As CEO of Caja Holdings and 2020-2021 president of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Charlotte, Carolina Aponte knows a thing or thirteen about success. In her new book, Pave Your Own Way: 13 Skills to Create Your Professional Success, she shares life lessons, childhood anecdotes, and her journey as a Venezuelan immigrant. The story guides readers, primarily young women trying to build their careers, to nurture thirteen essential skills within themselves.
From her early years in Venezuela to her formative years living on a small island in the Caribbean, Carolina was able to explore and independently discover her inner strength. Soon after her journey to North America, she had to rise to the challenges of making her way in a new country. Her candor and life experiences help you visualize the inner strength that you also hold within yourself, where the recipe for success truly begins. The thirteen skills she highlights include leadership, communication, public speaking, resourcefulness, planning and organizing, time management, problem-solving, customer service, building relationships, networking, negotiation, money management and trailblazing.
We spoke with Carolina about her book and the publishing process.
Carolina on working with SPARK Publications
SPARK Publication made the complex process of writing a book easy and enjoyable. I felt supported throughout the entire journey, and for that I will always be grateful.
Is there a particular moment that SPARKed your interest in writing a book?
Sharing part of my personal journey while speaking at NAWBO Talks in 2019 sparked the interest. Repeatedly, I heard that the energy and enthusiasm I emanate is something people are attracted to and seek out. I received affirmations even when I wasn’t searching for them, and soon it became clear that I would write a book to share how I turned the obstacles I encountered into a mindset of determination, perseverance, and positivity.
Now that your book is published, are there any goals or experiences you’re looking forward to?
I look forward to speaking to and inspiring young women to pursue their dreams. I plan to reach out to universities, schools of business, and young professional organizations. I want them to know they can achieve upward mobility in their careers. Anyone who is interested in having me speak to their group can reach out to me through my website.
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
There are lots of steps to making it a reality, and without professional advice, it would have been an uphill road. The SPARKlers provided support, advice, and valuable feedback every step of the way to make my dream come true.
What advice do you have for other authorpreneurs and aspiring writers?
Seek professional help. The investment is worth it if you want to have a high-quality product for your readers.
Tell us about your future plans—what’s next for you?
Taking a break! Then on to writing content for my future online courses based on the thirteen skills. People will pay a fee to access a series of videos, an outline of the training, and homework. For example, what are the five steps to improve your public speaking? Five videos, each with homework afterward, would explain the five steps and guide them through improving their public-speaking skills.
What does success mean to you?
When you find your purpose, putting pen to paper is a worthwhile endeavor to uplift others. In the process of writing this book, I went through several layers of emotions, from self-discovery to disbelieve to joy and wholehearted laughter. All of it was worth it. Success means being able to live life on my own terms.
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