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Latina Leaders Awards,

12 Latina Leaders to be honored at the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards – Twelve inspiring and influential Latina Leaders will be honored at the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit in a hybrid awards ceremony streaming Live from New York City, June 10th at 6:00 PM EDT. 

Latina Leaders Awards,

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards – 12 inspiring Latina Leaders to be honored at the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit.

With THRIVE! as our motto this year, the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit (#2021 WEES) will center on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights that will propel business owners and entrepreneurs  forward to THRIVE in the “new normal.” 

The event will feature inspiring guest speakers, various panels with industry leaders, and deep-dive workshops, as well as our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions and post-panel discussion forums.

The hybrid event takes place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm in a Virtual Space, followed by the Latina Leaders Awards ceremony from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus (by invitation only).

Register now at https://2021wees.eventbrite.com/

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders’ Awards 

This year, we are honoring 12 Latina Leaders from the past year who have been inspirations to us all as entrepreneurs, business owners, and career driven women. Read on to learn a little bit about these influential leaders and check out their full stories here on Latinas in Business!

Alicia Puig, Latina Leader

Leader of May: Alicia Puig

Alicia Puig is the CEO and co-founder of the digital art gallery PxP Contemporary, Director of Business Operations for Create! Magazine, an arts writer, co-author of the book The Complete Smartist Guide, and a regular guest host of The Create! Podcast. She has worked in the arts industry for over ten years both in the US and abroad. Alicia and co-founder, Ekaterina Popova, created PxP Contemporary as a fully digital art gallery and platform that connects collectors with high-quality, affordable artworks. The idea behind PxP was to create a platform that challenges the traditional art gallery model and make the process of buying art a more accessible, digital-friendly experience for both artists and art-lovers. 

Albania Rosario, Latina Leaders Awards

Leader of June: Albania Rosario 

Albania Rosario is the CEO and founder of Fashion Designers of Latin America (FDLA), entrepreneur, and Latinas in Business Executive Board Member. Through FDLA, Albania has brought Latin American designers to the world stage at New York Fashion Week and around the world. In 2020, Albania inspired innovation when FDLA went virtual for the first time for New York Fashion Week in a dynamic digital show that blended streaming and interactive media for a unique digital experience. The same year, Albania launched the fundraising project, “Las Caras Detrás De La Moda En Latino América,” which shined a spotlight on the stories of artists and designers during the pandemic. 

Leader of July: Veronica Sosa

Veronica Sosa is an award-winning International Speaker, Relational Capital Expert, author and entrepreneur. She is a mother, mentor, coach, and publisher and founder of Business Fit International, Business Fit Magazine, and SHE (Seminar and Society for Hispanic Entrepreneurs). Through her various ventures, Veronica is working to help lead Hispanic women entrepreneurs on their professional journeys toward greatness and success. SHE is the first community of its kind in central Europe that brings together like-minded Hispanic women and offers resources, community, mentorship, and special events that help women build their skills as entrepreneurs and business owners and achieve their dreams. 

Jessica K Asencio

Leader of August: Jessica Asencio 

We celebrate the life of Jessica Asencio, who was a Diversity & Inclusion leader at JPMorgan Chase where she was recognized as a Diversity Champion. Jessica was also the founder of the Latino Networks Coalition (LNC). Born in Ecuador and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, Jessica dedicated her life to supporting Latino-Hispanic causes and uplifting their voices in the workplace. Jessica is remembered by friends, family, and colleagues as an extraordinary and passionate leader who left a lasting impact on everyone she met, and a leader who led by example with optimism, strength, devotion, and focus. She is greatly missed but never forgotten. 

Leader of September: Beth Marmolejos

Beth Marmolejos is a business leader, activist, and advocate who strives toward serving as a champion for change daily in both her personal and professional life. Beth serves on numerous boards that support and serve women and minority communities. Some of her positions include  Madame Chair of the Passaic County Workforce Investment Board, Chair of the Passaic County Advocacy and Abilities Committee and Diversity & Inclusion Chair of the American Association of University Women – Greater Wayne Area, and President of the New Jersey Prospanica Chapter, formerly known as The National Society of Hispanics MBAs. She also currently serves as Latinas in Business’ Programs and Events Coordinator & Vice President. 

Leader of October: Maria Elena Salinas

Maria Elena Salinas is an award-winning journalist, news anchor, and author. Called the “Voice of Hispanic America” by The New York Times, Salinas is one of the most recognized Hispanic female journalists in the United States. In a career that spans nearly four decades, Salinas has interviewed world leaders and covered virtually every major national and international news event of our time. Her work has earned the top awards presented in broadcasting, including multiple Emmys, a Peabody, Gracie Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism. 

