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.  


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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Brittney Castro, woman in finance

How Latina entrepreneur Brittney Castro built a career on femininity in a male-dominated industry

Brittney Castro is a Certified Financial Planner and is a leading speaker, host, and brand ambassador who has worked alongside top brands like Chase, Mint, ETrade, CNBC, Gemini, AirBnB, Zoom, Altruist, Refinery29, and more to promote financial literacy. Today she shares her journey as a woman in finance and how she leveraged her femininity to build her career in a male-dominated industry. 

Hustling, role models, and growing a business

Brittney Castro, Certified Financial Planner, speaker, host, and brand ambassador. (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

At the age of 22, Brittney began her career as a financial advisor straight out of college and by 28 launched her own business, Financially Wise Inc. Over those 15 years, she worked with thousands of clients on their financial journeys. In 2020, she sold her private practice to focus full time on speaking, content creation, and brand partnerships. She now also offers coaching services to help other financial advisors do what she did and grow their businesses online through social media, get paid speaking sponsorships, and market in a modern way. 

“A lot of times people are very knowledgeable in the financial world, but they really just don’t know how to market or do video creation that educates and inspires people. So that is my sweet spot. I think that’s where I operate the best,” said Brittney during the March 25th virtual panel, Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America.

Speaking on her journey as an entrepreneur and where she is now, Brittney said she is excited to have reached where she is now, where she gets to do what she loves. 

“It wasn’t always that way, you know, we have to hustle to put in a lot of hours and time and do things we don’t necessarily love. So I’m very blessed and grateful to be here now.” 

Brittney shared the struggles she faced growing her business at a young age in a male-dominated industry. Being “real” she said candidly, “It’s not easy. I self-funded my business. I wish I would have been a little bit more creative in the beginning and maybe got some sort of loan but I didn’t.”

She had to figure out her own path forward and learned a lot from her experiences as a new entrepreneur. Now she tells people not to shy away from funding and “go get that money!” 

“You just have to kind of figure out, are you going to self fund? Are you going to get angel investors, or a small business loan? Every Avenue takes work effort, you’ll probably get denied. So you have to have that kind of persistence. Stay resilient. There’s so many creative resources, you just have to find the right one for you.”

“I don’t really think there’s a destination because I’m just working every day on making myself better.” (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

Another key lesson Brittney learned throughout her career is to embrace change and always be in “flow.” For Brittney, there is no end goal marker of success. She is constantly learning, growing, and evolving. 

“People would ask me years ago, ‘What does it feel like to have made it?’ And that’s a weird question to me because, yeah, you have success, and I think it’s very good to celebrate, I’m not saying not to embrace it and celebrate it. But I don’t really think there’s a destination because I’m just working every day on making myself better.”

Part of that growth mindset comes from mentors. Early on, as Brittney was first establishing her own company, she began to build her network and learn from others who were already doing what she wanted to do. 

“I would find women-focused events to go to, and I would just look at other women business owners, and I thought, ‘Okay, they, they’re doing it, I could do it too.’ But I also read a lot of books. I think that’s the power of mentorship, it doesn’t have to be physical in person, you can learn a lot from other people’s stories. And now we have YouTube or you know, social media, where you hear people’s inspiring stories through video.”

As Brittney read and connected with other women entrepreneurs, she was inspired and pushed forward along her own path. Those mentor figures really helped solidify the belief that she too could build her own business as a woman in finance. 

Watch the full panel below

Embracing femininity in a male-dominated industry

When Brittney began her career as a young woman in finance she faced pressures to change herself and downplay her feminine side. Navigating her space in this male-dominated industry was difficult as a 22 year old fresh out of college. 

“When I was just starting I would try to look like a man more. I would wear all black, I remember I’d put my hair so tight and a bun just so people would take me seriously. And it made me sick health wise, I was just always rundown and sick because I was trying to imitate someone else, instead of just being me, a woman in finance and leveraging my feminine power and strengths,” said Brittney. 

“Now I just think it’s so beautiful to be a woman in finance, like, do it my own way, create my business my own way.” (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

Eventually she learned to fully embrace her identity not just as a woman but also culturally as a Latina in the industry and leveraged her identity as her niche when she launched her first business. 

Her manager at her first firm criticized this move to market her business specifically toward women, stating that it would be “stupid” to miss out on half the population. 

Brittney, however, knew there was a market for financial services catered toward women. 

“Every woman I talked to doesn’t relate to the financial industry, and I’m in the financial industry, and I don’t relate to any of these things and how they talk about money. So I literally built my first you know, company, Financially Wise Women with the focus of helping women and it was like, almost girly, in a way the color palette. I would dress more like feminine. I was just more me basically.” 

You might be interested: Latina tech entrepreneur Paola Santana owns her CEO title in a male-dominated industry

After fully embracing her femininity and focusing on helping women in finance, Brittney’s confidence grew and the success started to come and finally she felt like she didn’t have to be anybody other than herself. 

