Branding is the essential way to put your name or your business on the big stage. Find information, tips and important guidelines to a successful branding campaign.

business planning, business plan,

6 Key business planning resources for Latina entrepreneurs to start anew in 2022

With the new year here, it’s time to reevaluate your business plan and business planning resources in 2022. 

While the new year is only a symbolic shift in time, many find the prospect of “new beginnings” to be refreshing. The start of the new year in many ways is a “clean slate” for new and exciting ideas, projects, and goals. 

For Latina entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your plans and make necessary changes and set new objectives and goals to work toward in the following months. 

As industries change and businesses evolve or grow, revisiting your original business plan and making changes is necessary. 

Below, we share a few key business planning resources to help you kick off the new year right! 

Key business planning resources in 2022

1. Review last year’s accomplishments – When planning for the new year, it’s important to look back on the previous year to see what strategies worked, what didn’t, and what can be improved. Reviewing your past accomplishments—and failures—will help you plan for the future and set the right goals for your business.

Make a list cataloging what worked and what didn’t, what strategies drew in the most revenue, which expenses could be avoided this year, and so on. Then use this list to help guide you in creating your new year business goals.

business planning, SMART goals, business goals

Set SMART goals for the new year. Photo created by Waewkidja

2. Set SMART goals and objectives for the new year – SMART goals are: strategic, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound with deadlines. Setting goals with these parameters helps to focus goals and ensure they are achievable. Many times when we set goals, they can feel far-fetched and too big. Especially when looking at a whole year, it can be overwhelming to think of how you will get from point A to point B. 

When you set your business goals for this year, make sure you’re hitting each letter in the SMART acronym. This exercise from Vistage—the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize business leaders— will help you break down your larger “big picture” goals into actionable strategies. 

For each goal, ask yourself: WHAT will you do? HOW will you do it? WHEN will you do it? Be crystal clear in separating strategies—the hows and the whys—from tactics (the whats and whens) and use “Verb-noun-date” format to create specific action steps and put them on your calendar. 

3. Create your yearly budget – Planning your goals for the year will also help give you an idea of what your finances and budget may look like. To plan your budget, determine your operating expenses and then see what you can dedicate toward your new year goals and objectives. Read on for a more in-depth look at starting a basic business budget.

4. Update your business plan – As every entrepreneur and business owner knows, your business plan is your roadmap. You probably made a business plan when you first got started, but maybe it’s been a while since you revisited it. If you don’t yet have a formal business plan written up, then this is the time to do it! Get started here

Over the years, as your business grows and industries change, your business plan should be adjusted to reflect those changes. To start updating your old business plan, reevaluate your original goals with where you are today. Revisit each component of your business plan, from Executive Summary and Company Description to Market Analysis and Financial Projections. See for more business planning resources

5. Reevaluate your marketing plan – The new year is the perfect time to reevaluate your marketing plan. Look at your previous year’s marketing strategies and figure out what worked and what can be done differently this year. Now more than ever, marketing has a big impact in our social media and digitally driven age. A good starting point for planning your new year marketing goals is to figure out which channels best reach your customers. If possible, consider conducting market research. Ask your customers about their lifestyles, needs, wants, and expectations through surveys or social media polls and use that information to target your marketing strategies toward your customers. 

You might be interested: How to Make Your Marketing Work for You

6. Expand your network – One great goal to have every year is to expand your network. Your network is what will ultimately help you grow. The more help and resources you have the better your business will thrive. Instead of trying to go it alone and do everything yourself, utilize your network and accept help from your peers and mentors. Tackling obstacles and challenges will be easier with help and you can pay it forward by being there for other entrepreneurs too. Sign up for our newsletter and receive this FREE E-book “10 Steps to Happy Networking!”

Spend time this year connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs, attending some events or workshops, joining support groups or membership programs, and putting yourself out there. You got this!

Why reaching “herd immunity” transcends the end of a pandemic (in English and Spanish)

A message from the president and CEO of Latinas in Business (See below for Spanish version). 

As the optimist that I am, I keep remembering the Spanish saying, “Hope is the last thing you lose.” At worst, we can only hope for the best in the new year, the upcoming 2022. Will this be the year we achieve “herd immunity”?

Still, “ending a year” or “starting a new year” is an illusion; time is a continuum that does not stop or change, with the rhythm of the seasons and the variations of nature. We could count the seasons as a full year, why not? After all, the seasons are the beginning of something real in Nature, and we would celebrate our birthdays every three months by living much longer, maybe even longer than Methuselah!

A calendar year is a social construct that follows the movement of the sun or the moon or other events in nature, which different cultures establish as “the norm” to celebrate or commemorate certain religious or historical events. A calendar is a way of giving society and individuals a structure to avoid chaos and anarchy, a succession of numbers – days – and names – months – that makes sense for a particular lifestyle. The Chinese calendar differs from the Gregorian calendar or the Jewish calendar, to name a few.

In the 2022 Chinese calendar, the new year begins on February 1st. (Image:

And yet, here we are, planning to celebrate the end of a terrible, mind-changing, exhilarating second year of a global pandemic that has challenged society to the brink of utter insanity, blatant stupidity, or sharp enlightenment.

Utter insanity was the reaction of those who are essentially “social animals”, individuals who need physical and personal contact with others of their kind. The confinement meant to them an imposed prison that prevented them from enjoying the daily donut gossiping, the gym cronies, or the dining out limelight. 


The pandemic showed how some individuals would rather prioritize an illusory sense of “freedom” over the lives of more than 5 million human beings. (Photo Credit: Unsplash)

Blatant stupidity crowned the heads of those who refused to care for themselves and others, displaying the utmost disdain for a sense of civility or solidarity in pursuit of a political bias. Vaccines or masks are too much of a restriction for these people who prioritize a selfish and illusory sense of “freedom” or self-preservation beliefs to the contamination of a vaccine that saves lives over the lives of more than 5 million human beings, many of which died unnecessarily. And I quote the global death toll because blatant stupidity is not an exclusive “American” quality.


(Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

But then some were able to focus on themselves and their families and think about their lives. Many realized that they wanted something more than a mere existence, which did not necessarily mean more material things. Others understood that their working conditions had been unacceptable because there are options to having to travel miserable distances or work inhumane hours in an office far from the people and activities they love the most.

A large group of people took the opportunity to improve their lives by spending less, saving more, and choosing to follow their passion, perhaps leaving an unacceptable culture in the workplace to make better decisions for themselves or to open their businesses. Others decided to move, in search of a more relatable life experience out of state, out of cities, or out of ghettos.

The pandemic also affected life and business relationships. Many broke up with toxic partners or ended frayed relationships. Isolation was a challenge when we had to face ourselves and others who are part of our lives without the usual distractions. The pandemic demanded the ingenuity of many to find a new love; for others, it meant business innovation to respond to new challenges.

The pandemic caused many to make career changes, choosing to follow their passion and leaving unacceptable workplace environments for better choices. (Photo credit: Unsplash)

If the Internet changed the way we have lived, worked, and loved since the 1990s, the pandemic forced us to look at what has become of us with those changes. Have we improved our humanity, our sense of self and community, or are we dragging resentment and darkness into the abyss of isolation?

Despite the rapid development of vaccines around the world and simple precautions to control the disease, lives continue to be lost and people continue to get sick. The pandemic has entered a phase of “phases”, a roller coaster in which seasons, celebrations, and travel play an important role in a hyper-connected world.


“Phases” of the pandemic continue, with new variants posing a threat. (Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

The goal to end this nightmare that has changed our lives seems to be achieving herd immunity when a large part of the world community becomes immune to disease through infection or vaccination. The contagion decreases, it becomes unlikely. Thus, the entire community is protected.

As with herd immunity, humanity will still have to choose between “getting infected” or “getting vaccinated” to reach a point of balance. Utter insanity and blatant stupidity will likely spread even further before the personal suffering becomes unbearable.


Vaccinations and herd immunity will be crucial in finding balance and eliminating the threat of the COVID-19 virus. (Photo credit:

Hopefully, sharp enlightenment will spread to more people who will rise with wisdom and insight into the world we want to become, not the one we have become. 

I don’t know if 2022 will be the year we achieve herd immunity as the Omicron threat looms over us. Rather, it will definitely be the year for those who have crossed the troubled waters of change and are ready to continue to do something with themselves, their lives, and their work choices. 

Those who keep their minds alert and keenly enlightened will enter the “brave new world” in which we don’t have much choice: together we achieve a collective human consciousness or we become extinct as a species.

As time continues to progress inexorably, let’s celebrate new beginnings and longings for 2022! After all, it is our only hope.

Thanks to our Executive Board, our members, supporters, and sponsors for believing in our mission!  

Un abrazo,
Susana G Baumann

Happy Holidays from Latinas in Business CEO and President, Susana G. Baumann. (Photo courtesy: Susana G Baumann)

En Español: Por qué alcanzar la “inmunidad colectiva” trasciende el final de una pandemia

Un mensaje de la presidenta y CEO de Latinas in Business

Como buena optimista que soy, sigo recordando el dicho, “La esperanza es lo último que se pierde”. En el peor de los casos, solo podemos esperar lo mejor en el nuevo año, el próximo 2022. ¿Será este el año en el que logremos la “inmunidad colectiva”?

Sin embargo, “terminar un año” o “comenzar un nuevo año” es una ilusión; el tiempo es un continuo que no se detiene ni cambia, con el ritmo de las estaciones y las variaciones de la naturaleza. Podríamos contar las estaciones como un año completo, ¿por qué no? Después de todo, las estaciones son el comienzo de algo real en la Naturaleza, y celebraríamos nuestros cumpleaños cada tres meses viviendo mucho más tiempo, ¡tal vez incluso más que Matusalén!

Un año calendario es un constructo social que sigue el movimiento del sol o la luna u otros eventos en la naturaleza, y que diferentes culturas establecen como “la norma” para celebrar o conmemorar ciertos eventos religiosos o históricos. Un calendario es una forma de darle a la sociedad y a los individuos una estructura para evitar el caos y la anarquía, una sucesión de números -días- y nombres -meses- que tiene sentido para un estilo de vida particular. El calendario chino difiere del calendario gregoriano o del calendario judío, por nombrar algunos.

En el calendario chino 2022, el año nuevo comienza el 1 de febrero. (Imagen:

Y aún así, aquí estamos, planeando celebrar el final de un segundo año terrible, enloquecedor, transformativo de una pandemia global que ha desafiado a la sociedad al borde de la locura total, la estupidez flagrante o la iluminación aguda.

La locura total fue la reacción de quienes son esencialmente “animales sociales”, individuos que necesitan el contacto físico y personal con otros de su especie. El encierro les significó una prisión impuesta que les impedía disfrutar de los chismes diarios de la oficina, los compinches del gimnasio o estar en el centro social de atención. 


La pandemia mostró cómo algunas personas prefieren priorizar un sentido ilusorio de “libertad” sobre la vida de más de 5 millones de seres humanos. (Photo credit:

La estupidez flagrante coronó la cabeza de aquellos que se negaron a cuidarse a sí mismos y a los demás, mostrando el mayor desdén por un sentido de civilidad o solidaridad en pos de un sesgo político. Las vacunas o máscaras son demasiada restricción para estas personas que priorizan un sentido egoísta e ilusorio de “libertad” o creencias de auto-preservación a la contaminación de una vacuna que salva vidas –por sobre la vida de más de 5 millones de seres humanos, muchos de los cuales murieron innecesariamente. Y cito el número global de muertes porque la estupidez flagrante no es una cualidad “estadounidense” exclusivamente. 

(Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

Pero luego, algunos pudieron concentrarse en sí mismos y en sus familias y pensar en sus vidas. Muchos se dieron cuenta de que querían algo más que una mera existencia, lo que no necesariamente significaba más cosas materiales. Otros entendieron que sus condiciones de trabajo habían sido inaceptables porque hay opciones a tener que viajar distancias miserables y trabajar horarios inhumanos en una oficina lejos de las personas y actividades que más aman.

