Follow your passion — This is what makes your heart beat!
Look for help — There are many nonprofits to help immigrants in various areas.
Evolve your mindset — The American culture has a lot to offer and teach us.
Is the American Dream still alive? If you speak to many of the immigrants we spoke to, who came to this country with nothing but grit, resilience, and a dream, they will tell you that it certainly is still alive.
As a part of our series about immigrant success stories, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tatiana Orozco, a US-born Colombian who created Torozco Digital, a women- and minority-owned marketing and talent development agency serving clients in the US and Latin America.
TorozcoDigital has served various private clients, ranging from start-ups to nine-figure-revenue businesses to government clients.
Tatiana is a visible leader in the NJ Hispanic community. Tatiana collaborates with multiple statewide and national organizations to serve as a business coach and digital marketing mentor for start-ups and small businesses.
She is a passionate entrepreneur who brings two cultures together through innovative education.
Tatiana is a true believer that brands are created with a larger vision and profound purpose.
She is a driven human being who evolves to help herself and clients realize their true potential as leaders.
Tatiana mixed her talents, experience, and passion in a new business concept.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born and lived in the United States until I was nine years old, but that stage of growing up was different for me because at the time, there was not much Latino representation. Also, I studied in a Catholic school where, out of 30 students in the class, only one classmate and I were Hispanic. There was also only one Hispanic out of all the children where I lived. Also, nothing Latino was celebrated back in the ’80s. I did not have a sense of belonging, whether Latino or American. I felt different from the others; everything was strange to me, and I did not understand what was happening. My parents did not know how to explain it to me either, but I noticed the differences in the traditions and the cultures.
However, I felt rooted in many things that I saw here in the United States and many other things that I liked about my Hispanic Colombian culture. Still, at my young age, I could not understand what it meant to be multicultural or biracial or to live in a country with a culture different from that of my parents, but we were adapting, little by little.
When I was nine, we emigrated to Colombia during the drug conflict with Pablo Escobar. Although I was happy to be with my family and to not have winters, we were faced with fear. At that young age, I did not understand many things that were happening in Colombia.
During that time, I finished my elementary and high school education, started college, and worked for a few years.
I created two parallel worlds, constantly comparing one with the other. I was Colombian with some American ideas.
Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US? Can you tell us the story?
After graduating from university and having two to three years of work experience, I wanted to pursue advanced studies to open doors in the working world, whether in Colombia or another country.
I had many thoughts of going to Europe or Mexico. Still, I decided to return to what I thought were my American roots. I believed I had an advantage due to my citizenship and basic English knowledge. My American Dream was to study in the United States, improve my English as a second language, and climb the corporate ladder.
Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?
I thought that just because I was born here, had my passport, and had lived my first years of life in the United States, I already knew how things worked. In reality, I was an immigrant like any other. Having the language and documentation gives you many advantages. Still, I knew absolutely nothing about how the financial and educational systems worked. And I knew no one. At the time, one did not have a network; there was no social media that I could say I’m going to sign up and begin to form networks of friends, especially considering that I left when I was nine years old, so my childhood contacts were gone; everything was unknown to me. Even though I was an American, I had no idea where to start or how I would live out my life. Apart from that, I was also strengthening my language skills, improving my studies, and opening my life to navigate it. It was not easy, and I had to start from scratch like any immigrant who had one day awakened and left their home country to create a new life.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped make the move more manageable? Can you share a story?
My cousin Carlos Toro didn’t know how to help me in my career path, but he gave me food and shelter.
Also, he encouraged me, and helped me stay positive and focused on my vision in America.
So how are things going today?
Things are great! I feel blessed. I embraced my challenging journey, seeking to climb a corporate ladder that never presented itself. Therefore, I decided to create my job, to follow a mission: continue helping the Hispanic community. And that’s what I did.
I specialized in digital marketing, one of the most significant business opportunities in today’s world. I studied to become a coach because I realized that our cultural mentality and traits hinder our progress. I also started working on the educational part as a coach, and I united these three strategies and pillars within a formula.
They are the foundations of my company — a combination of marketing, coaching, and e-learning earning.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Indeed, success is leaving the world a better place. I wanted to do something different to contribute to what I considered the highlight of my American Dream journey. I realized that my experience and path allowed me to understand a larger career vision. I created what I couldn’t find.
I could not find a place with someone who could understand what I was going through and offer guidance, so I turned to the internet, taking risks, searching, and asking. The people I met online were all Hispanic. Some were professionals. Others were not.
I became an entrepreneur, created my own company, and followed my values and knowledge to help a whole community in this country — a community with the exact needs that I had. I guided them to grow as entrepreneurs and make this path more bearable and manageable.
You have first hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you suggest to improve the system?
My immigrant story is a bit unique because, in truth, the immigrants were my parents. They immigrated from Colombia to the United States in the ’70s during the immigration boom. They met in this country and formed a family. I was born and lived in the United States until I was nine years old.
My suggestions are as follows:
- Education opportunities for immigrants
- New user-friendly platforms to learn and understand how to navigate the system
- Opportunities for those who bring their best to America
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.
- Follow your passion — This is what makes your heart beat!
- Disregard others’ bad experiences — Keep going!
- Look for help — There are many nonprofits to help immigrants in various areas.
- Evolve your mindset — The American culture has a lot to offer and teach us.
- Be open and ready for the best. Reach for what you want, and don’t look back.
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
- Young leaders that have a voice
- The diversity and inclusion awareness movement
- Collective minds coming together with a higher purpose
We are very blessed that 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, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I am very inspired by Oprah’s upbringing and how she healed her deepest wounds and became a conscious leader who has built an empire by helping others to heal. That is giving back pure love to the world.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!