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Gina Brillon

“The Latino community is very funny and we often use that humor to heal,” says Latina Comedian Gina Brillon

Gina Brillon was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. The Puerto Rican actress, comedian, writer and mom has been a standup comic since she was 17 years old. Her 1-hour special Gina Brillon: The Floor is Lava won a 2021 Gracie Award, is nominated for an Imagen Award, and is available on Amazon Prime Video, along with her first special, Pacifically Speaking. Her 1/2 hour special Easily Offended was one of the top shows from the Entre Nos franchise on HBO Latino, and streams on all HBO Digital Platforms. Gina will be performing at the upcoming 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit Friday 6/24. REGISTER NOW! 

See Gina Brillon perform at the Latinas in Business 2022 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit.

Gina fell in love with comedy at the age of fourteen after years of being exposed to comedy as a form of healing. Growing up in her household she says whenever her family would go through something, humor was always involved in their healing. 

“I think a big thing for the Latino community is, we’re funny. We are very funny. And we often use that humor to help us heal and to help us get through difficult situations. And growing up in that environment I just learned to kind of do the same.”

That sense of humor grew into a passion as Gina was exposed to more comedians through HBO specials and stand-up performances. When she was fourteen she watched southern comic Brett Butler, and then later George Lopez, and both inspired her to want to be a comedian herself. 

“I said, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Gina recounts. “And I had to figure it out and just be willing to do the work. And I think if there’s anything that I’ve noticed about the backbone of the Latino community is we are creators. We are just a creative, beautiful culture. And we are driven.” 

That drive and work ethic was instilled in Gina at a young age and it came naturally to her to push and strive to make her dreams come true. 

She began by diving right into the New York comedy scene. Instead of taking comedy classes like many comedians do when starting out, Gina went to open mic nights every week, bringing friends along to get on stage, and putting in hours of hard work to get noticed. 

“I also ended up having to do this thing called barking, which is when you stand outside of a club in New York, or you stand in your on the street corner somewhere, and you’re literally just giving away a flier that gets somebody into a comedy show and hopefully they show up,” says Gina. 

Gina Brillon

Photo source: Amazon Prime Video

Her big break finally came when she got her first television credit. As she moved up in her television work she began auditioning and getting spots at comedy clubs. 

“Every club is different. Every club has different rules, like some of them want only live performances, some of them will watch a tape and have you come in and perform. And then some of them only need a submission, and then they’ll make up their minds, but most of them do prefer live performances, because they want to see how you do in the moment when you’re on that stage,” says Gina, reflecting back on the auditioning process. 

Since those early days, Gina’s career has taken off and she has achieved much success as a Latina comedian. When asked for her top successes thus far, Gina says her HBO specials and her time on America’s Got Talent are two of her favorite moments. 

“I’ve done two things for HBO, I did a 20 minute special. And then I did a 30 minute special. Now the 20 Minute special was extra emotional for me, because I grew up watching comics on HBO. And that was where I would watch my first couple of comedians. And I remember when I stepped off stage after doing that 20 minutes for HBO I just started bawling. And everybody was like, Oh, my God, like what’s wrong? And it just hit me that I just did stand up for HBO. I was just crying so much. It was incredible.”

Sign up for Amazon Prime and see Gina Brillon on The Floor is Lava

On America’s Got Talent Gina felt so much pride in being able to represent her culture as a Latina comic and South Bronx native, making it to the top ten in the competition. 

“Being able to represent my people, where I’m from, my family, like, it was a huge moment for so many reasons,” she says. “It just meant a lot to me to be representing them and to make it that far in the competition. It was an incredible and life changing experience to make it to the finals, honestly.”

During the competition Gina also had the opportunity to meet and work with her comedia idol, George Lopez. Gina was starstruck when she was paired with the comedy legend as part of a segment in the competition. 

Due to scheduling conflicts, Gina struggled to be matched with a celebrity comedian for the segment until she joked, “Has anybody asked George Lopez,” thinking it would never happen. 

“Well, they reached out to him. And he said, yes. And I froze when my manager told me because I was like, I’m gonna meet George Lopez.” 

