Episode Overview

In Episode 98 of Your Leadership Legacy, Tina Paulus-Krause welcomes back the indomitable Araceli Esparza to share her inspirational story of resilience and leadership. Araceli takes us through her transformative journey, from her beginnings as a first-generation Latina professional to becoming a renowned author and founder of her own organization.

Listen in as she discusses the lessons learned from “playing it small” during the pandemic, and how this period served as a powerful catalyst for her to emerge with a sharper focus and renewed strength. Araceli’s tale is one of unapologetic pursuit of goals, underscored by the cultural anthems that fuel her drive for success. This conversation delves into the profound impact of mentorship, the influence of community organizations like United Way on career development, and the vital practice of leadership that contributes to a meaningful legacy.

Tina & Araceli also explore the multifaceted world of entrepreneurship and the hurdles faced along the way. From navigating the complexities of securing loans and grants to the significance of a clear vision and a supportive team, Araceli sheds light on the systemic economic challenges, such as the gender wage gap, particularly affecting communities of color. The narrative then shifts to personal growth, the overcoming of cultural pressures that deter seeking help, and the importance of community support in dispelling the stigma around it.

Furthermore, they celebrate the empowering initiative in the Midwest that uses storytelling and financial wellness workshops to close gender and racial wage gaps. As they gear up for the June 15th event spotlighting powerful local women’s stories, they recognize the art of storytelling as a potent tool for personal and communal upliftment, deeply embedded in various cultures and traditions.

About Araceli Esparza

Araceli Esparza is an author, poet, and a powerful connector in the nonprofit industry. Her role in equity-building campaigns is not just about advocating for change, but about bringing people together for a common cause. In 2015, she played a pivotal role in rolling out the ARRA funds that provided low-income businesses with grants. More recently, she has been a part of the City of Madison Equal Opportunities Commission, further underscoring her dedication to equality. Araceli’s support for diverse leaders in Black and Latina communities is a shining example of her commitment to inclusivity. 

Araceli was born and raised in Madison, WI, and her parents were migrant farmworkers from Guanajuato, Mexico, where she still draws strength. Growing up the first generation meant that she saw firsthand how discrimination and colorism affected the opportunities her family had. Now, Araceli works to empower women of all backgrounds to advocate for themselves. She studied at the University of Minnesota and has a master’s of fine arts in creative writing for children. In her free time, she enjoys writing picture books and poetry. 

They are named 2024 Wisconsin’s Most Influential Latina by the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce. Araceli Esparza is the founder of Midwest Mujeres Inc. She helps Latinas and women tell stories and grow their businesses or platforms.

Learn more at:
Midwest Mujeres Website
Araceli Esparza’s Website

Join Araceli at the next Midwest Mujeres Event:

¡Yo Quiero Dinero! on Saturday, June 15th, 2024
Women for Wealth: A Night of Transformative Storytelling


0:00 – Intro
1:11 – The Story of Araceli & Being Activated As A Professional
4:23 – 360° Journey Through Uncertainty
10:40 – Community & Team Building, How To Receive Support
16:20 – Removing What Masks Your Authenticity & Honoring Yourself
22:22 – Midwest Mujeres: The Vision, Values, & Taking Action
27:19 – Asking For What You’re Worthy Of, Support & Activation of Self
29:14 – Legacy is Inviting Everyone Into The Storytelling Circle

33:16 – Conclusion