A champion for change: Spotlight on Latina of the month Beth Marmolejos

Latina Leader of the Month, Beth Marmolejos is a business leader, activist and advocate who strives toward serving as an champion for change daily in both her personal and professional life. 

A Champion for change 

Beth’s passion for helping others is unrelenting and inspires her to be a champion for change working to help minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities. 

champion for change

(Photo courtesy Beth Marmolejos)

“I live my life everyday in service of others. As a Business Executive, I support the Senior Leaders of the market, striving toward satisfying their business priorities in support of business growth. On a personal level, I advocate for the underrepresented in the corporate world and my local community,” says Beth. 

To achieve her mission, Beth serves on numerous boards that support and serve these communities. Some of her positions include  Madame Chair of the Passaic County Workforce Investment Board, Chair of the Passaic County Advocacy and Abilities Committee and Diversity & Inclusion Chair of the American Association of University Women – Greater Wayne Area, and President of the New Jersey Prospanica Chapter, formerly known as The National Society of Hispanics MBAs.

“The goal of the Prospanica New Jersey is to make an immediate impact on the development and visibility of Hispanic professionals and students in the State of New Jersey,” says Beth. “We achieve this goal by assisting corporations in the recruitment, development, engagement, retention and advancement of Hispanic Business Professionals. Organizing and participating in strategic networking and community events to provide opportunities for career growth, leadership development and entrepreneurship for Hispanic business professionals.”  

The power of collaborations 

In the last year Beth has been named “138 most Influential Latinos in New Jersey” by the INDEX Latino 2019, was recognized by the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders during National Women’s History Month with the Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence award, Co-Authored Today’s Inspired Latina Volume VI, been a guest speaker at the SHE Emprendedoras Conference in Belgium. Then in 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Beth co-founded the FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) of Greater Wayne and advocated for the opening of the 1st Inclusion Playground in Wayne, NJ. Least to say, it’s been quite a busy year! 

champion for change

The opening of the 1st Inclusion Playground in Wayne, NJ (Photo courtesy Beth Marmolejos)

Most recently, Beth co-hosted LatinasInBusiness’ first Virtual 2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit which gathered national and international speakers for an inspirational event focused on promoting “The Power of Collaborations in a Post-COVID World.”  

On the event Beth had to say: 

Collaborations are vital to achieve success and soar! “The Power of Collaboration” created a nеw energy that I felt was “bіggеr than our individual efforts.” We effесtіvеlу put together resources, energy, tаlеntѕ and gоаlѕ to раvеѕ thе wау for thе ѕuссеѕѕ that we had рlаnned tоgеthеr achieving unexpected benefits. 

You might be interested: Women self-empowerment: the culture of diva-ness vs the power of collaboration

Rising up together post-COVID 

Navigating our world post-COVID has shone a light on the power we have as individuals to come together as champions for change and support one another. 

One of the many ways Beth has been using her position to affect change is by co-founding the Front Line Appreciation Group of Greater Wayne (FLAG) in collaboration with Wayne Township Mayor. The group is dedicated to helping feed and support front-line health care workers and volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic while also keeping the local-owned restaurants in business. So far the group has raised $100,000, provided over 12,000 meals to 18 front-line groups (hospitals, EMTs, Fire Departments, etc.) and helped 20 local restaurants.

(Photo courtesy Beth Marmolejos)

Additionally, as President of the Prospanica NJ Chapter, Beth has worked to help the chapter overcome challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

“The main struggle that we faced was the cancellation of our in-person events, along with increasingly severe ‘social distancing’ restrictions and current economic conditions,” says Beth. “We have since shifted our respective mindset and as a result our chapter has been able to accomplish a great deal in the first half of 2020, overcoming these challenges by thinking differently and by collaborating with other sister’s organizations. Finding new ways to achieve success and soar while delivering benefits to our sponsors and members. #RiseUpTogether!”

The makings of a leader and champion for change

Beth wears many hats in life, from being a business executive, an advocate and champion for change, a philanthropist, community leader, serving on nonprofit boards, and being a wife and mother. 

(Photo courtesy Beth Marmolejos)

“I am blessed to be married to my high school sweetheart and I have two beautiful boys, one of which is Autistic and the inspiration to many of the things that I volunteer for,” says Beth. 

Some may wonder how Beth manages to get everything done, being so involved in many organizations, projects, and collaborations. But looking at her strengths it soon becomes clear. Beth is an extremely disciplined, focused and organized strategic thinker and connector. Her discipline keeps her focused on completing tasks toward her goals and achieving results while her passion for advocacy, politics, human rights and more is the fuel that drives her. Beth can see beyond problems to find effective solutions and once she sets her heart on something she rarely will deviate from achieving it, even if it takes years. 

Crucial to her ability to juggle all those hats is staying organized. 

“I do not have a lot of free time so I am extremely organized to be able to do all the things that I do,” Beth says. “Once a friend told me that I get done in a week a human cannot accomplish in months.” 

Another key to her success has been the confidence instilled in her from a young age. 

“Confidence has helped me,” Beth says, recounting a story from childhood. “My mother used to take me to work.  I played in the Accounting Department with an old fashioned paper calculator.  That experience taught me that I was going to go to college and work in an office.  I also learned to be comfortable around senior leaders, because my mother and I lunched with the executive team.  Interacting with them built my confidence and made me feel comfortable around executives.  That had a big impact on me.  What is funny is that I graduated with an accounting degree and a Masters in Finance – with honors.”

Truly Beth’s drive and accomplishments are an inspiration to us all! 

A recipe for success

If you’re feeling inspired and ready to become a champion for change in your own field and achieve success in your personal and professional life, Beth offers her top 3 pieces of advice.

  1. Treat people with respect: If you are kind and a team player,that creates a good reputation that you can leverage to obtain better opportunities within your organization
  2. If you want something, be BOLD and be a can-do type of person: Being bold will help you seize opportunities and a can-do attitude will give you leverage in obtaining senior roles. 

Beth recounts one of her earliest bold moments at age 13: 

“My mother was the secretary of Dominican President Salvador Guzmán and she invited me and some of my friends to visit her at the Presidential Palace.  As the tour guide stopped to talk to someone, I had my friends sneak out and take the elevator to meet the President.  We ended up finding our way to his office and asked the guards if we could see him. Eventually, the President came out to greet us and he proudly brought us to his office where he showed us a picture of Pope Juan Pablo II and his wife.  Soft-spoken, very amicable, he spoke to us for a few minutes.  When I told my mother what had happened, she looked at me with a grin and said she was proud of what I had done.”  

  1. Lastly, be happy, positive and knowledgeable: This mindset is a magnet that will attract people to want to work with you!
Victoria Arena

About Victoria Arena

Victoria Arena is a writer and student, passionate about writing, literature, and women's studies. She is bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish. In 2017, she received her Associates in Fine Arts for Creative Writing from Brookdale Community College. Now, she is working toward her Bachelor's in English Literature at Montclair State University. Along with literature, Victoria is interested in Gender and Sexuality Studies, which she is pursuing as a minor, focusing closely on women's issues, gender inequality, and LGBT issues. These studies provide her with a feminist lens, which influences her work from both fiction to academic writings.
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