Meeting her idol and comedy role model was both exciting and nerve-wracking for Gina. She thought, “Oh my God, I’m gonna cry, I’m gonna run and hide, I’m not gonna be able to talk, I’m gonna be shaking.” But ultimately held it together pretty well. 

You might be interested: We are the engine that moves society, and nothing is impossible,” says NJ Department of Health Chief of Staff Andrea Martinez Mejia

“He came to the set, we spoke over the phone. I had given him my idea of what we should do. And then he threw out this idea that was just crazy to me. He was like, ‘You’re gonna shave my head.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘You’re gonna shave my head on national TV, it’s gonna go viral. It’s gonna be great.’” 

So she shaved his hair on national television, never having used clippers before! 

Despite the craziness and the nerves, it was an incredible experience for Gina and shows just how important idols and role models can be in any industry. 

See Gina Brillon perform at the Latinas in Business 2022 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit. Get your tickets now! 


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Strong lineup of speakers announced for the 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit

Four influential speakers have been announced for Latinas in Business’ 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit. The summit takes place on June 24, 2022, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm at the co-host Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus. 

From 11:30 am to 2:30 pm ET, the Panel Speakers will address the 2022 theme, SUCCEED! How Women Entrepreneurs Make It in America,” which alludes to the struggle that minority women entrepreneurs and female founders face to start and expand their businesses in an environment of discrimination and barriers to opportunities.  

Don’t miss this exclusive event! Register Now!

Speaker lineup for the 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit

The speakers list for the event shows a variety of successful women in business including:

Dr. Denise Nuñez, Board-certified general pediatrician and critical care physician and a proud Dominican-American. She has passionately served the Latino immigrant community and created a number of different outlets with her visions to decrease health disparities amongst the Bronx community. Among these outlets are Divino Nino Pediatrics and Nino de la Caridad Foundation Inc.

Gina Ference, Managing Director and Head of Business Development, Marketing and Client Relationship Management at OneTeam Financial. Gina is devoted to enhancing the lives of those around her and advocating to bring them valuable opportunities that can help them live the lives they always imagined.Gina manages the OneTeam Financial’s client relationship activities, employee development, and building relationships with strategic partners to continue growing our firm’s presence and service offerings throughout our community. 

Rechelle Balanzat, CEO & Founder of JULIETTE and thrice time entrepreneur, immigrated from the Philippines with her parents as a teenager.  She graduated from Fordham and has a background in tech. She is the recipient of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses award, she is a Tory Burch Fellow, and a graduate of the International Drycleaning & Laundry Institute. She’s a straight shooter, not afraid to ask for what she wants (or hearing the word ’no’) and she’s ready to disrupt the laundry and dry cleaning industry, city by city.

Andrea Martinez-Mejia, Chief of Staff for the New Jersey Department of Health, has extensive experience in government, serving in various capacities. During her tenure in state government, she worked closely with statewide stakeholders and diverse constituencies. In addition to her career in public service, she has served on various boards and mentored first generation college students through a college mentoring program. As a woman and Latina, she is passionate about the empowerment of younger generations of women and Latinas.

Become part of our Latina Inner Circle Membership! 

membership cover

The segment includes a Lunch Reception and the signature peer-to-peer networking session that allow women entrepreneurs connect with each other and  elevate themselves and their businesses.

From 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm ET, the event will feature keynote speaker, Assistant SBA Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Natalie Madeira Cofield, as well as 12 successful Leaders who will be awarded for excelling at growing their businesses or building their communities during the Leaders Awards Ceremony. Relax and enjoy a camaraderie environment with peer-to-peer networking and a fantastic open bar Mixology Reception with Stand-up Comedian Celebrity Speaker GINA BRILLON. 

Save your spot and Register Now! 

diversity

Diversity helps nonprofits accomplish more when staff from different backgrounds can connect

Brad R. Fulton, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management at Indiana University shares how diverse nonprofits can accomplish more.

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Increasing staff diversity does not automatically make a nonprofit more effective. But such organizations can benefit from that change if they can help their employees learn how to acknowledge and talk about their social differences.

This is what I found when I analyzed data on the race, class, gender and religion of the leadership team members of 178 organizations engaged in community organizing across the country. I measured effectiveness in several ways, including how many times the groups secured meetings with public officials, how many different organizing tactics they used, whether they collaborated with other nonprofits working on similar issues and how many people took part in their events.