Leader of November: Maria Piastre

Maria Piastre is the President of Metallix Refining Inc. Maria came to Metallix Refining in 2006 and soon rose through the ranks in the company and in 2017, after only 12 years working in the male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre  was appointed company President, a surprising yet humbling experience. As President, Maria brings to the position a new generation of values that transcends gender and instead is based in learning and reward based on individual merit. Her story is an inspiration to Latinas everywhere that there are no limits to what we can achieve. 

Leader of December: Mariela Dabbah

Mariela Dabbah is the founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement (RSM), a TEDx and International speaker, award-winning, best-selling author and go-to corporate authority for Fortune 500 companies interested in inclusive cultures. Through the Red Shoe Movement, Mariela champions for gender equality and inclusion in the workplace with efforts such as the popular awareness campaign known as Red Shoe Tuesday, which invites everyone to wear their red shoes and ties to work every Tuesday to show support for women’s career advancement and success. 

Leader of January: Claudia Vazquez 

Claudia Vazquez is a bilingual and bicultural Latina Leader with over 20 years experience in the insurance and benefits industry. In her work she is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, education, and uplifting the voices of women and Hispanics in the marketplace. Currently he 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. 

Leader of February: Maria Elena Noel-Vaeza

Maria Elena Noel-Vaeza 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. 

Damaris Diaz, Latina Leaders Awards

Leader of March: Damaris Diaz 

Damaris Diaz is an accomplished multicultural and bi-lingual Marketing Media Professional, broadcast correspondent, and TV personality. She appears on Univision’s national morning show, Despierta America, where she focuses on entertainment, promotional movie features, fitness, and unique human interest stories. 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 Small Business Champion Award 

resources for women, Wendy Garcia, Latina Leaders Awards

Wendy Garcia

Wendy Garcia is a skilled leader and champion for small businesses. Currently she serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of the New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. As Chief Diversity Officer, Wendy Garcia is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and managing the Comptroller Office’s internal supplier diversity initiative, as well as other diversity related projects across all bureaus of the agency. Wendy also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group of national, local, corporate, and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors. 

2021 WEES

Don’t miss out on this must-attend event for all entrepreneurs, business owners, and career driven professionals. Register Today!

Vogue Senior Editor Latin America Jose Forteza and Univision Correspondent Daneida Polanco to support THRIVE! 2021 WEES

Condé Nast Senior Editor for Mexico and Latin America for Vogue, GQ and AD, Jose Forteza, will sit one-on-one with Fashion Designers of Latin America’s founder Albania Rosario while Univision Entertainment Correspondent Daneida Polanco will be the MC at the third annual Latinas in Business Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit.

Jose Forteza, Albania Rosario, 2021 WEES

Vogue Senior Editor Latin America, Jose Forteza and Fashion Designers of Latin America’s founder, Albania Rosario, to sit in Fire-Side Chat at 2021 WEES.

Celebrities are stepping up to support Latinas and minority women entrepreneurs at the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit (2021 WEES), a unique virtual conference that takes place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm. 

Condé Nast Senior Editor for Mexico and Latin America Jose Forteza (Vogue, AD and GQ) and Univision Entertainment Correspondent Daneida Polanco will participate at the upcoming event to help promote the mission of Latinas in Business Inc.  Registration is now open at https://2021wees.eventbrite.com/.

Born in Havana of Spanish and Cuban descent, José Forteza has lived in Europe, Dominican Republic and the United States. Currently, Forteza is the Senior Editor of Condé Nast (Vogue, GQ and AD) for Mexico and Latin America, and has been in Condé Nast Publications for more than 20 years.

The fascinating creator has explored every aspect of the arts including dance, music and publishing. He is a TV writer, producer and radio host. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award and is a Producer Grammy Award winner.

Daneida Polanco

Univision Entertainment Correspondent, Daneida Polanco. (Photo courtesy Daneida Polanco)

“I expect this Fireside to bring some light on a difficult topic in the Fashion and Luxury industries, which is the lack of real inclusion of minority women not only as protagonists but also as a huge and upcoming market. With some exceptions, women of color are still largely invisible in mainstream media,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

Daneida Polanco is currently the New York correspondent for “Primer Impacto”, Univision Network, one of the most popular TV shows for the Hispanic Market worldwide. Born in San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic. This dashing Latina arrived in the United States when she was 18 years old and soon began studying Mass Media Arts at the Bronx Community College in New York. She continued to work her way up to become one of the most thought-after Spanish television correspondents. 

