‘Latinas in Motion’ Founder Encourages Healthy Habits Through Running

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On a June afternoon in late 2012, Elaine Gonzalez Johnson, frustrated by running alone, sent a text to every woman in her phone and launched a nationwide movement.

‘I’m going to run two-and-a-half miles on Saturday at 7 AM,’ it read. ‘Will you join me?’

A month earlier, Johnson — now a 30-year-old full-time program manager in the Philadelphia school district — had stood at the starting line of her first-ever race, Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run, which touts itself as the largest 10-mile race in the country. Despite being in a crowd of over 35,000 fellow runners, she felt alone. “I didn’t see anybody who looked like me,” Johnson said. “There was such a lack of Latinas at this particular race.”

Johnson’s initial impression was not far off from the truth: despite their status as the country’s largest racial or ethnic minority, at 17.6% of the nation’s total population, Hispanics make up only a small portion of runners nationwide. In 2016, only 6 percent of overall runners surveyed identified as Hispanic, according to RunningUSA, a not-for-profit organization launched in 1999 which tracks developments in the sport through annual surveys and reports. And for women runners, the figures are even bleaker: barely 5 percent of female runners surveyed by the organization in 2014 identified as Hispanic.


Within weeks after the Broad Street Run, Johnson decided to take matters into her own hands. In June, a few days after she texted all the women she knew, six women showed up to meet her for an early morning two-and-a-half mile run at Abraham Lincoln High School in northeast Philadelphia. The group began to grow every week. And by August of that year, a chapter had sprung up in New Jersey. Latinas in Motion was born.

Almost five years later, the group boasts 4,000 members in 17 chapters across 14 states and in Puerto Rico, where Johnson’s family hails from. And Johnson has become the face of the movement, appearing on the cover of Women’s Running magazine last June.

Continue onto NBC News to read more about Latinas in Motion.

4 Tips on Managing Stress at Work

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Job Stress

Everybody feels stress from time to time at work, but it’s important not to let stress control our lives.

Unmanaged stress can lead to short-term problems like headaches, stomach pains, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Long-term stress can lead to serious health conditions like depression, obesity, and heart disease.

Here are our four tips on managing stress:

  1. Keep a journal
    Track your stressors; over a week or two, note what’s setting you off and how you’re responding to those situations. Note your thoughts, feelings, who was involved, where it happened, and what you did in reaction – did you eat an unhealthy sugary lunch, did you have an extra glass of wine at night? Taking notes can help you identify patterns and help you break your stress cycle.
  2. Break unhealthy responses to stress
    If you notice from your journal that you are delving into unhealthy activities to manage your stress – junk food, alcohol, avoidance, too much TV – try replacing those unhealthy responses with healthy ones. Exercise is a fantastic way to manage stress. Join a yoga class, sign up to a gym, or go for regular jogs before work. Exercise releases endorphins and makes you happier; it can also take your mind off your stresses and make you feel productive.

Other good responses include: taking time out to read, playing games with your family, or doing activities with your friends. Set aside time to do activities that bring you pleasure.

  1. Create boundaries for work
    In the smartphone age, it can be easy to feel pressured into being available 24/7 for work. Establish some boundaries: Don’t answer emails at dinner, switch off your phone after 7pm, take time out to not think about your assignments. It’s critical to disconnect from work and let yourself recharge.
  2. Meditate
    It’s crucial that you learn how to relax and center yourself. Try meditating and mindfulness activities. If you can’t go to a class, there are hundreds of quality apps you can download to teach yourself. Start with just a few minutes a day to focus, do deep breathing exercises, and let go. It may seem small, but by simply doing this every day, you can apply this same focus to other parts of your life.

The American Psychological Association has great resources for dealing with stress: apa.org/index.aspx

Source: mygwork.com

‘Jane the Virgin’ Gina Rodriguez is on a mission to help young women — here’s why

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“One of the biggest blessings about being an actor,” said Rodriguez, is a platform that enables you to speak on important matters.

Gina Rodriguez is best known for her award-winning role in “Jane the Virgin,” but the actress, producer and activist has long championed many causes, especially education. Her latest mission is bringing an end to what is known as “period poverty” and its effect on young women’s school attendance and educational opportunities.

