#101: Combining social justice and inclusion with freelancing, after surviving brain cancer, with Bianca Gonzalez

Bianca Gonzalez is a marketing writer from New York state who specializes in corporate social responsibility; diversity, equity and inclusion insights; and multicultural consumer insights.

Bianca was preparing to graduate college in the spring of 2020 when the pandemic hit. Because of her health risks as a brain cancer survivor, she turned to freelancing and working from home. Bianca has been able to combine her love of writing with her commitment to social justice and activism. She identifies as a queer, disabled Latina, and she explains her passion around supporting diverse professionals.

She decided to focus on marketing writing, where she recognized there were few non-white employees. Marketers don’t often know how to appeal to certain minority groups, and Bianca is often the first minority on their team, helping them to create inclusive content.

At age 19, Bianca, as an inexperienced drinker, ended up in the hospital, where they gave her a brain scan. They found a lot of fluid on her brain, a condition known as hydrocephalus, which they discovered was caused by a cancerous brain tumor. She had no symptoms.

She had two brain surgeries, followed by radiation, and then returned to her junior of college that fall, while commuting from home. Her community service and the camaraderie from that is what kept her going.

Bianca’s writing takes two forms: activism writing and writing diverse and inclusive marketing content. One of the first times she realized what an impact her writing could have was after writing a piece for Anti-Racism Daily about alleged forced sterilizations in ICE detention camps. An English as a second language (ESL) teacher told Bianca that her ESL students wrote letters to their congressional representatives about immigration after reading her article.

Because of her brain cancer, Bianca suffered brain damage, which has led to a shorter attention span and poor short-term memory. Sometimes her disability is visible and children and adults might stare or make comments in public. Other times, it’s an invisible disability so she says people assume she has recovered 100%.

Having a freelance career with a disability gives her the flexibility to cut back on work on the days when she doesn’t feel as good. She wouldn’t be able to take off that time as easily if she was an employee.

Now that her one-year freelancing career has been successful she’s focusing more on setting up the business side of her career. She is considering establishing an LLC.

Bianca’s advice for other freelancers includes learning how to be OK with small failures to get to big successes.

Bianca finds great clients through a lot of networking and through Twitter engagement.

Biz Bite: Find someone online, in an article or a podcast you have a question for? Be brave and contact them! 

Resources:

Anti-Racism Daily newsletter

Sonia Weiser’s Opportunities of the Week newsletter ($3/month)

Bianca on Twitter: @OurStellarWords

Bianca on LinkedIn

Episode #14 of Deliberate Freelancer: Freelancing with a Chronic Illness, with Christy Batta

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