Baumann continued…“Latinas and other women entrepreneurs are a striking force in the US economy; and a powerful market that spends 9 times in beauty and hair products than their white counterparts. They cannot be left behind. We are grateful to leaders like Jose Forteza and Daneida Polanco who are supporting our mission to keep women entrepreneurs not only surviving but also thriving during the difficult pandemic economic transition,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

You might be interested: THRIVE! What to expect from deep-dive workshops at 2021 WEES

2021 WEES, Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit,

Register Now for this must-attend event

U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Alice Rodriguez confirmed as 2021 WEES Keynote Speaker

U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Alice Rodriguez to be Keynote Speaker at the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit, speaking alongside other National Leaders to support Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs. 

Alice Rodriguez, 2021 WEES

U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Alice Rodriguez confirmed as 2021WEES Keynote Speaker.

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) Chairwoman Alice Rodriguez has been confirmed as Keynote Speaker for the virtual Latinas in Business 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit (2021 WEES), a unique conference that year after year gathers successful Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs to Learn. Connect. Succeed!  

With THRIVE! as our motto this year, the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Summit (#2021 WEES) will center on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights that will propel them forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will feature inspiring guest speakers, various panels with industry leaders, and deep-dive workshops, as well as our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions and post-panel discussion forums.

The hybrid event takes place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm in a Virtual Space, followed by the Latina Leaders Awards ceremony from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus (by invitation only).

Register now at https://2021wees.eventbrite.com/. 

2021 WEES Keynote speaker Alice Rodriguez

2021 WEES Keynote Speaker, Alice Rodriguez, Managing Director, Head of JPMC Community Impact
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Alice Rodriguez has over 30 years of extensive banking experience with JPMorgan Chase and its predecessors.  She has held executive positions in Business Banking, Consumer Banking and Wealth Management.  Her most current role is Head of JPMC Community Impact Organization. She provides strategic counsel and serves an integral leadership role in community engagement initiatives and localization strategy.  In this capacity, Alice collaborates with Corporate Responsibility to bring together the best of business, philanthropy and policy efforts to drive inclusive economic growth.    Alice leads the Community Impact team that is driving the firm’s a $30B commitment to advancing racial equity. 

A trailblazer in her field, Alice has a natural tenacity, tempered with a steadied approach in both life and business. In a career spanning three decades, she has put people and purpose first, supporting community efforts beyond her corporate responsibilities. A lifelong commitment to minority-driven causes has earned her numerous board appointments and accolades including her current role as Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Don’t miss our inspiring panels with industry leaders, deep-dive workshops, and more!

Other National Leaders that have been confirmed to support the event are Thomas Savino, CEO, National Prospanica; Damian Rivera, CEO, ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America); and Ron Gonzales, President and CEO, Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. They will be sharing ideas on “Enlisting Men’s Support to Expand and Grow your Network.” 

Three successful women entrepreneurs will also be sharing their experiences about “Turning Adversity into Success,” a common path they have traveled, although in different industries. They are Maria Piastre, President, Metallix Refining; Marvina Robinson, founder, Stuyvesant Champagne; and Jessie Gabriel, founder, All-Places. 

“The support from leaders of this caliber show us that Latinas and other women entrepreneurs are a striking force in the US economy, and they cannot be left behind. Organizations and leaders around the country need to work together to keep them not only surviving but also thriving during the difficult pandemic economic transition,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

You might be interested2021 WEES Speaker Jessie Gabriel: How she became the go-to legal firm for women

During the Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony, Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer, NYC Office of the Comptroller Scott Stringer will receive the 2021 Small Business Champion Award. The LIVE segment will be broadcasted to all virtual audiences from Berkeley College in NYC. 

2021 WEES

Register now for this must-attend event! 

Jessie Gabriel, 2021 WEES, All Places

2021 WEES Speaker Jessie Gabriel: How she became the go-to legal firm for women

Jessie Gabriel is the CEO and Founder of All Places, a business and legal strategy firm built by women, for women. Jessie founded All Places after feeling unhappy and underappreciated at her previous firm. Jessie’s story is an inspiration to all women who have big dreams and are ready to take charge of their careers that anything is possible when you put your plans into action.

THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success

The 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit motto is THRIVE! with our panels and workshops focusing on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners and give them the tools and insights to propel forward and thrive post-COVID19. 

Our women’s panel,THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success”, will feature guest speakers: Jessie Gabriel, Maria Piastre, and Marvina Robinson as they share insights learned on their journey to success while fighting the odds of being a woman and reinventing themselves during the pandemic. Below, Jessie shares her story with Latinas in Business of how she found success in the male-dominated business and legal industry and became the go-to firm for women. 

