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Meet Trailblazer Micaela Gutierrez-Tillett

Today we’d like to introduce you to Micaela Gutierrez-Tillett.

Micaela, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After moving to Dallas from Chicago in 2005, I was quickly moved to create a program to unite, educate & uplift for the greater good of Texas through the power of Music, Dance & Wellness. Personal background: dancer 35 years, teacher 26 years, choreographer 24 years, artist director 18 years, independent contractor 15 years, nurse 12 years, event coordinator ten years and short film director eight years.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Anything worth achieving in life is never easy but if you choose to ride the waves or climb the mountains of personal growth it will definitely change your life moving forward. A few of my personal experiences are as follows: 1. Standing alone with courage when truth is called for, 2. Being firm with expectations while also being flexible with modifications when necessary, 3. Failures isn’t a bad term… failing is an opportunity to sit back to debrief in Pros/Cons & if given the opportunity to do it again what would you do different, 4. Preparation is Key in knowing continuing education is everything, 5. Never allow yourself to be viewed as a Master because there’s always room for higher learning, 6. Sleeping in my car while auditioning for the 1997 NBA Chicago Bulls season was a reality in showing up & giving 100% no matter where you lay your head down at night, 7. There’s no such thing as balance when you’re a single mom it’s called sacrifice, 8. There’s no simple road in achieving success because challenges (obstacles) comes in all different forms and 9. Know your humble beginnings is your personal story as a survivor, not a victim.

Having the opportunity to mentor young women in business, the 1st thing I let them know is to write down 3 things that makes them happy, surround yourself with people who will ignite your vision and find that 1 quote by an Author who will spark your creativity every morning before you leave your home.

Please tell us about ORIZON – what should we know?
In the past 14 years with ORIZON, I’ve worn many hats: Artistic Director of a Performing Arts Company, choreographer, short film director, dancer, primary contractor for the United States Air Force, sports conditioning coach, dance teacher, event coordinator, higher learning educator in anthropology, youth to adult programs, traveled to 14 countries & 58 USA cities teaching, Bless Up Festival, creator of Dancehall Texas (alliance), public speaker, building confidence in one’s truth and an ongoing Afro-Caribbean dance class in Texas.

My proudest experience is knowing the positive impact the ORIZON program has made in other peoples lives, What makes Orizon different? Orizon is an umbrella to many outstanding present programs: Afro-Caribbean, Dancehall Texas, Female empowerment workshops + short films, Sports Conditioning, Bless Up Festival and mentoring aspiring teachers.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Speak your truth with grace and choose to attend different workshops to understand the road you want to walk or lead. Don’t be afraid to travel out of your comfort zone. Lean into intrigue & adventure when meeting new people or experiences. Be prepared to work odd jobs so that you can achieve the next level, stay open-minded in the meantime. Allow yourself to have the full experience without guilt. If you want something in this World you must get off your a** & work for it. And challenge yourself to read many different kinds of leadership books inorder to instill different perspectives as well as to help you build confidence in knowing by fact… no matter a person’s title in life we are ALL connected as human beings.

What has worked for me: Research, a lot of reading, writing out a plan or idea, traveling abroad to experience truth, choosing to have a voice, to walk through a challenge with my chin up knowing my struggle as a woman is nothing compared to the generation before me of strong women & minority men, allowing myself to marinate in each stage of life, giving back, acknowledging the southside spirit resides in me no matter the task at hand, tuning out the naysayers, finding peace with choices, God’s plan (not religious view) is bigger than my initial plan and diving completely in (100%) towards what I love.

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