I am currently creating a social justice movement; the name of my company is Mini Manifesters; I am in the research and development phase where I am testing out my youth development curriculum. My curriculum guides youth to create prototypes of their own ideas which in turn will serve their peers and community based on the need. Towards the end of the program our young leaders will release their prototype and test its efficacy with their peers, family, and community.
As a part of our series about strong women leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Annette Estrada.
Annette is working on the final version of her book Mini Manifesters, A Pocketbook for Any Adult Who Serves Kids, scheduled for release Fall 2020, check out Mini Manifesters at www.minimanifesters.com and her podcast https://anchor.fm/annette408.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I am a credentialed classroom teacher, going into my 8th year of teaching. Ever since I was a child, I pretended to be a teacher; with friends, we’d argue about who’d teach and which lessons we would lead. In middle school, I initially had dreams of becoming a Marine Biologist, but I feared math and scared myself out of that career path. I did not receive as much guidance as I needed in high school, and at the end of my Senior year, I decided to attend my local state university. As a Freshman in college, I convinced myself that Advertising was my passion. I liked the idea of impacting so many people at once by stimulating people’s emotions, feelings, and thoughts. The Mass Media program was not inspiring as I initially thought; I tried to psyche myself up, but I went through the motions until graduation. Social interaction was the most inspiring throughout the totality of my school years. I was usually a part of student government, ethnic clubs, choir, mock trial, Greek life etc. The social experiences were a true blessing, as they kept me anchored in academics. My social experiences remind me that some students aren’t academically motivated because there are other needs that need to be met first: The sense of belonging.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I am currently creating a social justice movement; the name of my company is Mini Manifesters; I am in the research and development phase where I am testing out my youth development curriculum. My curriculum guides youth to create prototypes of their own ideas which in turn will serve their peers and community based on the need. Towards the end of the program, our young leaders will release their prototype and test its efficacy with their peers, family, and community.
I’ll also be creating a curriculum for adults with kids in their life. The adult curriculum is for people who want to take their leadership further, with the kids in their life, by creating an environment conducive for young creators to help our young leaders create a new reality, a new world; the adult curriculum will have many of the elements from my book, Mini Manifesters A Pocketbook for Adults Who Serve Kids, to be released in Fall 2020.
Many change-making organizations charge to enroll students and parents into their program, it will be my job to figure out how to help families and their young leaders access this material for FREE! Many of the changemaker programs are marketed to families that can afford an opportunity like this, but our most vulnerable communities cannot be forgotten with all the pure energy of love and intelligence they hold, all of this goodness needs to be tapped into! What are we waiting for? Why only offer this way of life for people who can afford to pay? What about the families who can’t afford it?
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake I have made thus far is how I’ve anticipated a huge rush of events happening once I revealed my project however, people can’t be interested if there isn’t enough data and if people aren’t aware of what I’ve been developing. With this, sure and steady is the pace I have had to accept while simultaneously piecing together all the moving foundational pieces and developing the heart of the organization. My excitement and acknowledgment of the need for a paradigm shift such as this will have to move at a steady pace during its developmental stages. If I release too early, there may be some crucial details that could be overlooked, which will open up my organization to a vulnerable unsteady state.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Along the way, teachers from middle and high school guided me. My parents’ unhealthy relationship taught me the importance of safety, stability, and loyalty. My current mentors are, my partner, my own children, and my students; all three entities, on a continuous basis, teach me so much about pure potentiality and the use of energy which has given me the ability to shift my own reality for the better. Before my partner and I got together, I was a free spirit doing as I pleased. Teaching and parenting my children, dating and going out; during this time, I was blessed to have witnessed the magic that occurred when children were given the space to create and be free to be themselves. This freedom, in turn, helped me be a free spirit and enjoy life!
Amidst the magic, I observed an important element was missing, I wasn’t evaluating, fast enough, the wounds that impacted my daily interactions. Once my partner and I got together, accountability on both ends skyrocketed through the roof, and I started to recognize how I would easily go into autopilot if I was triggered. To this day, we continue on this journey to self-betterment. There are many times when the journey seems bleak and heavy; I’m slowly practicing not to take things personally, the interactions with my partner remind me how taking things personally makes the journey unbearable. My partner teaches me what I need in order to have a healthy relationship; he teaches me that I have to put up tough boundaries, so I don’t become a doormat: One of the best and biggest life lessons yet.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Disrupting a system that hurts humanity in any way, is positive! The negative aspect of breaking up an old system are the supporters of the old idea; they’ll come with guns blazing; there is little room to advocate for new ideas or a new way that will benefit all because as we know from experience, many systems are used to protect and serve certain groups. For example, if we refer to the impactful study, Savage Inequalities, by Jonathan Kozol, he illustrates numerous accounts around the United States of the huge disparities in education and the difference in the quality of education based on socioeconomic and racial differences of pupils in neighboring communities. To this day, the disparity between affluent students and marginalized students impact the quality of education, a long-standing issue. However, the charter school movement was created to break away from this long-standing disparity! Charter schools were created to give EVERYONE choice regardless of your zip code. Key phrase, CHOICE FOR EVERYONE!