Un gran grupo de personas aprovechó la oportunidad para mejorar su vida gastando menos, ahorrando más y eligiendo seguir su pasión, tal vez dejando una cultura inaceptable en el lugar de trabajo para tomar mejores decisiones o para abrir sus negocios. Otros decidieron mudarse, en busca de una experiencia de vida con la cual se identificaban mejor fuera de su estado, de sus ciudades o de sus guetos.

La pandemia hizo que muchos cambiaran su carrera, eligieron seguir su pasión y dejaron entornos laborales inaceptables para tomar mejores decisions. (Photo credit:

La pandemia también afectó las relaciones de vida y de negocios. Muchos rompieron con socios tóxicos o terminaron de arrastrar relaciones desgastadas. El aislamiento fue un desafío cuando tuvimos que enfrentarnos a nosotros mismos y a los demás que forman parte de nuestras vidas sin las distracciones habituales. La pandemia demandó el ingenio de muchos para encontrar un nuevo amor; para otros, significó innovación empresarial para responder a nuevos desafíos.

Si Internet cambió la forma en que hemos vivimos, trabajado y amado desde los años noventa, la pandemia nos obligó a mirar qué ha sido de nosotros con esos cambios. ¿Hemos mejorado nuestra humanidad, nuestro sentido del yo y la comunidad, o estamos arrastrando el resentimiento y la oscuridad al abismo del aislamiento?

A pesar del rápido desarrollo de las vacunas en todo el mundo y de las sencillas precauciones para controlar la enfermedad, se siguen perdiendo vidas y la gente se sigue enfermando. La pandemia ha entrado en una fase de “fases”, una montaña rusa en la que las estaciones, las celebraciones, y los viajes juegan un papel importante en un mundo hiper-conectado.

Continúan las “fases” de la pandemia, con nuevas variantes que suponen una amenaza. (Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

El objetivo para poner fin a esta pesadilla que ha cambiado nuestras vidas parece ser lograr la inmunidad colectiva, cuando una gran parte de la comunidad mundial se vuelva inmune a la enfermedad a través de la infección o la vacunación. El contagio disminuye, se vuelve poco probable. Así, toda la comunidad queda protegida.

Al igual que en la inmunidad colectiva, la humanidad tendrá que seguir eligiendo entre “infectarse” o “vacunarse” para alcanzar un punto de equilibrio. La locura total y la estupidez flagrante probablemente se extenderán aún más antes de que el sufrimiento personal sea insoportable.


Las vacunas y la inmunidad colectiva serán cruciales para encontrar el equilibrio y eliminar la amenaza del virus COVID-19. (Photo credit:

Con suerte, la iluminación aguda se extenderá a más personas que se elevarán con sabiduría y mayor comprensión del mundo en el que queremos convertirnos, no en el que nos hemos convertido.

No sé si 2022 será el año en el que logremos la inmunidad colectiva, ya que la amenaza de Omicron se cierne sobre nosotros. Por el contrario, definitivamente será el año de aquellos que han cruzado las turbulentas aguas del cambio y están listos para continuar mejorándose a sí mismos, sus vidas y sus elecciones laborales.

Aquellos que mantengan su mente alerta y agudamente iluminada entrarán en el “valiente nuevo mundo” en el que no tenemos muchas opciones: juntos logramos una conciencia humana colectiva o nos extinguimos como especie. 

A pesar de que el tiempo sigue avanzando inexorablemente, ¡celebremos nuevos comienzos y anhelos para el 2022! 

Después de todo, es nuestra única esperanza. 

¡Gracias a nuestro Comité Ejecutivo, nuestros miembros, amigos, y patrocinadores por continuar apoyando nuestra misión!

Un abrazo,
Susana G Baumann

Feliz Año Nuevo de la directora ejecutiva y presidenta de Latinas in Business, Susana G. Baumann. (Photo courtesy: Susana G Baumann)


Celebrating our 12 Leaders of 2021

As another year comes to a close we at Latinas in Business look back on the inspiring stories of our 2021 Leaders. Each month of the year we have featured one woman leader from our Latinas in Business community who is inspiring, pushing boundaries, and setting leadership examples. 

Each one of these women has shared with us their wisdom and their journeys, showing us that success does not happen overnight; it’s often a bumpy road, but with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.  

See below to learn a little bit about each of our 2021 Leaders and check out their individual feature articles to read their whole stories and learn from their journeys as entrepreneurs, business owners, and career driven women. 

Latina Leader

Leader of January: Claudia Vazquez 

In January, Claudia Vazquez shared her career journey with us. As a bilingual and bicultural Latina Leader with over 20 years experience in the insurance and benefits industry, her work is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, education, and uplifting the voices of women and Hispanics in the marketplace. Currently she serves as a Director of Product Management within Prudential’s Group Insurance Customer Solutions Unit where she leads the Business Resolution Team. In addition to her work at Prudential, she also serves as a Board Trustee of BRICK – Achieve Community Charter School, which services elementary children. 

2021 Leader

Leader of February: Maria Elena Noel-Vaeza

In February, we learned from Maria Elena Noel-Vaeza about how the UN is working to help women around the world. Maria-Noel is the Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean. A Uruguayan native, she holds a doctorate in Law and Social Sciences from the University of the Republic of Uruguay and a master’s degree in public policy from John Hopkins University in Washington DC. Prior to this role, Maria-Noel served as Director of the Program Division at UN Women headquarters in New York. She has also served as Political Counselor at the Uruguayan Embassy in Washington DC and delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. 

Leader of March: Damaris Diaz 

The charismatic Damaris Diaz shared pandemic stories with us this past March. As the host of Univision’s Despierta America, she had the opportunity to speak to individuals about their pandemic experience and shared with us her own insights and lessons learned. In addition to television host, Damaris is an accomplished multicultural and bi-lingual Marketing Media Professional, broadcast correspondent, and TV personality. Damaris has received two Emmy nominations and many special recognitions from diverse organizations. Throughout her career, Damaris has interviewed a long list of Hollywood stars such as Mick Jagger, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, and Rita Moreno as well as world-renowned singers/performers like Marc Anthony and Celia Cruz among others.

