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Gender washing: seven kinds of marketing hypocrisy about empowering women

At a time of so much focus on how women are held back and treated unfairly, corporations spend multiple millions telling us what they are doing to empower women and girls. When this makes them seem more women-friendly than they really are, it’s known as gender washing.

empowering women, women empowerment

Gender washing: seven kinds of marketing hypocrisy about empowering women (Photo by Natalie Hua on Unsplash)

Gender washing comes in different varieties, and some can be easier to spot than others. To help identify them, it can be useful to look at the decades of research on corporate greenwashing – that better known variant related to climate change.

Inspired by a 2015 paper that identified seven varieties of greenwashing, I have published a new paper that classifies seven kinds of questionable corporate claims about empowering women and girls.

1. Selective disclosure

When corporations publicise improvements in, say, female boardroom representation, or the gender pay gap, while omitting contradictory or inconvenient information, it’s known as selective disclosure.

For example, pharma group Novartis frequently features on Working Mother magazine’s annual list of the 100 best companies to work for, via an application highlighting the progress it has made in employment practices towards women. Novartis also proudly cites its support for Working Mother, per the tweet below. Yet as recently as 2010, the corporation lost the then largest gender pay, promotion and pregnancy discrimination case ever to go to trial.

2. Empty gender policies

Some companies take initiatives to raise women’s voices internally which, in reality, have little impact. For example, “women’s networks” aim to increase female employees’ confidence and help them build leadership skills through networking events and mentoring schemes. But critics argue that such networks are frequently ignored, and don’t address the underlying causes of discrimination or engage men in efforts to tackle institutional sexism.

One study from 2007 found that the members of one company’s women’s network feared it might actually damage their career prospects because at the time, it was ridiculed by male colleagues as a forum for “male-bashing” and exchanging recipes.

3. Dubious labelling

The promotional placement of the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon by brands with products containing known carcinogens or other arguably risky ingredients is an example of this third kind of gender washing. There are examples involving makeup, alcoholic drinks and even pesticides.

The pink ribbon can also gender wash the objectification of women. For example, US bar chain Hooters has built its entire brand around waitresses with voluptuous breasts and skimpy clothing. In the company logo, the two Os are replaced by the eyes of an owl, symbolising breasts to be stared at, wide-eyed. Yet, once a year for breast cancer awareness month, the eyes are replaced by pink ribbons as Hooters invites customers to “give a hoot” for breast cancer awareness. Staring is thus rebranded as caring.

4. Useful partnerships

One way in which a corporation’s image could be gender-washed is to associate with a feminist, women’s or girls’ organisation through funding or some other assistance. The corporation gets to place its logo on the organisation’s marketing materials, potentially distracting from practices elsewhere.

For example, Dove has partnered with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts on a teaching resource aimed at helping girls to question dominant beauty standards that damage their self-esteem. This is despite the beauty industry – of which Dove is part – perpetuating those standards to sell products.

5. Voluntary codes

When rights abuses emerge in global supply chains – often most affecting female workers in the global south – there are often demands for tighter regulation of corporate behaviour. One way for corporations to respond and potentially deflect such demands is by creating voluntary codes of practice. Their very voluntariness is presented by corporations as evidence of a commitment to empowering workers – particularly women.

Voluntary codes rarely lead to meaningful improvements. For example, when the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed in 2013, over 1,000 garment factory workers died, some 80% of them women. In the aftermath, the voluntary Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was established and promoted by western retailers such as Walmart as improving safety and empowering female factory workers. Yet crucially, there were no legally binding commitments to prevent another disaster, and the alliance was later criticised by activists and researchers for not improving conditions quickly enough.

6. Changing the narrative

Corporations can position themselves as global leaders on issues where they have previously been found wanting. For example in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nike was dogged by claims of child labour, sexual and physical abuse among workers at supplier factories, 90% of whom were female.

Nike’s response included establishing a division of corporate responsibility and setting up the Nike Foundation. One of the foundation’s flagship campaigns was the Girl Effect, launched in 2008 to persuade global elites to invest in girls’ education in the global south.