Nearly one in five girls in the U.S. have had to miss or leave school because they lacked access to products such as sanitary napkins during their menstrual period, in large part due to economic factors, according to a survey commissioned by Always. Rodriguez partnered with the brand to bring attention to the period poverty epidemic through the #EndPeriodPoverty campaign, which aims to donate 15 million period products to school pantry programs across the U.S.

“Education is the end all, be all. It is the reason I am here today, it is the reason I have had the opportunities that I have had,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez recalled how her education shaped her successful artistic journey. During her sophomore year of high school, Rodriguez’s religious studies teacher taught her about the role of the griot, or storyteller, in West African cultures. Had she missed that class, which inspired her to use acting as storytelling, her trajectory may have been very different, said Rodriguez.

The focus on how menstruation can unfortunately limit girls’ and women’s lives around the world — from the lack of products to cultural taboos, has gained traction. Recently Meghan Markle, who earlier this year married Britain’s Prince Harry, brought attention to the issue in India. In the U.S., women are pushing state legislatures to ensure access to products in places like prisons; New York City became the first to require free tampons and sanitary pads in correctional facilities, public schools and homeless shelters.

For Rodriguez, ensuring that young girls in the U.S. have access to products during their periods is doable.

“I want to bridge that gap. I want to end that statistic that we have here in this country. And we are capable of doing this,” she said. “One of the biggest blessings about being an actor is that you’re given a platform that you can speak on things that matter to you,” Rodriguez said.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Wilson Cruz: Advocating for LGBTQ+ Youth

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Wilson Cruz and fans

It hasn’t been an easy road to success for actor, activist, or self-proclaimed “actorvist” Wilson Cruz. It was scary to play Ricky Vazquez on My So-Called Life in 1994, one of the first LGBTQ+ characters on television. But Cruz, as he says, “had the benefit of the ignorance of youth” that allowed him to go for the roles where he could represent both of the communities he comes from.

“Every actor has something that they have to work against, and this just happens to be mine,” he said. A true trailblazer, he knew that what he was doing will eventually make it easier for someone else to pursue this career as well.

“There weren’t many openly gay actors of color that I could really look to at that time, and I loved the idea of being able to be that for someone else.” Knowing this helped him enter auditions with the thought that he had an army of people—who he hadn’t even met—rooting for him.

Cruz hasn’t settled with being a trailblazer only television, however. In 2012, he joined GLAAD, an organization dedicated to supporting representation and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in media. The work he did with GLAAD made him more practical and less idealistic, though no less passionate about activism. The day-to-day work the organization did was hard and took time but, in the end, a difference was being made. Though he no longer formally works for GLAAD, Cruz still has a role in many of their projects and loves to help when he is needed.

Currently, his activism goals include supporting all minorities and advocating for LGBTQ+ youth. Panel speaking at GLAADCruz feels that there needs to be more unified support across identities. The best way to protect the progress that has been made and continue to move forward is for minorities to stand in solidarity and support each other. He is also passionate about supporting queer youth and making sure they are safe and protected at school. He is on the board of directors for GLSEN, an organization dedicated to making sure K–12 students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community are safe and treated with respect.

Photo: BEVERLY HILLS, CA –  (L-R) GLAAD Director of Entertainment Research and Analysis, Megan Townsend, actors Stephanie Beatriz of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and Wilson Cruz of ’13 Reasons Why’ and ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ creator/executive producer of ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Peter Nowalk, Lena Waithe of ‘Masters of None,’ and executive producer of ”Wynonna Earp” Emily Andras . (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Cruz advises youth considering coming out to build a network of support first, to ensure that no young person faces the prospect of being homeless or forced to drop out of school. Before coming out to the people around you, it is important to have an adult you can trust for support because Cruz’s first concern is for the safety and mental health of the community. And, for those who are not aware, he also advises reaching out to the local LGBTQ+ support systems in your area. Many major cities have an LGBTQ+ community center with a youth program and can be found on LGBTCenters.org.

Cruz is also an advocate for Puerto Rico’s relief, particularly as we head into another hurricane season. For his last birthday, he utilized Facebook’s feature for donations and was able to raise $10,000 for the Hispanic Federation in support of Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief. He encourages everyone to consider supporting the efforts and cause.