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made”

Jessie Gabriel is the founder of All Places and a champion for women, advocating for gender equality in capital ownership and control. Raised by a single working mother in Southern California, Jessie’s success came with a deep appreciation of how gender norms and unequal access to capital contribute to a systemic lack of opportunities for women-identifying entrepreneurs and executives.

Jessie began her career in economics after receiving her B.A. in economics from Dartmouth College. She then earned her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif, won the Campbell Moot Court Competition, and served as Executive Editor of the Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Jessie Gabriel, All Places

Jessie Gabriel, CEO and Founder of All Places. (Photo courtesy Jessie Gabriel)

Throughout her career as a lawyer, Jessie worked at some of the country’s most prestigious firms and served clients from Fortune 10 companies to trailblazing pre-seed startups. However, like many women in male-dominated industries such as law, finance, and science, Jessie found that the further she rose within her organization the more marginalized she felt. 

“Even though I was an equity partner and ran my own practice team, I did not have any control over firm culture, who I worked with, or even my own compensation. And I did not agree with many of the decisions being made by the people who did have control over those things,” says Jessie. “But it was not until a number of my female clients and other women in the asset management community suggested I start my own firm that I seriously considered it. It was at a dinner in July of 2019 that the suggestion was made and I launched All Places in October of 2020.”

Jessie founded All Places with the dream of becoming the go-to firm for women. It was built specifically with women in mind, with its name coming from a famous quote by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” 

All Places, go-to legal firm for women

Jessie founded All Places as a business and legal firm by women, for women. (Photo courtesy Jessie Gabriel)

“Our mission is to support women founders (and women asset managers in particular) along their entrepreneurial journey, doing our part to help them achieve remarkable growth and market power,” says Jessie. “The most direct line to those positions is building and controlling wealth, and the most direct line to wealth creation is ownership.” 

Developing her vision 

Jessie vision for All Places began building slowly over time, before she ever really thought it would become a reality. 

“For a period of time at my last firm, I led the Women’s Committee. I remember sitting at an event that we were hosting and one of the panelists was asked what you should do if you are unhappy with your firm’s culture but have been unable to change it. She responded that, in that case, you should leave. At the time, it seemed like a drastic and impractical option,” says Jessie. “I had never considered myself an entrepreneur, and having been raised by a single mother where money was always an issue, financial security held a lot of sway over me.” 

However, as she advanced in her career she found herself continually reminded of how little her organization valued her. Her suggestions were quickly rejected. Her salary demands were dismissed. And she was met with more lip service in place of money and power. 

So, she began to plan. 

“I planned, planned, planned. I worked for years to develop key client relationships and save money, and then spent time really developing my vision for a new style of law firm where women would be the focus.”

Jessie’s ultimate dream was to eventually become the go-to firm for women, something that seemed impossible at the time. 

“Six months after launching All Places, a woman in our community was making an introduction for me. As she was describing me in the email, she wrote, ‘There is rarely a call I have with another female fund manager where Jessie’s name doesn’t come up.’ Even now as I write that, I am floored. What seemed impossible was possible–I was now at a firm that was that go-to firm . . . I just had to create it!   

“Being a woman has certainly shaped my path” 

Jessie’s experiences as a woman in a male-dominated field were a crucial component and motivating factor in the creation of All Places. 

Jessie Gabriel, All Places

“Many of our clients come to All Places because they connect with our message.” (Photo courtesy Jessie Gabriel)

“Being a woman has certainly shaped my path,” she says. “Many of our clients come to All Places because they connect with our message. They have often had bad experiences with traditional law firms, and have had bad experiences within their own career paths. We can commiserate on the lack of belonging we have experienced professionally, and in our intense desire to see ourselves and other women achieve breathtaking success. It is that shared experience and empathy that drives deeply effective partnerships.” 

This is a feeling that binds women entrepreneurs together and many women can probably relate to Jessie’s experiences, especially if you too are in a male-dominated industry. For women who find themselves wishing to start their own venture or make a change in their careers, Jessie says, “Start talking about. You know so many people who will want to help you, but they can’t do it unless you tell them what you want to do and what help you need to succeed. It’s terrifying at first, but you’ll get over it.” 

You might be interested: 2021 WEES Speaker Maria Piastre: A Latina leader excels in a male-dominated industry 

2021 WEES

If you’re looking for the inspiration and motivation to THRIVE! and make your career dreams come true, you won’t want to miss the 2021 Women’s Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit. 

Register now to hear more from Jessie Gabriel and other inspiring speakers, participate in deep-dive workshops that will give you the tools to grow your business, and also participate in our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions!

