Entrepreneur Claudia Yaujar-Amaro finds KLC path to empowerment and connection
When Claudia Yaujar-Amaro saw a Facebook post promoting a KLC Latino leadership program in Topeka back in 2016, she had no idea the impact those next four months would have on her life personally and professionally.
“When I applied for it, I didn’t have a good connotation with the word ‘leadership’ – didn’t like leaders and didn’t want to be seen as one – but KLC changed my perspective. When they said, ‘leadership is an activity, not a position,’ it really resonated with me and changed my life,” said Claudia.
After graduating from KLC’s leadership program in Topeka, Claudia felt empowered and saw the need for more Latinos in Kansas to take a leadership course in Spanish. She shared the idea with KLC staff, and it eventually became the inspiration for Avanzando Juntos, KLC’s course for Spanish speakers. Claudia provided support for the first year of the course and taught during the second year with other KLC teachers and coaches.
“For two years we traveled to Liberal, Topeka, Kansas City and Wichita. In all of them we had at least 20-30 people. All were so different and that’s when I started learning more about the Latino community and the rural challenges so different than Wichita. It was fun to learn and adapt the program every time. During the pandemic we did some virtual classes, but they weren’t as successful since the Latino community is not very comfortable with technology. The last one was in person in Wichita, and I think it was one of the best – we talked about everything we learned with the others, and we were able to tweak things so challenges were more inclusive to professionals and non-professionals. We were able to impact many people – we talked about exercising leadership in community, family and church. We were intentional about instilling the KLC framework, those skills to people in any walk of life,” said Claudia.
During her involvement with Avanzando Juntos, Claudia had worked her way through all KLC programs and was going through the organization’s training to be a certified coach. She also started her own business, AB&C Bilingual Resources – a marketing consulting company – and founded Planeta Venus, an online Spanish radio station, podcast and newsletter.
“Many of the ideas I had for my business were inspired from one of the classes at KLC. AB&C came to my mind during a program,” said Claudia.
Her work with KLC continued to grow and evolve, too.
“I was invited to participate in Kansas Beats the Virus (a partnership between KLC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment). I think I had three roles. I worked with the communications team on all the materials to be translated, all the social media in Spanish and then I was also a facilitator. I worked from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. – in the morning I’d do all the marketing translations and I was facilitating sessions in the afternoon and evening. I really focused myself on the Latino community. I wanted this to get in the community. The Latino participation also brought more attention to KLC as a more inclusive community.
“And then the Voices on Vaccinations campaign followed. I also feel very proud of that. Although shorter than KBTV, it was a collaboration with Christina Long, I really liked that it was open and authentic.”
Between her work on the COVID-focused campaigns, Claudia was tapped to translate KLC’s book, Your Leadership Edge, into Spanish. “It was a learning experience but gave me confidence that I knew the KLC language,” said Claudia. This first translation led to further assignments from KLC. Claudia has gone on to translate a second book for KLC – the national bestseller, When Everyone Leads – as well as the Latino Leadership in Kansas report from KLC’s Third Floor Research.
Now she’s preparing for her next role with the organization: sharing stories from the Latino communities of Liberal, Kansas and Marshalltown, Iowa for KLC’s Heartland Together pilot program.
“My relationship with KLC has been a very win-win situation. I have given a lot of myself to KLC – I’m passionate about it. I have gotten so much in return. I feel blessed to be part of that. KLC has allowed me to meet amazing people, and I consider some of them friends – on staff and not on this earth anymore,” said Claudia.