As an actor, Cruz has made great strides, bringing the first openly gay character to life in the Star Trek series. Most of the time, roles are not written specifically for an LGBTQ+ Latino male, but Cruz considers it his job to convince the casting directors otherwise. He has to give them the option of choosing him and has to show them he is just as powerful, funny, and moving as the person they have in mind, and he enjoys that challenge. Cruz feels that has become the job of creative people of color “to change people’s idea of what’s powerful and what’s funny and what’s beautiful.” It’s not an easy task, but through his career, he has managed to do just that.

Photo: Premiere Of CBS’s “Star Trek: Discovery” – Red Carpet Angeles, California.  (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)

Moving forward, Cruz has many projects through which he will continue to represent the Latino and LGBTQ+ communities. The second season of 13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix, season two of Star Trek: Discovery production is underway, and he is the co-executive producer of the upcoming documentary Out of the Box, which will explore the history of LGBTQ+ in television and how they have been represented, as well as how it has evolved and impacted culture and politics. With every project, role, and movement, Cruz continues to empower minorities and pave the way for more representation and equality.

Google Launches Be Internet Awesome en Español, Sé genial en Internet

LinkedIn

To make the most of the Internet, kids need to be prepared to make smart decisions. Google today announced the expansion of its free Be Internet Awesome program, now available en Español across the United States and Latin America, as Sé genial en Internet.

Research finds that among Latino households, Spanish-dominant families are nearly twice as likely as English-dominant families to recommend having conversations about online safety in the home (39 percent vs. 21 percent). Instead of leaving these safety discussions up to schools or other programs, Latino families want the resources to learn about Internet safety and the tools to help talk about these topics at home, according to a newly commissioned report by Google, which provides a look at Latino families and their online behavior and needs.

To help Latino families address the growing need for online safety information and help close the internet safety education gap, Google’s “Sé genial en Internet” program provides Spanish-language resources needed to talk to kids about digital safety and citizenship—both at home and in the classroom. The first-of-its kind program is free and includes Interland, a video game for kids, at-home resources for parents, and a curriculum for educators.

“Discussions around Internet safety should include the whole family,” says Jessica Covarrubias, Google’s Be Internet Awesome Lead. “By providing resources in Spanish, we encourage Latino parents and kids to talk about online safety together at home. We want all kids to have a high quality experience–plus, the program is so easy and fun to follow that even parents can join in on the learning.”

Families are facing challenges with online safety as kids continuously become tech savvier at younger ages. But with higher internet usage, Latino families are in a heightened state of need. The study found that while Latino parents in the US are actively talking to their kids about internet safety, only half feels in control or trusts that their kids will inform an adult if they find inappropriate content. Furthermore, 90 percent of Latino kids haven’t been taught how to address cyberbullying and one in four Latino parents feels they do not have resources to turn to if child is being cyberbullied.

In addition to the launch of Sé genial en Internet, Be Internet Awesome has made a number of updates, including:

  • Curriculum expansions with new activities and an educators guide
  • Updates to the Interland game, including new levels and quizzes
  • Interactive slide presentations, created in partnership with Pear Deck, for each of the program’s lessons to use in the classroom.

Be Internet Awesome is a free multifaceted program designed to teach kids how to be safe and confident explorers of the online world. Being Internet Awesome means 5 things:

  • Be Internet Smart: Share with care
    • (Being mindful of one’s online reputation)
  • Be Internet Alert: Don’t fall for fake
    • (Avoiding phishing and scams)
  • Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets
    • (Privacy and Security)
  • Be Internet Kind: It’s cool to be kind
    • (Dealing with and avoiding online harassment)
  • Be Internet Brave: When in doubt, talk it out
    • (Reporting inappropriate content)

Interland is a free, web-based game designed to help kids learn five foundational lessons across four different mini-games, or ‘lands.’ Kids are invited to play their way to Internet Awesome in a quest to deny hackers, sink phishers, one-up cyberbullies, outsmart oversharers and become safe, confident explorers of the online world. We built Interland with help from experts in the digital safety space, and it is the recipient of the International Society for Technology in Education’s Seal of Alignment. The four lands and their key learning objectives are:

Reality River

Don’t Fall for Fake.  The river that runs through Interland flows with fact and fiction. But things are not always as they seem. To cross the rapids, use your best judgement and don’t fall for the antics of the phisher lurking in these waters. Learning objectives include:

  • Understand not everything is true online.
  • Recognize the signs of a scam.
  • Understand phishing and how to report it.