My analysis focused on organizations that were sufficiently diverse, as defined by a metric pioneered in the 1970s by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a sociology-trained business researcher. An organization’s leadership team is sufficiently diverse along a particular social dimension, by this measure, when at least two groups represent at least 20% of the team.

There was a range, however. For example, one organization in Illinois was 50% Black and 50% white, while an organization in Texas was 10% Asian, 30% Black, 20% Latino and 40% white. The nonprofits also varied in terms of how they were diverse. Some had substantial religious diversity but minimal gender diversity. Others were diverse along multiple dimensions.

The groups that not only had diverse teams but whose leaders and staff also regularly talked about their racial, class, gender and religious differences with their colleagues were more successful overall. They were better able to mobilize their volunteers, forge alliances with other groups and secure meetings with public officials to further their goals.

I also saw that the types of interactions made a difference.

Socializing and doing group activities, such as sharing meals, serving others, playing games and even singing songs, helped these groups maximize their effectiveness in reaching their goals. That was particularly true when the events gave the leaders and staff opportunities to highlight characteristics of their culture or community.

For example, it helped if they could experience the different ways their colleagues celebrate birthdays and particular holidays. And when the nonprofits encouraged overtures to connect across race, class, gender and religious lines, their staff became more invested in one another and in their work.

Diversify your virtual bookshelf with new titles on Audible! 

Nonprofits are seeking to diversify their leadership. (Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.)

Why it matters

The organizations I studied, as well as nonprofits in general, are becoming more diverse. For example, the percentage of nonprofit leaders of color is increasing, albeit slowly.

Pressure to increase diversity is coming from funders, advocacy organizations and many communities. This is a response to the heightened attention focused on racial injustices, growing economic inequality, sustained gender inequities and increasing religious pluralism.

Yet as nonprofits become more diverse, many leaders and staff tiptoe around talking about their differences. Some of them claim they “don’t see color” or want to emphasize only what they have in common with others from different backgrounds.

Becoming more diverse, however, is not an end in itself. My research suggests nonprofits need to learn to understand, value and utilize their diverse perspectives to become more equitable and effective.

You might be interested: How your employer can better support Latina and minority women in the workplace

What’s next

My study was based primarily on survey data. To gain more detailed insights about the impact of diversity within nonprofits, I’ve teamed up with Matthew Baggetta, a sociologist. We’re gathering observational data on how members interact with one another and engage their social differences, starting with a 15-month pilot study in which we observed nearly 100 meetings held by three organizations in Indianapolis.

Among other things, we documented which members interacted with whom, the context of their interactions and what they talked about. Next, we will carefully examine the interactions of group members across lines of difference and how those interactions affect the organizations’ outcomes.

[Science, politics, religion or just plain interesting articles: Check out The Conversation’s weekly newsletters.]The Conversation

Brad R. Fulton, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management, Indiana University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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WEES

Latinas in Business announces 2022 Small Business Champion and Leaders Awards at the Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit

Awardees have been announced for Latinas in Business’ 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit (2022 WEES) a unique conference that year after year gathers successful Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs in the region to Learn. Connect. Succeed!  

The summit takes place on June 24, 2022, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm at Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus located at 3 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017 (walking distance from Penn Station and Grand Station in New York). Registration is now open at https://2022wees.eventbrite.com/

The 2022 theme, SUCCEED! How Women Entrepreneurs Make It in America” alludes to the struggle that minority women entrepreneurs and female founders face to start and expand their businesses in an environment of discrimination and barriers to opportunities.  

From 11:30 am to 2:30 pm ET, the event includes panel speakers of who’s who in each area of development, along with a Lunch Reception and their signature peer-to-peer networking session that will help women entrepreneurs elevate themselves and their businesses.

From 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm ET, the event will feature an inspiring keynote speaker, and 12 successful Leaders will be awarded for excelling at growing their businesses or building their communities during the Leaders Awards Ceremony. Relax and enjoy in a camaraderie environment with peer-to-peer networking and a fantastic open bar Mixology Reception with Stand-up Comedian Celebrity Speaker GINA BRILLON. 