2021 Leader

Leader of April: Dr. Harbeen Arora 

In April, thought leader, businesswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, author, spiritual seeker and speaker, Dr. Harbeen Arora showed us how she manifests multifaceted leadership with strength & simplicity. Founder and Global Chairperson of the ALL Ladies League (ALL) and Women Economic Forum (WEF), she is a global leader for women. A powerful global network of 200,000 women worldwide and growing toward ‘Mission Million’, ALL and WEF are among the largest communities of women entrepreneurs and leaders worldwide offering platforms and ecosystems for personal and professional growth.

Ivana Sedia

Leader of May: Ivana Sedia 

In May, we learned from Ivana Sedia about how her company, Unida Translation, is helping people connect and transcend borders. Unida Translation delivers both spoken and written word translation services in over 125 languages for projects in the certified, legal, government, medical, and technical fields. Ivana’s business grew out of a hobby and passion for translation and language learning. With experience with writing in Spanish and English and working for the government by assisting non-English speaking immigrants, an MBA in management, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, International Relations and Diplomacy with a minor in Italian, Ivana taught Spanish and Italian lessons. She then decided to use her language skills to help transcend borders for businesses and organizations in need of translation services.

Latina Leader

Leader of June: Alice Rodriguez 

With over 30 years of extensive banking experience at JP Morgan Chase and positions in business banking, consumer banking, Alice Rodriguez serves a leading role in community engagement initiatives and localization strategies. Alice shared her story of overcoming obstacles to succeed during the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit as Keynote Speaker. During her Keynote speech, Alice shared how her mother was a big influence and inspiration growing up. She reminded us that, “Behind every great woman there is another great woman,” and the importance of having women mentors and leaders to look up to. See her full speaker highlights and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in her full feature article.

Latina Leader of te month

Leader of July: Natalie Diaz 

In July, Pulitzer Award-winning poet, Natalie Diaz, shared her experiences as a Latina and Native American woman in her book Postcolonial Love PoemBorn in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, Natalie now lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she is a professor at Arizona State University. She is also actively involved in the preservation of the Mojave language, working with the few remaining elder speakers of the language in an effort to revitalize the language and prevent its erasure. Natalie described her book as “a constellation, able to pool a lot of different communities together….We’re all fighting for this Earth, for one another against injustice.”

Latina athletes, Tokyo Olympic Games

Leader of August: Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

During the Olympics this past summer, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn broke records winning Gold in the women’s 100m Hurdles final. The 24-year-old athlete finished in 12.37 seconds, winning by .15 seconds.

Jasmine’s win marked Puerto Rico’s second ever gold medal and she became the first Puerto Rican of Afro-Latina descent in history to win gold while representing Puerto Rico. 

She is a role model and inspiration to all young Puerto Rican girls, especially young Latina athletes aspiring to follow in Jasmine’s footsteps. Her win showed Latinas athletes everywhere that they too can be Olympic Gold Medalists too. 

Rosita Hurtado

Leader of September: Rosita Hurtado

Our 2021 Leader of September, showed us how a childhood passion can become a successful design export. Rosita Hurtado is a fashion designer and entrepreneur who’s known for creating the fashion brand Rosita Hurtado and Rosita Hurtado Bridal. She is also the founder of Rosita Hurtado Menswear, Ixoye, Rosita Hurtado Shoes, and the perfume La Rose by Rosita Hurtado.

An accomplished designer with a career spanning 37 years, her work has been featured across the globe at events such as New York Fashion Week, Miami Fashion Week, and Los Angeles Fashion Week, and more and worn by stars such as  Eva Longoria, Lucia Mendez, Lupita Ferrer, Gloria Trevi, and Ximena Duque.

Leader of October: Marcela Berland 

In October, Marcela Berland shared her career journey and how a quest for longer maternity leave in the 90s lead her to a successful career working remotely from home before it was popular. Marcela is the President and CEO of Latin Insights, a strategic communications firm  that focuses on the Latino market and Latin America. LI bases their strategies on research and digital and AI tools and develops digital and marketing strategies to help clients achieve their goals.

After over 20 years, Marcela’s venture has become a success. She now serves a variety of clients that include political candidates and heads of state, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. As a successful Latina, she is also often the only woman in the room when working with Presidents and political candidates in Latin America.

Lucy Pinto, Latina Leader

Leader of November: Lucy Pinto 

Our 2021 Leader of November showed us how technology at Google is working to close the digital divide for minority small business owners and underserved communities. Lucy Pinto is the Manager of the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which works to level the field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to resources needed to grow online. The program delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses and has trained over 80,000 businesses on digital tools to help them succeed.

Throughout Lucy’s 9 years with Google and prior, she has strived to create inclusive outcomes for communities who lack access to opportunities. This passion has guided her journey personally and professionally, stemming from her identity as a Peruvian immigrant who came to the U.S. at eight years old and became a first gen college graduate in her family.

2021 Leader

Leader of December: Evelyn Padin

Finally,  Evelyn Padin’s story showed us the power of diversity in the legal world. Evelyn Padin is a Seton Hall Law Alumnus, Class of ’92, a former social worker, and a trustee of the Hispanic Bar Association. Additionally, she is a successful entrepreneur who runs her own family law and civil litigation practice in Jersey City. In November of this year she was nominated by President Biden  to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge in New Jersey. This pick continues Biden’s pledge to appoint more diverse individuals to high level positions.

Continuing a line of historic strides forward for women of color in government positions, Padin is the second Latina to be nominated to this esteemed bench since the Honorable Esther Salas, U.S.D.J., former HBA-NJ President, was nominated over a decade ago.

Franca NYC co-founder, Jazmin de la Guardia on how art connects us through common language

Jazmin de la Guardia is the co-founder of Franca NYC, a small Brooklyn based design studio that focuses on handmade ceramics. 

 Franca NYC was born from an idea: There are common threads that bind us. No matter where you come from or where you are going, there is a commonality to be discovered. This common language, or lingua franca, is what we strive to achieve.  Craftsmanship, design, and artistry make up the foundation of our work, and we continue to seek out ways to bring the soul of lingua franca to each piece.

