When her good friend and mentor, Mimi Valdés invited her to attend TED2018, Angie Romero didn’t know her experience would end with a new look for her office. Romero is senior editor of Spotify’s Music Culture & Editorial team. Her background as a journalist and high-profile interviews and articles led actress and model Eva Mendes to call her the “Latina Barbara Walters.”
The theme of TED2018 was Age of Amazement. To celebrate the innovation behind the breakthrough material, shape and process that went into the SILQ chair, Steelcase sponsored a contest asking TED attendees to tweet their #AmazementIn5Words. Winners received a limited-edition TED-inspired SILQ chair. After winning, we asked if she’d also tell us more about her creative and boundary-pushing work.
360: Which TED session was the most memorable for you?
AR: There were so many! “How Women in Rural India Turned Courage into Capital” with Chetna Gala Singh was incredibly inspiring. I’ll never forget her quote — “My courage is my capital.” I was also very moved by Jason B. Rosenthal’s talk on his journey through loss and grief after losing his wife Amy to cancer.
360: Following the TED2018 theme of the Age of Amazement, what amazes you about the age we live in?
AR: So many things! I am always encouraged by acts of human kindness, whether at the massive, institutional level or the microscopic, personal level. It is becoming increasingly harder to find these kinds of stories in a world where clickbait rules, but I really cherish those moments when I come across them. And, the beauty of the age that we live in is we can share those moments universally like never before.
360: What does your day-to-day look like as a senior editor for the Global Cultures team at Spotify?
AR: My job is split. I curate playlist brands with a global reach and with the goal of amplifying the streaming service’s role as the undisputed choice for Latin music lovers in the United States specifically. I also help break new artists via a collaborative programming approach across a global team of editors. I drive special initiatives around big cultural moments and make sure there is equity and inclusion in everything that I do.
360: In your role, you have a lot of opportunities to express creativity. Tell us how you put yourself into a creative frame of mind?
AR: I start my day most days with a healthy juice of sorts made at home (green apple, frozen pineapple, spinach or kale, and cucumber is one of my favorite combos). I am also pregnant so I have to eat every couple hours. I find that if I keep eating healthy stuff, my mind and my body can function at their best. I try to get up and walk every couple hours to keep the blood flowing, even if it’s just a few steps. I can’t have too much clutter around me. I prefer a nice clean area to work, although I don’t mind a few pops of color on and around my desk.
360: What qualities do you think make for a really great place to work?
AR: It needs to be a place where not only are you inspired to do your best work, but it’s comfortable and inviting, stimulating to the senses, open, clean, and full of light. It should also include some cool spaces that encourage interaction with others both during and after work hours. To that end, it’s the people that really make a place special. I am lucky to work with some incredibly smart and cool folks of different backgrounds who constantly elevate the work that I do. It never hurts to offer employees some healthy food options to keep the energy flowing throughout the day.
360: You are an innovator in the field of communications. What are you most proud of in your career?
AR: One of the most rewarding aspects of my career has been that I’ve been able to interview fascinating figures and share their stories with the world. From my personal idol Jennifer Lopez to civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and profiling some of the most incredible women on the planet. I did this first in the magazine world and later in the digital era.
Currently, I get to tell stories through musical curation for the biggest streaming platform in the world, which is both an honor and a huge responsibility, because I want to make sure that people are represented fairly, especially women. Recently, we launched a playlist showcasing some of the most exciting new voices in the Tejano music scene. It is a genre many people outside of the local scene in Texas probably have forgotten and assumed had died when Tejano queen Selena passed away back in the ’90s. But, it’s really thriving and so we created a home for it in our New Tejano playlist.
Outside of work, I have a new podcast called The Hermanas Project (@hermanasproject on Instagram), through which I’ll be sharing inspiring stories of extraordinary women of color from all walks of life, some of whom I met at TED this year! These are the kinds of stories I want to continue telling through any medium possible and hopefully reach many more people in the years to come.
360: Finally, what do you think of your TED-inspired SILQ chair so far?
AR: I am absolutely in love with it! It’s beautiful and functional. It replaced a very bulky and sad black office chair I had before which, to its credit, was also good for my back. But, I deserve more, right?! I like knowing that there are only five of these SILQ chairs in the world. So, thank you for making my workspace that much brighter.
Angie Romero is a journalist, content producer and Latinx cultural curator. She is currently a Senior Editor on the Music Culture & Editorial team at Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, focused on the curation of Latin music. She serves as co-producer / co-host of the Spotify Original Podcast, Viva Latino. Her work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Variety, The Washington Post, ABC News, Latina, Marie Claire, Glamour, and Univision, among other media outlets.