WEES

2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit Small Business Champion and Leaders Awards.

Among the list of Leaders Awardees are: 

Ivana SediaFounder of Unida Translation

Jacqueline SansoneVice President of Investors Bank

Laura Matos President of  Board of Latina Civic PAC

Dr. Patricia Campos-MedinaPresident Latina Civic PAC 

Andrea Martinez-Mejia Chief of Staff for the New Jersey Department of Health

Samantha Telfair Founder, theMERGER. State of Mind

Marcela Berland President and CEO of Latin Insights

Lucy PintoManager of the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program

Evelyn PadinFounder, Law Offices of Evelyn Padin and Nominated U.S. District Court Judge in NJ Supreme Court 

Elisa NeiraDeputy Commissioner at NJ Department of Human Services – Office of New Americans

Monica Ramirez Founder/President, Justice for Migrant Women; Co-founder, The Latinx House

2022 Small Business Champion: 

Natalie Madeira Cofield – SBA Assistant Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership

Join us for this must-attend event where Latinas in Business Inc. will help you gain tools, insights, and resources while connecting with other like-minded women that will propel you and your business forward to SUCCEED! 

For registration: https://2022wees.eventbrite.com/

WEES

National Leaders and Latina Celebrities to Gather at the 2022 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit in NYC to Succeed!

SBA Assistant Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Natalie Madeira Cofield has been confirmed as Keynote Speaker for the 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit and will receive the 2022 Small Business Champion Award

The SBA Assistant Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Natalie Madeira Cofield has been confirmed as Keynote Speaker for the in-person event, Latinas in Business 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit (WEES), a unique conference that year after year gathers successful Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs in the region to Learn. Connect. Succeed!  

The summit takes place on June 24, 2022, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm at the co-host Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus. Registration is now open at https://2022wees.eventbrite.com/

The 2022 theme, SUCCEED! How Women Entrepreneurs Make It in America” alludes to the struggle that minority women entrepreneurs and female founders face to start and expand their businesses in an environment of discrimination and barriers to opportunities.  

WEES

Join us at the 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit, featuring Celebrity Speaker and Comedian Gina Brillon.

From 11:30 am to 2:30 pm ET, the event includes inspiring a keynote speaker, panel speakers of who’s who in each area of development, along with a Lunch Reception and their signature peer-to-peer networking session that will help women entrepreneurs elevate themselves and their businesses.

“We selected 3 areas in which most women entrepreneurs continue to struggle to achieve their own goals: Personal Power, as they have to confront the demands of home-schooling young children, caring for their parents, and running their business; Financial Wellness, struggling with funding and business barriers; and Business Innovation, all the new requirements and adaptation that the post-pandemic world is demanding from their businesses, “ Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, explained. 

WEES, Natalie Madeira Cofield

Natalie Madeira Cofield has been confirmed as Keynote Speaker for the 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit.

From 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm ET, 14 successful Latinas will be awarded for excelling at growing their businesses or building their communities during the Leaders of the Month Awards Ceremony. Relax and enjoy in a camaraderie environment with peer-to-peer networking and a fantastic open bar Mixology Reception with our Stand-up Comedian Celebrity Speaker GINA BRILLON. 

Join us for this must-attend event where Latinas in Business Inc. will help you gain tools, insights, and resources while connecting with other like-minded women, that will propel you and your business forward to SUCCEED! 

For registration: https://2022wees.eventbrite.com/

Amplify Latinx

To achieve the American Dream, Latinas need “Increased educational opportunities without debt” says Amplify Latinx’s Betty Francisco

Betty Francisco is the CEO of Boston Impact Initiative and the Co-Founder of Amplify Latinx, a social venture that is building Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latino civic engagement, economic opportunity and leadership representation in Massachusetts. 

As a seasoned business executive, entrepreneur, attorney, board director, angel investor, and community leader with over 22 years in her field, she is known as a powerful convener and changemaker, unapologetic about creating visibility for Latinas and people of color.

The Boston Business Journal named Betty as one of the 2020 Power 50 – Extraordinary Year Extraordinary People, and Boston Magazine named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Boston in 2018. 

