Natascha Otero-Santiago was born in Puerto Rico into a sophisticated, globetrotting family of hard working entrepreneurs (1966).
Natascha’s mother, Chia, is best described as a matriarch for the ages (she attended Barnard College in New York City) and was a pioneer in the development of gyms in Puerto Rico in the 60’s (Uni-Sex, with Yoga et al). Chia is also a credentialed historian of all things Puerto Rican…
Natascha’s father, Juan Jose (aka J.J.) was a civil engineer—a man with a rags to riches story—one who started the HUD proposition in Puerto Rico, helping to drive the masses from the coffee and sugar cane fields into an urban reality. From homes to hotels—he brought the experience of the private owned individual and hospitality industry to the populace.
By the way, the couple parented late in life. Natascha was born to a 38-year old mother and 48-year old father.
Involved in the Sonnabend/Sonesta Hotel chain (which survived the crash of the early 70’s), Natascha’s folks were survivors—an aptitude firmly embellished in their only child.
“I attended the Academia del Perpetuo Socorro, the very same Catholic School in Puerto Rico my mother had attended.
This was the time of the social media explosion (mid-2000’s). I decided that I ought to dive into this upstart phenomenon. Ironically, my eldest son, now in college, and therefore tuned in, suggested I immerse myself in Facebook. Being the perennial nerd, it wasn’t as difficult as one might suspect
However, unlike the world of her day, when the school would not recommend student’s to colleges that were non-Catholic (which guided her to switch to a lay school in her junior year). I was able to remain enrolled and select a University of my own choosing.”
The strong-willed Natascha, ultimately enrolled in Boston’s exclusive Tufts University.
Between completing her undergraduate studies and beginning her path to a Masters, love bit.
“I fell in love with a fellow I’d known in Puerto Rico, Johann, more familiarly known as Joey. We were married in Puerto Rico, where I gave birth to my first child, also named Johann.”
When the child was 3-months old the crew moved back to Boston so Natascha could continue her educational endeavors.
“My mom joined us, taking a two-year hiatus from her busy life in order to be there for me and my new family. The move was characteristically Chia!”
With a Master’s in Art History and Museum Studies in her quiver, Natascha immediately caught on with the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), eventually becoming Director of Contemporary Art at the world-renowned Howard Yezerski Gallery on Newbury Street—a precursor of her many successes in the artistic universe.
The bloom was off the rose, however, when Joey and Natascha divorced. Now a single mom, with a young son, and facing the worst winter in Boston history, she decided to seek a new venue to hone her skills.
“That winter, was frankly, the straw that broke the camel’s proverbial back. I hired a head-hunter and tasked her to find me work in Miami. I knew of South Florida’s emerging art scene and its proximity to Puerto Rico was a much added value.”
Two options became viable (both enviable positions for a young, go-getter).
There was the opportunity to become director of a contemporary art gallery or to work with legendary philanthropist Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. “The head-hunter advised me to jump at the chance to work with Wolfson and I took her advice. In short order I was working in his foundation’s annual scholastic publication – The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts.”
But the multi-talented Natascha was also involved in events to present the Journal nationally (Washington D.C., New York and Miami), under the mentorship of community and cultural affairs maven Cathy Leff.
Never one to rest on her laurels, in 1997, the relentless one went to work at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), finding again, a worthy mentor in Art Historian and Curator Bonnie Clearwater (It was not lost on this writer that Natascha has been surrounded, from her mother on, with strong female figures).
Love struck again in 1999 and Natascha temporarily scrapped her professional ambitions for matrimony, marrying Ricardo (a Puerto Rican physician). In 2002 a second son was born.
Unfortunately, the second marriage faltered and soon ended.
“This was the time of the social media explosion (mid-2000’s). I decided that I ought to dive into this upstart phenomenon. Ironically, my eldest son, now in college, and therefore tuned in, suggested I immerse myself in Facebook. Being the perennial nerd, it wasn’t as difficult as one might suspect.”
By 2008 the techie had started NOS-Communications (with a tagline of “Where YOU Become NOSotros.”
NOS was an outreach to the Hispanic community for public relations and social media. And the client list grew exponentially—it seemed the entire SoFlo hospitality industry wanted a piece of Natascha’s action. The upstart business also flourished utilizing Foursquare and Yelp to expand brands within, and for, the Hispanic community.
Despite her professional success, Natascha is a pundit of motherhood, calling it her “ultimate priority and passion.”
That said, “Mom’s” professional resume proves her gadabout resolution, she’s simply everywhere, with her hand in everything Latin. I’ll allow for the blurb from her website (www.latin2latin.com) to speak for itself…
“Natascha Otero-Santiago is a Public Relations professional with over 20 years’ experience in the US Hispanic market. Natascha is the founder of Parranda Puerto Rico, an organization whose mission is to unite and help the Puerto Rican diaspora in the US and create connections with the population in Puerto Rico.
Among her achievements are being chosen by LATISM in 2016 & 2015 as a Top Digital Influencer; named by the Huffington Post as one of the world’s leading Social Media & Inspirational Leadership. She was also featured in Forbes as “A Puerto Rican Citizen Goes to Washington” for her work with the Puerto Rican vote during the 2012 elections.
Most recently Ford Motor Company honored her as a 2016 “Mujer Legendaria”.
Natascha is also a member of the steering committee of the National Puerto Rican Agenda, part of the Board of Directors of the Social Media Club and Director of LATISM in South Florida. She has coordinated nationally recognized events such as Mashable Social Media Day, TedxMiami, and Social Media Week in Miami.”
Latinarrific salutes Natascha Otero-Santiago…