Mindful Mountain

Share with Care. The mountainous town center of Interland is a place where everyone mingles and crosses paths. But you must be very intentional about what you share and with whom…information travels at the speed of light and there’s an oversharer among the Internauts you know. Learning objectives include:

  • Be mindful of what is shared and with whom.
  • Understand consequences of sharing.
  • Understand some info is extra sensitive.

Kind Kingdom

It’s cool to be kind. Vibes of all kinds are contagious—for better or for worse. In the sunniest corner of town, cyberbullies are running amok, spreading negativity everywhere. Block and report bullies to stop their takeover and be kind to other Internauts to restore the peaceful nature of this land. Learning objectives include:

  • The web amplifies kindness and negativity.
  • Not tolerating bullying and speaking up.
  • Block and report mean spirited behavior.

Tower of Treasure

Secure your secrets. Mayday! The Tower is unlocked, leaving the Internaut’s valuables like personal info and passwords at high risk. Outrun the hacker and build an untouchable password every step of the way…to secure your secrets once and for all. Learning objectives include:

  • Take responsibility to protect your things.
  • How to make a strong password.
  • A good password should be memorable.

Sé genial en Internet URL: g.co/segenialeninternet

Sé genial en Internet Interland URL: g.co/sejaincrivelnainternet

Be Internet Awesome URL: g.co/BeInternetAwesome

Interland URL: g.co/Interland

 

A Latina Google Strategist’s Views On Authenticity, Embracing Your Identity And The Power Of Instagram

LinkedIn

Dannie Fountain is known as a builder, whether she’s rebuilding her own identity or building a brand, she has a reputation for how tightly she can weave a story that just feels right.

While the skill set was there during her teenage years it was her freshman year of college that challenged her ability to put them to the test.

“I was adopted at 16, changing my identity all over again, and removing my ability to access the historical information that had been shared, because I no longer had access to their source – my mother’s anecdotal nuggets,” explains Fountain. “My identity changed once again during my freshman year of college. Through some health-related decisions, tough conversations, and a DNA test, I discovered that the wholly-British descent I’d been raised to understand was actually pretty off.”

The unexpected medical tests led to Fountain discovering that she was Latinx and deciding to melt into an identity that had always belonged to her.

Now as a strategist at Google and as an independent marketing consultant, Fountain uses her storytelling skills to support brands and their larger missions.

Below she shares how she champions inclusivity in all the spaces she inhabits, what advice she has for other Latinxs, and how she balances both her corporate job and side hustles.

Vivian Nunez: What made you join the team at Google in addition to working for yourself? 

Dannie Fountain: Truthfully, I wasn’t looking for a job when the Google opportunity happened. I was surviving (nay, thriving) in the rollercoaster of “feast and famine” that is entrepreneurship and I truly was in love with my life. When the Google opportunity first cropped up in my inbox, my reaction was one of imposter syndrome – who am I to believe I’m important/talented/brave/strong/cool enough to pursue an opportunity like this? But Google has this kind of kinetic power, one that won’t let you say no. So I pursued it, and the more I pursued it, the more I fell in love. Now, nine months later, I can truly smile when I say Google is my corporate home and the first place I’ve ever worked where I’ve unapologetically brought my whole self to work every single day. 

Nunez: How have you navigated the transition to an in-house, full-time job? 

Fountain: I’ve always been a “side hustler” in some form of the word – whether it was running my marketing consulting firm while in college or running my second business while maintaining my first. But this transition from freelancing to working at Google was an interesting one. Before I came to Google, I was on the road nearly 24/7 for speaking engagements and work. Not only was I coming back into a space where I had a boss again, but I also was going to have an apartment of my own for the first time in nearly 2 years.

The transition was smoother than expected in some ways (i.e. I have fallen in love with having a commute again) and harder in others (I didn’t actually stop traveling as much and so I still feel like I’m on the road all the time). Having coworkers and the resources to do all the things I’ve dreamed of doing is incredible – I love the opportunity for casual collision that sparks these moments of innovation that profoundly change the way I think about marketing. I’m beyond grateful for the access and opportunity I’ve gotten in the nine months I’ve been at Google. But at the end of the day, I’m a Googler and still a freelancer, so really not much has changed.

