CONSUELO POLAND, FUNCTIONAL ARTIST & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LATINAS WELDING GUILD
Consuelo Poland is a 31-year-old Guatemalan functional artist and welder based in Indianapolis, who lives near the Children’s Museum. With a passion for female artists and the Latino community, it’s clear how she gravitated toward her current position as Executive Director of the Latinas Welding Guild.
The Latinas Welding Guild was established as a 501(c)3 organization in October of 2017 by Poland with a goal of empowering women personally, creatively, and economically through welding. Having seen first-hand the struggles of the Latino community, she formed the Guild to create a space of equal access and education for women, particularly minority women, in what is a heavily male-occupied field. Currently, 96% of certified welders are men and the income discrepancy between male and female welders is around 28%. The Latinas Welding Guild exists to help low-to-moderate income Latina and non-Latina women gain access to welding skills and certification preparation.
She talked to us about her mutli-faceted skill set, the power of a supportive mentor, and the impact she’s making in the city of Indianapolis.
Maven Superpower: Being an advocate.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Guatemalan functional artist and welder trying to create opportunities for women, artists, and the Latino Community.
As the executive director of the Latinas Welding Guild, how does your passion fuel your business decision making?
I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to have access to education and a better quality of life.
What piece of advice has stuck with you through life thus far?
“It’s not always who you know but what you know.”
What has made you successful in your current position?
My previous position as the Director of Ruckus Makerspace, helped me gain lots of experience and has allowed me to meet some really great people in the community. I had a really supportive boss, Eric Strickland, he gave me room to develop the culture at the space and guidance when I needed it.
“I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to have access to education and a better quality of life.”
Do you have a ritual that helps you unwind or prepare for the day?
When I’m done with work, I like to spend time with my fiancé, Peter, snuggle up with our three dogs and one cat watching movies on Netflix.
Is there something about the work that you do, that you feel people need to know?
I feel really fortunate to be able to help people here in Indy and see them grow.
What advice can you give to young Latinas who want to make a difference but don’t know where to start?
Don’t give up and don’t be afraid of asking for help. And I’m always happy to help!
What makes Indy feel like home to you?
I would say the amazing friends and people I’ve met since I moved here.
Who inspires you?
My dad. He was charismatic, intelligent, thoughtful, gentle, and so curious. He was a reader and was always advocating for those who needed support. I keep him in my thoughts and aspire to be like him.
Lenie Tsakonas is a regular contributor to Indy Maven.