Born in Paraguay, with a mother from Uruguay and a father from Cuba, Jazmin grew up with a passion for travel and art. That passion eventually led her to Pratt Institute in NYC where she received her Bachelor’s in Printmaking. Following her education at Pratt, Jazmin took her skills and passion for art to co-found Franca NYC with her business partner, Sierra Yip-Bannicq. 

The idea for their ceramics design studio came about in 2016, after both women expressed an interest in owning a business. 

“We were both working in small design studios at that time and as much as we loved our jobs, we were both really excited about the idea of starting our own business,” said Jazmin. “We decided to launch our brand at NY NOW, where we got a lot of exposure all at once and thankfully started getting orders to get us through those first months.” 

The women chose the medium of ceramics to be the focus of their business because it was something they both loved and had been drawn to back during their college days. Focusing on ceramics also had the benefit of being low-cost. Starting out, Jazmin and Sierra had a very limited budget, like many new entrepreneurs, so making their products in-house from start to finish without having to make a huge investment in machinery and production equipment was a big advantage. 

Jazmin working in studio. (Photo courtesy Jazmin de la Guardia)

Jazmin recalls one of her fondest memories of these early days, while she and Sierra worked in their first studio making their products. 

“Sierra and I are working long hours in our first studio, just the two of us, making what felt like a million cups and mugs. We felt like we were melting, we had no AC and the studio was so hot the tar from the rooftop—we were on the top floor, walk-up—was literally melting into our space. The kiln was firing and it just seemed like we were inside a giant oven. Even though the situation seemed less than desirable to most people, we were thrilled to be there and would not have wanted it any other way. For us it was all worth it because we were working towards building something of our own and being independent.”

The threads that bind: Leveraging social media and community 

As they developed their business, they learned to navigate challenges and obstacles and leverage their strengths. 

One of the biggest challenges they faced as their business grew was learning to be flexible with their production volume. Jazmin shared that there were many times when they had more orders than they could accept, while other times when the flow of orders was much slower. 

“It was important for us to try and keep our staff throughout the year so we decided to try and ride the slower times as best we could,” said Jazmin. “During the slower moments, we relied on social media to keep up with brand awareness. Thankfully things seem to be more stable now and we feel we can plan our production accordingly, but I would say trying to be as flexible as possible was key to us growing as a business.”

Franca NYC leveraged social media to stay connected with customers and build their network. (Photo Source)

Through the use of social media such as Facebook and Instagram, Jazmin and Sierra were able to stay connected with customers and gauge what products they were interested in. It’s this connection, both online and in their local community in NYC that has been their strength and helped Jazmin and Sierra drive their business forward. 

“Thanks to our community we were able to ask for advice when we needed it and learn from our peers. We’ve been very lucky in this sense,” said Jazmin. 

You might be interested: Argentinian artist Lucia Maman explores feminine themes

Jazmin admits that at the beginning, she never would have even thought to reach out to other people, or even strangers, to ask for advice or just chat about their experiences as a business owner. 

“Now I can say it’s one of the things I recommend most people do, especially women. A quick Instagram or Messenger DM can go a long way,” Jazmin said. “Always reach out to other women. Creating that network and community will be not only great for your business but will also help you get through some of the overwhelming times you’ll inevitably go through as a business owner.” 

As Franca NYC’s message states: There are common threads that bind us. No matter where you come from or where you are going, there is a commonality to be discovered.

Art Basel 2021: Argentinian artist Lucia Maman explores feminine themes

Lucía Maman, an internationally successful plastic artist lives in Miami and stands out on the local scene. Each person who passes by her studio, located in the Allapattah district, is struck by her large extraordinary paintings.

Lucía inherited her passion for art from her father, gallery owner Daniel Maman. Today, based in Miami, she paints and explores the art business, and hopes to have a success in sales at the upcoming Art Week – known as Art Basel

Miami Beach Art Basel begins this Thursday, December 2nd, where Lucía’s 3 to 5 meter high paintings will be on display, welcoming both collectors and the general public curious to meet the young woman who has attracted public attention with her unique artwork. 

Her work is characterized by its expressive power. Her paintings often revolve around bioethical discussions that deepen the human question. Who are we and where are we going? What will become of our humanity in a world with increasingly tangible tendencies towards the amalgamation of the biological and the engineering of synthetic modification?

These are some of the questions that appear in her work and that she tries to answer with her figurative compositions. Critics and experts in the field of art have considered and described her excellent body of work as one that challenges the viewer in a visceral way. Her work impacts and excites. Lucía agrees and shares that one of the most recurrent comments when it comes to receiving visits in her workshop usually lies in the strength and intensity of her artistic proposal.

Lucía Maman

Her paintings often revolve around bioethical discussions that deepen the human question. Who are we and where are we going? (Photo courtesy Lucía Manan)

“I am interested in genetics, biotechnology, the place of the anomalous or the different in our society, the question of otherness. I inquire about current events such as radical discoveries that affect the genetic engineering industry, for example CRISPR, or advances in fertility and assisted reproduction technologies, or the manifestation of transhumanist ideals,” says Lucia. 

Since the inception of her work, distinguished critics and prestigious artists have predicted a path of success and they have not been wrong. Her paintings show a mastery and exceptional talent in the handling of color and matter.

In the four years since arriving in Miami, Lucía has become vital in the local art scene and a must see when visiting the Allapattah district. There, just a few blocks from her studio, are also key cultural spaces of the city of the sun such as the Rubell Museum and Espacio 23, a cultural center that exhibits the private collection of the collector and businessman Jorge Pérez, among others.

Lucía began painting in the studio of Juan Doffo, a prominent Argentine plastic artist. There, her love for artistic practice became evident. After passing through a course and at the end of her secondary studies, Lucía decided to start painting full time, assuming a commitment to art that has been going on for more than a decade. Today her work is in important private collections in Latin America, Europe and the United States and has been exhibited in prominent spaces in the artistic sphere. 