2021 WEES Speaker Maria Piastre: A Latina leader excels in a male-dominated industry 

In 2017, after only 12 years working in this male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre was appointed Metallix Refining Inc. President. Ambition had always been a driving force fueled by a passion for the industry, but never did she imagine to be made President.

The 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit motto is THRIVE! with our panels and workshops focusing on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners and give them the tools and insights to propel forward and thrive post-COVID19. 

Our women’s panel,THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success”, will feature guest speakers: Maria Piastre, Marvina Robinson, and Jessie Gabriel as they share insights learned on their journey to success while fighting the odds of being a woman and reinventing themselves during the pandemic. Below, Maria shares her story with us of how she rose through the ranks and excelled in a male-dominated industry as a Latina, eventually becoming company CE

 

“The leap of faith never fails”

Maria Piastre was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. She came to the USA in 2000, the start of a new millennium, one that would unveil marriage, a young family, graduation, and professional achievements in business. 

woman in a male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre

Maria Piastre, President of Metallix Refining Inc.

As her career path was still uncharted, Maria’s tenacity for success and recognition would prove to be her armor against the many inequalities she would encounter. Later these inequalities would form the foundation for future campaigns.

Maria graduated from Kean University in 2004 with a degree in Economics thanks to the unconditional support of her family.  She then entered the world of business and commerce. Over the next two years, the motivated Latina immigrant excelled in business management, marketing strategy, aesthetic value, with an aptitude for communication at all levels. 

With the end of 2005 insight, Maria reflected on both her achievements and looked towards new challenges that would be more aligned with her goals and those of the organization she would represent. This new chapter of discovery would lead Maria to Metallix and a career in the male-dominated industry of precious metals where her future would soon unfold and be a platform for success.

“Facing new challenges can often be very daunting and come with their own set of risks but taken intelligently, they will open doors to countless possibilities where the rewards can be high,” Maria asserts. 

And she continues, “The leap of faith never fails because you learn something valuable about your decision and the events in your life, bringing growth and confidence.  Survival makes you strong and it is an understanding of failure that makes you realize this is not the end of the line, but just the beginning of a new chapter.” 

Achieving success as a woman in a male-dominated industry

In 2006 Metallix Refining Inc., a precious metals recycling company in New Jersey, announced they were recruiting for an inside sales position to cover Latin America. 

Maria, a native Spanish speaker, fluent in English with a background in sales and marketing, applied for the opening and received an interview offer from Eric Leiner, owner and then President.

For any profession, being prepared for whatever situation you face is crucial; it is a professional obligation to your colleagues and suppliers to answer their questions fully and present them with the best, most relevant, and actionable recommendation.

Maria applied the same professional approach to the Metallix interview. Reading precious metals and refining trade magazines, researching product supply to the industry from gold-plated connectors to solar industry production, all of which made for credibility and confidence during the interview process and responses.

woman in a male-dominated industry

Maria during her tour of Asia meeting with our Technical Director Claudio Ferrini and the General Manager of Metallix Refining Asia Mr. SB Sangbae Kim. (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

There is always a voice of doubt and moments of anxiousness when you want something which is almost in touching distance, and for Maria, this was no exception. 

However, instead of a second interview, she received a job offer. The strategy had worked, and Eric Leiner was thrilled when Maria accepted.

The best place to work is the place you can be at your best and this was true for Maria.  Maria started to learn the business and soon fell in love with her job and became fascinated by the industry. 

With increasing industry knowledge and eagerness to grow within the company, Maria assumed additional responsibility bringing in new business, developing good relationships with industry partners and leading the way for improvements within Metallix.

In 2007, following the birth of her second son, Maria took a short career break from Metallix.  In a competitive and male-dominated industry time away can often result in missing significant opportunities.  “The progressive mindset of Metallix and their appreciation for my professional achievements and value to the company, secured my time away from the industry – a luxury many working mothers do not enjoy. I will always be grateful for such important consideration to my family,” Maria explained.   

Upon her return, she continued to achieve recognition within Metallix, taking on significant responsibilities assigned by Lerner.  

“The only limits are those you set yourself”

In 2017, after only 12 years working in this male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre  was appointed company President.  Ambition had always been a driving force fueled by a passion for the industry, but never did she imagine to be made President. This was both a pleasant shock and honor. 

woman in a male-dominated industry

Maria interacts with every member of the Metallix Team, making an effort to engage with every employee on her many frequent visits to the Refinery. (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

The sense of humility that Maria brings to the position transcends not just gender but embraces a new generation of values, of learning and reward based on individual merit, with the only limits being those you set yourself.