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
“This too shall pass”, “If you build it, they will come”, and “Don’t worry what other people think.” Creating Mini Manifesters this past year was easy in the beginning. Maybe because I had the full support of my entrepreneurial group, The Powerhouse Academy. As my book ends its last round of edits, my pilot program ends in several weeks, and my podcast continues on its way; I wonder in this first phase, what’s to come next, fearing my momentum will somehow die. When times seem bleak, when I doubt Mini Manifesters will lift off the ground, when ideas are constantly bombarding me in addition to the daily rigor of being a partner, mother, entrepreneur, and teacher; I think about the aforementioned advice which centers me. It is rare but through this journey, it is easy to freeze from fear, but slow and steady has been my best friend and celebrating the wins reinforces the good work set forth.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
I am not done yet! Releasing my book in Fall 2020, Mini Manifesters, A Pocketbook For Adults Who Serve Kids; piloting my curriculum to many more youth groups; collecting data that reflects the good work my curriculum produces for adults, youth, and the community! Lastly, spreading the word and making connections to position this social justice movement as a necessity to nurture our young leaders of the NOW!
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
The biggest challenge women disruptors encounter is the inequality between women who have young ones to take care of versus all others who don’t need to worry about this detail. Women disruptors with family have the same challenges all other disruptors encounter in addition to the daily ups and downs of taking care of a family, especially young ones. Many counterparts, without little ones to take care of, have readily accessible energy, time, and resources to push their cause through. There have been many studies that show, in any given industry, that many working women who prioritize family care leave give up their chance to elevate from their position; allowing all others without childcare responsibilities a chance to accelerate their growth and possibly take over positions left by people, mainly women, in this predicament.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
TEDx, Bertice Berry’s Walking With Purpose. She talks about the importance of working on ourselves, when we focus on ourselves, in turn, we’re working on everyone else. I believe in the idea that we are all connected; the pain and happiness one experiences can be felt; which reminds us all of the importance of being the change we wish to see. She talks about when you walk with purpose not only are you taking care of yourself, in turn, we are taking care of others, in addition to colliding with destiny! Walking with purpose reminds us that we all have a choice to live life through love impacting the UNIVERSE! Can you imagine, if on a global level we all lived every moment of our life with pure intention and love, how different humanity, the world, and our universe would be. It would be a different place; it would contain the richest energy: Love. It all begins with us, beginning within is the key to making this change. I believe it is during this time of the pandemic, racial tension, and all other injustices happening around the globe where we are forced to sit in our own “stuff”, reflect, and change for the better, in the end resulting in the betterment of humanity! It all begins with the love we have for ourselves, which is walking with purpose.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
A life quote that impacts my life daily is “If you want to be trusted, be honest. If you want to be honest, be true. If you want to be true, be yourself. In a world full of lies, opinions, truths, and half-truths, in the end, the only thing we ever have is ourselves. If we are not true to ourselves, becoming the best version of ourselves will come slowly. If we aren’t true to ourselves beginning within will be difficult leaving the void within unexamined and not allowing ourselves to walk with purpose. If we’re not walking with purpose, there will be nothing to disrupt, all we will encounter is the superficial reality that has been created for us; without purpose, we will follow blindly and follow the reality that have no plans for us all to meet our purpose.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It would be my Mini Manifesters, a social justice movement. Imagine harnessing the youthful energy and power of our young leaders and all the people they influence. Imagine adults nurturing an environment for young ones conducive to creation and social change! So many of our young ones see and experience injustices, pain, and cruelty inflicted on our natural environment, their community, and their world. They want to be a part of the change! They are not the leaders of the future! Our youth are the leaders of the NOW!!! This is the exact movement I am working to bring to light! With the bombardment of technology, our young ones are being sucked of their creativity! This movement is progressing, and it will help make a difference in our unjust world!
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can start at my website www.minimanifesters.com. From there, Mini Manifesters has a Facebook page featuring weekly updates regarding my book and other creations I’m cooking up. If you are into podcasts, my pilot youth group helps host our podcast Mini Manifesters: Small Talk Big Minds at https://anchor.fm/annette408. The podcast showcases the journey our young leaders encounter as they build community serving prototypes using social-emotional, restorative justice, and design thinking practices.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!