Amplify Latinx

Betty Francisco, Co-Founder of Amplify Latinx and CEO of Boston Impact Initiative. (Photo source: bettyfrancisco.com)

Betty is also Co-Founder of the Investors of Color Network, a consortium of Black and Latinx accredited investors working to close the racial funding gap in startup capital.

Throughout her career, Betty has been a champion for Latinas and people of color, working to create greater economic opportunities and level the playing field for Latinas and minority entrepreneurs. 

With her company, Amplify Latinx, she is cultivating a supportive and inclusive network that fosters mentorship, collaboration, and relationships.

During Latinas in Business’ 4th annual National Conversation with Latina Leaders, Betty spoke a bit on what it takes for Latinas to make it in America and achieve the American Dream. 

“In the world I live in, individual effort obviously is incredibly important. But it is not enough without addressing the systemic barriers that we have in this country, the things that prevent Latinas from continuously moving up, from advancing in their careers, and from accessing capital,” says Betty. 

To achieve the American Dream, Betty says it’s going to take some real change at the systemic level. 

“The reality is that Latinas form a significant number in the current workforce. They are extremely entrepreneurial. Six out of ten new businesses have been started by Latinas. And there are still significant barriers that they have. This is what needs to change in our country: Increasing the educational opportunities for Latinas without the burden of debt. That’s hugely important. I went to school, business school, law school, college with no debt and that is what helped me break the cycle of poverty for my family.” 

Betty obtained her JD and MBA from Northeastern University, and her BA in History from Bard College, before beginning her legal career as a Senior Business Law Associate at Edwards Wildman (now Locke Lord) representing start-ups, corporations, and investors. She accomplished all of this without accumulating any debt and Betty believes eliminating debt for Latinas is crucial to their success. 

Additionally, Betty states Latinas need more opportunities in career building jobs and accessing those jobs. 

Betty Francisco at GetKonnected event. (Photo source: bettyfrancisco.com)

“When I say career building, I mean high wage jobs, livable wage jobs, those that have pathways for growth, pathways to leadership and management as well as pathways for ownership. That’s really important for us to build ownership opportunities even within other people’s companies.” 

Access to networks and sponsors is another important step toward success. 

“It’s the sponsors that open the doors to opportunities and level the playing field. We’re so resilient, we don’t want to ask for help, we don’t need special favors but we want a level playing field,” says Betty.

“And then the last thing that we know are critical to us getting our stuff done, is flexible work arrangements: paid time off, good health benefits, and if we have children, caregiving benefits. And now we’re not just caring for children but also for our moms and dads and elders. We need full spectrum caregiving benefits. And finally, forming networks of support with other Latinas and Latinos, women groups, is so critical to pathways of success.” 

Watch the full panel below! 

Start your entrepreneurial journey with inspirational titles on Audible today!

Amplify Latinx’s vision is to achieve parity in representation of Latinos in decision-making roles of influence, resulting in economic prosperity and political equity for all Latinos in Massachusetts and beyond.

Founded in 2018, the Massachusetts-based nonprofit was created to serve as a non-partisan, collaborative convener advancing Latino civic engagement, economic opportunity, and leadership representation.

“Through our Cafecitos event series, convenings and visibility campaigns, we grew our network from 60 women at launch to a diverse network of over 4,500 multiracial, multicultural Latinos serving in elected and appointed positions, boards and commissions, and executive roles across sectors.”

Amplify Latinx

Betty Francisco with Amplify Latinx Co-Founder, Eneida Román. (Photo source: Amplify Latinx)

Today, Amplify Latinx convenes, connects and champions Latinx civic and business leaders through high-impact initiatives that support their advancement and representation into positions of power and influence. By advancing Latino representation in decision-making roles, they create advocates for racial equity and economic mobility for the Latino community. 

“When Latinx leaders, businesses and partner organizations come together in coalition around a shared mission of building representation and economic and political influence, we collaborate, we share knowledge and leverage our collective resources to drive systemic change.”

Betty hopes to continue to aid and amplify Latinas along their journeys as leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs through her various roles and ventures. 

In addition to her work with Amplify Latinx, Betty is also the CEO of Boston Impact Initiative, a social impact investment fund that invests integrated capital in regenerative local enterprises in Eastern Massachusetts that are owned and controlled by entrepreneurs of color or are serving communities of color. 

