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Find the work you love by María Celeste Arrarás

 

Read about María Celeste Arrarás’ experience as a member of the Women@NBCU advisory board and as a woman at NBC Universal in our series where we hear from employees across the company.

 I remember the day Telemundo announced I would be joining the network. It was the same day the FCC approved NBC Universal’s acquisition of Telemundo. I always look at that as the best day of my career because of what was to come. In the seven years that I’ve been with the company, I’ve had more opportunities than I ever could have imagined — guest-hosting Today, contributing to NBC’s Dateline and NBC Nightly News, even appearing on NBC’s soap opera Passions.

Now I have the opportunity to be a part of a new think tank, Women@NBCU. Advertisers are trying to tap into the fast-growing Hispanic audience, especially Hispanic women, who are overwhelmingly responsible for making their family’s purchasing decisions. But they don’t always know the best way to go about it. That’s why it’s so important to have Telemundo represented.

nteracting with other women at this company is an empowering experience for me. I’ve learned that when you love what you’re doing and you see that you have the support of a company that lets you grow, respects your opinion, and gives you a place of consideration, you can really thrive. I think that support has prompted me to give above and beyond what is expected.

Along the way there have been situations I have had to confront, both personally and professionally. Like going through a divorce and figuring out what is best for your children. I’ve learned how to be successful in my job without having to sacrifice my relationship with my children, and how principles and my word are so important in this business. I also realized that sometimes as young women (and men), we so often pass up career opportunities because we follow the wishes of others instead of listening to our own needs. I learned a lot about that from my own mother, who followed her own mother’s advice instead of paving her own path. I learned from that and sacrificed many personal situations for a while so that I was able to achieve my career.

I’ve been lucky and successful as a woman, as a mother, and as a professional. I think you have to live your life by a certain set of principles and they have to be your True North. In order to be successful in every area of your life, you first have to be successful as a human being. If you’re successful as a human being, you will feel satisfied at the end with whatever you have and most likely, it will be everything that you dream of.

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“Hispanic Women and Breast Cancer ”

 


By María Celeste Arraras

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for Hispanic women. Yet it doesn’t seem to face most Hispanic women. Many think “it will not happen to ME.” But it does.

I have many dear friends who are cancer survivors and I believe that they’re all alive today because they discovered the cancer through a mammography;before it was too late. That’s not the case for most Hispanic women.

Studies have shown that 3 out of every 4 Latinas discover they have breast cancer themselves,wether by accidently finding a lump or by finding the lump through a self examination. Sadly, by the time a woman can “feel” a tumor  it means that it has grown, that it is in a more advanced stage. That’s why mammograms are so vital.

Hispanic women also have such a high mortality rate because,according to research,after finding a lump, many wait AT LEAST a month before seekinghelp. And when you have breast cancer,every day counts. Tumors don’t ask for your permission to keep growing. Cancer doesn’t need you ok to spread.

Why do Latina women wait so long putting their lives at risk? Mostly because of lack of health insurance but I also believe is because of fear. Fear of what that mammogram will say. Fear that the lump may be a malignous tumor. Thay have the “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” mentality. But when it comes to breast cancer nothing can be further from the truth.

As part of the research I made for a Today show story about Hispanic women and breast cancer,I visited a Miami clinic with the most advanced technology available. I was shown the xrays of women that had discovered breast cancer through a regular yearly mammogram and the xrays of women that had gotten a mammogram only after discovering a lump. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The cancer was noticeably larger in the second group. Machines detect tumors way before we do.

My grandmother died at an old age of breast cancer. Back then there wasn’t as much awareness as there is today about the importance of going to the doctor for a yearly exam.

Today I’m lucky to have never lost a friend to breast cancer. My friends and I make it a priority to go get a mammogram once a year. That’s how the ones that had cancer were able to catch it time. They survive cancer because were not afraid to discover it. When it comes to breast cancer information is power.
They are my heroes.

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EXCERPT: A Lesson I learned from my father

 

You should be the best of the best or the worst of the worst. Never mediocre.

The rest of the house was still quiet, still shrouded in night when my father would wake me up at 5 a.m. to swim.

