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The Mamacitas Behind MCG

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Valentina Izarra


So how exactly did a business graduate turned actress end up becoming one of the MCG founders? Great question! Me hace recordar una frase: “There are moments that mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same again and time is divided into two parts: before this and after this.”


For me, it was the moment I discovered that I was married to a stranger and that nothing that I thought I knew about this person was true or real. As I write about this experience candidly for the first time, I realize words cannot express the heartbreak, disappointment and disenchantment I felt in that one instant that seemed like eternity. My family nucleus—everything I had built my life around—was shattered into a million tiny pieces and I had to figure out the way to pick up the pieces as I also grappled with the responsibility of caring for my five month old son.


Maybe you could say I was cruising along life until my life was flipped upside down. Me voltearon como un huevo frito. One day the sun was shining and the next I was in the midst of a hurricane (categoría cinco mamacita). I experienced the darkest part of my life up until now and, let me tell you, it was MUY dark.


As I crawled in that dark hole—because it felt at the time that I couldn’t even stand—I searched for the light. Noche y día buscaba la luz—sometimes in all the wrong places y otras veces en sitios perfectos y mágicos… a motivational book, an episode of Super Soul Sunday, an inspirational quote written on a Facebook picture… Funny thing is, the more I looked for light, mas aparecía la luz… y por todas partes.


As I transformed and rebuilt my life, I wrestled constantly with fear and insecurities. I even considered giving up my passion, acting, all together in order to search for something more “stable.” And I asked (actually, Mamacita, I begged) God to give me faith and some sort of signs as to what I should do with my life.


In the mean time, I became un poquito bastante obsesionada con el movimiento de self-improvement and I kept finding the Oprahs and the Marie Forleos—mujeres en el mundo Anglo que han sido mis hada madrinas de cierta manera because they helped me transform my life for the better. INCREÍBLE como personas que ni conocía me brindaron herramientas para fortalecer de nuevo mi auto estima y mi sentido de “self-worth.” Me di cuenta de que me gustaba tanto la información que aprendía de ellas que quería traerle este tipo de herramientas de vida a otras Latina-Americanas como yo—latinas que están en búsqueda de un poquito de luz en este momento… pero que también buscan las características que retratan nuestra bella cultura: picante, pasión, y mucho sentido de humor. Jajaja… or is it hahaha?


So if you’re feeling a little spark right about now, I invite you to hop aboard this self-improvement train. Destination: Self-fulfillment. I can attest, that if you do it Con Ganas, you’re in for quite a ride Mamacita!

Fun Facts

Born: Caracas, Venezuela

Raised: Venezuela, United States and France

Passions: Acting, Ballroom Dance, Music (I make Latin music mixes just for fun), Traveling, Languages (I’m actually fluent in Spanish, English and French and conversational in Italian and German)

Celebrity crush: Ricky Martin (I know mamacitas, he’s not into chicas, but I can’t help it. He’s hot and he knows how to dance. Lol)

Favorite city: Paris, Paris, Paris! (In a French accent s’il te plaît)

Favorite color: Indigo (A mix between blue and purple)

Favorite cocktail: Caipirihna! OR Kir Royal!

Favorite music to dance to: Reggeaton and Salsa (I can never get enough of my Daddy Yankee and there’s no such thing as too much salsita)

Favorite season: Verano… summer baby! (I can’t help it; I have Caribbean blood.)

Favorite quote: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been”—by George Eliot

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Wendy Barba


Hey mamacita, I’m Wendy Barba and I’m here to help you grow in whatever business you pursue and to help you find the courage to be the best version of you.


Something you should know about me:

I’m like a mini Sophia Vergara living in Napa Valley (minus the DD boobs and thick accent). Actually, I call it Napa Vale! Lol.  I stick out like a sore thumb in this gringo landia. How can I not with my bubbly Latina personality, high heels, and colorful ropa? Plus, on any given day, you’ll find me cruising along town in my Mini jamming to Shakira, Pitbull and Marc Anthony.


The other side of me:

I’m a dynamic, goal oriented and results driven sales, marketing, and training leader with over a decade experience in corporate America. I was the Latin America Area Sales Manager at GE, the Key Account Manager for Latin markets at Coca-Cola and a PVP at Carnival Cruise Lines.


Selling is in my DNA. I’ve motivated over a 1000 people to help them improve their selling techniques and have fun in the process. I believe that you need to know how to promote yourself because no else will. TU eres lo máximo! So put your best foot forward.


For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamt of starting my own business. However, I was always in search of what that business would be. Then, about ten years ago, I volunteered to be the leader of communication for the GE Hispanic Forum Miami Hub— an organization within GE that aims to recruit and retain Hispanic talent and enhance their career development— where I experienced something life-altering. I was exposed to so many great Hispanic leaders, successful Latinos and inspiring mentors that I began dreaming of how to provide this opportunity to more Latinas—Latinas that might not otherwise have these tools and network of mentors at their fingertips.


To my astonishment, my best friend Valentina was also cooking up of an organization to help out the Latina community and that’s when I decided to leave the corporate world behind and take a leap of faith. Boom! Mamas Con Ganas was born.


My hope is that you enjoy our webisodes, podcasts and blogs as much as we enjoy creating them and sharing them with you.


I am a living proof that if you think positive, follow your dreams and are persistent, you will attract the life you want and cosas grandes will happen! Sigue soñando mamacita. I am here to remind you how fabulous you are and to help you grow.  To see you succeed would be the biggest reward I could have. Vive tu vida Con Ganas mamacita. Que estas esperando? As Pitbull would say: DALE!

Fun Facts

Born: Caracas, Venezuela. I am a Christmas baby.

Raised in: En mi bella Caracas and South Florida (“Westonzuela” to be exact)

Passions: Traveling and learning about different cultures, photography and public speaking

Celebrity crush: Ryan Gosling (as luck will have it, I ended up marrying another Ryan)

Favorite city: My fairy tale city Cartagena, Colombia (it’s where I tied the knot).

Favorite color: Anything bright to show off mi piel canela.

Favorite cocktail: Cosmo, Zacapa on the rocks and wine, wine, wine… wine not?

Favorite music to dance to: Tuns tuns, una salsita, un reggeatonsito, una bachatita, un merenguito, un pitbullsito…  lol

Favorite season: Summer (Hot and humid is the only weather that should exist in Wendy’s World)

Favorite quote : “Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably, and Never regret anything that made you Smile.” – by Robert Doisneau

For more information visit