Carla Curiel – Happiness, Admiration, Mission, Life
Have you ever met a tireless woman, with her feet on the ground, “echá pa’lante,” who does not stop until she gets what she wants and who is worthy of admiration and inspiration? I do, and I have the joy of calling her my friend.
I have learned so much from Carla that she does not even know how key she has been to my professional and personal development. Her and Roberto, her husband, have been supporters and propellers of my professional life on more than one occasion. Carla is Co-founder of Mundo Lanugo™, a socially responsible entertainment world that connects kids to the Hispanic culture and promotes the Spanish while building their identity and self-esteem.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Carla since we were kindergarteners back in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. At one point our paths separated, but God and the Universe worked their magic for us to meet again. We have been friends, confidants, co-workers, and above all sisters for a long time.
Here I share this interview with a tireless woman worthy of admiration, Carla Curiel.
How did you get started in the world of entrepreneurship?
Well, I was in 4th grade when I started my first business. I bought pencils and erasers at a discount at my parents’ pharmacy and then re-sold them at school. I was doing very well until the school closed my business because apparently I could not run a business in school.
What has been the most difficult thing for you on this path?
I would say that the most difficult thing for me has been to have patience. By nature and personality, I am someone who likes to get results fast. I can analyze a situation, set goals, set a tactical plan and start applying it very fast – and I have had to learn how to slow down the revolutions a little because not all the ‘companies’ we associate with work at that same pace.
I know the story behind Mundo Lanugo, but I would love to share with those who are just getting to know you, what inspired you to create Mundo Lanugo?
Mundo Lanugo started very personal and became professional upon my realization that I was not alone. The second I became a mom, I had an urge to share with my twins our traditional songs, our games, and our story. I also wanted to pass along my Latino values and traditions, and provide my children with a sense of belonging and identity in their Hispanic Heritage. Needless to say, I also wanted to give them the gift of being bilingual and maintain their Spanish language. But when I went to the stores looking for tools to help me raise proud bilingual and bicultural children, I just could not find any products that resonated with me. The most I could find, were blank translations from English to Spanish but that was just not enough for me. I longed to see our spice, our culture, our uniqueness represented in media and consumer products.
Having graduated from Babson College, the #1 school in Entrepreneurship worldwide, I knew what the next step was to figure out if I was alone in this (the one crazy Latina mom) or if this was a real unmet need in the market. Seeing the staggering numbers from the research done and realizing the amount of friends, family and community moms struggling with the same issue, I came to the conclusion that it was an opportunity and my calling to develop those characters and that brand that I so desired for my kids, and that would serve as a bridge to help them grow a healthy identity with both cultures. And so like that, it became professional and MY business to ultimately create what I felt was needed: a Latino children’s lifestyle and entertainment brand of American appeal and Latin feel that promoted the Spanish language and our rich Latino culture.
What would you say is your mission in life?
My mission in life has changed by ‘stages’ but i’ve always had in me to always be committed to contribute to the world more than what I am taking in. Today, in particular, my mission is to empower our Latino children with a strong sense of identity and self-worth, through our culture and our values, because I really believe that children have to know where they come from, to have the confidence and conviction to go further.
Who inspires you?
It will sound very cliché, but my daughters inspire me. For them I got into this mess hahaha – this partially joking.
You know that I am passionate about the subject of happiness and understand that although happiness is a choice, there are times when it is difficult to choose correctly … What would you say has been one of your greatest challenges in life? and how did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge of my life has been the odyssey that I spent with the pregnancy of my twin daughters. Although everything started very normal and natural, at 23 weeks I almost gave birth in a toilet because of an incompetent cervix !!! It was by coincidence in DR, and at that time we spent “el Niagara en bicicleta” … At the time of the crisis, I knew that humanly I could not do anything, so I put the situation in God’s hands. Yet I kept an incredibly positive mind at all times; in my head there was no doubt that they were going to be perfect. I do not know how yet, but I was able to make every ounce of my cells believe it too. Learn more of the story here.
If you could say something to Carla a few years ago, what would you say?
1) Stop preaching to the wrong choir and if you do and they don’t get it, aplica las “orejas de pescado”.
2) Stop trying to get validation from others. All you need is inside of you. Search within – not outside
Is there a phrase or mantra that you repeat every day to move forward?
More than a sentence, what I have is a routine of gratitude every morning so that I do not forget how blessed and in debt that I am with God. On certain days that I need a mantra I repeat this to myself “I can do this. This is what I’ve been for. I am strong. “
I admire your tenacity and perseverance in everything that you do and I know that sometimes the body resists and needs to rest, but sometimes it gives up, what keeps you on your feet?
Two girls who do not let me rest lol. Just kidding, seriously speaking, knowing that what I’m fighting for is so much bigger than any obstacle or tiredness that I may feel. In reality, there are moments that happen to us all where we feel like ‘throwing’ the towel, but I have learned to rest instead of giving up.
And last but not least, what is HAPPINESS to you?
It is a daily challenge since only I can make myself happy. That little phrase, I’m borrowing it from my wise husband.
May you feel inspired by this interview with this rockstar latino entrepreneur and wonder woman! As Carla mentioned, happiness is a daily challenge, but always remember that YOU are the only one that can make the choice of being happy. Nobody else can make that decision for you.
So go out there, feel empowered, set your goals, and don’t stop until you reach them. Be resilient and feel inspired. Hopefully this interview with my dear Carla pushes you to move forward with your dreams.
Until you read me again remember to always LAF – love unconditionally, accept without judgements, and forgive yourselves and others.