“Now I just think it’s so beautiful to be a woman in finance, like, do it my own way, create my business my own way.” 

Brittney finds that staying true to herself and not worrying about competition has worked best for her in her career thus far and she encourages other women entrepreneurs and professionals to stay true to themselves and not worry about what others are doing. 

“I just put my filters on and put my head down and work, I don’t really pay attention to what a lot of the people are doing in the financial world. That always works well for me, you know, because then I’m happier. And it attracts the right things into my circle.”

Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose reminds young Latinas that dreams do come true with historic Oscar win

Ariana DeBose makes history as first openly queer, Afro-Latina actor to win an Oscar.

Yesterday’s 94th Academy Awards ceremony saw a major iconic first for Latinas. Following in the footsteps of the legendary Rita Moreno, Ariana DeBose won her first Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake.  

Rita Moreno won her Oscar in 1962 for the same role, becoming the first Latina woman to win an Oscar. Now, 60 years later, Ariana makes history as the first Afro-Latina to win the award. With Ariana’s win, the two actresses have also become part of the exclusive club of performers who have won Oscars for portraying the same character. 

Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose as Anita in West Side Story. (Photo via Anita DeBose on Instagram)

“Your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me. And I love you so much,” Ariana said to Rita Moreno in her speech last night. 

In her acceptance speech, Ariana also reminded young Latinas, DREAMers, and anyone who identifies with being different that dreams do come true and there is a place for everyone in America.

“You know what, now I see why Anita says, ‘I want to be in America,’ because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true. And that’s really a heartening thing right now,” she said.  

She thanked her mom and family for helping her and supporting her on her journey. Reflecting back on her childhood and how far she has come Ariana said, 

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus. When you look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina, who found her strength in life through art. And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate.” 

“So to anybody who’s ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us,” she added.

The Oscars also saw another historic first for Latinas when Disney’s Encanto won Best Animated Feature. With this win, producer Yvett Merino became the first Latina to be nominated and win in the category. 

“I am so proud to be a part of a film that puts beautiful diverse characters front and center,” she said in her speech, “and that people everywhere are seeing themselves in the film.”

Historic wins like these will continue to pave the way for future Latinas and women of color, just as Rita Moreno’s win paved the way for Ariana DeBose.

As more diverse representation in media becomes mainstream, young girls and women will see themselves and their stories reflected back. Seeing other Latinas and women of color succeeding will show them that their dreams can come true too and that achieving success is possible. 

Full Speakers’ Lineup for Latinas & Success at the 4th National Conversation with Latina Leaders

Latinas in Business Inc. announces full speakers’ lineup for the 4th National Conversation with Latina Leaders titled, “Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America.”

The event, sponsored by Valley Bank Women in Business and Investors Bank, will explore if the American Dream is still possible for Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, with national speakers and influencers sharing the obstacles and barriers they overcame to get to the top.

The virtual event will be held on Friday, March 25 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST – 9:00 am to 11:00 am PST on Zoom and will be live-streamed on Facebook. For free registration to this event visit https://latinas-success.eventbrite.com. The event is open to all regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity. 

National Conversation with Latina Leaders

First Panel: Latinas & Success: How to Overcome Being a Latina, a Woman and [an Immigrant] to Achieve Success to discuss the struggles female founders have to endure to achieve success. Speakers include actor Sandy Tejada and Carmen Mercedes Baez (Chef Yala). The panel moderator is Dr. Ginny A. Baro, Author, Coach and Founder of Executive Bound. 

Second Panel: Latinas in Male-Dominated Industries: Who’s the Boss? Male-dominated industries and occupations are particularly vulnerable to reinforcing harmful stereotypes and creating unfavorable environments that make it even more difficult for women to excel. Rosario B. Casas, Co-founder of VR Americas and Brooklyn2Bogota moderates this panel with Paola Santana, Founder and CEO of Social Glass, and Brittney Castro, Brand Ambassador and Founder of Financially Wise Inc. 

Third Panel: Funding Strategies to Achieve your Dream Business – Grants, Angel Investors, and Venture Capital, female founders discuss how they help other women-owned businesses access funding in a formerly male-dominated field. Speakers include Monika Mantilla, Co-founder of Altura Capital and Small Business Community Capital; Betty Francisco, CEO of the Boston Impact Initiative; and Susana Marino, Founder and President of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Maria del Pilar Avila, Founder and CEO of Interductus | Renovad will be moderating the panel.

Susana G Baumann, President, and CEO of Latinas in Business Inc said, “As Latina entrepreneurs, many of us have had unique hurdles we had to overcome in order to live out the American dream that so many aspire. We cannot stop fighting to help others overcome issues affecting Latina business owners today, and most importantly, achieve the success they deserve.”

Join Latinas in Business in bringing real solutions to America’s backbone, small businesses, and especially minority women and Latina-owned businesses, their talent, innovation, and their constant sense of purpose to support their communities. 

