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.
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.
“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!
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.”
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.
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