I was a slow starter in the mornings. Like any 8-year-old, I occasionally let sleep drag me back down to the bed, but the thought of my father coming in and finding me out was enough to unglue me from my sheets. My father helped put me in the right frame of mind for this daily chore. By the time I was dressed, with my swimsuit under my school uniform, he had already cooked breakfast and had my 10 energy pills of wheat germ set out for me on the kitchen counter. Yes, it was brutally early.

At that early hour the other members of my swim team were probably still in
bed. I thought about them, warm in their sheets, as we drove to the Olympic-sized pool on the campus of the University of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. They were hours away from waking up for school.

Once facing the pool, I dreaded going into the cold water.  But to my father, there was no use wasting time to ponder the issue.

“Don’t stick your toe in the pool, Mari,” he would tell me. “If you think it’s too cold, you’ll never jump in.”

Even though I was so young, I knew he was right. So I would take a deep breath and count down. Five … four … three … two … one … splash!

Hesitation is for the average and I’m not raising you to be average, he would say. It reminded me of the time I brought home a ‘C’ in my report card. He looked at it silently for a couple of minutes and then sat me down for a brief, but lasting lesson.

“Bring me an ‘A’ or an ‘F.’ Never a ‘C.’ You should be the best of the best or the worst of the worst. But never mediocre.”

I knew he was serious. He had endless duties as Chancellor of the university, and the fact that he made time to be my personal coach was not lost on me. Whenever I won a competition, whenever I beat my own time, his eyes would twinkle with pride, making me feel that the sacrifice was worth it. He never stopped feeding me information. He bought videos of Olympic

Champions filmed with underwater cameras showing off their swimming techniques and we studied them together. He was on top of all the latest trends and thanks to his vision, our team was one of the first in Latin America to exchange nylon swimsuits for ultra-light Lycra ones that absorbed less water and had less drag. He was also the first person on the island to own a digital stopwatch. He had ordered from a catalogue and I remember it being incredibly expensive at the time. He always taught me that in order to achieve greatness you must push yourself beyond your comfort zone. That without pain, there’s no gain. So, if I complained after a swimming workout that my arms were sore, he would say “Mari, the only way to excel in this sport is by training your thoughts to be stronger than your muscles. If you want the gold medals, go get them!” His dedication made it easier for me to endure the body aches and the chlorine, which stung my eyes and turned my hair green.

His mood on our drive home was dictated by how hard I worked at practice. The day he received the stopwatch, he and my coach reprimanded me more than once because instead of practicing for an upcoming meet, I was goofing off in the pool with my friends. My father ended up smashing his brand new stopwatch against the ground, and I remember watching the springs fly in different directions. In the next event, I not only raced my best, but set a record in the 50-meter backstroke for my age group. My father was bursting with pride and I thought I had finally pleased the man who always challenged me to do more.

The next morning, we were back at practice at 5 a.m. and before I jumped in the pool, he took a new, white-faced analog stopwatch out of his bag.
“This,” he said, dangling in front of me, “is your new rival.”

In the summer of 1971, I earned a spot on the Puerto Rican junior national team for the Central American Games in Havana, Cuba. I went with my mother, since my father could not abandon the University for the two entire weeks we were required to stay there. I was 11 and it was the first time I had traveled overseas for an international competition. My girlfriends and I were way too excited to be there. At night, we had pillow fights and stayed up talking, sometimes until dawn. I earned three medals: one gold, one silver and one bronze. But when my father heard about the results, he was so disappointed that he didn’t even show up to pick up my mother and me at the airport.

I joke with him now that in today’s society that would have been considered
child abuse. But even as a girl, as hurt as I was by his absence, I understood deep down why he was so upset. He didn’t show up that day because he knew I had everything I needed to win three gold medals. I was in great shape and my times in practice were superb, and he understood that if I didn’t bring home all gold, it was because I had done something wrong.

He was right. Those late nights chatting with my girlfriends caught up to me, affecting my performance at the races. Understandably, he was disappointed that I had lost my focus and not given my maximum effort. He always wanted me to shoot higher, not for him, but for myself. If I was the best in my town, he challenged me to be the best in my country, then the best in Central America, and then the world.

