Maya Angelou
Tom Brokaw
Ray Charles
Deepak Chopra
Pres. Bill Clinton
Kenneth Cole
Walter Cronkite
Richard Dreyfuss
Clint Eastwood
Marian Wright Edelman
Gloria Estefan
Antwone Fisher
John Glenn
Darrell Green
Gwen Ifill
James Earl Jones
Quincy Jones
Larry King
Sen. John McCain
Edward James Olmos
Colin Powell
Hal Prince
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Victoria Rowell
Bill Russell
Tim Russert
Martin E. Segal
Martin Sheen
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Mike Wallace
Brian Williams
Oprah Winfrey

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Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan


Who Mentored Gloria Estefan?

Singer/songwriter Gloria Estefan originally rose to prominence in the 1970s by joining the Miami Sound Machine. As she segued into a solo recording career, she became one of the first Latin artists to achieve major mainstream worldwide success.


There is only one person in my life whom I consider my mentor--my grandmother on my mother's side, Consuelo Garcia. Besides her obvious role as a grandparent, she represented to me a vivid example of a woman ahead of her time. She was a strong, caring, spiritual humanitarian who filled my life with possibilities, and through her example, gave me the belief that there was nothing I could not do or achieve in life. Although she was born in 1905 in Cuba, she felt no limitations and even aspired to be a lawyer, an unheard of profession for a Latin woman. And though she had to leave school to help her large family at the age of ten, she taught herself to read and write and became an amazingly astute businesswoman, and extremely independent.

She cared for me from birth, and nurtured the thought that music was a gift I had received. And although I was reluctant to follow that path, I somehow found myself involved with music because our gifts are meant to be shared for the good and pleasure of others. We remained extremely close throughout my life, and even after her death I have often found comfort in her memory and the wisdom she shared with me.

My grandmother always pointed out my strengths and filled me with hope for the future. She constantly nourished my inquisitiveness, and shared many quests for seeking answers to my questions. She wasn't afraid to let me see her vulnerability, and made that intimacy an asset to be celebrated. Primarily through her example, I learned that we, as women, have limitless potential. I finally said yes to music because of her.

The most valuable lessons I learned from my grandmother were to discover what makes you happy, and do it with as much energy and joy as you can muster. And that success takes perseverance, determination, and an unwavering belief in what you have chosen to do.

I feel fortunate to have found such an amazing mentor. I don't believe that people like my grandmother are commonplace, or even a given within a family. She had a profound influence on who I am and continues to be my inspiration.

Excerpted from The Person Who Changed My Life: Prominent Americans Recall Their Mentors. Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Editor, with foreword by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Because You
Believed in Me:
Mentors and
Protégés Who
Shaped Our World

By Marcia
McMullen and
Patricia Miller


Stand by Me:
The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today's Youth

By Jean E. Rhodes


The Person Who
Changed My Life:
Prominent People
Recall Their

By Matilda Raffa
Cuomo, Editor
with foreward by
Sen. Hillary


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