Learn to break your generational cycles. I’ve witnessed first-hand how easy it is to fall into cycles younger people see in their parents and grandparents. Impact and change requires some sacrifice, even if it means not working towards the expectations of your family but more so to your own. If you have the desire to achieve something different, than you have to do something different to get there. There is way too much opportunity in the U.S. to idly let it pass you by because of what you and your family are used to doing. It takes one person to be the catalyst to change the course of your family’s future for generations to come.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua J. Pinkay, a young publicist, contributing editor to platforms like SoCal Magazine, OBVIOUS Magazine, and DIVO Magazine; and co-host to the creatively targeted online talk show, LaMayDay Limelight. Throughout his experience in media, PR, and marketing, Joshua has positioned his platforms as a means to be a face of representation for a large group of marginalized individuals in America. He believes that if he can use his platform to be an example of what people with immigrant backgrounds can do in this country, then more people can have a positive outlook on finding their own voice in America.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born in New Orleans, LA to immigrant parents from Honduras and Nicaragua respectively. I remember growing up learning Spanish at home and eating Honduran food, but I wasn’t aware that this was not a normality for most families in America. The schools I went to and the neighborhoods I lived in were significantly diverse, so that’s how I defined the world. That no one was the same. This was a lesson I attribute to learning from my mother, who taught me to not look at or treat people in a way that would make them feel offended just because they were different. I like to believe that I saw the world with completely open eyes, but I didn’t realize until much later that my family’s differences involved immigration, a term that wasn’t immediately familiar to me until high school.
Can you tell us the story of how your family came to the USA? What was that experience like?
My family came to the U.S. as a means to reunite my grandmother with her children. Back in Honduras, my grandmother experienced adversity through financial hardship after her divorce from my grandfather. They were both prominent business owners, but in the divorce, my grandmother lost everything. The divorce was so ugly, it resulted in my grandparents splitting their 4 children between them leaving two of them to live with my grandfather in his home, and the other two to live homeless under a bridge with my grandmother. My great Aunt, who was a college student in Louisiana, learned of her sister’s situation and immediately sent for my grandmother to come to the states with all of her children. There was no way she was going to allow her sister to live in poverty on top of being separated from her children.
My mother was only a teenager when this all happened and landed in America at the age of 17. She was already in her final year of high school back in Honduras, but when she moved here, she decided to start high school all over again because her English wasn’t strong enough. My mother wanted to give herself a fair chance in this country, so speaking English was a priority to her.
So how are things going today?
I take into account what it meant for my mother and family to leave their home country under conditions that weren’t ideal. There’s a lot of sacrifice involved when you move somewhere with such a vastly different culture, language, political climate etc. None of that is taken for granted from me. I’m American born, so I had advantages growing up that my mother didn’t. Today, I’m extremely conscious of my family’s story because we share a similar experience with thousands of other families who live here in the States but are from different parts of the world. The social climate today has made immigration a subject of intense scrutiny that ultimately affects several generations. Today, immigrants are fighting more than ever to have a place in the U.S. and I feel as if it’s important that I acknowledge what my family went through to get here.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One thing my mother taught me was to be kind to people. She also told me that I could do whatever I wanted as long as I worked hard and worked honest for it. As I navigated my career in branding & marketing, I retained most of my relationships through kind and honest work. I developed a close connection with my media contacts and was intrigued by their work ethic. I’d think about how people were using their voices and thought that I wanted to use my voice too, but I wanted the messaging to be something of value that people could take away from. I wanted to help highlight people that were doing unique things that were either innovative, socially conscious, or creative. The unsung heroes of America often don’t get a platform to share their story, and I feel it’s important that they get that opportunity. Stories allow us to dream and see perspectives from people who might be going through circumstances that we can relate to. I’ve made serious effort to bring those individuals to light, whether it be through my editorial work or through my own show, LaMay Day Limelight, which aims to help creatives have candid conversations about navigating the world while working in their perspective fields. I strive to educate young creatives and speak in ways that promote positive impact. None of what I’m doing today would be possible had it not been for my mother’s sacrifices.
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Honesty is the best policy. I believe your word is everything, and that’s what ultimately gets people to trust you. If you conduct honest business practices, you’ll build relationships that will last a long time.
2. Manners are not dead. The words “Please” and “Thank you” go a long way. Having manners is a sign of respect. They show a person that you value them and that you acknowledge their worth. I’ve relied heavily on being polite in this way, which has worked in my favor as far as being appreciated and respected in return.
3. Do not compare your journey to others. I’ve heard countless times that ‘comparison is thief of joy’. I think that’s pretty true. It’s every easy, especially today within the culture of social media, to compare your life to your peers and counterparts and think that you may not have achieved enough or you aren’t as successful. I can even say I’ve fallen victim to such thoughts, but I’ve learned that comparison is counter-productive as a whole. No one knows your own personal experience and no one will achieve what you can. I’m adamant about letting people know that they aren’t in a race to win against others, but rather on a journey of discovering their best potential within their own lives.
4. Learn to break your generational cycles. I’ve witnessed first-hand how easy it is to fall into cycles younger people see in their parents and grandparents. Impact and change requires some sacrifice, even if it means not working towards the expectations of your family but more so to your own. If you have the desire to achieve something different, than you have to do something different to get there. There is way too much opportunity in the U.S. to idly let it pass you by because of what you and your family are used to doing. It takes one person to be the catalyst to change the course of your family’s future for generations to come.
5. Help and uplift others around you. I’m an advocate for positive reinforcement in the lives of the people around me. I think there isn’t enough of that that happens among peer groups. If you notice that you’re constantly around peers or colleagues that don’t uplift or encourage you, then you need to find new people to associate with. I’d have gotten nowhere if I hadn’t kept a circle of people that maintain attitudes of positive influence in my life.
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
1. I’ve shared this before, but I have to put emphasis on the story tellers of today and tomorrow. They are what give me hope for the future. And by story tellers, I mean authors, screen writers, journalists, podcasters, etc. There’s been an influx of diversity from people of multi-backgrounds that want to share their stories and connect with the masses. In today’s age, everyone has an audience, which allows for more people to dream because they get to see themselves reflected in more inclusive platforms.
2. Today’s youth make me optimistic because there’s been a shift within social activism movements that have seen siginficant increases in participation from younger demographics. I think for a long time, America’s youth has been silenced and disregarded, but with the type of social platforms we’ve been given in the digital age, our youth have begun taking stands against matters of social justice that affect them and their families. It’s exciting to see that young people are aware of what’s happening in this country and are utilizing their voices to show the forces of oppression that their voices matter and that they want change.
3. I’m also most optimistic about the female leaders coming to the forefront of America. I believe that strong, fearless women are what’s going to move our nation towards a more progressive future. I grew up watching my mother create a life for herself and become an entrepreneur when all of the odds were against her. Her example is what makes me believe in the women of America who want to affect change, create opportunities for the oppressed, and see a true shift in equality for all.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Over the years, I’ve admired America Ferrera and what she’s managed to accomplish in her career. She’s an actress, turned, producer and director, along with being a new author. She was born to Honduran parents like I was, and for the first time ever, I was able to see myself reflected in her experience as an American who’s closely tied to the culture of their parents from another country. I admire her work ethic and her humility, which I think would make for great conversation.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
My handle is @jPinNotes across all social media platforms, and I’ll be launching a personal blog under the same name this year. Additionally, to follow my show and keep up to date with all of our guests and announcements, follow @LaMayDayLimelight on Instagram. You can also watch every episode on LaMayDay.com or listen on Apple Podcasts.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!