Latinitas Volunteer Spotlight: T.C. Waugh

T.C. Waugh is an experienced entrepreneur, marketer, and philanthropist. Before returning to his hometown of Austin, he spent much of his life in Mexico and Argentina; his wife Giselle is from Uruguay. Originally trained in the world of advertising and marketing for the U.S. Hispanic market, he also has vast experience in the field of sales and marketing of mass market and luxury consumer goods through traditional media, online channels, and social media. Currently, as the Director of Community Relations for Encast, he spends his day promoting the spirit of philanthropy to Austin’s vibrant business community and volunteers as a Business Consejero (Adviser) for Latinitas and has played an active role in both our recent Startup Chica and Design Chica conferences.

T.C. Waugh (left) with daughter Sophia (center) and Latinitas founder Laura Donnelly (right) at the April 2017 Latinitas Design Chica conference.

What got you interested in Latinitas?

I love the mission of Latinitas, and Laura is a dear friend of mine. When I heard about Startup Chica last year, I begged her to let me be a part of it. Helping my team of girls to develop a business plan and pitch it to a team of judges was the highlight of my year! I’ve never had so much fun and felt so rewarded at the same time!

What was something you learned about Latinitas that really inspired and affected you?

I’ll never forget the story told by Alma, a young adult graduate of Latinitas. One evening for the annual Latinitas fundraiser, she relayed to a room full of Latinitas supporters her story about secretly applying to several colleges. She applied in secret because her family wanted her to stay near them.

However, staying with them to pursue her life without a college degree would have almost certainly created headwinds for economic growth that would have followed her throughout her life. In her family, there were generations of culture that had taught them that a woman’s place was in the home, near her family, raising children. The option of having an education, a career, professional mobility and taking a thoughtful approach to the timing of motherhood was not something that was considered.

She was accepted to several colleges, but still could not bring herself to tell her family. So, on the night before her college of choice was to begin classes, she disappeared into the night, and set out to pursue her college education.

When we hear of young adults running away, we think of kids in trouble, or of youngsters leaving abusive situations. Alma wasn’t in trouble, nor was she leaving an abusive home. In her case, the strong bonds of family and culture had gone beyond being supportive pillars and actually became shackles.

Latinitas gave Alma the courage to free herself from her shackles.