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Triple Threat Local Wins 2021 ‘Maestro Award’

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Ultimate Drive Maestro Award winner Gaby Natale. | Image from BElatina

Latino Leaders Magazine has named local resident Gaby Natale the 2021 recipient of the Ultimate Drive Maestro Award, the highest honor given by the magazine. The Maestros award ceremony is held every year to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of influential Latino leaders across the county.  

“Ultimate Drive” might be an understatement when it comes to describing Natale. She is an entrepreneur, a best-selling author, a TEDx speaker, and a three-time Daytime Emmy award winner as host and executive producer of a show on Black and Minority Ethnic Television (BME-TV), a sister station to PBS. And that’s just a few of her accomplishments.  

When Natale graduated with a master’s degree in journalism in 2001 from a university in her home country of Argentina, she was ready to take over the world. But the country’s rate of unemployment was well over 20 percent at the time. “There was incredible socioeconomic instability and riots,” she said. “We had five presidents in 10 days.”  

It took two years, but Natale finally landed a job at an international political marketing summit, although it wasn’t exactly her dream job.  

“I almost didn’t show up because I thought it was proof that I was a total failure,” she said. “My job was moving chairs and handing out flyers even though I had a master’s degree.”  

As fate would have it, halfway through the day, Natalie was tapped to translate for a delegation of professors from George Washington University after the scheduled translator at the summit had canceled.  

“That was the day that changed my life,” she said. “Every time we choose to pioneer, we move the world forward and that’s the message that I share with all my Latinos and everybody that comes from an underrepresented community. If we wait until we have validation or if we wait until we have others doing things before us, we’re going to wait for too long. We have to take that leap of faith and do it.”   

One year later, Natale was offered a job in Washington, D.C., and she relocated. Her struggles, however, were just beginning.  

“The immigration journey was incredibly expensive and difficult,” Natale told Dallas Express. “I have easily spent $50,000 on immigration lawyers, fees, and costs for me and my family. When I was a reporter in West Texas, my salary was around $35,000. I saved every little cent so that I could pay immigration lawyers and immigration fees.”  

After six years, Natale was granted permanent residency. “It shouldn’t be as long, or as expensive or as difficult to become an American citizen,” she said. “We had a lot of moments in the paperwork when things seemed like they were not working due to backlog. I had to self-petition because it was so complicated but because I already had recognition in my career, I was able to qualify for a category that is called EB-1 for extraordinary talent.” 

“My whole life is all about breaking barriers,” Natale said in an interview. “I’m the first Latino to be published by Harper Collins leadership division. I have my own book. My own audible and I am a motivational speaker about the intersection of diversity and empowerment.”  

In addition to founding Aganarmedia, a marketing company focusing on Hispanic audiences that serve Fortune 500 companies, Natale also launched Welcome All Beauty in 2019. It offers a line of hairpieces and extensions to women who need to be camera-ready while traveling.  

That same year, Natale moved to Dallas with her husband. They currently call Grand Prairie home. 

“Dallas chose me in a way because we were pitching different business ideas and different opportunities to partner with local TV stations and local businesses,” she said. “Dallas is such a friendly place to do business, to hear ideas, and to partner. Dallas is an absolutely business-friendly city. So, when we saw that there was a willingness to listen to new ideas, to be open, and to do business, and we got our first contract, that’s when we moved here.”  

When asked about the award, she explained, “The name Maestro means a teacher or professor, and early in my career, I was a professor for the University of Texas Permian Basin in West Texas. So, I’ve come full circle and the award brought me back to the first steps in my career teaching. When I posted on social media announcing the award, some of my students from back in the day, from ages ago, congratulated me. It’s been really nice.”   

“Part of my mission and part of my goal,” she continued, “is to embody what I could not see when I started my career, which is that non-stereotypical Latina in media, in business, in publishing, and on stage. I never got to see people like me or people who sounded like me with an accent in those stages. That’s what the award is mostly about – is breaking barriers, embracing our uniqueness, and redefining what is possible for each one of us.”    

Despite the high honor, Natale remains humble. “Everything is a work in process,” she said. “There are many things that I still want to do and that I want to achieve. I don’t do the work that I do for the accolades, for the prizes, the Emmys, or the Maestro Awards but when you know and see that your community or your industry recognizes your work, that’s always really nice.” 

At 43 years of age, Natale has only just begun and plans to accomplish much more.

“I’d like to do more work combining the two passions that I have right now, which are the entrepreneurial side and the content side, including all kinds of digital and traditional media content and speaking engagements and this new passion of mine as a beauty founder,” she said. “Right now, technology is converging in a way that everything can happen at the same time. So, there’s a lot of possibilities for things like shoppable content and new ways of storytelling.”  

Other 2021 Maestro award recipients include: 

Maestro of Leadership Joe Alvarado, former CEO of Commercial Metals, 

Maestro of Professional Achievement Carlos Sepulveda, chairman of TBK Bank,  

Maestro of Entrepreneurship Evelyn Torres, CEO of Solaris Technologies Services,  

Maestro of Innovation Alvaro Luque, CEO and President of Avocados from Mexico.  

The 15th Annual Maestros award ceremony is scheduled to take place on December 3 at a venue yet to be announced. 

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