Almost anyone that is connected with me online knows that I am a member of the nonprofit Latinos in Tech, Innovation and Social Media better known as LATISM or #LATISM on Twitter. The organization is one that I found and connected with virtually about four or five years ago and have grown with professionally not only through  online chats but also from live events and conferences. In addition, I am also a director with LATISM and have been since 2011 so I have a lot of experiences to share in that regard, but today I want to talk about one of the key events LATISM has held annually since 2012. An event I have had the privilege to attend ever since it launched. This program is called The Top Blogueras Retreat. A 1-2 day invite-only conference reserved for the current top female Latina bloggers in the nation and beyond. The event is normally split up into two sections and is a pre-conference to the annual LATISM National conference.  In 2012 the program included a three-hour meeting with White House reps. In 2013, we had a roundtable discussion with UN liaisons.  This year it was held in Anaheim and it did not disappoint, not only did I learn about book publishing, I also got to meet Mickey, a few of his friends, and more importantly, the Latina that makes him and the infamous park look good.

Our first speaker was Kayla Heinen of The Society of Children’s Book Writers or SCBWI. If you are considering writing a book and getting it published, then you should definitely check out SCBWI. Kayla talked to the Top Blogueras about the four steps in publishing:

1) Write the Book

2)Submit the Manuscript

3) Get Published

4) Market the Book

We also got some insights into the traditional publishing and even talked about self-publishing. When I was in high school my mom made a comment one day and said “you should write a children’s book.” At the time I thought it was a cool idea and it stuck with me. But, I did not understand the steps involved in writing a book so I graduated high school and moved on. Now, having been to Top Blogueras and meeting Kayla, I am again inspired and empowered with tips and tools to do more. So, who knows, maybe my #BabySoFly will have book written by his momma one day.

Speaking of empowerment and inspiration, our second speaker really blew us away with her story. In addition to listening to Kayla Heinen, we also had the privilege to meet and learn from Susana Tubert, creative director for Disneyland. Susana shared with us her personal work experiences which I particularly enjoyed. I think it’s important to share some details of our professional journey with others that are interested in learning because it really paints a realistic picture. I think it shows context and helps others see themselves in positions of success when they learn the struggles that other leaders have gone through.

“The only thing standing between you and success are opportunities,” said Tubert. Sometimes those opportunities are given to you and sometimes you have to create them for yourself,” she added.

It was also a delight to hear about one of Susana’s newer project at Disneyland called “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!”, a lively holiday experience inspired by the richness, warmth and joyous spirit of the Latino culture, filled with holiday traditions, jubilant dancing and exciting music. After seeing the parade for myself, I could definitely see how Susana included various Latino cultures into the show while also incorporating some traditional American pieces such and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause and of course Mickey and Mini Mouse and the Three Caballeros.

There is an entire section of Paradise Garden that is dedicated to Disney ¡Viva Navidad! filled with Latin food, crafts and music. For a moment, I even felt like I was in San Antonio while listening to mariachis sing La Bamba! Check out some of these photos to get a  glimpse of the merriment that is the Holiday season at Disneyland Resort.  I can’t wait to go back with my family. You can also look up #Latism #LATISM14 #TopBlogueras #DisneyHolidays on Twitter to see more pictures and learn more about it all.


From the “mini MBA” program to the field trip to Disneyland, The Top Bloguera Retreat was amazing. Ana Roca Castro, founder of LATISM puts together this event every year and many top bloggers leave not just motivated, but they also leave with one more game-changing piece of knowledge that equips them to take that next step.



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