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Women’s History Month Progress of Latina leadership in business and corporate

Since launching our LatinasinBusiness.us initiative, we have interviewed and were honored with the presence of highly respected Latina leadership. Here’s a list of the Latina entrepreneurs and Hispanic leaders in the business and corporate worlds who visited our pages and shared their experience and wisdom about the progress of Latinas with our readers (by date of publication).

 

Suzanna SanchezSuzanna Sanchez, National President of the National Latina Business Women Association (NLBWA).

“As women, we have a hard time juggling all our roles, as mothers, spouses, professionals and business owners. Organizations such as ours stand behind Latino women in business to help them thrive as leaders. We support policies that would simplify their lives while advancing their economic power.”

 

Angelica-Perez-Litwin_LatinasThinkBigDr. Perez-Litwin,  PhD, a tech social entrepreneur and psychologist  founder of LATINAS THINK BIG

“With 1.4 million computer specialist job openings expected in the U.S. by 2020, and Latinas as the fastest growing female population in this country, it is imperative that we support and advance Latinas in technology and across STEM fields.”

 

 

Angela Franco GWHCCAngela Franco, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

“ Some well-educated first generation Hispanic business owners, especially from Mexico, have opened their businesses in Washington looking for opportunities to work and engage in federal and state contracts. However, they might lack the experience some contracts require, or seniority in working with the agencies. Our goal is not only helping new businesses grow but also sustain the existing ones and help them succeed.”

 

Strayer Portraits -Dr Zoppi RodriguezDr. Irene Zoppi Rodríguez, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and the first Deputy Commander in the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico.

“Every human being has a purpose in life. Many discover it at the end of their lives, when it is too late, becoming a wasted opportunity. We cannot put time in a box so it is up to us to realize our purpose in life as soon as we can. By discovering that purpose, we can fulfill our destiny within that purpose,” Dr. Zoppi said.

 

 

Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar at the 2nd American Latino National Summit

Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar, Chair of the Board of the New America Alliance (NAA) Institute

“In 1999, a Latina Supreme Court Justice seemed but a dream. Justice Sonia Sotomayor has since inspired legions of American Latinas who can now see themselves in law careers. Latinas in business can have a role model in Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and a NAA member. Her inspiring story has already impacted Latinas in banking and now she’ll show the way from a larger platform.”

 

YazminDavidds_high_resDr. Yasmin Davidds, founder and CEO of the Latina Leadership Academy

“I have trained women in both, the organizational or corporate and the entrepreneurial environments. There are differences in every aspect of the negotiation process. In a corporation, the organizational culture designates how a woman can use her power, what is acceptable and what is not, and how much –or little- the organization is open to be questioned, so I always recommend being very cautious. Less evolved organizations have less appreciation for women and for that, they present a higher risk.”

 

Mariela Dabbah, Red Shoe Movement

Mariela Dabbah and the Red Shoe Movement

“Most women looking for empowerment usually end up trying to find a formula that worked for someone else without realizing that their characteristics and personality are likely very different from the person they are trying to emulate. The success of the Red Shoe Movement is based on providing tools for women to find their own definition of success and to follow their own style.

 

Maria_Contreras_Sweet_portraitMaria Contreras-Sweet, Head of the Small Business Administration (SBA)

“We’ve made real progress, but at the same time, Latinos have developed a special culture of entrepreneurship by starting our own enterprises. It’s remarkable to see the growth and strength of Latino-owned businesses. Latino purchasing power is expected to top $1.5 trillion by next year. This means if the American Latino market were its own country, we’d be the 11th largest economy in the world.”

 

 

vice president of research, evaluation and learning at The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Debra Joy Perez, The Annie E. Casey Foundation Vice President-Research, Evaluation and Learning Unit

“What matters to young people is to know that every one of the people they admire has had disappointments in their life. They have tried things and failed. WE have also failed. What distinguishes successful Latinas is that even after failure they try again.”

 

 

Pilar Avila, NAA

Pilar Avila CEO New America Alliance

“Less than one percent of Latinas hold high corporate and/or leadership positions. We need to build new connections, strengthen the relationships among members of the Caucus, and increase the presence of these leaders who bring particular skills to any decision table.”

 

 

Yvonne Garcia

Yvonne Garcia, National Chairwoman for the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA)

“This is the commitment we ask from top corporate management; there must be a mandate from CEOs to mentor and train our women in order to build not only technical skills but also to develop leadership strength and charisma.”

 

 

Solange Brooks, CalSTRS

Solange Brooks, CalSTRS Portfolio Manager

“Progress over the years comes from one’s own preparation. Women in general and Latinas in particular have increased their preparation, improved their education and are achieving in many areas in the workplace. In business, Latinas cannot allow any roadblocks to stop them from fulfilling their goals. You have to go over, under or around them, but you need to be strong, do the work and get that experience you need to be successful.”

 

 

Strayer Portraits -Dr Zoppi Rodriguez

5 Latina Superpowers Dr. Zoppi Rodriguez

COL Zoppi CMD PictureLast October, I was honored to write an article about the Borinqueneers, a battalion formed by thousands of young Puerto Ricans that served in the US Army during World War I, World War II and the Korean conflict.

Their major struggle was not so much related to their bravery in the battlefield –they were known for their fierce and relentless fighting spirit– but for being victims of discrimination within the US Army.[1] They were all men and all Puerto Ricans, and they faced the most perilous battles in each war. Women were not allowed to sign up for the Army at that time.

