Editor-at-Large Jenna Bush Hager knows that real beauty comes from within. This month, she’s highlighting four women dedicated to improving the lives of Southerners in need.
Renata Soto, The Cultural Champion
Executive director, Conexión Américas
“As a Costa Rica native, it took me 13 years to fully claim my dual-citizenship status and declare myself a Nashvillian. It’s not easy to grow roots in a new place. One of the highest human needs is the sense of belonging. People have a greater chance to thrive when they feel connected to a community.”
“Tennessee has one of the fastest-growing Hispanic populations in the nation. Many challenges are tied to that. One organization alone cannot create the level of social change we envision, which is why we formed a nonprofit collaborative called Casa Azafrán, which brings 10 like-minded organizations together under one roof. You can come to this community center and get help with your taxes or your child’s college application, learn English, receive counseling, or take a Zumba class.”
“I have two rituals that keep me grounded at work. Around 10 a.m., I always peek into the dance studio to watch children learning world percussion and capoeira. And I also come and go through our commercial kitchen, Mesa Komal, which is always filled with food-truck owners, caterers, and budding cooks. There’s nothing like starting and ending the day with empanadas and fried plantains!”