Tanya Ramos-Puig has built a career on following her true north — a belief in educational equity and a commitment to opening pathways to more opportunities, no matter the industry.
After leading the nonprofit Pencils of Promise as their first Latina CEO, she has embraced a new role. Now as the first female President of The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation she’s challenged with the opportunity to help support the next generation of Latin music creators.
“I was drawn to the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation (LGCF) because this organization’s mission is near and dear to my heart,” explains Ramos-Puig. “Throughout my career, I often say I have not taken on jobs, I have taken on missions. I believe every role has been an opportunity for me to lead with purpose.”
“I wanted to lead this organization because LGCF is committed to educational equity, access and success and I have spent the great majority of my career committed to ensuring that every child, regardless of the circumstances they are born into, have access to a quality education. It is not a privilege—it is a human right. The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation not only provides educational access, the Foundation is also investing in the next generation of Latin music creators from around the globe. This opportunity to ‘marry’ my love and appreciation for Latin music with education was truly a dream come true.”
Ramos-Puig relates to the mission of the organization because it’s what her own career has allowed for her. Now, she is in the position to pave the way both for those who work with the Foundation and for Latinxs who look at her own career trajectory with curiosity and admiration.
Below Ramos-Puig shares advice for those who are navigating their own career shifts, embracing their transferable skillsets. or looking to marry their passion with their purpose.
Don’t be afraid of the wording on your resume, focus on your true north
“To me, it’s less of a language [you use to describe your skillset] and more about articulating the skills you bring to the table [in relation to] how it will further the mission of the said organization you want to serve.”
“For me, I have always prioritized and have successfully conveyed my heartfelt passion for the work and my commitment to bringing all of me to the work and anything that I may not possess, in the moment, I will certainly acquire along the way so long as I have the fundamental skills, passion and drive. The passion and drive is instrumental.”
Believe in the value of your transferable skills
“I have always operated from a place of growth,” explains Ramos-Puig. “I am a life-long learner so what I have done with every leap in my career, is leverage the transferable skills while positioning myself to learn new ones. This practice has enabled me to move with ease throughout the nonprofit sector.”
Adding context Ramos-Puig shares:
“When I took on Pencils of Promise, I had 20+ years of domestic education experience, however, I had not had extensive international education experience. Nevertheless, I was confident that my transferrable skills along with my vast network, and mentors, would help me overcome what many would have viewed as a gap. And most recently, at the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation, I am now immersed in the music industry. While this is not a sector I have worked extensively in, yet again, I have parlayed my transferrable skills and have even leveraged new ones, since my time at Pencils of Promise, that ensured I was poised to take on this new role.”
Empower your team to grow with you
“As a non-profit leader, I am always thinking about ways to ensure we are creating transformative and robust programs that will attract major donors and partners to contribute to the growth of Latin music globally,” notes Ramos-Puig. “The biggest goals I am aiming to help the Foundation reach in the near future include growing our outcomes management process, as we need to tell stories with numbers that speak to our growth and impact. I am also excited to grow our funding base so we can impact the lives of more students and increase our reach.”
For Ramos-Puig, the Foundation’s role is focused on moving the needle forward.
“Our role is all about access to opportunities for young adults – no matter their background, income, or zip code – to foster future generations of Latin music creators through education,” shares Ramos-Puig. “For us, this comes to life daily through scholarships, grants, educational programs and transformative partnerships that help us raise awareness for our life-changing work.”
Don’t be afraid to fold your passions into your career
“As someone with a lot of different passions, I truly believe it is possible to find a career path that can combine one’s dual interests or even multi-passions,” states Ramos-Puig. “I believe it is great to be insatiably curious and like to play, like one does an instrument, in different disciplines. Therefore, my advice to other Latinas that want to work at the intersection of philanthropy and music, I say, do your research, find mentors and look for experiential learning experiences that will position you to be able to branch out and identify paths that are interdisciplinary in nature. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being a life-long learner and have an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Notice how your Latinidad plays a role in who you are
“[My Latinidad] has provided me with a significant level of humility coupled with grit and resilience,” explains Ramos-Puig. “Nothing was handed to me— I had to work hard to get to the places I have been and the places I have yet to go. I am hard working, and I always have been. All that I have achieved has been in service to others and as a result I too have grown and I have a deep appreciation for who I am today. I can speak my truth, without hesitation and my Latino roots have inspired both my approach to work and life as a whole.”