For registration please visit: https://latinas-success.eventbrite.com

The immortal – and false – myth of the workplace Queen Bee

Isabel Fernandez-Mateo, Professor of Strategy and entrepreneurship at London Business School and Sarah Kaplan, Professor of Strategic Management at University of Toronto share their findings on the unfair biases women leaders face and the myth of “Queen Bees” in the workplace.

Cat fights, mean girls, Queen Bees.

We’ve all heard these terms stemming from a popular belief that women don’t help other women, or indeed actively undermine them.

Women leaders are often portrayed in popular culture as suffering from Queen Bee Syndrome (think Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada). The media is filled with advice about “what to do if you work for a Queen Bee.”

But what if the Queen Bee isn’t real? Or at least she’s sorely misunderstood?

Gendered differences in expectations make us see Queen Bees when they aren’t really there.

Looking across a wide range of studies, there is no evidence that senior women are less helpful (or more harmful) to junior women than senior men are to junior men. Studies find little evidence that women are more competitive towards other women than men are towards other men. And women and men do not differ in their use of aggression. Indeed, having a female manager is, with few exceptions, either positive or neutral on women’s rates of promotions and wages.

The Queen Bee myth has more to do with how companies are structured than it does with women actually undermining one another at work. (Photo created by freepik)

Women expected to be helpful, warm

So why do people believe that Queen Bees are so prevalent? The answer has to do with our expectations of leaders. Because women are expected to be helpful and warm, people perceive women who take on leadership roles more negatively. So even if women leaders aren’t behaving any differently than men, they will be seen as unsupportive because of the double standards women face.

Demanding male managers are seen as strong leaders, while women don’t get the same credit. And when conflicts arise at work, as they often do, clashes between two women are seen as much more problematic by others in the organization than those between men.

It’s assumed that women should align themselves with other women no matter what. As former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright said: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

In corporations, we expect senior women to take on responsibilities for championing other women in management, heading up women’s leadership committees and, in general, doing the organization’s heavy lifting when it comes to increasing diversity.

This is, however, a lot of extra (and undervalued) work that is not expected of their male peers. If a woman chooses not to take on these roles, she may be labelled a Queen Bee, while men who don’t do diversity work are not.

Marginalization is the culprit

If women do behave like Queen Bees sometimes, why is that?

Sometimes we observe that women don’t advocate for other women in their organizations. Experimental evidence shows that this is not about being a prima donna, but instead a product of what scholars call “value threat.”

Value threats occur when there are negative stereotypes of women in highly masculinized workplaces. Women who do manage to “make it” must constantly fight these negative stereotypes in order to hold onto their own positions in the organization. Their concern about whether they are valued at work may shape their willingness to assist other women. Women might not support other women if there is any question about these women’s qualifications, because they don’t want to do anything that might fuel the negative stereotypes.

women in the workplace

Women may be more willing to help other women if they have confidence in their qualifications and skills, particularly in a highly masculinized workplace. (Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels)

In this context, there are often few opportunities open to women — “implicit quotas” that limit chances for leadership roles. One study of 1,500 firms showed that once a company appointed a woman to a top leadership role, the chance that a second woman would join the leadership ranks dropped by 50 per cent.

Another study of corporate boards showed companies seemed to be gaming the system: appointing two — but no more than two — women to their boards, a phenomenon the researchers called “twokenism.”

As a result, women may not support other highly qualified women because they know they’ll be competing for the same small number of opportunities. Our conclusion: being a Queen Bee is not an intrinsically female behaviour but instead a reaction to marginalization.

Again, it’s the context that matters. In studies of networks inside organizations, women were more likely than men to cite a woman as a source of difficult work relationships, but this propensity was lower for women with more women in their social support network. Similarly, an experiment with women police officers found that women who identified closely with their gender actually responded to gender bias with increased motivation to help other women, while those who were less gender-identified were more likely to exhibit Queen Bee responses.

Women may be seen as Queen Bees when in fact the organizational context is the origin of the behaviour. When organizations are not inclusive, women are more likely to experience value threat and therefore more likely to avoid supporting other women.

You might be interested: Gender washing: seven kinds of marketing hypocrisy about empowering women

No male equivalent to Queen Bee

Beyond the evidence against the Queen Bee myth, the mere existence of the term is part of the problem. If men are as likely to be competitive with other men as women are with other women, then gendered terms such as Queen Bee are sexist.

In this regard, language matters. Calling women Queen Bees is its own form of devaluation, with its impact on the denigration and marginalization of women in leadership.

At a time when corporations are struggling to address gender gaps at all levels, killing off stereotyped myths such as the Queen Bee Syndrome is essential.

The Queen Bee is dead! Long live women leaders!The Conversation

Isabel Fernandez-Mateo, Adecco Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School and Sarah Kaplan, Professor, Strategic Management, Rotman School of Management; Director, Institute for Gender and the Economy, University of Toronto

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

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 its 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 that 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 that 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.


Evelyn Padin

Image Source: NewJerseyStateBarAssociation on Youtube

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.