She serves on the Boards of Directors of The Boston Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Beth Israel Lahey Health, and Roxbury Community College. She is also a member of the Federal Reserve Bank’s New England Community Development Advisory Council, Advisory Board Member for LISC Boston and The Capital Network. She is also a founding member of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy which is building an equitable small business ecosystem for entrepreneurs of color in Massachusetts.

You might be interested: Latina entrepreneur and leader Susana Marino shares key business tips for female founders


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EWNJ unveils 2022 New Jersey’s Most Influential Women Leaders

EWNJ honors the 2022 Trailblazing Policy Makers at 40th anniversary Salute to the Policy Makers Gala.

On May 3, 2022 Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ) honored the contributions of New Jersey’s most influential and accomplished women leaders at its signature biennial gala, Salute to the Policy Makers. This year’s gala is special because it is in commemoration of the organization’s 40 year anniversary. 

“This year, our list of high achieving women leaders is especially meaningful, after the pandemic has had such a devastating impact on women in the workplace. In December, women accounted for the entire number of job losses to the US economy at a total of 156,000 jobs lost, while men gained 16,000 jobs,” said Anna María Tejada, President of EWNJ and Partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP. 

EWNJ, Anna María Tejada

Anna María Tejada, President of EWNJ, speaking at the Salute to the Policy Makers Gala. (Photo courtesy of Anna María Tejada)

“Despite their expertise, talents, and the quantifiable benefits that they bring to an organization, women are often in the most vulnerable positions when economic turbulence strikes. It is crucial that the New Jersey business community recognizes the measurable value that women deliver and create more policies to ensure equity and inclusion in the workplace. As consistently documented in EWNJ’s ‘A Seat at the Table’ report, gender and racial diversity not only generates stronger financial performance for organizations but also fewer governance-related issues such as bribery, corruption, shareholder battles, and fraud.”

Salute to the Policy Makers funds EWNJ’s various programs and initiatives aimed at advancing women’s leadership. Most notably, it benefits the organization’s Graduate Merit Award Program, which provides scholarships to women who are non-traditional graduate students with the goal of establishing a pipeline of future women leaders.

As a daughter of Dominican immigrants and first generation attorney, EWNJ President, Anna María Tejada knows first-hand how important programs like these can be. She herself benefitted from various affirmative action programs in her education such as Headstart, EOF, and the Rutgers MSP Program, as well as mentorship from organizations such as the  Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ) and the Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ).

Now, with over 20 years of experience in her industry, Anna María is passionate about giving back and aiding other young Latinas in their careers. 

“It is important for students of color, especially young women, to see successful Latina professionals, so they too can achieve their dreams,” said Anna María. 

Jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey with inspirational titles on Audible today!

Anna María Tejada with Adrienne D. Gonzalez at the Salute to the Policy Makers Gala. (Photo courtesy of Anna María Tejada)

Anna María says it’s important to elevate those coming up behind you too by paying forward the help you received. 

“This will help strengthen the professional pipeline for women, especially women of color. As Latinas, we often feel we can handle things on our own and we certainly can; however, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.”

She advises women to seek mentors who look like you, and also mentors who do not look like you but are willing to serve as a resource. “Seek out organizations that could elevate you and put you in touch with people who could be critical for your professional development.” 

You might be interested: “We don’t need to do it alone” says SBA’s Bibi Hidalgo, to aspiring Latina entrepreneurs 

About EWNJ

EWNJ’s mission is to ensure that women have equal opportunities and representation in senior corporate leadership. As the largest provider of scholarships to women who are non-traditional graduate students in New Jersey, EWNJ has provided tuition assistance to nearly 350 women graduate students at New Jersey colleges and universities over the last 30+ years. 

Through our mentor program and their Graduate Merit Award Program, they seek to establish a pipeline for future women leaders to excel and flourish in corporate spaces. 

In support of their mission, they publish a biennial report on the number of women on boards and in the senior governance of publicly traded companies in New Jersey. This report is the only one of its kind in the state. EWNJ also hosts events to build connections and amplify their work. To learn more about EWNJ, visit www.ewnj.org.