Lucía Maman

See Lucía’s 3 to 5 meter high paintings on display at the upcoming Miami Art Week. Her stunning pieces have captured the attention of critics and collectors alike. (Photo courtesy Lucía Maman)

You might be interested: Celebrating Mexican culture and honoring ancestors through art

Currently her work can be seen in her studio or in the exhibition spaces of the Maman Fine Art Gallery. For the Miami Art Week, the gallery will organize private events where you can see some of her works.

“I am ready to receive in Miami people who, due to the pandemic, have not been able to visit me before, and above all I hope to be able to share with them that wonderful experience of reconnecting artists with collectors and enthusiasts in general,” concludes Lucía.

The 2021 Miami Beach Art Basel will run from Thursday December 2nd to Saturday December 4th. For more information visit

bullying, antibullying, students,

Bullying online became bigger during the pandemic and added more concern

Leah Kyaio is a Professional Development Trainer, specializing in the area of diversity and inclusion. She is the CEO of With Respect, LLC, which provides unique expertise, experience, and tools for engaging resistance within the workforce as well as issues where previous diversity work has resulted in divisiveness, violence, or toxic work environments.

Below, Leah shares her expertise on navigating the topic of bullying for minority students during the pandemic, both online and offline. 

Leah Kyaio, personal development trainer and CEO of With Respect, LLC. (Photo courtesy Leah Kyaio)

Throughout the pandemic, children have struggled with keeping connections to their peers strong and healthy. Bullying has always been a concern among school-aged children, and that didn’t just disappear as schools shut down and moved to largely virtual instruction. 

 With the tech-savviness of today’s children, adolescents, and teens, bullying online (cyberbullying) has added a new level of concern for parents and schools. Research indicates that cyberbullying has increased during the pandemic. Bullying online is harder to control, and in most cases the things posted online are out there forever. 

With old-fashioned, offline bullying and cyberbullying remaining an issue even throughout the COVID pandemic, it’s up to parents, teachers, and administrators to pay attention and brainstorm ways to curb the problem.

Minority students often experience a level of bullying that differs from their white peers. According to studies, racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to experience alienation and loneliness, especially in a virtual school environment where isolation is a factor for everyone. As the diversity of schools continues to expand, inclusion takes more and more of a front seat in conversations. This raises the stakes of managing issues like cyberbullying. 

The Sins of the Fathers (and Mothers)

Not only were children grappling with a historic pandemic, but the summer of 2020 brought a civil rights reckoning on the heels of instances of police brutality against the black community. Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory started to appear in the news frequently, causing rifts in thought and opinion. Within these heated discussions, the idea of equity in the classroom came under fire. As children watched adults battle it out on and offline, the influence bled into their thoughts and words. As has always been true, children’s actions mirrored that of the world around them. Add to that the stress of the pandemic society and it is logical that cyberbullying increased.  

“It’s integral for quelling bullying to open conversations regarding equity, acceptance, and understanding various minority experiences,” says Leah. (Photo courtesy Leah Kyaio)

Opening the conversation on systemic racism seemed to give license to a myriad of implicit and explicit biases, with students of color more and more in the crosshairs, showing up as questions, crass statements, emphasis on stereotypes, and Oppression Olympics (“I’m more oppressed than you because….”). 

The Internet is Forever 

 Emerging science suggests people’s brains are not done developing until age 25. Kids and teens often show a lack of understanding of the permanency of posts online. They live their lives in social media circles, and whatever they may be experiencing, from pandemic shutdowns to racial tension, peppers their interactions. The result is they have little connection to the idea that what they type today may come back in not-so-good ways later. 

Teaching Respect 

 When working with students, I teach the tools of maintaining respect, not because I like you, accept you, or even know you, but because we are all human. Taking our lives online runs the risk of diminishing our human-ness, in some ways. Students are far more likely to say things and engage in bullying behavior they would never dream of doing in person. The anonymity that virtual interactions sometimes provide leads to harsher words, greater criticisms, and discriminatory actions. 

It’s integral for quelling bullying to open conversations regarding equity, acceptance, and understanding various minority experiences. The more students understand one another and listen to the stories of their peers, the more compassion and empathy they learn and demonstrate. This instruction should include how to ask questions and stay curious as well as learning the antidote to the language of shame, blame, and judgment. It is the art of emphasizing how words, online and off, can hurt and how to state opinions without making enemies. 

You might be interested: Why words matter: The negative impacts of racial microaggressions

Creating a safe environment for students to learn about one another and speak openly about issues is integral to mitigating the issue of bullying. Compassion and grace are required if there is to be any expectation of change. We can do this by reminding our children that the rules of respect apply to their behavior online as well as offline, that if they wouldn’t say it to a person in front of them, they shouldn’t type it.  


“When working with students, I teach the tools of maintaining respect, not because I like you, accept you, or even know you, but because we are all human.” (Photo courtesy Leah Kyaio)

As adults, it is important to remember the trauma that bullying and prejudice can cause and recognize how much more vulnerable minority students become in the virtual world. This can be one of our primary motivations to teach all students how to be respectful.

 Educational institutions are becoming increasingly more diverse related to sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender identity, and creed. Institutions need to have a secure plan that includes compassion and education to decrease instances of bullying online and off and to support students in learning to manage their virtual experience with respect and dignity.  

About Leah Kyaio

Leah identifies as Two-Skinned, having a Blackfoot mother—a Native American Tribe—and an Appalachian white father. Her early childhood experiences gave her insight into the privilege provided by the white skin she wears. That same early experience and trauma made clear the connection of the historical trauma of her Native heritage. With that early lived experience of white privilege and seeing the disparities across race, gender, and class, she recognized her unique position to be able to speak and teach the tools necessary to engage in deeper conversations in the forever process of mitigating the impacts of systemic oppression. That’s where With Respect LLC was born. Through her business, she does diversity differently, finding that by teaching tools of respect and belonging, the consequential behavior changes lead to dignity and respect across all the -isms.

Evelyn Padin

Evelyn Padin’s nomination to the U.S. District Court Judge in NJ is “a victory for our community”

President Biden has nominated Evelyn Padin, the former president of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge in New Jersey. This pick continues Biden’s pledge to appoint more diverse individuals to high level positions. 

