Tell us about yourself. Include where you’re from, what you do, how you’re thriving, and anything else everyone should know about you.
My name is Kara Perez, and I’m originally from Massachusetts. I moved to Austin almost five years ago. I own a company called Bravely, which connects women and money through financial literacy events and online tools. I also work as a freelance writer, focusing on personal finance. I’m currently vibing on Carly Rae Jepson and Black Star. I work from home, so getting outside is hugely important to me. I like hiking and strolling around my neighborhood. I’m super passionate about promoting female owned businesses, and I was deeply disappointed by the Gilmore Girls revival.
How do you identify culturally?
I identify as bi-racial, but I also recognize that I have white privilege.
What inspires you and who do you look up to?
Oh man, great question. I’m inspired by the struggle. I love hearing about people overcoming obstacles. I love seeing people kick ass and take names. It makes me tear up, and lights a fire under my butt. Life isn’t ever really easy, but I really believe in the power of hard work to promote change in your life. I admire Michelle Obama so much. Her composure over the last eight years has been awe-inspiring. I also want to be Oprah when I grow up.
How has your Latinx background informed your decisions, successes, failures? What do you do when things go wrong?
My relationship to my Latina identity is complicated. I’m half Dominican, and I’m the whitest person you’ve ever met. My Latina-ness is something I have to establish with people by telling them, which sort of makes it feel like I’m desperate to be assert that fact in conversations. But I am half Dominican and that’s a fact. It’s shaped the way I relate to the world in a lot of ways. I try hard to not make assumptions about other people’s heritage or background, because race is such a spectrum. I want to work with other Latinx people, and I’m interested in promoting the Latinx identity, particularly in a city as white as Austin.
I can’t say the Latina identity comes much into play when things go wrong. I’d say more my stubbornness and flair for drama get channeled! Setbacks are obstacles that I need to find a new way to overcome. At first I get bummed that there’s something in my way, and then I get obsessed with finding out how to deal with it. I listen to a lot of Eric Thomas, who’s an inspirational speaker and coach. He gets me so hyped to crush shit, it’s incredible.
Your best piece of advice for anyone who’s struggling?
You have to keep going. You have to get through it. No matter what it is- personal, professional, emotional- find something to move towards. When I went through my toughest time, I latched onto debt payoff as the one thing I could always focus on. The rest of my life could go to hell in a handbasket, but each day I woke up thinking, “I’m going to do one thing today that allows me to pay down my debt.” That guiding force helped me to make small decisions that powered me through the day: I’d decide to make coffee at home to save money, and then all of a sudden I’d gotten out of bed and caffeinated myself.
I think of the Winston Churchill quote when I’m struggling- “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Future goals and aspirations?
I want to have Bravely fully support me in two years. I want to become a speaker and public figure. I want to work with girls in the Dominican Republic on their financial education and building a business. I want to travel. I’m ready to be one of those people kicking the world’s butt.
One thing people should know about the Latinx community?
It’s so big. Latinx people come from so many different backgrounds and experiences. And not all the food is spicy. I hate that stereotype so much!
Your favorite Latinx owned business in Austin?
I’m a big fan of Diana Ascarrunz! :)
Where can people find you on the internet?
Latinx Voices is an online photo and interview series spotlighting Latinx peoples in our communities. We want to amplify those voices–reminding people that we are not only surviving, but thriving.