Journalist and MSNBC anchor Alicia Menéndez opens up to People CHICA about her podcast Latina to Latina and finding the ideal creative and business partner with her executive producer Juleyka Lantigua-Williams.

Alicia Menéndez, host of Latina to Latina, and the podcast's executive producer Juleyka Lantigua-Williams recently celebrated a huge professional achievement: surpassing one million lifetime downloads. "We couldn't have reached this milestone without our listeners," Menéndez tells People CHICA exclusively. "They have been our compass on this journey. They let us know what they love and how we can better serve them. They may listen to our podcast, but we listen to them."

"I wanted to have conversations with Latinas who were on the rise about their journeys," adds the MSNBC anchor about the genesis of this project. The show, now in its third year, features intimate and revealing conversations with remarkable Latinas like Colombian NASA engineer Diana Trujillo, Afro-Cuban actress Gina Torres and Ecuadorian tech CEO Nina Vaca.

"Early on we focused on the mechanics of how one builds a career, a public identity, a company and our listeners liked that," Menéndez says, "but what they loved is the personal journey that accompanied the professional rise."

The conversations are in depth and raw, with guests sharing anecdotes about their moments of glory and the challenges they've faced. "It's inspiration with an honesty around the structural challenges that women are up against," says Menéndez, who is of Cuban descent and grew up in Union City, New Jersey.

Alicia Menendez
Credit: Credit Erica Lee

The podcast's executive producer, Juleyka Lantigua-​Williams, was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in the Bronx. The dynamic duo is unstoppable. "We're work wives," jokes Menéndez. "I don't think anyone could do this alone. There needs to be someone to gut-check every decision and that's part of the value of the partnership."

Lantigua-Williams adds: "Each of us is trying to impress the other one all the time, so we're raising our stakes. She wants to bring in bigger guests, I want to bring in bigger advertisement. She wants to experiment with format, I want to expand on distribution. It's a beautiful thing."

The schedules of these busy working moms also complement one another. "Juleyka and I, between the two of us, are up at all different hours of the day," says Menéndez. "I'm an early bird. I do my best thinking and work early in the morning. Juleyka is a night owl. If you need something at 2 a.m., she is your person! A lot gets done between the two of us."

Latina to Latina Podcast

To celebrate the one million lifetime downloads, Latina to Latina is hosting 12 days of giveaways on their Instagram page featuring Latina authors and Latina-owned brands like Rizos Curls, Reina Rebelde, Joanna Vargas Skin Care, Chillhouse, Jen Zeano Designs, Canticos, Bomba Curls, SalviSoul, and LOLI Beauty.

"I think the reason that the audience comes back is because people are not only inspired but they are reminded of what's possible," says Lantigua-Williams. "We want women to understand that anything is possible, and we put women in front of them who prove exactly that."