Name: Briana Mendez
Homebase: Tampa, Florida
Tu país: Puerto Rico
Describe your professional role(s):
Co-founder of La Nueva Link, Creative Strategist & Brand Partnerships
What’s been your journey to your current profession?
I’ll never forget those moments feeling seen in my bi-cultural identity as a Puerto Rican growing up in the suburbs of Tampa. Moments in discovering podcasts about Puerto Rico in English, reading content about Latin indie bands on the internet when I was in college. It inspired me to seek out pockets of media that I could finally deeply connect with culturally and to play a role in what the future could look like for US Latinx representation in my career. It drove me to apply for my first job at Remezcla to then play a role in developing Latinx strategies at Genius. The root of what I do is to think about future visions for Latinxs in these media institutions and as co-founder of La Nueva Link, we’re creating a community to create collective wisdom for other Latinx professionals to do the same.
What advice would you tell your younger self as she embarks her professional career?
To protect my spirit, to never dim my light and creativity no matter how many times someone tries to shut it down.
What did you used to believe that you now see was completely misguided?
There was a moment in my career that I self-identified with the goals and visions I had for my full-time job. I wanted to prove to higher-levels at my company that my ideas had value for the business, but ultimately I learned that I shouldn’t have to constantly prove my value and to instead invest in spaces and people with shared missions and goals.
What’s your go-to music genre, playlist, or song(s)?
My go-to is always one of @sterlingjuandiaz mixes. You can check it on his SoundCloud, they’re fire and always bring my energy up.
What kind of change would you like to see in your field of work?
I would like to see folks have more uncomfortable conversations in which we admit and take accountability for where we are lacking and what we don’t know, whether it’s race, queerness, oppression, capitalism, etc. I would like folks to think more critically on how we’ve grown to understand culture and society to ultimately create more consciousness in the responsibility we have as active participants in the problem.
What does Latine culture mean to you on your home turf?
My Puerto Rican heritage manifests in many ways in my personal daily life living in Florida, whether it’s through speaking in my fluent Spanglish with my broken Boricua accent or dancing to old-school reggaeton in my room. But ultimately, embracing my culture means honoring my family and those who came before and thinking more critically about preserving their legacies and envisioning how I will leave mine.
What’s next for you?
I recently resigned from my full-time job and I’m looking forward to investing more time in the future visions for La Nueva Link. The goal is to set new precedents in how La Nueva Link can help enable US Latinx creative professionals and their colleagues to think more critically about the spectrum of Latinx communities, but also to create collective consciousness in how we can evolve to become better versions of ourselves to work towards a better tomorrow.
For Las Mujeres Doin’ the Work, Latina has partnered with La Nueva Link, a digital and IRL community for Latinx creatives and media professionals in every intersection of the culture. LNL’s mission is to shift the understanding of US Latinxs from a monolith to micro-communities. They are a network fostering visibility and facilitating connections for Latinx professionals and creatives. Not only does their work empower a new generation of culture-makers, but also LNL pushes institutions to think critically about how they engage with Latinx communities.