“As an immigrant to the US, I know only too well the challenges we all will encounter, especially for minority groups. The road will not always be smooth, and regardless of your cultural background, you should believe in yourself, your self-worth, your ability to succeed and that your qualities will always shine through to achieve rewards,” Maria advises Latinas in Business readers. This ethos is ingrained in Maria’s leadership.

One of the most important responsibilities as President was to establish a vision, a long-term mission with short-term objectives.  These will ultimately determine the expectations for the company’s culture and core values that will lead Metallix at multiple levels ensuring alignment throughout. Equally, recruiting talent and nurturing Executive growth for succession planning is key to building sustainability and industry expertise.  

Now guardian of a prestigious and respected precious metals recycling company, with locations in New Jersey, Greenville, and Maxton, North Carolina, the pattern of reinvestment and growth is set to continue. 

In 2019 the company embarked on a significant expansion program establishing Metallix Refining Asia Ltd in South Korean and Metallix Refining Europe Ltd based in the UK. 

These two new facilities secured the recruitment of the industry’s most experienced and respected personnel, opening up new and untapped revenue sources to add to the diverse industries already served by Metallix.

You might be interested: Martial Arts Sensen Marieangelic Martinez defeats industry stigma and work-life balance

Evolving with the times

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Maria has witnessed and experienced many changes over the last 12 years and has been influential to many changes herself. Through Maria’s values, Metallix is a multicultural employer with promotions based on ability, not gender, and an environment where there is no place for discrimination or bullying. 

As 2020 has seen the impact of COVID-19 on businesses globally, Metallix has been no exception. 

Maria at the Precious Metals Refining meeting the Metallix Trucks arriving back to the Refinery (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

“Business models once tried and tested no longer applied, and the way to survive and grow in this new economic market would be through technology, Maria said.”Metallix has always made a significant investment in equipment and applied sciences resulting in the Metallix Precious Metals Refinery becoming a world-class facility. We now needed to apply the same approach to sales and communication,” Maria explained. 

In addition to travel and face-to-face meetings no longer possible, video conferencing and social media platforms have been tools in which to maintain stability in the supply chain.  Metallix has an experienced team of buyers providing materials management guidance and support, managing social risks to protect our employees, suppliers, and the community. 

Under Maria’s leadership, Metallix Refining Inc. strives to provide exceptional customer service with world-class facilities that continue to achieve excellence for our customers.

2021 WEES

THRIVE! What to expect from deep-dive workshops at 2021 WEES

Don’t miss out on these fantastic deep-dive workshops and our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions at the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit!

2021 WEES, deep-dive workshops

Register for the 2021 WEES to participate in deep-dive workshops in three key areas: Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation.

This year’s 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit theme is, “THRIVE! Imperatives Shaping the Future of Women Entrepreneurs.” The theme is reflective of the changes and trends generated by the COVID19 pandemic and the event will bring together corporations, minority women entrepreneurs, and students to take advantage of tools and insights that will propel YOU forward to THRIVE in the “new normal.” 

This must-attend hybrid event will feature a variety of deep-dive workshops in three key areas: Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation. Then, after each workshop session, take part in our signature Peer-to-Peer Networking Sessions, where you will have the opportunity to engage with the Workshop Facilitators and share your own best practices in a collaborative group learning discussion. 

2021 WEES

Register Now to save your spot so you too can gain the tools to THRIVE! 

Join us for our Deep Dive Workshops! 

Are you ready to THRIVE? Make the jump to a better you by joining us for our deep-dive workshop sessions. Choose your path from PERSONAL POWER, FINANCIAL WELLNESS, and BUSINESS INNOVATION. 

SESSION 1 Workshops

PERSONAL POWER – Taking Care of Your Inner Self: The Road to Resilience (2:00 PM – 2:30 PM) 

How to harness your potential by learning how to manage stress, personal care, and relationships. These insights will help you empower your business, career, and life beyond the pandemic.

 

Jennifer Garcia, Interim CEO at Latino Business Action (LBAN)

FINANCIAL WELLNESS – Getting to Series A: Advancing your Business to the Next Stage of Growth (2:00 PM – 2:30 PM)

You may have launched your business with seed capital, which was invested by friends, family, or your own savings. Now it’s time to attract investors for the next stage of growth. Learn what Series A can do for your business, if it’s right for you and how to go about securing this crucial funding for your next stage of growth.

Speaker: Jennifer Garcia, Iterim CEO, LBAN

BUSINESS INNOVATION – Sustainability and Digital Transformation: Upgrading your Tech to Optimize your Business Performance (2:00 PM – 2:30 PM)

Google is not just a brand; it is a verb! Have you tried to “Google” your business?” Have you ever wondered how potential customers can find your business online but never dared to try?