During the 2020 election, he promised to nominate “the most diverse Cabinet in history,” stressing that he wanted leaders that look like America. 

“It’s a cabinet that looks like America, taps into the best of America, and opens doors and includes the full range of talents we have in this nation,” Biden said. 

Evelyn Padin is a Seton Hall Law Alumnus, Class of ’92, a former social worker, and a trustee of the Hispanic Bar Association. Additionally, she is a successful entrepreneur who runs her own family law and civil litigation practice in Jersey City.

Continuing a line of historic strides forward for women of color in government positions, Padin is the second Latina to be nominated to this esteemed bench since the Honorable Esther Salas, U.S.D.J., former HBA-NJ President, was nominated over a decade ago. In 2019, Padin also became the first Puerto Rican and Latina to be sworn in as NJSBA President in the history of the association, which dates back to 1888.  

In a press release, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) issued a statement congratulating Trustee and friend, Evelyn Padin, on her nomination to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.  

The President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, Tabatha L. Castro, had this to say about this momentous nomination:

“To hear that Evelyn Padin has been nominated for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey is a victory for our community. I have known Evelyn for many years, from being part of the Board of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey to President of the New Jersey State Bar Association and everything in between. She serves New Jersey with zeal, passion and integrity and will be a great asset to the District Court, which is why our JPAC Committee endorsed her. We will continue to promote and support the ascension of qualified Latino members of our community to the bench and other important leadership roles in New Jersey.”

Evelyn Padin

Evelyn Padin is the second Latina to be nominated to the esteemed position of U.S. District Court Judge in New Jersey. (Image Source)

Padin brings over 30 years of legal experience to her role, if confirmed. Throughout her career she has supported groups and organizations that empower underserved communities. She has been a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Family Law Executive Committee (since 2007), and she serves as Vice President and Founder of the Carevel Foundation, whose mission is to educate and empower underrepresented members in the community.

Over the years the Foundation has partnered with organizations such as NJ Women Rising, The Boys & Girls Club, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, and Autism Awareness of Jersey City. Most recently, fundraising efforts have focused on supporting victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. 

As a frequent lecturer, Padin has actively served as a speaker on behalf of the National Council of State Bar Presidents, the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education. She is also a former Trustee of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and previously served on the board of New Jersey Women Lawyers. 

For Latinas everywhere, Padin’s confirmation to the esteemed position of U.S. District Court Judge in New Jersey would signal a great step forward in the movement for greater diversity and representation in government. 

You might be interested: The strides toward diversity in politics continue in historic firsts for women of color 

women of color in politics

The strides toward diversity in politics continue in historic firsts for women of color

In recent years, we have seen a rise in women of color elected into office. This rise is a step forward for minority women in politics, who have historically been underrepresented in elected office. 

According to research from Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics (CAMP), “of the 144 women serving in the 117th U.S. Congress, 50, or 34.7%, are women of color. Women of color constitute 9.2% of the total 535 members of Congress. The record high for women of color serving in Congress was 52, set between January 3, 2021, and January 18, 2021.” 

Additionally, of the women serving in statewide elective executive offices, 19.1%, are women of color and women of color constitute 5.8% of the total 310 statewide elective executives. In positions of state legislators, women of color makeup 26.5% of the 2,290 women state legislators serving nationwide and constitute 8.2% of the total 7,383 state legislators.

Last year’s election saw a big, historic first for women of color, with Kamala Harris becoming the first woman of color, the first Black person, and the first South Asian person elected to the position of Vice President. 

Other firsts include Cori Bush, who won her general election race, making her the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress and Marilyn Strickland, who won her race in Washington’s 10th Congressional District Making her the first African American member of the Washington state delegation and the first African American from the Pacific Northwest in Congress. 

This year, the stride toward greater diversity continued with more historic firsts for women of color in politics. 

The historic firsts continue for women of color 

In Boston, Michelle Wu became the first woman and the first Asian American elected as the city’s mayor. Prior to Wu, Boston had only elected white, male leaders. Her win is a progressive step forward for diversity and representation in politics. 

women of color in politics,

Michelle Wu becomes first woman and Asian American mayor of Boston. (Image via Instagram)

In the city of Durham, N.C., another woman was elected as mayor in a historic first. In her victory speech, Elain O’Neal told supporters, “Together you have given me the honor and trust of being your next mayor — the first Black woman mayor of Durham. This is a dream that I never had, but it’s now my reality.”

New York City also saw Shahana Hanif become the first Muslim woman elected to City Council. 

“We deserve a city that protects its most vulnerable, a city that has equitable education, a city invested in climate solutions that are local and driven by communities, a city where our immigrant neighbors feel at home and heard and safe. This work requires all of us to keep showing up even though the election is over,” she said in a statement Tuesday. 

You might be interested: Alma and Colin Powell’s lasting American promise to the nation’s youth 

Finally, Republican Winsome Sears became the first woman elected to the office of lieutenant governor in Virginia. 

“It’s a historic night — yes, it is — but I didn’t run to make history. I just wanted to leave it better than I found it,” Sears said in a speech Wednesday morning. “I’m telling you that what you are looking at is the American Dream.”

Lucy Pinto, Grow With Google, Google Digital Coaches

Americas’ opportunity and disparity sparked the career of Google Digital Coaches Manager Lucy Pinto

Lucy Pinto is the Manager of the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which works to level the field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to resources needed to grow online. The program delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses and has trained over 80,000 businesses on digital tools to help them succeed.

Lucy Pinto

Lucy Pinto, Manager of the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program. (Photo courtesy Lucy Pinto)

Throughout Lucy’s 9 years with Google and prior, she has strived to create inclusive outcomes for communities who lack access to opportunities. This passion has guided her journey personally and professionally, stemming from her identity as a Peruvian immigrant who came to the U.S. at eight years old. 

“Coming from a low-income immigrant family living in the south, I was exposed very early on to a duality that perplexed me: this is a country of opportunity and disparity at the same time,” said Lucy. “I knew that if I wanted to help my community, I had to unapologetically go after opportunities then disseminate what I learn to others in my community who might not have the same access.” 

