Mariela Romero has been in the television, journalism, and communications space since 1991. As the daughter of a Venezuelan diplomat, she spent time in countries as diverse as France, Mexico, and Argentina.
Her career in media itself has a bit of an unconventional beginning. After obtaining her degrees in Social Communications, Journalism, and TV production, she started as a kindergarten teacher before landing a job with a Venezuelan television network. Romero emphasized how her management skills and positive attitude as a teacher transferred into her new role in media and journalism.
She went on to secure a position with Georgia Public Broadcasting and was later hired by CNN En Español Radio. After around two years at CNN, she took time off to raise her son and began a new pursuit as a Spanish-language medical and court interpreter. Romero credits her nuanced perspectives and deep knowledge of the immigration experience in America to her seven years as an interpreter. Much like when she worked as a kindergarten teacher, Romero was able to apply this vast experience when she was hired by Univision, where she has worked for a decade.
Today, her main focus is community empowerment, and she works to tell in-depth stories through her News Magazine Show Conexion Fin de Semana. Her enthusiasm and passion for uplifting the Latinx community were immediately clear to the other CHLI interns and me.
Some of her favorite aspects of Univision are community outreach, the family-like culture, and the opportunity to share Latinx culture with her coworkers. Romero reminded us that even if there are not many Latinx people in our workplace (now or in the future), we should take pride in our unique experiences and Latinx heritage and seek to act as cultural ambassadors.
Perhaps the most impactful part of Romero’s visit was when she described taking the risk to talk openly on the air about suicide in the Latinx community. Suicide is a taboo subject in general, but even more so in minority communities where there is a lack of mental health resources and support. Her research and reporting led to a huge spike of people in the Latinx community using the suicide hotline. One of Romero’s most valuable items is a frame a mother sent her. The mother’s son had been suicidal and was able to access life-saving resources thanks to Romero’s coverage.