There is never an end of the road when it comes to personal achievement. My father always laid out a new challenge the way life often does in the real world. I thank him for preparing me.

I will never forget those mornings by the pool, the smell of chlorine in the air, and I can still hear that stopwatch tick-tick-ticking in my head. My father was right: Anybody can be good, but it takes discipline and hard work to accomplish great things. I was fortunate to be blessed with such a wonderful cheerleader, but I realize he’s not always going to be around.  At the end, all we have is ourselves. And like my dad said, your toughest rival should be you.

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Maria Celeste en NBC

 

Hola amigos, les dejo esta información del ciclo de shows que se presentaron por la cadena NBC, donde presenté un especial sobre el cáncer de seno en la comunidad hispana de mujeres. Sigan el ciclo que es muy interesante! Mis mejores deseos para ustedes!

Estudio 13
By LUIS E. PALACIOS
LOS HISPANOS EN ‘TODAY’. Esta semana, el programa matutino Today, de la cadena NBC, está ofreciendo la serie especial We The People, en la que se enfoca una serie de problemas a los que enfrenta en particular la comunidad hispana en Estados Unidos. En el primer episodio, se presentó un reportaje de Natalie Morales sobre la explosión de la población hispana, que se espera triplique su tamaño en los próximos 50 años. Hoy, Carl Quintanilla, de CNBC, tratará sobre los retos a los que se enfrentan las familias que son separadas por la inmigración; mientras que María Celeste Arrarás, de Telemundo, y la doctora Nancy Synderman informarán sobre el cáncer de seno, una de las causas principales de muerte para la mujer hispana. Mañana, Miguel Almaguer reportará sobre la polémica de la educación bilingüe. El jueves, Kerry Sanders examinará el impacto que han tenido los hispanos en la música, el cine y la cocina, y , finalmente, el viernes, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, de CNBC, presentará los perfiles de cinco mujeres hispanas pioneras: la secretaria de Trabajo Hilda Solís, la empresaria Linda Alvarado, la astronauta Ellen Ochoa, la jugadora de baloncesto profesional Diana Taurasi y la ballerina Paloma Herrera. Today se trasmite de lunes a viernes a las 7 a.m. por Canal 6-WTVJ/NBC. La página de internet http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31127624/, ofrece reportajes adicionales de interés para la comunidad hispana.

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Maria Celeste’s Bio

There is something refreshingly unguarded about María Celeste”
says the Associated Press (May,2009)

María Celeste is Breaking the Sound Barrier Says The New York Times (July 2006)

 People en Español calls her the “Hispanic TV Queen!” (March 2006)

“María Celeste is the leading show host for Hispanic television in the U.S!”
Hispanic Image Magazine
(June/July 2005)

ABC Radio Network calls María Celeste a “Media Dynamo.” (October 2005)

“One of the most dynamic and well-rounded communicators in the entertainment industry today” says the NY Daily News (June 2003)

“She’s a household name in the United States and in Latin America.  A darling of the Spanish- language media, which turned her into a cover girl for magazine articles that range from fitness to the super mom syndrome.” The New York Times (May 2002)

“The most prominent player in a blossoming media experiment between two television networks in different languages.” Los Angeles Times (November, 2002)

“She’s a star, along the lines of talent like Diane Sawyer and Jane Pauley,”
said the president of NBC to The New York Times (May 2002)

 

The Hollywood Reporter sees María Celeste as a “crossover Spanish/Anglo star”
making an impact in front and behind the scenes (February, 2003)

“The Katie Couric of Latin TV” The Dallas Morning News (April 2002)

Her hiring by Telemundo/NBC was described as”major on-air talent hire”
in an article titled “NBC, Telemundo Snags Red Hot Arrarás from Univision”
published by The Washington Post (April 2002)

Electronic Media claims María Celeste Arrarás is “the big get” in Spanish language
television under the headline “Arraras turns up the heat at Telemundo. (April 2002)

 

“María Celeste is sizzling!” according to the Sun Sentinel.  The South Florida publication points out that her show “has taken the U.S. Latin audience by storm” and that it’s popularity is spilling over into mainstream television making María Celeste “the darling of not only Telemundo, but also of its parent network NBC.”