Nunez: How important is it for you that others understand that you are proudly Latina?

Fountain: In some ways, I feel so much shame for identifying as Latina. My grasp on culture and history is limited. My grasp on language is weak. My appearance is that of a white woman. It took me taking an actual DNA test and seeing the results with my own eyes before I’d actually start checking the “hispanic or latino” box on things, let alone verbally speaking that identity aloud.

But I also recognize my privilege. I know that I have the power to walk into a room and be presumed white and there is so much responsibility in that presumption. There’s this profound sense of urgency to make it unequivocally clear that [Latinx] is who I am, all in, 100%

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

How This Latina Brought Her Dream For Quiero — A Latinx Talk Show — To Life

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The conversations on QUIERO the Show, a Latinx talk show web series, are centered on the Latinx experience. Priscilla Garcia Jacquier sits opposite her guests, the likes of Alexander Dinelaris, Emma Ramos, and Michelle Veintimilla, as she builds a conversation on their experiences pursuing their truest passions.

“The show is about tools for success, so I like to think through people’s lives and how their experience could help other people,” explains Garcia-Jacquier. “Sometimes that means that they’re at the top of the game, sometimes that means that they’re just starting out, but their hustle is on point.”

The series has a complete first season with 10 episodes currently available on YouTube with plans to film season 2 this summer in Los Angeles.

“It became clear that I wanted to build a platform that would both help people’s hearts and also give them the tools necessary for success — LatinX success,” shares Garcia-Jacquier. “LatinX hunger gets confused into a sort of ‘grateful immigrant’ narrative that I have really become tired of. No, we’re not here working away our gratitude every day and thanking the borders for letting us through in humble submission. We are here to build, to create, to empower, and honestly, to have an economic impact.”

Quiero’s first season is the result of hustle and pure determination — filmed in Garcia-Jacquier’s New York City bedroom with equipment her and her team already owned. Season 2 is a dream supported by a community of individuals who supported their Kickstarter campaign and understood the vision, and the need, for a series like Quiero.

“As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned it’s going to take time and that I have to make direct asks,” shares Garcia-Jacquier. “Somehow, I’ve approached a lot of exchanges surrendering my instinct and allowing others’ expertise to overpower my gut. I’m learning that I need to follow my instincts and be very direct in the asks that it requires. It’s the only way that people meet you halfway.”

Below Garcia-Jacquier shares the behind-the-scenes of building a web series, leaving behind her 9-to-5 for her own passion project, and the advice she has for Latinx.

Vivian Nunez: When did you know it was time to quit your job to focus on your passion projects? 

Priscila Garcia-Jacquier:I have been assisting at the highest levels of entertainment since I was 19. My mentors’ projects have always been the most important tasks for me and I took to their lives as if they were my own. That’s what you’re supposed to do, that’s what being a Hollywood assistant means— that’s how you learn and absorb. I have loved every step of the way. However, this year, it became increasingly difficult to leave my projects at home, even for the day. I felt a pull to prioritize them, to prioritize myself. I think some people do figure out a way to work and apprentice and still go home to their projects with their whole heart. I admire those people. That was not the case for me. If someone else’s project is in front of me, I will completely surrender into it. It’s easy to lose sight of the importance of your own script when the one at work stars a major celebrity. I’m 26 now and I wasn’t okay with that anymore. I realized that the only way to really create a boundary for myself was to start working for me.

Nunez: What inspired Quiero? 

Garcia-Jacquier: A year ago, I was feeling stuck and frustrated. I felt bogged down by the work I wasn’t creating and felt pressured to produce. I sat down with myself and I thought— what can I produce right now? What can I bring my team together to start making tomorrow? In the meantime, I was really thinking about the things that actually interested me and how I actually liked to spend my time. It turns out that I’ve always been a self-help junky and consume the medium relentlessly. Lewis Howes, Marie Forleo, Gabby Bernstein, Oprah, are all people whose content I invest in and whose lessons I apply. I allowed myself to start thinking about it— what if this isn’t just your hobby? What if part of your interest is that you want to… do that? I sat down with my EP and kind of whispered this crazy idea to her that I wanted to start my own talkshow. That my favorite part of any job is always the connection. Who will have a meaningful impact on my life next?

