How Divorce Motivated This Thought Leader To Pursue Her Purpose

Rosann Santos

A breakup or divorce can be a very stressful and emotional experience. This visionary woman found a way to cope, using her strengths to supplement her income and fulfill her passion.

Up until recently, Rosann lived what she considered to be a pretty charmed life. She had fulfilling career in higher education, a supportive family structure, and a new-found love for health and fitness. Everything seemed to be falling into place until she came face to face with divorce.

Losing my marriage was extremely devastating to me, and my self-worth took a huge hit, but I’m pretty resilient. I will be just fine!

A single mother in New York city, Rosann knew her nine-to-five was not going to cut it. Standing between a rock and a hard place, she began exploring ways to bring more money home while balancing a career and a child. She looked at her interests and strengths and looked for opportunities that would not require extra time or resources. Her self-assessment led her to a successful career as a public speaker and strengths coach.

Today, Rosann Santos helps people focus on their strengths to advance their careers. She is a speaker and a proud founder of Latinas in Higher Education, Inc.; a non-profit focused on networking, mentorship, leadership and professional development opportunities for women. We sat down with her to understand what inspires her and get some insight into what keeps her light shining brightly.

What has divorce taught you?

"Divorce taught me that my self-worth and feelings about who I am a should never be left in anyone’s hands. Not my parents, not my children, not my partner, not my boss or colleagues.  Children leave home, parents move on, and so does everyone around you. If you’re not already telling yourself that you’re worth it, then you will potentially be lost when that support system is gone."

What inspires you?

"I can sometimes be my own inspiration, but other women are my inspiration too. I am inspired by their stories and create a space that allows them to feel comfortable and understood. When I coach a woman one-on-one, I tend to come across similar themes. I help them overcome feeling unappreciated, unmotivated, looked down upon, stuck, unworthy, taken advantage of, taken for granted, and not good enough.

"I am also inspired and motivated by my students. Why? Because I was just like them. These students are not exposed to their history, so I use my background in Latin American history to have compelling discussions around what matters to them.

"Finally, I am inspired by my son and the practical nature of running a household. This inspiration isn’t as romantic as the first two, but an inspiration nonetheless."

What's your goal and mission?

"My goal is to help people see one another and themselves from a place of power and strength; to enlighten, empower and embolden by lifting as I climb. My mission is to help people see their strengths and the strengths in others. We all know what is wrong with ourselves and we recognize what’s wrong with everyone else around us. How different would our world be if we viewed things from a strengths-based lens rather than a deficit lens?"

What has been the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

"Watching clients and audiences make connections. The ‘aha’ moments are so salient and powerful that even the most stoic of people will light up and wear their enlightenment on their faces the moment it happens. That is an incredible experience and privilege for me."

What advice would you give women looking to make a change?

"Just take the leap. We women are so risk-averse. And it’s hurting us. We stay in jobs that don’t appreciate what we do. We listen to those relatives who are constantly telling us that we work too much or eat too much or hang out too much and so we’ll never find a proper mate. We stay in toxic relationships and even if they aren’t abusive in the traditional sense, we don’t want to take the risk to leave any of these situations. Why? Because we invest our self-worth in the wrong people. It should only be defined by YOU!

"I am getting better at taking risks, but I still need to take more risks. That is a skill we can learn from our male counterparts. You need to take less “pro bono” work. You need to take all of the vacation time you have EARNED. You need to feel good about letting your children go to their father’s house two weekends in a row and not let your family or friends make you feel ashamed about wanting some alone time or time with friends or a new partner. You deserve those things, and no one can tell you otherwise."


Rosann is a woman full of goals and dreams. You can find her on

Check out our video interview with her where we explore her career and future aspirations.


Words & Images by: Nidia Serrano