What a week I’ve had!

Thanks to the kindness and hospitality of my mentor Rod Colón; cousin, Crystal; and sorority sisters Laura, Isis, Analiz and Katrina; I had an incredible opportunity to visit New York City and surrounding areas for both business and fun!

Talk about sensory overload — I felt as if I was in a modern-day Babylon with so many different languages spoken in such a small place.

I felt like I could watch people all day  … and I made up stories about them as I watched them on the subway.

The scents in the city could be delicious … such  as the amazing aroma of fresh pizza coming right out of the oven … but the city could also be more than a little smelly.

NYC Pizza

NYC Pizza

The sights, sounds, and tastes of NYC energized me and inspired me like no other city ever has before.

Here’s a quick round-up of my trip:

MONDAY

Last Monday, Isis picked me up from La Guardia and treated me to a delicious dinner in Little Italy.

A working actress, Isis has appeared in tons of TV shows like “Law and Order,” and will appear in the movie, “Men In Black III.”

I had a chance to hang out with Isis and meet her wonderful boyfriend, Chris, before heading to Laura’s home in Queens.

Laura recently accepted a new position at News Day, and graciously allowed me to stay at her place during my NYC visit.

Check out Isis’ website here:

http://www.isisvelazquez.com

Follow Laura on Twitter to read her stories:

https://twitter.com/#!/laura_figueroa

TUESDAY

On Tuesday, I explored Laura’s Astoria neighborhood and worked a bit.

Later, this country girl mustered up the courage to ride the subway for the first time, and loved it! A special thank you to my pal, Jeanmarie Loria, for giving me two MetroCards to get started!

That evening, I met Isis at the world-renowned Nuyorican Poets Café, where I my writer soul received plenty of verbal nourishment from the performances of local poets.

Nathan P. Hosts Open Mic Night

Nathan P. Hosts Open Mic Night

We were able to meet the presenters of the open mic night, Marvin Mendlinger, and Michael Geffner, a longtime journalist.

Check out Mike’s blog here:
http://inspiredwordnyc.blogspot.com

WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday morning, I met my mentor, Rod, at the Grand Hyatt in Grand Central Station. It was absolutely breathtaking.

Rod introduced me to Miriam Mason, Senior Director of Medical and R&D Communications of Pfizer; and later to Gail Greenbaum, founder of the T.E.AM Training Program.

Afterward, Rod treated me to a trip to the American Museum of Natural History, where we enjoyed an IMAX production of “Born to Be Wild” narrated by Academy-Award® winner Morgan Freeman.

At the American Museum of Natural History

At the American Museum of Natural History

That evening, I met my good friend Tania Alonso, in midtown for a delicious Turkish meal, baklava and Turkish coffee at Güllüoglu Baklava Café.

Turkish Coffee at Güllüoglu Baklava Café

Turkish Coffee at Güllüoglu Baklava Café

Tania will be graduating from City Year this June and is looking for new opportunities. City Year is a national organization that partners with the New York public schools to improve the chance that students will graduate from high school in neighborhoods where one out of every two students is at risk for dropping out.

City Year is rolling out a new program in Orlando this year! Learn more about City Year in New York at:

http://www.cityyear.org/newyork.aspx

Tania is also a fashion and make-up expert and recently launched an excellent new blog:

http://makeupandfashionlove.wordpress.com

THURSDAY

On Thursday, Rod introduced me to his good friend Ruth Harenchar, CIO at the American Jewish Committee. After breakfast, Rod gave me a mini tour of New York City.

We walked through Central Park, visited FAO Schwartz, the Plaza Hotel, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Apple Store and more!

In Central Park

For lunch, I met with some colleagues at ALM in Brooklyn.

Afterward, I headed back to Manhattan, where Rod introduced me to Katherine Joyce, Executive and Organizational Communication Expert at Credit Suisse. We hung out at this really cute place called the Peoples Improv Theater.

Next, I rode the subway to Spanish Harlem to have coffee with my friend Kelly Virella, publisher of the award-winning online magazine Dominion of New York.

I finally closed the evening with one last meeting with Ed Remache, Senior Analyst of Global Market Intelligence at Ipreo.

On the way home, I cheered on some break dancers in the subway.

Break Dancers Jammin in the Subway

Breakin’ in the Subway

Break Dancers in NYC Subway

 

 

FRIDAY

On Friday, Laura and I explored Wall Street, took a photo by the Raging Bull, and rode the Staten Island Ferry so that I could admire the Statue of Liberty from afar.

By the Raging Bull

By the Raging Bull

Later, we met with friends Isis, Analiz and Katrina at Raines Law Room, a super cool speakeasy in Chelsea named after an 1896 law meant to curb New Yorkers’ liquor consumption.

Next, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Sea Thai in the Meatpacking district.

SATURDAY

On Saturday morning, Rod was kind enough to welcome me as a guest to the monthly meeting of the  Breakfast Club Meeting in East New Brunswick, NJ.

Boasting more than 3,800 members, the group was created to promote social networking, career growth and to help people in career or job transition.

For more info on the group, check out http://www.thebreakfastclubnj.com

Next, we checked out Princeton University, and had a bite to eat.

Later, Rod dropped me off at my cousin Crystal’s home so that I could visit with family.

I absolutely loved spending some quality time with her beautiful children, Alejandro and Baby Jasmine.

That evening, Crystal, her husband, Alvaro, and I drove over to Philadelphia and took photos by the Rocky Statue, The Washington Monument at Eakins Oval, The Liberty Bell, and Franklin Court.

Rocky pose with Crystal in Philly

Rocky pose with Crystal in Philly

We savored an authentic Philly Cheese Steaks before heading home.

Philly Cheese Steak

Philly Cheese Steak

SUNDAY

On Sunday morning, I was up at 5:15 a.m. again to be ready to head to the Rider University to be a guest on the “Your Career Is Calling” radio show.

Rod and Frank Kovacs host this 60-minute program featuring career coaching, tips on job searching, networking, interviewing, and more to help listeners land their dream job.

Ashley on the "Your Career Is Calling" Radio Show

Ashley on the “Your Career Is Calling” Radio Show

We spoke about ways to transform your career into a business.

Listen to past shows here:

http://www.1077thebronc.com/?page_id=356

The recording of our show should be posted this week.

When I got back to Crystal’s, we rested and headed to Seaside Heights to walk on the boardwalk and take photos of the now-famous fixtures of MTV’s hit show, “Jersey Shore.”

At the Jersey Shore House

At the Jersey Shore House

I also had a chance to capture the kids on video.

Alejandro’s Thoughts on Mothers’ Day

Baby Jasmine

Thank you to Rod, Laura, Isis, Crystal, Analiz and Katrina for making my trip so special!

Rod has been more than an incredible mentor, but a wonderful SPONSOR, who puts his credibility on the line to champion for me and create opportunities for me by leveraging his huge network. Thank you, Rod!

Check out Rod’s site at:
http://www.rodcolon.com/

–Ashley Cisneros
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Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.