Nunez: Why do you think a show like Quiero is necessary? 

Garcia-Jacquier: I made Quiero because I needed Quiero. Quiero is my way to fight the harmful narratives about LatinX that have arisen from our current political climate. But Quiero is also my way of learning about the community— we’re very misunderstood, both inside and outside of the community. We all come from different countries, with different cultures, and very different Spanishes, and then we arrive here and are expected to be the same. Not to mention that my experience as an LatinX immigrant differs greatly from someone who is first, second, or third generation. We have to be open in saying that we are here and we are building a new culture. To be Latino American is a new and different thing. I’m curious about that thing, I want to partake in building what that means— but we have to be open about it, all while highlighting our success. That’s Quiero.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Lime is the first bike share to reach a Native American community

LinkedIn
up close picture of lime bike logo on a basket of bicycle

Over 119 bike-share systems now exist across America, and with the rise of dockless bikes, more and more communities are gaining access to these crucial mobility tools. But if you look at the map, you’ll see that the spread of bike-share services has left out an entire population: the more than 570 Native American tribes in the United States.

Today, Lime (formerly known as LimeBike) took the first step toward providing access for a Native American territory. The dockless bike-share company will launch in the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, as part of a larger northern Nevada regional partnership that will also bring bikes to the University of Nevada, Reno and a handful of cities. The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony is situated not too far outside the cities of Reno and Sparks, and tribal leaders told Lime that they’re looking forward to the opportunity to reduce automobile traffic and boost mobility for residents.

If this launch is successful, Lime could look to expand to more remote reservations that have been overlooked in the bike-share boom.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

This Latina Built A Community To Encourage Other Latinas To Travel The World

LinkedIn

There was no way for Olga Maria Czarkowski to know that the condition that she was once bullied for would become the driving force behind her biggest passion project — Dreams in Heels — but she’s thankful it did.

“I was born with a leg condition whereby my Achilles tendon is shorter than average. I cannot walk with my feet flat on the ground; I can only walk on my tippy toes. Thus, heels are much more comfortable for me,” explains Czarkowski. “This experience made me stronger and taught me never to judge others based on their looks and inspired me to turn something negative (as being bullied) into something positive, my brand.”

Dreams in Heels is a lifestyle blog that Czarkowski started 5 years ago as a way to give a home both to her personal story and every day adventures. Since then she’s amassed a dedicated following that spans across her blog and her travel-centered community, Latinas Who Travel.

“Once I launched the group through word of mouth, people started to join and say how much they dreamed about finding a group like this, a community for them to connect with other Latinas who have the same passion for traveling the world, or wish to travel, and want to learn from others who are already doing it,” explains Czarkowski.

Through her brands, Czarkowski aims to connect Latinas with each other and with the possibility of exploring the world on their own terms.

Below she shares her entrepreneurial story, traveling advice, and how she’s overcome her most challenging moments.

Vivian Nunez: How would you describe your trajectory as an entrepreneur? 

Olga Maria Czarkowski: I think it all started when I realized how much I did not like working in a traditional office setting and not being myself. I really was craving freedom, openness to create and just do more. Then it all started by my exploring all of the areas of interest to me (like fashion/beauty, charity work, organizing events, social media marketing, traveling, writing, photography) and then finding something that combines all of the above.

I think that it is okay to explore, to evolve, and to transition into different careers or niches. When you cannot find what fuels your passion, oftentimes you need to be creative and reinvent yourself. I do feel proud of each of my steps and of everything I’ve learned along my journey. For me, it is all about the journey, even if I’m still a work in progress.

Nunez: What is one of your biggest lessons learned when it came to starting a brand based off of your own personal story? 

Czarkowski: I think for me, there are a few lessons that I’ve rolled into one: Learn how to say no, know your worth, charge for your time and separate your business from your personal life. I had to learn all of these the hard way.

Oftentimes, when you start a brand off your personal story, people try to mix personal with business; they ask for favors, they do not value your time and try to get things from you as a person rather than a business. As much as it is nice to help others, you do need to realize your worth and remember how hard you had to work to start a brand and maintain it.

Nunez: What advice do you have for other Latina storytellers and entrepreneurs who are looking to start a movement/brand based off their own stories? 

