do you adjust whatever feels wrong in your circumstance to make it right with yourself?
You have Latinafest, Con Todo Press, and new books coming but what else is next for you? I do not limit myself to any possibility. In essence, I have a media company. I have books with Con Todo Press. iHeartradio launched a podcast that I am hosting, produced by my media company. I have worked in studios before and pitched tv shows. These are all parts of the toolbox that I can do and offer. So, if I can think big, I’d like to develop my little Con Todo Press into a more prominent media company!
I invite everyone to think big, beyond their immediate. Look outside without limiting ourselves to the current possibilities. I want to develop more podcasts like a children’s podcast where we educate children about our Latino communities and the amazing contributions made to the world. In a nutshell that is the bigger picture.
We like to end our interviews with a quote, mantra, or piece of advice to empower our community. For anyone on the verge of giving up their dream because they are not seeing it to fruition. What encouraging words can you share? There are so many! One thing that has helped me is knowing that “Nothing is the end of the world.” We always feel like it is yes or no, black or white but nothing is going to make you or break you. Every day is a chance to start over. The other would be, a no is never a no, it’s a maybe. A no is “Not, right now but not forever.”
The busy mom of two is on fire with new careers as Mompreneur and Storyteller, and it is just beginning. We are filled with gratitude that she chose AW to share her story.
The path of entrepreneurship is filled with challenges, but we can learn from women like Naibe. During this journey, I learned that there are a few things we have to get comfortable with while we walk the road less traveled.
- Don’t be afraid of the pivot.
- Find your community because you will need support.
- If you feel like giving up and you will sometimes. Rest then keep going!
Learn more about the powerhouse by following her Instagram, and Twitter or visiting her website, Naibe Reynoso. Check out her newest children’s book “I Love You, My Little Taquito” a love letter from a mother to her child that also emphasizes Latino food! You can find this and other titles on Amazon, today.
Listen to this episode of the AW Confidential Podcast on all streaming services and watch it on our YouTube channel to enjoy all the side chats during the interview.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.