The campaign quickly went viral, and was soon partnering with the UK’s Department for International Development on programmes to empower girls in the global south. Nike had gone from a brand tarnished by accusations of child labour and exploitation to a trusted partner in international efforts to promote girls’ rights.

7. Reassuring branding

Chiquita Banana, the famous logo of Chiquita Brands Corporation, might give shoppers in the global north the impression of buying their bananas from a happy, Latina market woman cheerfully selling her wares.

gender washing, branding,

Photo by Rich Smith on Unsplash

Yet feminist scholars have documented the long history of Chiquita – formerly the United Fruit Company – exploiting women on banana plantations in Latin America and the Caribbean. This includes past cases of sexual harassment, discrimination, exposure to harmful chemicals, and violations of childcare and maternity rights.

Does all of this matter? If corporations want to take up the cause of gender equality, is that so bad? It is true that some women and girls do find ways within gender washing campaigns to make gains, but we can’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

If a corporation’s employment practices, supply chains or products are harmful to women and girls, and it sells more products thanks to gender washing, then this has increased the harm done. That is why it is so important to identify and call out forms of gender washing whenever we see them.The Conversation

You might be interested: Fireside chat with Jose Forteza: Diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion in media


Rosie Walters, Lecturer in International Relations, Cardiff University

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

Top 5 Secrets to become a successful entrepreneur

These five secrets are not new; however, they are a good reminder of what it takes to move forward on your entrepreneurship journey. Some may practice these actions on and off, while others will turn them into habits. It’s those that ingrain these actions into their life that more often than not become successful entrepreneurs.

Top 5 Secrets to becoming a successful entrepreneur (Photo created by cookie_studio on freepik)

Every entrepreneur hopes that their venture will be successful. Many times, entrepreneurs are taking a big risk, leaving behind corporate jobs or traditional careers all for a dream. At Latinas in Business, we are always sharing the stories of our fellow entrepreneurs and leaders in our community, and time and time again we see overlap and similarities in their successful journeys.

While some believe the toughest part of launching a new business is arriving at a great idea, more often than not the toughest part is actually acting on your dreams. So many of us are guilty of this: we dream up a great idea only to put it on a shelf “for later” and forget about it. Then, “later” we discover someone else has developed our idea, acting on it where we didn’t, and they are now successful for it.

Action is what makes a successful entrepreneur. Constant and consistent movement is what sets successful ventures apart from the others.

“It’s critical once you believe in an idea that you make the step to some form of action right away in order to start building momentum towards your goals,” Jon Gillespie-Brown wrote in So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur. Many new entrepreneurs “talk a good game but do not follow through.”

The importance of action is not just pertinent to a business launch. Owners of established businesses may also be stopped in their tracks in the face of challenges posed by regulations, advances in technology or the overall economy. A successful entrepreneur is someone who, regardless of the challenge, keeps moving though not always forward.

A successful entrepreneur know that success is not always a linear upward progression and understand that obstacles arise. Those who are ultimately successful do not become paralyzed by challenges but instead find a way around them. They don’t sit still. They keep moving. They adapt.

Entrepreneurs who are unable or unwilling to continue to move forward or backward or seek an alternative route are destined to doom. Without movement of some sort the entrepreneur’s venture gets stuck and eventually fails. If you’re determined to make your venture a success that stands apart from the rest, then take these actions and ingrain them into your business building process.

Top 5 actions that make a successful entrepreneur

  1. Set goals.

Set goals to put your plans into focus. (Photo by Jess Bailey Designs from Pexels)

Entrepreneurs who know what they want and have set a course are more likely to accomplish their objectives. Goals act as the homing device for an entrepreneurs’ actions. At times they may need to take a step back or sideways to continue to move forward. Like the North Star guiding navigators, goals help entrepreneurs create a new course after making adjustments.

  1. Don’t fear failure.

Often people are taught that failing is bad. Yet without failure few entrepreneurs would know the way to success. Failure can be a powerful teacher. It shows you what needs changing, where you need to adapt and improve. Entrepreneurs seldom get it right the first time. But having the ability to keep moving by making adjustments improves the odds of success.

  1. Take risks.

Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec once wrote, “Accept that there is a chance you will fail to make the leap across a chasm, or the rock you are about to step on may crumble, but understand that the rewards outweigh the risks.”

