Arte Público Press
Cover: Arte Público Press

Wise words from 50 Successful Latinas

In ‘Latina Leadership Lessons: Fifty Latinas Speak,’ Delia García gathers words of wisdom from successful women who share advice with those still on the come up


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In 2004, Delia Garcia became the first Latina — and youngest woman — elected to the Kansas legislature. In 2019, she made history again becoming the first Latina to be appointed Secretary of Labor in her home state. An established public leader and the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Garcia decided to gather the “Top Ten Leadership Lessons" from 50 high-achieving women to inspire new generations in a new book. 

The result is the anthology, Latina Leadership Lessons: Fifty Latinas Speak, (Arte Público Press, 2022), where she gathers words of wisdom from 50 successful women who share advice with those less experienced — suggestions their younger selves would have appreciated.

This “who’s who” of movers-and-shakers are representatives from government, corporate and nonprofit worlds. 

Contributors come from every region of the country and include Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, the dean of the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, an NBC News commentator and a political analyst for Telemundo; Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, the former mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who dealt with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane María; Hilda Solis, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and California state senator and congresswoman; and María “Gaby” Pacheco, a young immigrant rights advocate who spearheaded the efforts that led to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

“This powerful and intriguing collection introduces an impressive group of women who have reached the pinnacle of success in their work, despite having to overcome obstacles related to gender, ethnicity and sometimes immigration status,” Garcia's publishers write.

The contributors also give several recommendations that made many of the lists, such as the importance of believing in oneself, the need to mentor and be mentored, remembering one’s roots, embracing change and taking care of one’s physical and emotional needs.

A natural leader

With 25 years of public service and nonprofit leadership experience advocating for economic security & development, Garcia currently serves at the U.S. Department of Labor as the Women's Bureau Administrator for South Central U.S.

Her personal story is both an example of leadership and overcoming that can be inspiring for many Latinas. 

Born in Wichita, Kansas, her family owned Kansas’ oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant since 1963, where she learned good customer service in the restaurant business and in the community. Later, she ran for state representative in the district where the family restaurant is located. In 2004, she became the first Latina and youngest woman ever in the Kansas State Legislature. 

Garcia earned her Master’s Degree in Political Science at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and Bachelors Degree from Wichita State University. She is also a graduate of the Harvard University Executive Leadership Program.


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