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Latina career coach and author Cici Castelli shares key tips to unlock your success mindset in new book

Mindset is everything when it comes to achieving success. Whether it be climbing the corporate ladder or starting a new business or venture as an entrepreneur, your mindset is what will determine your success. 

Latina career coach and author of Mindset Unlocked, Cici Castelli shares some key insights in mindset management and how to unlock your success mindset to take you to the next level. 

Latina career coach, Cici Castelli

Certified High Performance Coach and author, Cici Castelli. (Photo courtesy of Cici Castelli)

As a first-generation immigrant, Cici came to the US from Venezuela at the age of 17 without her family because she strongly believed she wanted to succeed on her own. For ten years she lived the life of an immigrant while she put herself through school and eventually started her career as the Director of Interpreter Services in two major hospitals in the Boston area. 

After eleven years in this career, Cici decided to make a change during the beginning of the dot.com era, pivoting to the tech industry and starting over in California.  

It was a challenge, giving up her Director’s role to take on a much lower administrative position, moving from Boston to California, and basically having to start at the bottom of the ladder again in a new industry, but Cici had the right mindset and set herself to the task. 

“I had the vision that I would climb the corporate ladder again, now in the technology industry, and attain a much higher salary range and benefits than if I stayed in the medical field,” she says. 

Now, Cici is a Technology Executive in the travel and hospitality industry, a real estate investor, and a Certified High Performance Coach offering coaching services on her site www.cicicastelli.com

As a coach, she works with people that are hungry for success and are willing to change to reach their next level in their career and her experiences as  a Latina who has changed her careers while being a single mom; moved across the USA and the worlds more than once; her success in climbing the corporate ladder in different industries; being a female leader in a male dominated industry; and her strong project management background makes her a remarkable individual who can help others succeed.

Through her work, she helps clients obtain clarity, productivity and courage in order to be successful and achieve balance and personal happiness! 

“My passion is empowering my clients to live a better life by helping them discover and build healthier habits and find their individual success in their own game of life.”

Jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey with inspirational titles on Audible today!

Key tips to unlock your success mindset 

In her book Mindset Unlocked: Do What Others Can’t, Won’t, or Don’t Do for a Successful and Balanced Career, and Life, Cici teaches you how to level up your mindset and maximize your potential by unlocking your ultimate competitive advantage. 

“To succeed in every area of your life you need to unlock your mindset, be bold, be flexible, take risks and start doing what other people can’t, won’t or don’t do,” says Cici. 

As a coach, she has witnessed time and time again how a shift in mindset can produce a total transformation and help people achieve the success of their dreams. 

“I worked once with a lady that had worked as an admin for years and that is what she had in mind for herself and what those around her believed that is what she was best at because she was ‘super cooperative and helpful to others.’ After we worked together for a while, through my mentorship and guidance she received the schooling and training she needed and the right opportunities for herself. Now, she has is a senior project manager in technology earning a six-figure salary and having balance in her personal life. She has shuttered everyone’s expectations including her own! Today she is a leader herself!” Cici shares. 

You might be interested: Healing Leadership: A conversation with Dr. Ginny Baro about the need for great leaders

Stories like these are what make Cici so eager to continue to coach others. She wants to help people become successful, whether that be directly through her coaching and mentorship or indirectly through the work of others she has helped, with her book, or her soon to be published online course. 

For other aspiring minority women and Latina entrepreneurs or career women looking to kickstart their mindset shift and start unlocking their maximum potential, Cici offers three key tips. 

  1. Ditch “living one day at a time” and instead plan each day, week, month, and year for optimal goal achievement. Many people are successful for a day, a week, a year but to have sustained success you need to learn how to maintain that success for a lifetime. 
  2. Passion is the key to becoming a better leader—you need to make yourself feel passionate about every single thing you do. 
  3. Take risks, embrace challenges, and never give up. Starting a venture or taking a leap of faith can be daunting, but the key to achieving success is often doing what other people can’t, won’t or don’t do. So take that leap! Don’t accept average when extraordinary is possible—with a simple mindset shift!

“Only you can define what success looks like to you and when you figure out how to maximize your potential and unlock your competitive advantage without sacrificing it all, your whole life will be transformed,” says Cici. “You just need to start doing what other people can’t, won’t or don’t do. And being a minority is part of our competitive advantage!”