Czarkowski: My best advice would be that personal branding and social media are key to being successful. Throughout the years I’ve dedicated myself to building my personal brand/image and also my social media network. You always need to be aware of what you share online and offline. In addition, it is more important to convey who you are, where you are going and your mission to others. A strong personal brand can help you transition to different careers

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

CVS Health Fights Back on High Cost Drugs by Launching Industry’s Most Comprehensive Approach to Saving Patients Money

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cvs health logo

New CVS Health initiative seeks to solve one of the nation’s most pressing problems and a major source of consumer financial worry.

Recognizing the threat of rising drug prices and high out-of-pocket costs, CVS Health providing most advanced solutions for prescribers, pharmacists and patients.

CVS Pharmacists are key resource for patients in identifying opportunities to maximize their prescription benefits and save money at the pharmacy counter in communities nationwide.

CVS Caremark mitigating impact of high drug costs by providing members and prescribers with robust information and innovative tools to choose lower-cost prescription drugs.

The high cost of prescription drugs is one of the nation’s most pressing problems and a major source of financial worry for consumers across the nation. While CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) has made significant progress in mitigating the impact of high list prices set by pharmaceutical manufacturers, for too many Americans annual out-of-pocket drug costs are still significant. In response, CVS Health announced today that it is fighting back by launching the most comprehensive program in the industry to help patients save money on their medications.

According to a recent national poll, commissioned by CVS Health, 83 percent of Americans said they were concerned personally about the impact of rising prescription drug prices.[1] As prescription drug prices continue to rise and enrollment in high deductible health plans grows, many patients are shouldering higher costs for their prescription medicine.

CVS Health will address this problem with a robust set of initiatives, including the new CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder, which will enable the company’s retail pharmacists for the first time to evaluate quickly and seamlessly individual prescription savings opportunities right at the pharmacy counter. This new tool further enhances existing savings opportunities the company’s pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) CVS Caremark is currently offering its clients such as the preventive drug lists that make medications for many common, chronic conditions available at a $0 copay. In addition, CVS Caremark provides real-time, member-specific drug costs and lower-cost alternatives to prescribers through their electronic health record system and to CVS Caremark members through the member portal and newly updated app. These programs are part of CVS Health’s commitment to helping consumers find the lowest cost prescription drugs by offering more pricing transparency for prescribers, pharmacists and patients.

“Today’s consumers are faced with higher prescription drug prices than ever before and many of them are now paying for a larger share of their prescription drug costs out of their own pockets at the pharmacy counter due to growth in high deductible health plans,” said Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, CVS Health. “Until now, patients haven’t had the appropriate tools available to them to help them manage these costs. To address this, CVS Health is giving expanded tools to patients, prescribers and pharmacists so they can evaluate prescription drug coverage in real-time and identify lower-cost alternatives. We are committed to finding the right drug at the lowest possible cost for patients to ensure they are able to access and stay on the medications they need. That’s our promise.”

At the Pharmacy Counter

The new CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder enables the retail pharmacist to quickly and seamlessly review a patient’s prescription regimen, medication history and insurance plan information to determine the best way for them to save money on out-of-pocket costs – with the primary goal of helping the patient find the lowest cost alternative under their pharmacy benefits plan.

“Our direct experience is that patients who are confronted with high out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter are less likely to pick up their prescriptions and are less likely to be adherent to their prescribed therapy,” said Kevin Hourican, Executive Vice President, Retail Pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy.

“Armed with the information available through our Rx Savings Finder, our more than 30,000 CVS pharmacists can play an important role by helping patients save money on their medications, providing advice on how and when to take them, and ultimately helping them achieve better health outcomes,” Hourican added. “We are beginning this process with our CVS Caremark PBM members and expect to roll it out more broadly throughout the year.”

The Rx Savings Finder will show pharmacy teams:

  1. First, if the prescribed medication is on the patient’s formulary and is the lowest cost option available.
  2. Second, if there are lower-cost options covered under the patient’s pharmacy benefit – such as a generic medication or therapeutic alternative with equivalent efficacy of treatment.
  3. Third, if the patient may be able to save money by filling a 90-day prescription rather than a 30-day prescription.
  4. Finally, if neither a generic nor a lower-cost alternative is available, other potential savings options for eligible or uninsured patients where allowed by applicable laws and regulation.[2]

Pharmacists can also help patients enroll in the ExtraCare Loyalty Program and sign them up for Pharmacy and Health Rewards. Through Pharmacy and Health Rewards, patients receive $5 in ExtraBucks for every 10 prescriptions filled, earning up to $50 in ExtraBucks annually.