Indeed there is truth to the saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Taking risks is the first step to making something happen. If you stay stagnant and still, nothing will change. Remember, success is achieved through action. 

  1. Don’t settle.

Some entrepreneurs may strike gold the first time out. Others require more time, energy and perhaps the alignment of some planets.

Don’t become discouraged. Keep moving. Evaluate your business plan and make necessary adjustments based on feedback and results. Sometimes moving past a large obstacle means going around it and not necessarily over it. If you want your venture to really be a success, don’t let yourself get stuck or settle for something that is only half of what you dreamed.

Seek a mentor to help you navigate the world of entrepreneurship. (Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels)

  1. Seek a mentor.

The entrepreneurs who freeze and do nothing when they come to their “moment of truth” may do so because they don’t know what to do next. The best way to achieve success is to work with someone who has already been down the same road. Plenty can go wrong in business but the right mentor can help an entrepreneur navigate the pitfalls and keep moving forward, improving the odds for success. Joining a community of like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs is a great way of connecting with people who have been there before, and can guide you through your journey.


This article was originally published in 2015. It has been updated for relevancy. 

Healing Leadership

Healing Leadership: A conversation with Dr. Ginny Baro about the need for great leaders

Author of the #1 Bestseller, Fearless Women at Work, delivers her second book, Healing Leadership, that explores the secrets of healing leadership and recommends high-performance habits for improving self-leadership and developing a growth mindset and resilience. 

Ginny Baro

Dr. Ginny Baro, #1 bestselling author, award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, and career strategist

Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work. Named one of the Top 100 Global Thought Leaders, she delivers coaching programs, trainings, and keynotes to global audiences to develop individual women and leaders and helps Fortune 500 companies build inclusive leadership dream teams. Prior to starting ExecutiveBound®, Baro, who holds a Ph.D. in information systems, an MS in computer science, an MBA in management and a BA in Computer Science and Economics, was a director at Lord, Abbett & Co., LLC. She also worked for Alliance Bernstein and Prudential. She immigrated to the U.S. at age 14 from the Dominican Republic and speaks fluent Spanish. Healing Leadership (Bavaro Press) is her second book.

You might be interested: Changing leadership after #METOO a conversation with executive coach Dr. Ginny Baro

The genesis behind Healing Leadership: A conversation with Susana Baumann and Dr. Ginny Baro

Latinas in Business CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, sat down with Dr. Baro to discuss her upcoming book, Healing Leadership, which comes out April 14th, 2021. 

The highly anticipated book did not start out as a book at all. Originally it began as a series of interviews with five leaders that Ginny conducted for her Fearless Leaders Challenge, a five day training event for Fearless Women At Work, back in the middle of the pandemic during May 2020. The focus of the interviews was to explore three main questions: What are the critical skills that leaders need right now in the middle of a pandemic, where there’s so much uncertainty? What can companies do to develop their leaders and their talent during this time when people are virtual? And what can leaders do to develop a unique edge?

Healing Leadership

Dr. Ginny Baro’s upcoming book, Healing Leadership. Out April 14th.

Ginny Baro 

Those were the three questions that I was very curious about. So I went through the five interviews. And when I finished, I started to write out a framework for the Fearless Leaders Challenge….Well, what I realized is that intuitively, what I wrote out was the table of contents for a new book, not for a five day challenge. There were way too many subjects to be covered in five days. And that was the genesis of Healing Leadership….I know the last 30 years that I’ve been around working, I have been exposed to so many different types of leaders and I knew  from that experience that leaders make or break an organization, and that so many of us leaders never received a manual of how to be great leaders. And so this became my goal to not only talk about my experiences, but also bring other leaders’ experiences to be part of this project. And that’s how you got involved in this book and 40 other leaders along with you.

Susana G Baumann  15:29  

Yes. And I thank you very much for the opportunity. It was fun to do the podcast and then to read the result of the interview was really very, very humbling. Now, Ginny, what is the core topic of healing leaders leadership? What do you think leadership needs to be healed?

