Girlskill Podcast cover by Anna Rova

Venezuela to Costa Rica: Lessons on Leadership & Shifting Careers with Hannah Zambrano

Girlskill Podcast Episode 03

Go here to listen to this episode

Born and raised in Venezuela, Hannah has an incredible story of packing her life into suitcases multiple times for various reasons and moving across the world in search for a new life, new job, new dreams. It’s a personal story of leadership, courage and ambition.

This Latina is on fire. At 16 Hannah had to literally “run for her life” and move to Costa Rica with her mom. She calls this step the best decision of her life. She started working at 18 and had the dream of traveling on her vision board, with one single image: a plane in the air.

Today she has two business degrees, 15 years of customer support leadership experience and is currently working in product development in Berlin, Germany.

Besides a very wise definition of femininity and success Hannah will also share:

  • the story of running away from Venezuela to Costa Rica in search of a better life when she was only 16
  • top three lessons you need to be implementing right now to set yourself and your team for success
  • the reason for switching careers from customer service to product development

Quotes from the episode:

“Femininity is strength and kindness. It goes from power to gentleness, sensuality and nurturing… to rage and destruction.”

“It’s flawed if you look at the definition of success in the dictionary. It only means something when you compare it to a different point. For me success is to compare myself of yesterday to the self I want to become.”

Tools & Resources Mentioned


  • WhatsAppSimple. Secure. Reliable messaging.
  • BearWrite beautifully on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

People/Blogs to Follow

  • Alan Watts — Tracks for staying grounded:
  • The Story of the Chinese Farmer
  • Alan WaDs — Just Trust the Universe
  • Jason SilvaJason Silva is an Emmy-nominated and world renown TV personality, storyteller, filmmaker, and sought-after keynote speaker and futurist. […] His inspirational videos, Shots of Awe, have received over 100 million views across social platforms. The videos explore topics such as futurism, technology, creativity, the science of awe, disruptive innovation, relationships and mental health.
  • Food for Thought on Agile, Scrum & ProductBest posts from last week on agile and lean methodologies, Scrum and product management. Manually curated, no robots involved.
  • Mind the ProductFurthering the craft of product management by bringing together product people of all stripes.
  • High ExistenceChallenging the way you live!

Recommended Podcasts

  • “How I Built This”How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world’s best-known companies and brands.
  • “99% Invisible”99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award-winning producer Roman Mars.
  • “Revisionist History”Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past — an event, a person, an idea, even a song — and asks whether we got it right the first time. From Panoply Media.
  • “Heroine: Women’s Creative Leadership, Confidence, Wisdom”Life journeys and down-to-earth conversations with women creative leaders and risk-takers– ordinary women who do extraordinary things because they embrace the unknown.

Recommended Books

  • “First, Break all the Rules”: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Court CoffmanWhat separates the greatest managers from all the rest? They actually have vastly different styles and backgrounds. Yet despite their differences, great managers share one common trait: They don’t hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom. They don’t believe that, with enough training, a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They don’t try to help people overcome their weaknesses. And, yes, they even play favorites.
  • “Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching”: A Book About the Way and the Power of the WayNo other English translation of this greatest of the Chinese classics can match Ursula Le Guin’s striking new version. Le Guin, best known for thought-provoking science fiction novels that have helped to transform the genre, has studied the Tao Te Ching for more than forty years. She has consulted the literal translations and worked with Chinese scholars to develop a version that lets the ancient text speak in a fresh way to modern people while remaining faithful to the poetic beauty of the work.
  • “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” (The Collected Work of Joseph Campbell)Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.
  • “Pathways to Bliss”: Mythology and Personal Transformation by Joseph CampbellJoseph Campbell famously defined myth as “other people’s religion.” But he also said that one of the basic functions of myth is to help each individual through the journey of life, providing a sort of travel guide or map to reach fulfillment — or, as he called it, bliss. For Campbell, many of the world’s most powerful myths support the individual’s heroic path toward bliss.
  • “Hardship and Happiness” (The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca)Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist, statesman, and advisor to emperor Nero, all during the Silver Age of Latin literature. The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a fresh and compelling series of new English-language translations of his works in eight accessible volumes. Edited by Elizabeth Asmis, Shadi Bartsch, and Martha C. Nussbaum, this engaging collection helps restore Seneca — whose works have been highly praised by modern authors from Desiderius Erasmus to Ralph Waldo Emerson — to his rightful place among the classical writers most widely studied in the humanities.
  • Works by Marcus AureliusMarcus Aurelius Antoninus was born to an upper-class Roman family in A.D. 121 and was later adopted by the future emperor Antoninus Pius, whom he succeeded in 161. His reign was marked by a successful campaign against Parthia but was overshadowed in later years by plague, an abortive revolt in the eastern provinces, and the deaths of friends and family, including his co-emperor Lucius Verus. A student of philosophy from his earliest youth, he was especially influenced by the first-century Stoic thinker Epictetus. His later reputation rests on his Meditations, written during his later years and never meant for formal publication. He died in 180 while campaigning against the barbarian tribes on Rome’s northern frontier.


Find Hannah on twitter here

.S. Subscribe and listen to more of Girlskill Podcast here

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