Ivette Mayo

Ivette Mayo

 Meet this quintessential conductor of women’s empowerment. 

In Ivette Mayo’s home, she’s known as Leonard (as in Leonard Bernstein). At least that’s the pet-name bestowed upon her by her husband Michael. Why Leonard? Because Ivette is the quintessential conductor!   

But it wasn’t always that way—in fact, far from it. There was a time when Ivette let others dictate her life course and let antiquated cultural miens make her decisions for her.  

But along the way, that all changed and Ivette evolved into the motivational maven she is today—entrepreneur, author, speaker and torch bearer for Latinas seeking to scale self or societal imposed walls much higher than even Donald Trump could fathom…  

Ivette was born in historic Fort Brooke hospital in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (1962). Her father, Ramon, served in the Navy, while her mother was focused on raising the children (four in all).  

“My father served on a submarine, but he was also quite the athlete, having played on the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team. My mother, while a stay-at-home wife, was nonetheless the “Boss.” She ran the household.  

“In any event, as result of my father’s service our family was forever on the move.  

“Between kindergarten and 7th grade I attended thirteen different schools. We lived in such diverse locales as Key West, Niagara Falls, Norfolk, Vallejo and San Diego.”  

Whereas a nomadic existence can cause trauma in some children, that was not the case for “Military Brat” Ivette.  

“Wherever we were we were family. That aspect of our existence was static throughout, and I credit my mom for much of that.”  

If anything, the already extroverted Ivette, thrived in the mobile mode of her existence. She adapted seamlessly, and in fact, embraced the adventure.  

“I couldn’t possibly worry where my best friend was, or whom I was going to play with next. Instead, I had to embrace tolerance, openness and refine the skill of adapting socially wherever and whatever the circumstances.”  

This semi-solitary existence drew Ivette to an interest in art. She was always creating—she was a “have crayon will travel” kind-of-kid.  

I’ve come to respect and embrace my colorful background. Every experience has been a tile in my personal mosaic.

 

“Rather than CEO of my company (Yo So I Am, LLC) I call myself CCO (Chief Creative Officer).”  

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…  

Education and curiosity were always a premium in Ivette’s household. Her father was an avid reader (an ardent student of world history) and so Ivette’s other constant, in an ever revolving existence, was a shared thirst for history and culture. Whether it Persian or Mayan Empires, the Industrial Revolution or the Bronze Age—the youngster dived in. A nuance, which perhaps prepared her well for the skill-set she would someday utilize in understanding how others operate and think.   

“While I had few friends in high school, I was nonetheless, very involved in the social scene—student government, sports, community activities—I was never afraid of taking on the leadership role.”  

An excellent student, Ivette received a scholarship to attend the University of California, Berkley.  

“I wanted to attend law school and eventually get into politics and Berkley would have provided a wonderful springboard for those ambitions.”  

Sadly, cultural barriers busted up the dream. Ivette’s parents felt that daughters ought to stay at home, that Berkley was too far afield (something of an irony for a family who had spent their life on the move). In any event, to appease her parents, Ivette settled on enrollment at San Diego State.  

“San Diego State provided another lesson in adjusting to circumstances. Poly Sci was not an option. Teaching, having been a second career choice, was also inaccessible as the program was full, as was their business college.  

“Sometimes you have to choose from what’s in front of you. Make the best choice from the options available. In this case I enrolled in Communications.”   

Ivette thrived under the circumstances, absorbing multi-media skills while living at home and working full-time.  

In her third year at San Diego State, love or lust, or a combination of both, intervened.  

“I got pregnant! The father of my child was a professional baseball player with the San Diego Padres.  

“We were married after the birth of our daughter, Leah. Needless to say, I had to drop out of school, with the intention of returning when feasible.”  

Ivette’s husband was a native of Houston and as previously mentioned a professional baseball player. As a result, the old move-around pattern was in full swing.   

“We had a winter home in Houston (baseball’s off-season), a spring training camp abode, as well as our place in San Diego. Of course, I followed him in order to keep the family together.”  

Ivette’s marriage lasted twelve years (during which time a second child, Danielle, arrived on the scene).   

While Ivette never felt she needed a man to get by, she sought to do the “right thing,” by keeping the family united. And while they were together physically, emotionally they had drifted apart.    

“When his career ended so did the marriage. And it wasn’t pretty. The abuse went from mental, to verbal to physical.   

“I was thirty-three at the time, with two fabulous daughters, and adrift.”  

Ivette, had taken a job with Continental Airlines shortly before her husband’s career had ended—a job in which she thrived.   

“All my previous decisions had been made to make other’s comfortable. For the first time, it was time to step up to the plate. To make judgment calls that would benefit both my children and me. It was time to redefine myself in every way!”  

Continental promoted Ivette to Latin American Sales Manager (her turf: Latin America, the Caribbean and Mexico).   

“Before I knew it, I was the face of the company in this market. Suddenly, I had a voice, a platform, a space to utilize all my previous knowledge and experience.”  