With this mission in mind, Lucy worked hard to attend college. She received her B.B.A. in Management and International Business from The University of Georgia in 2012–becoming the first in her family to graduate college. 

Before graduating, Lucy began her career at Google as an intern in 2011. Lucy highlights the importance of mentorship and development programs, such as the Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s Career Prep program, which helped prepare her to navigate Corporate America. 

While Lucy’s first role at Google was not related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, she made it a purpose to engage in this work outside of her core role at the time. She became active in various groups including Google’s Employee Resource Groups. From 2016-2018 Lucy served as the N.Y.C. Chapter Lead of HOLA –– the Hispanic Google Network — which is committed to representing the voice of the Latino community within and outside Google. 

Within a few years, Lucy attained a core role on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, enabling her to build a more equitable Google experience internally and externally. Now she works in Marketing where her work as Grow with Google’s Digital Coaches Manager focuses on amplifying Google’s best-in-class digital skills training to help Black and Latino business owners in the United States thrive. 

Additionally, Lucy has been the recipient of various awards for her work. In 2018, she was recognized as a Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility and recipient of the 2019 Negocios Now N.Y.C. Latinos 40 Under 40 award. On April 12, 2019, she was awarded a proclamation by the Westchester County Board of Legislators proclaiming April 12 as “Lucy Pinto Day” for her participation in the 100 Hispanic Women of Westchester Leadership Forum as well as her professional and community work. 

Lucy Pinto

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 13: Lucy Pinto speaks onstage during the PowHERful Benefit Gala on June 13, 2018 at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for PowHERful Foundation)

One career highlight that stands out for Lucy was managing the participation of hundreds of employees in volunteer initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide across 15 countries —such as South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Nigeria— which reached 135K people. 

“The activation in South Africa stood out to me because I was able to attend it in person and witness first-hand the impact of our work. We partnered with a local organization called MOOV and had about 50+ employees from the Black Googler Network connect with 250+ job seekers and entrepreneurs from Soweto,” said Lucy. 

Soweto residents face many systemic barriers deeply rooted in the country’s history with apartheid, and they often look to entrepreneurship to make a living for themselves and their families. The activation focused on delivering digital skills training to help job seekers build resumes and help business owners reach customers online.

“To me personally, this activation had some of the most heartfelt stories and testimonials that I’ve come across in my career.” 

Navigating obstacles in the workplace 

 As a Latina in the workplace, Lucy approaches matters through a multicultural lens. For many Latinas, this lens can be advantageous because it can help a company identify inclusion gaps in marketing or hiring, and help build innovative solutions that authentically reach diverse audiences. 

“Being a Latina in the workplace can give you a cultural intelligence edge. You’ll likely have a unique perspective on how to make products and programs more inclusive thanks to your own diverse and innovative lived experiences,” she says. 

Throughout her years of experience working in leadership roles and aiding entrepreneurs on their journeys, Lucy has also learned many important lessons and strategies for tackling career obstacles and challenges. While career development training is essential, there is nothing like hands-on experience. 

Lucy recalls a time in her career when she faced a challenge with a co-worker. Lucy received some critical feedback that misrepresented who she was as a professional, and miscommunication about the issue led to hurt feelings. 

“This peer didn’t give me the feedback directly but rather shared such with their manager, leaving me feeling betrayed, perplexed, and concerned about my career trajectory. I spoke in detail with my work mentors, including my manager, about the issue. I felt vulnerable and wanted to get validation from people who worked close to me,” Lucy recounts. 

Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google, Google Digital Coaches

“To work effectively and influence peers, be it management or leadership, communication is key,” says Google Digital Coaches Program Manager, Lucy Pinto. (Photo courtesy Lucy Pinto)

After speaking to her manager, he highlighted something she had never considered before: communication style differences. 

This perspective shed new light on the situation and how the misunderstanding had arisen. Communication styles are often shaped by one’s upbringing, culture, and current circumstances. Lucy describes herself as an analytical thinker who loves to reflect on ideas out loud and work through pros and cons on the spot. 

“This is my default way of brainstorming, much like my family and I did at the dinner table. After speaking with my manager, I realized that the issue’s root was the extreme difference in communication styles. I wasn’t acting how my coworker perceived, nor was my perception of my co-worker accurate. It was just that my co-worker and I spoke in different communication languages.”

Lucy thought she was simply analyzing her co-worker’s proposal and pressure testing it with questions. Her co-worker interpreted this as Lucy shutting down her ideas and being territorial with their collaborative project. 

After taking a communication style assessment to understand better where she and her co-worker’s styles fell on the range, they discovered they indeed had very different styles. They were able to use this assessment as a framework to guide their conversation and work through their differences, build rapport, and ultimately work effectively together.

“What I learned from this challenge was something super valuable to my career: to work effectively and influence peers, be it management or leadership, communication is key,” said Lucy. 

“Understanding your own communication style and how to stretch it to get your desired outcome is crucial. It doesn’t mean that you have to change your default communication style, but you do have to strike a balance, especially when you’re attempting to influence decision-making.”

Lucy Pinto

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 13: Soledad O’Brien (L) and Lucy Pinto speak onstage during the PowHERful Benefit Gala on June 13, 2018 at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for PowHERful Foundation)

Another lesson Lucy has learned and imparts to other entrepreneurs and career-driven women is remembering that the journey is not always linear or upward. 

“Your career might be full of twists, turns, lateral moves, and balancing out personal with professional. Find beauty and learn from this ‘chaos’ as it will equip you to have the breadth needed to be an effective thought leader.” 

Finally, make time to periodically check in with yourself on what success looks like to you as you progress in your career. You may find that your definition of success has changed over time, and that’s okay!

“Does your definition of success mean making it to a C-suite position, or do you feel more fulfilled by a constant change in scope regardless of title? It’s important to keep YOU at the center of it,” Lucy advises. “Don’t measure your success by the definition of others but rather by your own terms.”

You might be interested: Latinas are underrepresented in law, says attorney Anna María Tejada