In this workshop, you will learn how Google Search works and how you can improve your website’s visibility with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The session also introduces products like Google My Business, Google Trends, Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Ads, and more.

You might be interested: 2021 WEES: Announcing THRIVE! Men’s panel speakers 

SESSION 2 Workshops

Speaker: Dr Ginny A. Baro, PhD, Executive Bound, Author, Healing Leadership

PERSONAL POWER – The Sandwich Generation: Thrive while Homeschooling, Caregiving and Running a Business (4:00 PM – 4:30 PM) 

A recent study found that school closures, stay-at-home orders and balancing family responsibilities disproportionately affected working moms more than fathers. In this workshop, we will learn ways to tackle the tough decisions, unique anxieties and challenges women still have to face while trying to balance many priorities as we approach a post-COVID world.

Speaker: Dr Ginny A. Baro, PhD, Executive Bound, Author, Healing Leadership

FINANCIAL WELLNESS – Why Am I Not a Million Dollar Company? Understanding Alternative Sources of Funding  (4:00 PM – 4:30 PM) 

After years of running your business, do you find yourself asking, “Why Am I Not a Million Dollar Company?” Ask the Experts instead!

You know you need capital to expand, hire and prototype new products. We’ll explore funding options to help you grow your business to where you always knew you could be: a million-dollar company.

BUSINESS INNOVATION – Bottom Line: Sustainable Practices that Increase Your Business Bottom Line  (4:00 PM – 4:30 PM) 

Integrating sustainable practices into a company’s operations can not only motivate employee engagement and encourage technological solutions, but it can also actually save the company money. Find out which sustainability practices you can readily implement without increasing your overhead and boost your company’s bottom line.

Take center stage with our Peer-to-Peer Networking Sessions

Each workshop session will be followed by a networking and group discussion session. Take center stage at this multi-participant discussion with the Workshop Facilitators! Attendees have the opportunity to engage with the Facilitators and each other by sharing their feedback and voicing their reactions to the content.

Participants are encouraged to share their own best practices with the group related to the topic discussed on the panel. This Peer-to-Peer Sharing is a tried-and-true collaborative learning experience that helps everyone expand their business knowledge.

The time to THRIVE is now! Register for #2021 WEES today!

2021 WEES: Announcing THRIVE! Men’s panel speakers 

Latinas in Business is pleased to announce three Latino business leaders as guest speakers for our Men’s panel: “THRIVE! Enlisting Men’s Support to Grow and Expand your Network” at the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit. Our 2021 WEES hybrid-event is set to take place on Thursday, June 10 from 1:30 PM – 6:30 PM EDT. 

Register Now for this must-attend event! 

 

With THRIVE! as our motto this year, the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Summit  (#2021 WEES) will center on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights that will propel them forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The event will feature inspiring Keynote speakers, fun networking sessions, and various panels with industry leaders and entrepreneurs.

2021 WEES: “THRIVE! Enlisting Men’s Support to Grow and Expand your Network” panel

Women entrepreneurs don’t often have the gender ally benefits that their counterparts in corporate America may be offered. Join us and our panel of gender equality advocates as they share with us why enlisting men to grow and expand your network can offer a valuable perspective. There is no one approach to break gender barrier challenges, so we’ll explore how different strategies may serve different needs and real-life examples of partnerships in which our panelists have taken part. 

We welcome our three panel speakers: Ron Gonzales, Thomas Savino, and Damian Rivera. 

 

Ron Gonzales, President and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.

Ron Gonzales is the President and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.  The Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Silicon Valley Latinos. 

Gonzales has over 40 years of technology and public policy experience.  Prior to leading the Hispanic Foundation, Gonzales was the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Presencia, LLC which provides marketing and sales consulting services. He also served as Mayor of San José, the Capital of Silicon Valley and the nation’s 10th largest city from 1999-2006. Mayor Gonzales may be best known for championing the extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to San Jose and Silicon Valley.  So much so that former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown nicknamed him “Mayor BART”. Before his election as Mayor, Gonzales worked as an executive with the Hewlett-Packard Company, in the areas of marketing, human resources, and corporate philanthropy.

He currently serves as Chair of the Silicon Valley Capital Club Board of Governors, and Board Member of KIPP Northern California Public Charter Schools, and SV@Home. 

Thomas Savino, Chief Executive Officer of Prospanica.

Thomas Savino is the Chief Executive Officer of Prospanica, the nationally recognized and premier nonprofit dedicated to developing Hispanic talent and growing the number of Hispanic professionals represented in industries of America to perpetuate economic growth and corporate competitiveness.

