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Marité Villanueva — Leading from a place of seeing the other

Marité Villanueva has been a lawyer, a mom, and a lover of nature for many years. She’s Mexican and believes that community is where you can be your most authentic self and everyone feels seen and respected regardless of the differences.

As she’s now part of Hermanas leading HR and Culture, we talked about what good culture in a community like Hermanas looks like.

Mexico City, Mexico

Q: Hi Marité, you became a mom at a very young age, and worked in law in Mexico for over 18 years now. How has this given shape to who you are today?

A: Becoming a mom at 20 definitely gave shape to my identity today. I’m a very energetic girl, very much in my masculine. I’ve learned to be resilient, having to deal with a lot and working in a tough environment like Mexican law. But trying to grow from it, I’ve developed a very positive attitude.

Q: You’ve worked in employment law and are now officially working as HR and culture within Hermanas. And what are the main characteristics of a healthy, forward-looking, and unconventional workplace for you?

A: I'd say for starters, communication. I think this is something humans do so naturally, and surprisingly, we're so bad at it. Developing good communication within a work culture is very important. Messages that are respectful and clear are often well received. Also, good communication gives people clarity, safety, engagement and motivation. People know where they are and where they need to go, plus they feel that they belong because they can speak up and they know they are going to be heard.

So, I really think that is the base of a really healthy culture and I'd say also, empathy. Sometimes, everything happens so quickly and we want results, we want everything to happen immediately and we’re no longer patient about anything. We don’t take a moment to understand where you are and others are at. This is important because you can lead and set goals, and you can be driven, but you can also lead from a place of “I see you” and “I feel you” and that’s when the magic happens.

Q: Tell me how you were introduced to Hermanas?

A: I first heard about Hermanas through foreign friends that live in Mexico City. And at first, it was like, “maybe it’s not for me, it looks like a community for foreigners.” But then someone asked for a lawyer. So, I became part of the community because they needed immigration advice. And that's how it all started, I became part of many of the groups, met a lot of incredible and resourceful people, found solutions to problems and truly became an active member of the community.

Q: Perfect segway! Let’s talk about community. What does it mean to you?

A: Actually,I'd have to say, for me, It's been hard to find my community throughout my life. Growing up and for many years, I didn't really find the place where I belonged, nor a place where I could really be myself. I’ve been tapping into that for many years, while learning how to be myself, to be more authentic. The more I’ve done that, the more of an outsider I felt.

Now that I’ve been searching for this feminine energy and learning more about it, I’ve found that community is actually how we support each other from a very nurturing way. Like a true friendship, a true sisterhood, regardless of everything that makes us different.

Q: and then you became an investor of Hermanas! How did that happen?

A: While I was trying to tap into this feminine side of me, this journey, I saw this post in the groups about Hermanas looking for angel investors and it hadn’t crossed my mind at all, however when I saw the post, it clicked. I was going through a lot and I felt the need to do things differently moving forward and then I decided to become an official member of Hermanas. Because I believe that this platform actually works.

Q: How so?

A: Well, this feels like actual sisterhood. The sharing of resources, of ideas, of information from a nurturing place, I thought that it was not possible until I met Hermanas. So I'm very excited for the launch of our new community space. And for a private membership, I truly believe in this project with all my heart.

Q: What else are you working on that you’d like to share with us?

A: I’ve been in search of my true purpose for many years. I’m not entirely sure about what this purpose is, but I feel that things like Hermanas truly bring me closer to it. I want to be of service for the community and this is an excellent opportunity for me to do that. I'm starting a new brand of consulting and advice for companies regarding culture building and preventing labor risks related to employees but it's still in the making.

Thank you so much Marité, we’re excited for your role within Hermanas and your path towards purpose together.

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