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Latina entrepreneur, Life 100 Podcast

Meet Rosie, the Latina entrepreneur amplifying diverse voices with “Life 100” Podcast

Meet “Rosie”, a Latina entrepreneur, content creator, and producer and host of Life 100 Podcast, a bilingual English and Spanish podcast featuring insightful stories, remarkable guests, and everyday tips for life. The podcast celebrates Hispanic diversity, creativity, and living to the fullest. 

Meet Rosie, Latina entrepreneur, content creator, and host of Life 100 Podcast. (Photo courtesy of Rosie)

A life-long learner and dreamer, Rosie came to the US from Puerto Rico to attend university in Florida. Today, she lives in Texas and is working to amplify the voices and experiences of Latinas with her platform. 

“Representation matters,” she says. “Growing up in Puerto Rico, it was a challenge to see all of our beautiful faces and great accomplishments represented in the media.”

The representation she grew up with was lacking and incomplete. She grew up surrounded by people who were a living example of diversity and inclusion. 

Her parents always provided her with examples of diverse cultures, physical attributes, professions, and more. Yet representation in the media still had a long way to go.

Now, Rosie is determined to create the things she wished existed when she was growing up. 

“I am constantly inspired by the memory of my parents. Their descendants inherited their tenacity and determination. I know they are proud of our accomplishments, of seeing us breaking barriers, moving forward, and pursuing our dreams while making the world a better place.” 

Rosie’s parents, Luis and Maria, were a big inspiration in her entrepreneurial journey and always encouraged her to follow her dreams. (Photo courtesy of Rosie).

People call Rosie “The Visionary,” because she is honest in sharing that “I don’t know how, but we will find out.” Rosie is always looking for ways to make her dreams a reality and help others on their journeys as well. Her own podcast started as one of these visionary situations where she had something to share with the world but did not yet know-how, so she found a way and made a path for herself. 

“I started podcasting as a result of what the world considered a failure, my presentation for a conference in town was not chosen,” Rosie shares. “I had worked on this presentation for weeks and it would have been a disservice to not share it so I investigated ways to share these ideas with the world.” 

Rosie’s goals were to share her presentation in a way that was easily accessible, convenient, available on-demand, highly engaging, free of charge to the listener, downloadable, and shareable. These objectives led her to the world of podcasting and soon Rosie was learning everything about the podcasting industry from the technical aspects of it, audio recording and editing, submission to listening platforms, and the business aspects of it, including forming the legal entity, marketing, promotion, and daily operations. 

Finally, on February 27, 2020, Rosie published the first episode of her podcast. Launching right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit meant there were some challenges and struggles along the way, but Rosie met those challenges head-on and persevered.

Check out: 5 Podcasts every Latina entrepreneur should be listening to 

Start your own podcast here

Rosie finally made her dreams a reality on February 27, 2020 when she launched Life 100 Podcast. (Photo courtesy of Rosie)

Follow Rosie on social media! And listen to Life 100 Podcast. 

She shares some words of advice to aspiring Latina entrepreneurs on how to navigate and overcome challenges: 

“Launching a business is a process with everyday challenges and opportunities,” she says. “Remember, your passion and commitment will be critical factors in overcoming roadblocks along the path of your new business. Yes, it will take time, money, lack of sleep, and maybe working other jobs while building your new venture.  Resources are abundant, free of charge in many cases, to guide you and inspire you along the way. Ask questions, ask for help. Practice presenting your business concept and its value proposition. Nurture your enthusiasm, and do not fall into the trap of denial.  Discipline and adaptability will play a role in your success.  Try and try again, get out of your comfort zone, keep your vision alive, and be humble enough to accept change when needed. Value progress instead of perfection. When you achieve success in your business venture, remember to help others do the same.” 

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Rosie is grateful for the opportunities her podcast has opened up for her thus far, from meeting new inspiring people to share their voices and their diversity with the world, it has been “a beautiful journey,” she says. 

She hopes to continue to amplify Latina voices and promote diversity as she expands the Life 100 Podcast into a full-time venture. 

“Your voice matters. It is never too late. Be determined to move forward. Pa’lante amigas. Go and make it happen! I look forward to sharing your story.” 


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