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Hispanic Heritage in SWFL: Mayela Rosales

Mayela Rosales, the co-founder of Media Vista Group.

We're now more than halfway through Hispanic Heritage Month, which extends from September 15th through October 15th. So, in honor of those of Hispanic heritage here in Southwest Florida, WGCU is featuring local Latinos from across the region — from all sorts of professions, genders and backgrounds.

Today, you'll hear from the woman who's desire to inform the Southwest Florida Hispanic community led to the creation a national media company.  



My name is Mayela Rosales, I am originally from Venezuela. I came to the United States in 1996. I am the Co-founder of Media Vista  Group, a Hispanic multimedia company that was founded in Southwest Florida in 2002.

I feel great to be Hispanic, to be immigrant. I feel especially in the Hispanic Heritage Month, that we have a whole month dedicated to us. I think we have a big legacy to leave. Not only in the roots but also in the culture also how as professionals we are impacting not only the community but also our economy. So to have a month like this just to celebrate who we are, and what are the things that we have done that have changed our neighborhoods.

We started the company from the garage of a house. I’m a journalist, I graduated in the University of Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela when I was 23. When I moved here to the United States and I saw the big opportunity and the growing demographic in Southwest Florida-- that back then was only ten percent-- I saw how people were underserved in terms of news and local content and I just had an idea to do a television show that could serve them. But also in a fun way, not like pure local news—boring local news. Just do a little bit of everything tell them what to do, what organization they could reach out and the project came out excellent and I had the support of many people.

We’ve been doing D’Latinos for the 16 years, without interruptions so we have had so many stories throughout the years and the beautiful thing is that the families have grown watching us. Families have developed and have fulfilled a lot of their dreams watching D’Latinos and they have taken advantage of all the information we have given.

Maintaining a connection to the roots it comes from the family values. When you have strong family values you can speak your language in your home. I have Gabriel that is 20 and Daniel that is 16 and they speak Spanish and I love that they can eat arepas from Venezuela and they have embraced the culture. So even though sometimes I have a strong accent, but I forget my words in Spanish too, because I have been here for so many years but I think my legacy goes to not only to my family but also to the people that I work with. Because in Media Vista, we always try to do activities to preserve our culture. Even though we have so many different nationalities in the company.

I think Latinos in this country, we have the brightest and the greatest opportunity to have our dreams. This is the country of opportunities. Any problems that we have in this country are not that bad as our countries of origin. So I encourage people, not only this Hispanic Heritage Month but always to work on their dreams, but work, dreams are only fulfilled if you work for those.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.