At the Doctor’s Office

Another component of the company’s comprehensive savings approach is the recently launched real-time benefits program, which helps bring greater drug price transparency to prescribers and CVS Caremark members. At the point-of-prescribing, providers are able to see the member-specific cost for a selected drug, based on a member’s coverage, along with up to five lowest-cost, clinically appropriate therapeutic alternatives based on the patient’s formulary. PBM members have access to the same information on the CVS Caremark app and member portal. Early results show that prescribers accessing the real-time benefits information through their electronic health record switched their patient’s drug from a non-covered drug to a drug on formulary 85 percent of the time. In addition, when the patient’s drug is covered, prescribers using real-time benefits switch their patient to a lower-cost alternative 30 percent of the time. When the prescriber switched to a lower-cost drug, the difference was approximately $75 per prescription.
“We have been working hard to keep prescription medications affordable for patients,” said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. “In fact, in 2017, nearly 90 percent of our PBM plan members spent less than $300 out-of-pocket for their prescription medicines. While this signals progress, for those patients that cost is not insignificant. That is why we are committed to doing even more across our enterprise to help patients find and access the lowest cost drug at the pharmacy which ultimately will help improve clinical outcomes and remove higher downstream medical costs from the system.”

Using Pharmacy Benefit Management Solutions

CVS Health is also making a variety of PBM solutions available to help further drive down drug trend for its PBM clients and drug costs for the patients they support. The company’s Point of Sale (POS) rebate offering allows the value of negotiated rebates on branded drugs to be passed on directly to patients when they fill their prescriptions – and the savings from this program can be significant. In 2013, CVS Health led the industry with the introduction of POS rebates to clients, and today nearly 10 million members are covered by and able to benefit from the program.

In 2017, despite manufacturer brand list price increases on drugs near 10 percent, CVS Health PBM strategies reduced drug trend for CVS Caremark commercial clients to the lowest level in five years, keeping drug price growth at a minimal 0.2 percent. In fact, 42 percent of CVS Caremark commercial clients spent less on their pharmacy benefit plan in 2017 than they had in 2016. CVS Caremark helped members reduce monthly out-of-pocket costs and improve adherence to its highest level in seven years in key categories such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

Prescription drug trend is the measure of growth in prescription spending per member per month. Trend calculations take into account the effects of drug price, drug utilization and the mix of branded versus generic drugs as well as the positive effect of negotiated rebates on overall trend. The 2017 trend performance is based on a cohort of CVS Health PBM commercial clients, employers and health plans.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,800 retail locations, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 94 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

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[1] The Morning Consult poll was conducted from February 22-26, 2018, among a national sample of 1992 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

[2] Prescriptions submitted for reimbursement to Medicare, Medicaid or other federal or state programs are not eligible..

Kern County native creates app meant to protect farmworkers from heat-related illness

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Farmworker’s days are long, their work is tedious and sometimes weather conditions turn the job into a dangerous one. 

“I heard their stories of swollen backs and how their feet would ache after work and just the kind of brutal conditions they worked in, especially back then”, said Faith Florez.

Florez grew up in Shafter, a small farming community in Kern County in a family that is all too familiar with working in the fields and the risks of the job.

“My grandma Estella, she picked roses, cotton, almonds, and then my poppa, her son went on to again pick roses cotton almonds and migrate between seasons between the fields,” she said.

So, the high school senior, who now lives in Los Angeles set out to make a change at farms throughout the central valley.

“I don’t want to hear about a farmworker that died because they were too far away from water and shade,” said Florez.

Flores created the Calor App, which will let farmers now when they could possibly be in danger.

“The application is ultimately designed to prevent instances of heat stroke amongst agricultural workers,” said Florez.

Calor, the Spanish word for heat, began with a simple idea for Florez.

“It definitely wasn’t an overnight thing,” she said.

Her idea, became more of a reality when she submitted it as a proposal to the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, where a group of graduate students unanimously hose to take on the project.

“I went into it super passionate,” Florez said.

Continue onto ABC News to read the complete article.