Monica Tovar, Director of Sales for KWAV, 101.7 The Beach, The Hippo, KPIG and 95.5 BOB
Women’s Education & Leadership Institute Mentor
“I could tell you all day long about the obstacles I’ve faced,” Monica reflects. Growing up in East Salinas, it’s easy to focus on adversity. “But I never saw the boundaries, I never heard the voices telling me I couldn’t rise up, I always believed there was more in me. I never focused on the negativity.” Instead, Monica focused her energy on changing her surroundings, improving herself, and advancing towards where she wanted to be.
It’s easy to look at Monica’s 20+ year career in radio, television, and digital media, to appreciate her many successes in sales, marketing and public relations, and to never realize the humble beginnings and the personal life challenges that she’s overcome.
Monica started working summers in a law firm when she was just 13 years old, converting files to microfilms for the office. One of the lawyers sat her down and said, “Do you know where you are? Not a lot of young women with your background, at this age, have this opportunity.”
The message was loud and clear and one that Monica has carried through her whole life: Learn from those around you, ask questions, fully embrace the experience. “That’s when I learned what opportunity looked like. And how to use it to improve myself, as a person and as a professional.”
When Monica thinks of the Women’s Education & Leadership Institute (WELI) at Hartnell College, she thinks of the doors of opportunity. “I wish I had a program like WELI when I was growing up,” she shares. “WELI is a door of much more opportunities than our mentees even realize exist. Because of WELI, women scholars are placed in front of local leaders in the community and you can just see their eyes light up when they connect with a particular woman who inspires them. They start to understand that those connections can open doors for them to change their futures, their whole lives, and event their children’s lives. I try to instill in the mentees that they need to see beyond the perceived barriers that have held them back and to recognize the opportunities in front of them.”
Not only does Monica teach her mentees to grab hold of the opportunities in their lives, but she also listens. She listens to their stories and connects her life lessons to their challenges. Over the years of being a mentor, Monica has received many beautiful, passionate, and detailed notes of gratitude and success stories from her mentees.
Her passion for community engagement and her love of helping others is obvious to everyone who meets her, and her mentees are no exceptions.
“If I can help a little bit, just a little bit, that makes me happy,” Monica says, as she pinches her index finger and thumb together to make a sign for “tiny bit”. Of course, we know she’s doing more than helping a little bit. A lot more. As a WELI mentor, Monica is changing lives.