Nely Galán: She’s a Self-made Success

October 5 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: What’s the Good Word?

One of my favorite college classes was linguistics. I remember my professor emphasizing that you begin to really understand a specific culture only after learning to speak the language associated with that culture. And even within specific cultures, language evolves depending on how speakers use it. For instance, plenty of English words we know today meant something totally different back in the day. Take the simple word “nice.” From the Latin origin, it used to mean something quite dissimilar to pleasant and agreeable. In fact, between the 1300s and 1600s, “nice” referred to something that was silly, foolish or ignorant. Today, let’s learn a new word or spend some time practicing a foreign language. After all, expanding our vocabulary can only make us smarter. Wouldn’t that be nice?

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Almost 788,000

If you speak more than one language, good for you! In our modern melting-pot society, being multilingual is definitely an advantage, especially when it comes to business. And Hispanic women-owned businesses are proving it every day in America. In fact, according to the National Women’s Business Council, there are currently nearly 788,000 Hispanic women-owned businesses in the United States. That’s a nearly 46 percent increase since 2002. How cool is that?

WOMAN TO WATCH: Nely Galán, Latina Media Dynamo and Women’s-empowerment Advocate

Today’s Woman to Watch is one of those powerhouse women, and she’s on a mission to empower other Latinas economically and entrepreneurially. And she certainly has the experience and chops to do it! Nely Galán, a Cuban immigrant and self-made media mogul, made history when she became the first Latina president of entertainment for a U.S. television network, turning Telemundo into must-see TV for both Spanish- and English-speaking audiences. And that’s not all! She’s produced more than 600 episodes of various shows in Spanish and English, including the Fox hit reality series The Swan. Yep, she’s pretty amazing. And she even has an Emmy Award to prove it!

Nely’s remarkable self-made story began humbly, with her family leaving Cuba after Fidel Castro gained power. As new U.S. immigrants, Nely’s mother and father left behind their successful careers and rebuilt their legacy one hardworking day at a time in the United States. There’s no doubt the resilience and determination Nely witnessed from her parents would be foundational to her own success.

Tapping into that seemingly hereditary irrepressible tenacity, Nely worked diligently to become her own boss, a role she embodies with real poise. But being self-made is no easy feat. It takes courage to believe in yourself, something Nely touches on in her new book, Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way, and on her Self Made website, which features insightful content for every woman.

Giving back has become an essential characteristic of Nely’s story. She started a nonprofit called The Adelante Movement, which trains and empowers other Latinas to become successful entrepreneurs and take control of their economic future.

Like many successful female entrepreneurs, Nely didn’t get where she is without positive female influences in her life. For example, when she was bullied at school growing up, often the victim of racial slurs, it was her enlightened mother who taught Nely to stand up for herself, as well as for others—a conviction that led to self-confidence, self-reliance and eventually, an entire women’s-empowerment movement.

Thanks, Nely, for leading by example and proving that, regardless of our backgrounds or circumstances, every woman has the potential to become a self-made success!


Let’s end today’s uplifting On The Dot with an encouraging quote from self-made superstar Nely Galán herself. She said:

“Beyond money, beyond income, beyond opportunities, becoming self-made starts with choosing yourself.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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