Last Thursday, June 10th, Latinas in Business co-hosted the third annual Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit and Latina Leaders Awards, alongside Berkeley College for a day of inspiration, empowerment, and networking as entrepreneurs gained the tools to THRIVE! post-pandemic.
This year’s unique hybrid event featured virtual panels with industry leaders, inspiring Keynote Speakers, and deep-dive workshops in three key areas: Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation.
Following the virtual portion of the event was the 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony and reception, broadcasted live from New York City. The beautiful ceremony saw 12 influential Latina Leaders from the past year honored for their success as entrepreneurs and community leaders.
The stunning Daneida Polanco of Univision, presented the awards alongside Latinas in Business’s CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, in a heartwarming ceremony that gathered and celebrated not only our Latina Leaders, but Latina entrepreneurs everywhere.
While some of our Awardees were not able to be at the live ceremony due to distance and travel restriction, it was still a touching moment as we honored each Latina Leader for their amazing achievements. For those that were there at our live reception, hugs were all around as guests and speakers took to the podium, many meeting in person only for the first time after a year of virtual communication.
We were especially moved by the tribute and memorial to the life of Jessica Asencio delivered by her sister, Shirley, who accepted the Latina Leader Award on the late Jessica’s behalf. Shirley shared a beautiful poem of Jessica’s and reminded us all of Jessica’s warm, loving spirit. Jessica’s life and memory will be remembered always by the Latinas in Business community.
We also heard from Awardee Maria Noel Vaeza, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean, in a virtual acceptance video that highlighted the effects COVID-19 has had on women around the world.
Receiving the Small Business Champion Award was Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer, NYC Office of the Comptroller Scott Stringer. Wendy has embodied the title of “champion” with her work as Chief Diversity Officer where she is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Wendy also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group comprised of national, local, corporate, and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors.
You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources
We then had the honor to welcome Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn as a guest speaker. As Assemblymember of NY and State Committee Woman/District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn she has worked to develop programs and opportunities for minority and women owned small businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she championed bills to jump start the economy and improve equity for minority and women-owned small business owners. Under her leadership, the number of certified MWBE firms in New York State has more than doubled. The state has also set a goal of utilizing MWBEs for 30% of all state contracts, the highest rate in the nation. It was a great honor to hear her speak and we thank Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn for her support in our event and the beautiful certificates she provided to our Awardees.
It was certainly a night to remember! We look forward to our next event where we will continue to Learn. Connect. Succeed! And THRIVE!