Everyday Latina Leaders Making a Difference:

Meet Hazel Swayne

by Dannely Flores Kramer, Account Planning Director

This is part of the Latina spotlight series, in which Dieste seeks to highlight the positive change and impact everyday Latina leaders are making in the U.S. In this edition, we meet Hazel Swayne and her Learning Gypsies Project.

Nowadays, education transcends the walls of school classrooms; as learning takes place not only in school, but also at home, at the park, at the restaurant, the museum, everywhere. Technology has allowed us to learn more and faster and has given us unimaginable ways to learn. Ways that not only have benefited and improved our IQs, but our creativity and the way we look at things to solve problems as well.

This feature celebrates a Latina that has not fallen complacent of the way in which our kids are taught to learn – the standardized approach. She believes she can find a better way to improve the way they learn; creativity and uniqueness should not be traded in favor of standardization and averages. Through her Learning Gypsies Project, Hazel is focused on bringing a fresh perspective and proving that just teaching to the test may not be the best option these days. You can follow her adventure on YouTube and Instagram,  and/or support their cause.

In this short interview we learned a little bit about her goals, passions and what makes her a great Latina to keep an eye on.

1.) Please tell us a little about yourself…
I am a woman devoted to life-long learning. I am Director of Tailored Solutions at Hyper Island and Co-Founder of the Learning Gypsies.

2.) How has your cultural background shaped who you are today?
I grew up in Lima, Peru in a family with affluence and lots of humility and gratitude. During my childhood I was exposed to those less fortunate than me and that really shaped my life and heart. Also, I witnessed a significant amount of injustice, as that was the era of terrorism in my country. But I also saw how people helped each other live through such hard and limiting times. I am a resilient person because of those experiences and it has allowed me to take risks and explore beyond limits.

3.) What are you passionate about? What makes your work stand out?
I am passionate about many things, many, but mostly about life – the fact that we are alive and surrounded by other humans to learn from. Dancing, cooking, designing, exploring technology and helping others grow is where I invest most of my energy. And soccer of course, but that is a given! Lately, more than passionate, I have developed an obsession with the way people learn, especially children. I want to find ways to improve the environment in which they learn the talents and skills needed for a totally new societal context. I am obsessed with helping people love to learn! What makes my work stand out is that I like to share resources, tools, learnings and methods to help make others’ lives better. Compartir es vivir (Sharing is living).

4.) What does failure mean to you? How many times did you want to give up on your passion, and who/what motivated you to continue?
Umm, I have a hard time with the word ‘failure’ because for it to exist, ‘perfection’ needs to be present; so I don’t believe in either. I rather focus on the fact that everything in life is a learning opportunity.

Given up? Many times. Life can become really hard, with lots and lots of variables, many which are out of your control. The best way for me to keep going is to have self-awareness when fear kicks in and map out the zone I can stretch myself to in order to grow. My biggest motivators are my husband who is an eternal optimist, my mom who lives in the moment, and my kids who teach me resilience daily.

5.) How would you encourage other Latinas to pursue their passions?
I think everyone, not just Latinas should turn their dreams into a reality, but Latinas have an advantage: we can dance well (literally and metaphorically speaking). If we look at dancing as a series of rhythmic steps following a tune, then each step we take towards our dreams means we are getting closer to what we have choreographed for ourselves. We will need a great partner who can carry us, spin and many times lead us through some moves. Today, the internet has given us endless resources to make anything happen! Let’s refer to it as the loudspeaker playing the music we dance to.

6.) What advice would you give to marketers or brands trying to connect with everyday inspiring women?
Be very curious! Talk to them, get to know them, ask them powerful questions.

7.) My three biggest accomplishments are…

  • Letting my kids know I am learning the role I am playing everyday. And exposing to them that I am not perfect.
  • Living in constant gratitude.
  • Perfecting my mother-in-law’s paella recipe 🙂

Dieste is always seeking opportunities to better understand America’s booming multicultural audience . Do you know a Latina leader that is utilizing her cultural identity as an edge for her career, to empower her community, or simply as a way to spark her creativity? Send dkramer@dieste.com an email so we can feature her!


Dieste Inc