María Celeste is the host and managing editor of “Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste”, the most talked about newsmagazine in Hispanic television, produced by Telemundo/NBC. “Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste” airs nationwide in the U.S. and in 15 Latin American countries.

She’s a guest co-host of NBC’s “Today” show. According to The New York Times “Ms. Arrarás’s high-profile sally into national network television, in the spot previously occupied by Ms. Couric no less, was groundbreaking for a Spanish-accented broadcaster.” (July 23,2006)

She appeared in the cover of Newsweek in 2006 after the magazine selected her as one of the “20 Most Powerful Women” of the next generation of leaders. Later that year Newsweek also had her in the cover of its special international edition dedicated to “Women and Leadership”.

She received an Emmy Award in 2005 for her career achievements.

USA Today included her latest book “Make Your Life Prime Time:How to succeed in everything without losing your soul” in its list of recommended books for the Summer of 2009.

Starting in March 2009, she participates in the in-flight news/entertainment program produced by NBC for American Airlines.

She has daily capsules airing on ABC Radio Network. “Celebrating the Healthy Life with María Celeste” offers advice for Hispanic families on health and wellness.

She has been featured in the cover of People en Español more than any other celebrity…14 times in total!

People en Español chose her for its cover dedicated to “The 25 Most Powerful Women of 2009.”

Ocean Drive magazine chose her as one of the “Power Players” of 2007.

Her book Selena’s Secret became an instant bestseller and was described by the prestigious trade magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, as “Simon & Schuster’s most successful front list title in Spanish.”

Her first report for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams aired on April 2008.

Presently a Hollywood production company is developing a screenplay based on her children’s book, The Magic Cane. (Scholastics 2007)

She hosted New Year’s Eve Live from Times Square in 2005 for Telemundo and also did live segments for the NBC Telecast hosted by Carson Daly.

On the night of María Celeste’s debut as a contributor for “Dateline/NBC”, the show experienced a dramatic audience increase in both Hispanic an Anglo demographics. Former NBC president Andrew Lack told the Los Angeles Times that María Celeste “was one of the highest segments at ‘Dateline’ that quarter.” He described her as “a serious, smart journalist.” (Summer 2002)

In 2004, she co-hosted the Brown-Black Democratic Presidential Debate in Iowa for MSNBC, a program that was #1 in the cable ratings universe when it aired live.

She was a guest star in NBC’s daytime soap opera Passions in 2003. The two episodes that she taped experienced a dramatic increase in both household and key demos, versus the program’s average the previous year.

People named her one of its “Beauties Around the Clock” in the 2006 special edition of “The 100 Most Beautiful People”.

She has been selected six times as one of People En Español “50 Most Beautiful People”.

In May, 2005 she was invited to the Maury Povitch show to talk about her program. She was also a guest on The Tony Danza Show in February, 2006.

She conducted live interviews for the Macy’s Day Parade telecast produced by NBC in 2005.

As the official guide of the “Tram Tour” at Universal Studios in California she welcomes the thousands of Spanish speaking guests that visit the adventure park every year.

She was named “Queen of the Internet” after her first cyber chat surpassed the record ‘amount of participants in a chat’ set by Ricky Martin. (2001)

On two occasions she has been selected as judge of the Miss Universe pageant. (2003,2006)

In the annual “Hot Celebrity Poll” conducted by People en Español, readers across the nation chose her as the “most popular and credible television personality.”

María Celeste has three children ages 11, 9 and 8. Her beautiful home in Miami has been featured in Architectural Digest.

Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste” is a news and entertainment magazine that takes you around the world in an hour. Its unique format has been described as “paella style” because it combines live interviews with news of the day, special investigations, celebrity news, amazing videos, health, consumer issues and the latest in technology. The show airs in the U.S. Monday through Friday at 5pm east/pacific and 4pm central.