In Part One of my interview with Tamara B. Rodriguez, the Miami-based, Haitian-American recalled how she was able to explain her breast cancer diagnosis to her kids by writing Hair to the Queen!, a picture book. Follow along as we discuss Haiti (she came to the United States when she was little), and what’s next for her as a breast cancer activist, author and community leader. CLICK HERE if you missed PART I of the interview with Tamara B. Rodriguez.
Kreyolicious: What memories do you have of Haiti?
I remember eating mangoes every day, playing in the backyard, and spending time with my grandparents.
Kreyolicious: You grew up in Florida. How was that?
I moved to Florida when I was nine years old, and I grew up with kids who were primarily from Cuba and Latin America. As one of few Haitians at school, it was tough for me to find my own identity, but eventually I did. Once I realized and accepted that being Haitian was something to be proud of, life got easier. I greatly value my Hispanic friends and celebrate all the commonalities we share, which are many. Right before starting college, I met and became friends with many Haitians. We’ve become a fierce community of leaders, successful entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 decision-makers, and outstanding professionals, and I am so proud to be part of the Haitian community in South Florida.
Kreyolicious: Do you visit Haiti frequently?
I am the Chief Financial Officer for Fatima Group, a family-owned and Miami-based corporate holding company, so I meet with my accounting team there at least quarterly. Additionally, I have been traveling to Haiti every December for the past decade for the Haitian American Leadership Organization (HALO) event called “A Day With Santa,” an annual celebration during the holiday season that is designed to delight under-served children. More than 2,000 children from Miami and Haiti (Port-au-Prince, Thomazeau, and Cap-Haitien) enjoy fun activities, food and drinks, entertainment, and, of course, new presents from Santa! This year, however, instead of toys and in light of the recent hurricane, we will raise funds to build a school in the south of Haiti. Most importantly, we need to help one another rebuild our communities.
Kreyolicious: That’s awesome…What else is next for you?
While spending as much time as possible with my family, including homework with my seven and eight year-old daughters, I also am juggling between a new hotel project with Marriott International that will open in Cap-Haïtien [next year], Hurricane Matthew relief efforts, the Haitian American Leadership Organization (HALO) event called “A Day With Santa,” promotional appearances for Hair to the Queen!, and writing the book’s sequel. I think I will need a long vacation in the new year!
Do you have someone in your family or circle who could benefit from Tamara B. Rodriguez’s book Hair to the Queen!? CLICK HERE to order it! CLICK HERE TO VISIT Tamara B. Rodriguez’s website and learn more about Hair to the Queen|