Nely Galán: Self-Made Media Mogul, Entrepreneur, Author, & Philanthropist

Nely Galán is a self-made media mogul, an Emmy-award winning producer, entrepreneur, and the first Latina President of Entertainment for Telemundo. Galán has amassed decades of media and production experience, producing over 700 television shows in both English and Spanish. Since founding her production company in 1994, Galán Entertainment has launched over 10 television channels abroad for companies like HBO, ESPN, FOX, MGM, and Sony. 


Background & Accomplishments

A daughter of immigrants, Nely Galán was born Arnely Alvarez in Santa Clara, Cuba before moving to Teaneck, New Jersey in 1967 when she was five years old. Galán has always displayed an interest in media and communications early in life. At 17, she wrote a piece for Seventeen magazine that garnered the attention of senior staff—leading to a permanent editor position for the publication. At age 22, she became the youngest station manager in the nation for WNJU TV Channel 47 in New York. WNJU later became the starting point for what we now know to be Telemundo Network.

Galán continued to break ground producing Telemundo’s reality television program La Cenicienta (Cinderella) that became one of Telemundo’s highest rated shows in its 50-year history. Galán was also a contestant on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump, competing alongside an all-star cast that included Gene Simmons, Nadia Comaneci, Marilu Henner, and the infamous Omarosa. Her appearance raised $250,000 for women entrepreneurship for the charity Count Me In before being “fired” by Trump in 2008. 

“I say that fear and failure are my two best friends. I’m afraid every day of my life. When I’m afraid, I know it’s guiding me to what I must do.”

Galán took a mid-career sabbatical to refocus her passions into her education. She completed a Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on the psychology of money in multicultural communities. In 2016, she authored the New York Times best-selling book, Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way. The book was published in English, Spanish, and Mandarin and covers the revolution in women’s entrepreneurship led by multicultural women in the U.S. and emerging women around the world. Scheduled for publication in 2021, her next book Don’t Buy Shoes, Buy Buildings, will inform women who work for others how to invest in order to make money while they sleep.

“Don’t buy shoes, buy buildings.”

Galán is a renowned speaker who has spoken at The United Nations, The Clinton Initiative, The United State of Women. She has spoken for corporations like Coca-Cola, American Express, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Walmart, Dell; as well as  tech companies like Google, Facebook, eBay, and Uber. She has been a featured speaker at many universities around the country including Harvard, USC, UCLA, University of Arizona, University of Miami, University of Arkansas, Babson College Bryant University, Simmons University, and Santa Monica City College. 


Impacting the Future

Galán has been frequently cited for her influential work as a board member for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund—the number one resource for Hispanic and Latino scholarship programs. She also sits on the Coca-Cola Company Advisory Council and is an Emeritus member of The Smithsonian Board, where she was featured in HBO’s The Latino List documentary and national museum show as one of the most influential voices in the Latino community.

“Beyond money, beyond income, beyond opportunities—becoming self-made starts with choosing yourself.”

Galán’s passion for women empowerment has been at the forefront of all her success. She founded The Adelante Movement (“Let’s get going!” in Spanish), to empower and train multicultural women economically and entrepreneurially. Her digital platform,, reaches over 500,000 women every month. The platform features original content on financial literacy, Self-Made stories, and informative webinars. Galán continues to advocate for women and their families, teaching them that if we focus on becoming financially self-reliant, we can overcome any obstacle.


Join Nely Galán and Walker’s Legacy for Ask A Boss, a digital masterclass series on Sunday, May 17th, 2020 at 6PM EST.



María Guillén

María is a National Urban Fellow with Walker's Legacy. She has worked in the areas of broadcasting, public relations, and community engagement. Specializing in multicultural communications, María has consulted with several local and national nonprofits. She received her Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Relations and Communication Studies from Rowan University. She is currently pursuing an MPM degree from Georgetown University.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.