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When I was presented recently with the opportunity to interview ESPN Deportes' Venezuelan-born sports journalist Carolina Guillén, the first thing I thought about were my students. I recognized that Carolina's extraordinary success as a sports journalist in a mainly male-dominated field could inspire my students to explore career paths outside of their comfort zone.
Carolina's provided some valuable insight and advice based on what's she's encountered on her journey. She's also shared what she plans to do after her daughter's birth (Yes, she's expecting!).
Thank you, Carolina!
Interview With ESPN Deportes' Carolina Guillén
Carolina, what did your parents, especially your father, say, when you told them you wanted to be a sports journalist?
My father was very concerned about my career choice due to the lack of women in that file. Plus, he wanted me to manage his business in Venezuela. However, 15 years later, he is extremely proud knowing he had nothing to worry about, as I have been able to grow and succeed in the sports journalism field with the "worldwide leader in sports!"
Can you share how your love of sports started, was there a trigger?
I come from a very sports-oriented family - so ever since I was young, I knew sports were going to be part of my future, as it has always been a big part of my life. Can you imagine the daughter of a Real Madrid fan not watching the matches?
What was the biggest obstacle or barrier you overcame to get your first shot at becoming a sports journalist?
Being the first female field reporter covering sports for TV was the biggest obstacle for me. Once I broke through into the field, everything got easier!
Can you talk a little about your mindset and how you broke through? Did you ever doubt yourself?
There were a good amount of skeptics, but I didn't pay attention to their criticism. Times were different back then, but my mindset was: focused on my job and do it well. I knew I needed to swim against the tide and overcome all the stereotypes.
What are your plans after your daughter is born? Will you continue to report for ESPN Deportes?
My family life is very much in tune with my professional career, so I don't foresee any slowing down. I will continue to work with ESPN Deportes till the very end, especially now with MLB season starting. I will take a short and sweet maternity leave period, and come back stronger than ever!
What advice would you give preteen girls who've come to hear you speak about how you became a successful sports journalist? What steps would you tell them to follow? What things would you tell them NOT to do?
The key is to respect the field, and the field will respect you. People can tell when a woman knows or doesn't know about sports. Always behave as a professional committed to your work and to the information you are providing to your audience. Image is a big part of this career, so don't jeopardize it - especially in arenas full of men.
Are there any books or resources you'd recommend they seek out to learn more?
There are a ton of materials and resources out there for every field - you just have to know where to look. Plus, when it comes to your career, you have to be passionate about it and keep yourself informed with the latest news to ensure you stay at the forefront of your industry. The sports industry is not the only competitive field out there.