It wasn’t long before her skills found her promoted once again—she went from a niche market to the global market, which involved more travel.   

It wasn’t long before her skills found her promoted once again—she went from a niche market to the global market, which involved more travel.   

The school girl who had studied world history was now taking in the view of the Bay of Hong Kong, starring up at Mount Fuji, standing at the base of the Eifel Tower…  

In 1999, Ivette married Michael Mayo. And in 2004 Michael was transferred to Tampa. What to do?   

“This time my decision wasn’t based solely on what was best for the family, but also what was best for me. I was ready for change, eager to strike out on my own.”  

The move provided Ivette the opportunity to start her own business. Yo So I Am, LLC was born! (www.yosoyiam.com).  

“I was thirty-three at the time, with two fabulous daughters, and adrift.”  

Ivette, had taken a job with Continental Airlines shortly before her husband’s career had ended—a job in which she thrived.   

“All my previous decisions had been made to make other’s comfortable. For the first time, it was time to step up to the plate. To make judgment calls that would benefit both my children and me. It was time to redefine myself in every way!”  

Continental promoted Ivette to Latin American Sales Manager (her turf: Latin America, the Caribbean and Mexico).   

“Before I knew it, I was the face of the company in this market. Suddenly, I

had a voice, a platform, a space to utilize all my previous knowledge and experience.”  

It wasn’t long before her skills found her promoted once again—she went from a niche market to the global market, which involved more travel.   

The school girl who had studied world history was now taking in the view of the Bay of Hong Kong, starring up at Mount Fuji, standing at the base of the Eifel Tower…  

In 1999, Ivette married Michael Mayo. And in 2004 Michael was transferred to Tampa. What to do?   

“This time my decision wasn’t based solely on what was best for the family, but also what was best for me. I was ready for change, eager to strike out on my own.”  

The move provided Ivette the opportunity to start her own business. Yo So I Am, LLC was born! (www.yosoyiam.com).  

Within a year, Ivette was named one of Tampa’s Top 40 Business Women (Tampa Bay Business Journal). She was off and running.  

In 2008 she created her own line of Latin-centric inspired stationary and specialty cards www.yosoyexpressions.com (she found a void and filled it). Such luminaries as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and actress Rosie Perez, are counted among the Mujeres that have her cards.  

Nely Galan, TV producer, entrepreneur and a customer, featured Ivette in her book SELF Made, Becoming EMPOWERED, SELF-RELIANT and RICH in every way as a “Disruptive Innovator” because she saw the power in product and the idea.   

 

{Writer’s Note: These products were found at selected Walgreens 2011-2013. Ivette was invited to design an exclusive bilingual holiday card series for Target Stores, that were sold nationwide in 2013 and 2014 holiday season. In 2015, licensed the designs to Continental Accessories, which are able to create products and distribute to retailers throughout North America, Mexico and the Caribbean.}  

 

In 2009, Michael was transferred once again—this time to Houston. Ivette jumped at the opportunity to break ground in her old stomping grounds—another decision made for all the right reasons.  

The bloom was not off the rose. Rather, Ivette flourished. She’s a much sought-after speaker, consultant, motivational coach and author (her massively successful book; A 30-Day Guide to Your Power is available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle and BarnesandNoble.com).   

“I’ve come to respect and embrace my colorful background. Every experience has been a tile in my personal mosaic.”   

“It’s a privilege to work with Latina women, to help them deal with the cultural challenges they face—to become purposeful and seek out their success.   

“I’m now helping make women as powerful as they can possibly be rather than having them defer their super-powers to the traps of the past.”  

 

{Writer’s Note: Ivette recently contacted San Diego State University. She is exploring the possibility of completing the degree she embarked on so many years ago.} 

 

Latinarrific Salutes Ivette Mayo!  

 

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Kent Wallace
Senior Correspondent at Latinarrific
Kent Wallace has worked in the mainstream media for over 30 years. He has been a journalist, publisher, performer, art critic and marketing strategist. He has written for such magazines as Esquire, Source, Ear, ArtSpeak and Notorious (to name a few).

Wallace was a contributing writer for “High on Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max's Kansas City,” he co-authored and authored several published books.

Wallace has hosted radio shows on ESPN (Reno) and KPLY (Reno). Wallace has appeared on Montel, The Tyra Banks Show, The John Walsh Show and the Rikki Lake show. Wallace also served as a consultant on an HBO’s hit series.
Kent Wallace
Senior Correspondent
Kent Wallace has worked in the mainstream media for over 30 years. He has been a journalist, publisher, performer, art critic and marketing strategist. He has written for such magazines as Esquire, Source, Ear, ArtSpeak and Notorious (to name a few). Wallace was a contributing writer for “High on Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max's Kansas City,” he co-authored and authored several published books. Wallace has hosted radio shows on ESPN (Reno) and KPLY (Reno). Wallace has appeared on Montel, The Tyra Banks Show, The John Walsh Show and the Rikki Lake show. Wallace also served as a consultant on an HBO’s hit series.

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