How Nely Galán’s Journey As An Immigrant Taught Her To Be Self-Made

Nely Galán's family fled Cuba for a chance at a better life. Today, the media mogul has a rich career that includes being the first Latina President of Entertainment for a U.S. television network and a New York Times Best-Selling author. She talks being an immigrant and self-made, too.

Coming from parents who lost everything during the Cuban communist regime, Arnely “Nely” Galán was destined to become “self-made.” Galán is a media dynamo and women’s empowerment advocate. She was the first Latina President of Entertainment for a U.S. television network at Telemundo. She is also an Emmy Award-winning producer for the hit reality series, “The Swan.”

“It didn’t start that way. Anybody can do it if I did it,” Galán said when asked what her climb in media has entailed.

Named for her parents, (Arnely is a combination of both of their names), she started her career in television as an intern, then moved up to an assistant and eventually built her way to the top. Galán believes being self-made is not only a mindset but also a movement.

Finding A New Life In America

In the late 1960s, Galán’s parents took her and her brother to the U.S. A New Jersey family, who had lost two sons in the Vietnam War, welcomed them into their home for a year. Galán knew that from that moment on, being an immigrant defined her.

“For me, being an immigrant is everything. It’s everything as to why I am who I am,” Galán said.

Her climb in business started in seventh grade when her parents were in a financial pinch. Galan wanted to do her part to help out, so she sold Avon products out of her locker at school. “From that experience, I was always selling something, doing a side job,” Galán said.

Although it was not always an easy climb for her, Galán said those moments empowered her. “All those bad roads have led me to understand the only way for me is owning my own business in the end,” she said. “I don’t take anything I don’t want because I’m economically empowered.”

Looking Ahead

After being on the road for a number of years talking to women and gathering real data, Galán decided to share her wisdom and write a book about her experiences and what it truly means to be self-made. She said to herself, “‘You have to do it. If you don’t tell the story, who’s going to?’”

“Self-Made” is a New York Times Best Seller. Galán has been on a two-year book tour to 151 cities. “I’m very proud of that and its one of the greatest things I’m proud of in my life” she expressed about her book hitting the New York Times Best Seller.

In Galán’s book, she writes, “don’t buy shoes, buy buildings” and that is exactly what she plans to do. In 2018, Galán has already bought two buildings and does not plan on stopping there. “While I’m teaching all of you how to do it, I have to keep doing it,” Galán said.

She also plans to develop a “Self-Made” event for all, multicultural women and also one for her Latina audience. She wants to continue talking, building and introducing women.

Galán wants everyone to know you will never put up with any abuse if you are self-reliant. “The most important thing is that, right now, it’s ‘Me Too’ and ‘Times Up’ and the next thing is becoming self-made,” she added. “I am afraid all the time and afraid to fail, but I do it anyway.”

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