Latina Producers are Changing the Image of Hispanics on Television

By Mark Holston

One executive whose career personifies the success that Latinas are currently enjoying as producers is Nely Galan. For over a decade, her Galan Entertainment firm has been a force in developing new programming in both English and Spanish for networks such as HBO, NBC, Televisa, Telemundo and Fox, for which she produced the hit series “The Swan.” Galan’s record of success has made her one of the most influential Latina executives in the entertainment field and a role model for those aspiring to follow in her footsteps as a successful producer. “I think this is a great time to be a Latina in this business,” Galan says. “We have a unique voice that represents many millions of people and companies want to reach us.”

In her history-making trek to the top of her profession, Galan learned quickly that the road to success was fraught with both obstacles and opportunities. “Being Latina has been very helpful to me in being a producer in the mainstream; it gave me a differentiating proposition,” she recalls. “I was different than everyone else, but it has been more difficult to be a Latina producer working in the Latin market within the U.S. and Latin America, where they have a harder time accepting women in this role. However, what has been difficult is just the choice of deciding to be a producer — it is not an easy career for anyone. It is similar to being a real estate developer.”

For Galan, being in the entertainment industry is a high risk but rewarding business. “You spend a lot of time putting projects together on your own time that don’t amount to anything,” she says. “Many of the people in it are rich to begin with, so they have the advantage and the staying power. However, when it all works it’s amazing. I feel like I get to be an investment banker, a real estate developer, a marketing guru and a creative idea person all in one career. It’s never boring.”