Thomas has an impressive history of advocating for business education and is a respected executive in the Hispanic community. As an expert consultant specializing in performance measurement analysis, knowledge management, and organizational structure, he has collaborated with corporations and national boards throughout the country.

During his time as a research analyst and internal consultant for McKinsey & Company, he specialized in the development of global initiatives, later joining TMS Consulting as managing director and also serving on the former National Society of Hispanic MBA’s national board.

Damian Rivera, CEO of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals For America).

Damian Rivera is the CEO of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals For America), one of the country’s largest & oldest Latinx membership associations in the country.

Prior to joining ALPFA Damian was a Managing Director with Accenture focused on the energy industry, and led their Hispanic American ERG for 6 years. He is also on the National Board of Per Scholas, a member of the Columbia Business School Young Alumni Board, a member of Angeles Investors, a Latino focused Angel Investor network. Damian has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Rutgers University. Damian bridges the non-profit and corporate sectors bringing together management experience with authenticity, a drive to impact the lives of every person he meets and a passion for service to others.

Hear their stories of allyship and collaboration and learn from their experiences at the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit, Thursday, June 10th. Register Now! 

2021 WEES

You might be interested: 2021 WEES: Announcing THRIVE! Women’s Panel Speakers 

2021 WEES

2021 WEES: Announcing THRIVE! Women’s Panel Speakers 

Latinas in Business is pleased to announce three incredible female business leaders as speakers for the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit. The WEES hybrid event is set to take place on Thursday, June 10 from 1:30 PM – 6:30 PM EDT.

Be sure to Register Now for this must-attend event! 

2021 WEES Women's Panel

With THRIVE! as our motto this year, the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Summit (#2021 WEES) will center on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights that will propel them forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The event will feature inspiring Keynote speakers, fun networking sessions, and various panels with industry leaders and entrepreneurs. 

2021 WEES THRIVE! Women’s Panel speakers 

Our THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success panel will feature three inspiring women entrepreneurs who will share their journeys to success while fighting the odds of being a woman and reinventing themselves during the pandemic.  

We are so pleased to announce and welcome our three guest speakers: Marvina Robinson, Maria Piastre, and Jessie Gabriel. 

Marvina Robinson, owner and founder of Stuyvesant Champagne. (Photo courtesy Marvina Robinson)

Marvina Robinson is the owner and founder of Stuyvesant Champagne.

Her love affair with champagne began quite humbly as a college student when she and her friends would often pool their limited funds to purchase a bottle of Moet & Chandon, White Star.

Years later, Marvina desired to create her own brand of champagne to serve as the private house label for her upcoming champagne bar. In order to achieve that goal, she worked with a vineyard in France to create Stuyvesant Champagne.

As one of the few African-American women owning a Champagne brand, Marvina hopes to bring a taste of home, spice and culture to the Champagne community. Her love for her hometown, Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn, NY), inspired the name of her brand, Stuyvesant Champagne.

Maria Piastre, CEO of Metallix Refining. (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

Maria Piastre is the CEO of  Metallix Refining.

As a business development professional with a degree in economics from Kean University NJ, Maria joined the Metallix team in 2005, working alongside department heads, touching upon strategic planning, marketing and sales.

Closely working with engineers and some of the most respected and accomplished minds in the precious metals industry, soon developed supplier and partner relationships based on sound business and proven results.

In 2017 Maria was promoted to company CEO after demonstrating an ability to perform critical duties throughout the organization, achieving the trust and respect of employees and colleagues. As CEO of Metallix Refining, Maria Piastre is an acknowledged and accomplished leading voice within the precious metals industry and financial sector.

Jessie Gabriel, founder of All Places, business and legal strategy firm. (Photo courtesy Jessie Gabriel)

 

Jessie Gabriel is the founder of All Places, a business and legal strategy firm that supports women asset managers and entrepreneurs.

Jessie is a champion for women and a prominent voice on the role of capital ownership and control in achieving gender equity. Raised by a single working mother in Southern California, Jessie’s success came with a deep appreciation of how gender norms and unequal access to capital contribute to a systemic lack of opportunities for women-identifying entrepreneurs and executives. Her personal vision and passionate advocacy are fueled by the desire to create true change.

All-Places is the culmination of her expertise and ethos, space for women to formulate businesses of all kinds, receive trusted legal and strategic guidance, and ultimately cultivate long-term financial success. Jessie is also the General Counsel of the New America Alliance, an organization that advocates for the Latinx asset management community, and Chair of the Board of New Destiny Housing, which builds permanent, beautiful, affordable housing for families that have survived domestic violence.

Hear their inspiring stories and learn from their experiences at the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit, Thursday, June 10th. Register Now! 

2021 WEES