“Fortunately, not only women participate in the Army today but we also have leaders such as Brigadier Commander José Burgos, who understands that giving women the opportunity to take charge of leadership positions empowers them, inspires them, and allows and helps them to grow,” said Dr. Irene Zoppi Rodríguez, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and the first Deputy Commander in the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico.

With more than four decades of military, academic and professional experience, Dr. Zoppi also facilitates graduate courses in education and business for Strayer University. As a college professor, she brings her passion of empowerment and thought leadership to her students.

“As a teacher, I try to inspire young women and encourage them to grow to be ‘more’,” she said.

More, I asked?

“Every human being has a purpose in life. Many discover it at the end of their lives, when it is too late, becoming a wasted opportunity. We cannot put time in a box so it is up to us to realize our purpose in life as soon as we can. By discovering that purpose, we can fulfill our destiny within that purpose,” Dr. Zoppi said.

She explained that most people understand they need a roadmap for a vacation or a trip but many do not have roadmaps for their lives, their education and all the challenges that come with discovering that purpose. Most expect other people to tell them where to go or how to get there.

“Latinas particularly have Superpowers they are not aware of, and they need to find them soon in life. We don’t dress with ‘capas’ like Batman or Superman but we wear our confidence to confront many personal and professional challenges,” she said.

These are Superpowers Dr. Zoppi believes Latinas have:

Strayer University at Festival PEOPLE en Español

Strayer University at Festival PEOPLE en Español

  1. Tenemos audacia (being audacious): Our internal fire overshadows all expectations of how we “should” be by breaking barriers and pushing up to face challenges, such as those trying to reunite their immigrant families.
  2. Somos fatales (being fatalists): We love watching telenovelas with our mothers, grandmothers and daughters, crying and understanding the struggle of the protagonist.
  3. Somos multifuncionales (being multifunctional): Without fear, we perform our functions at the best level and all at once. We cook, we dance, we sing, we work, we ask for permission and we apologize; and we do it in different languages too!
  4. Tenemos esperanza (having hope) We have the ability to do things with hope, always thinking what is next in our journey. We come to this country with the hope that we will find more for our families,
  5. Somos serviciales (fulfilling the needs of others) We are always making sure there is food for everybody, and that is not only in our kitchens!

All these superpowers make Latinas transactional and transformational leaders, according to Dr. Zoppi. “Not only we do the work, giving ourselves totally, but also we pass on those skills to everybody around us, at work, the family and the community.

So, she recommends, the sooner the better, discover your Superpowers and use them!

[1] To know more about the Puerto Rican battalion part of the 65th Infantry Regiment, see the Borinqueneers.

 

Honoring our veterans with Dr. Zoppi Rodriguez

COL Zoppi CMD PictureLast October, I was honored to write an article about the Borinqueneers, a battalion formed by thousands of young Puerto Ricans that served in the US Army during World War I, World War II and the Korean conflict.

Their major struggle was not so much related to their bravery in the battlefield –they were known for their fierce and relentless fighting spirit– but for being victims of discrimination within the US Army. They were all men and all Puerto Ricans, and they faced the most perilous battles in each war. Women were not allowed to sign up for the Army at that time.

“Fortunately, not only women participate in the Army today but we also have leaders such as Brigadier Commander José Burgos, who understands that giving women the opportunity to take charge of leadership positions empowers them, inspires them, and allows and helps them to grow,” said Dr. Irene Zoppi Rodríguez, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and the first Deputy Commander in the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico.

With more than four decades of military, academic and professional experience, Dr. Zoppi also facilitates graduate courses in education and business for Strayer University. As a college professor, she brings her passion of empowerment and thought leadership to her students.

“As a teacher, I try to inspire young women and encourage them to grow to be ‘more’,” she said.

More, I asked?

“Every human being has a purpose in life. Many discover it at the end of their lives, when it is too late, becoming a wasted opportunity. We cannot put time in a box so it is up to us to realize our purpose in life as soon as we can. By discovering that purpose, we can fulfill our destiny within that purpose,” Dr. Zoppi said.

She explained that most people understand they need a roadmap for a vacation or a trip but many do not have roadmaps for their lives, their education and all the challenges that come with discovering that purpose. Most expect other people to tell them where to go or how to get there.

“Latinas particularly have Superpowers they are not aware of, and they need to find them soon in life. We don’t dress with ‘capas’ like Batman or Superman but we wear our confidence to confront many personal and professional challenges,” she said.

These are Superpowers Dr. Zoppi believes Latinas have:

Strayer University at Festival PEOPLE en Español

Strayer University at Festival PEOPLE en Español

  1. Tenemos audacia (being audacious): Our internal fire overshadows all expectations of how we “should” be by breaking barriers and pushing up to face challenges, such as those trying to reunite their immigrant families.
  2. Somos fatales (being fatalists): We love watching telenovelas with our mothers, grandmothers and daughters, crying and understanding the struggle of the protagonist.
  3. Somos multifuncionales (being multifunctional): Without fear, we perform our functions at the best level and all at once. We cook, we dance, we sing, we work, we ask for permission and we apologize; and we do it in different languages too!
  4. Tenemos esperanza (having hope) We have the ability to do things with hope, always thinking what is next in our journey. We come to this country with the hope that we will find more for our families,
  5. Somos serviciales (fulfilling the needs of others) We are always making sure there is food for everybody, and that is not only in our kitchens!

All these superpowers make Latinas transactional and transformational leaders, according to Dr. Zoppi. “Not only we do the work, giving ourselves totally, but also we pass on those skills to everybody around us, at work, the family and the community.

So, she recommends, the sooner the better, discover your Superpowers and use them!