Mariana Atencio is on a mission to help people supercharge their careers, their workplace cultures, and their happiness by embracing the power of authenticity. Coming to America from Venezuela as a young girl, Mariana learned first-hand how feeling self-conscious about being different kept her from engaging. After graduating from Columbia University, Mariana wanted to take that experience into her journalism career and tell stories that build bridges and foster understanding. She became a national news anchor and correspondent, earning a Peabody Award for reporting which took her from Haiti to Hong Kong to the Syrian border. The success of her TEDx talk, “What Makes YOU Special?”, viewed over 23 million times, catapulted Mariana into a new storytelling outlet: speaking. Her first book, Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real, is a bestselling call to action to unleash the magic of personal and professional authenticity to find purpose and break barriers. Currently head of her own media production company, Mariana pursues stories that capture her curiosity. She also continues to deliver inspiring keynotes and moderate/host major events. But to start at the beginning,..
Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Mariana graduated from Merici High School and received a journalism degree from Universidad Católica. When the government of Hugo Chávez shut down independent media outlets in her home country, she participated in student protests for democracy. After being assaulted in an armed robbery, Mariana left for the United States when she received a full-merit scholarship to Columbia University’s Journalism School and received her master’s degree in broadcast journalism. Mariana got her big break anchoring and reporting at Univision, where she also filed stories for the Documentaries and Investigative Unit. She won a Peabody Award and an Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Award for her work uncovering illegal weapons sold across the border in Mexico. She also won a Gracie Award for directing, writing, and reporting PRESSionados, a documentary about press freedom in Latin America. She then went on to host The Morning Show on Fusion, the Disney and Univision joint venture, and co-anchored the 2016 Democratic Presidential debate.
Mariana made the crossover from Spanish to English-speaking television as a national correspondent for NBC News where she was known for her boots-on-the-ground, engaging, and empathic field work. Her investigative work on Latin America, the Latino community, cartel violence, women’s and migrants’ rights earned her three Emmy nominations, a Hillman Prize, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Presidential Award. In the course of her broadcast career, Mariana has reported from places like Haiti, the Syrian border, and China, underscoring the common threads in our humanity and that we are all more alike than different. She has interviewed dozens of notable figures, including Pope Francis, President Joe Biden, King Felipe VI of Spain, Nancy Pelosi, chef and humanitarian José Andrés, author Yuval Noah Harari, and director Francis Ford Coppola.
Mariana’s journey is featured on the award-winning HBO series Habla, and People magazine called her storytelling platform “a media empire.” Ten years after she arrived in the United States, Mariana won Columbia’s First Decade Award for her impressive career as a journalist. She is a 2021 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and spokesperson for the American Latino Museum in D.C. In 2022 she launched the hit true crime podcast series Lost in Panama, an investigation into the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, shedding light on the issue of missing women and girls in the region. Lost in Panama made Apple Podcasts’ top #10 list, and Mariana headlined Foreign Policy magazine’s HerPower summit on tackling gender inequality in the Americas. Mariana’s TEDx talk “What Makes YOU Special?” is one of the top ten most-watched videos on YouTube. Doubling down on her message, she wrote her bestselling memoir, Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real.
The Power of Authenticity: Supercharge Your Career, Your Workplace Culture, and Your Happiness
It takes seven seconds for people to form an opinion about you. That’s why most of us are taught to fit in a box instead of embracing those parts of ourselves that stand out. As a budding national TV journalist, Mariana was often encouraged to leave parts of herself at the door. But ‘covering’ did not lead to real belonging, especially in the workplace. Embracing her uniqueness did – and Mariana’s passion is empowering others to discover how to do the same. When people feel safe to be themselves, that authenticity builds trust, fulfillment, and credibility at work and in life. They’re able to embrace a mindset of transformation to meet change more resiliently. And leaders find fostering authenticity in their team spurs engagement, collaboration, innovation, and community. This presentation can be tailored to each specific audience. Sample takeaways include:
• Why most of us find it so hard to be authentic, especially at work
• Discover the traits that make you “Perfectly You” and harness them
• One way to increase your personal fulfillment and a sense of purpose
• How being vulnerable inspires others, builds trust, and creates meaningful relationships
• Mariana’s 3-UP METHOD to inspire a workplace culture of innovation and openness
• Easy steps to cultivate transformation, impact outcomes, and enhance resilience in the face of change.
With experience as a national network news anchor and reporter, Mariana brings warmth and intelligence to each hosting, moderating, and interviewing assignment. Mariana’s curiosity and poise help her get the most out of those on stage with her.
The breadth of Mariana’s experience speaks to her versatility. She’s moderated conversations on embracing a mindset for change at Microsoft, on the rights of women in Iran, on gender inequality at Foreign Policy magazine’s HERPower summit, on media representation at the Paley Center for Media, on financial literacy at Nasdaq, on building a personal and professional brand at Columbia University, a panel on geopolitics and economics at Citi Private Bank’s autumn dialogues with three heads of state from Latin America, a session at the United Nations General Assembly meeting on global healthcare inequity, plus the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, PepsiCo, JP Morgan, Accenture, Spotify, Google, YouTube, Clorox, AT&T, Spectrum, and more.