Ginny Baro  15:54  

So yes, by the title Healing Leadership, it implies that there’s healing to be done. So that the healing to be done, from my perspective, is that there dis-ease, disease in leadership today. And like I mentioned, there, we were never taught, we were never trained to be good or great leaders and inclusive leaders. If we’re lucky to have a good role model, then we lucked out. But if we don’t have a good role model that we can emulate, we end up doing a lot of things that create the toxic work cultures that marginalize people at work. And that, quite frankly, doesn’t do justice to the talent that we are leading. And so that is really the core of all the topics that I discussed in the book have to do with: how do we show up as leaders in a way that, rather than create a toxic culture, it cultivates the type of inclusive culture that allows all of our talent to flourish based on their qualities and their abilities? How can we as leaders cultivate those talents, so that we can coach, mentor, and develop them and so that those that have what it takes can rise to the top and continue the leading legacy and be able to lead our teams to higher productivity, to be more cohesive, to collaborate, to innovate, and do all the things that we need our businesses to do to survive and thrive.

Susana G Baumann  17:35  

Very, very interesting. Now, you mentioned that you started with five interviews, right? And then you ended having 41. So how did you select the people who were going to be part of your book number one? And second, what was the reaction when you extended the invitation?

Ginny Baro  18:00  

So number one, I just want to say that if you have any project where you’re thinking of involving other people, people, I think, by nature, meet their need for contribution when they say yes to you. And so number one is I made sure that the topic was interesting, “healing leadership”, everybody said, ‘I’ll talk about that.’ Right? Everybody has an opinion about what critical skills leaders need. Everybody has an opinion as to how they should be developing leaders. And everyone has an opinion about how to develop a unique edge, because the leaders that I asked, they had all done all of those things. So I went out with the goal of finding diversity. I wanted to include the voices of leaders who were just emerging, and leaders who had retired. So I speak to Nicole who’s only been in business for four years out of college. And I speak to Jerome and Nick Donofrio who ran IBM, and who also were the CEO of Sealed Air, the inventor of bubble wrap. So everything in-between, including Susana Baumann, the leader of Latinas in Business, of course, and Pilar Avila, who as we know, or everybody who knows Pilar, she’s running Renovad, and she is really transforming how women show up as leaders in business. And so when you get such a beautiful array of people from different sectors, profit, nonprofit, from different industries, from financial services to pharma, all over the place, I believed that that was going to give the book nice texture and background and speaks to the value of diversity and inclusion.

experiential retreats

Pilar Avila, Founder and CEO, InterDUCTUS and Renovad

Susana G Baumann  20:21  

Which gives you a fantastic opportunity to showcase like you said, a very, very wide range of opinions and attitudes towards leadership, and also different modalities and different styles of leadership, which is important for people to be able to choose, ‘Well, this is my my type of leadership that I can follow and service.’ 

Ginny Baro 20:45

Absolutely. Yeah. 

Susana G Baumann 20:47

So Ginny, tell me, just to end this interview: What is the main takeaway? Why do I have to buy the book? 

Ginny Baro  21:16  

For me, it’s really about what I mentioned, we did not get a leadership manual when we became leaders. And I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed, like anything when it comes to self development, when we take ourselves and our development seriously, and we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, setting the vision, being the conduit for change and transformation, leading with flexibility, all those skills that are so important as leaders, that once we know what they are, we can become that type of leader.

Dr. Ginny Baro on leadership: “I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed…and when we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, [etc]…we can become that type of leader.”

And if we’re not leading in our business roles, right now, guess what? We are all leaders in our own life. So my biggest takeaway and desire for this book is for people to have this roadmap. And they can assess, ‘how am I doing against these critical leadership skills?’ And if they don’t have one of those skills, they now know and they have the tools in the book to acquire the skills, and the resources, because I’m also creating a wonderful community of leaders, where they can reach out to any of the 41 leaders, including myself, and learn more, and continue to expand their network. And this is one of the topics that I discussed at length in the book: How to build an inclusive network of allies and supporters that will support your career and that will help you reach your full potential, because we cannot do this alone. And if we even try, we will find out that we will fail really fast.

Susana G Baumann  22:58  

Correct. Yes, we have to create these networks of collaboration among leaders, among businesses, among women, among all the qualifiers and labels that you can imagine, because that’s when you get the momentum that is necessary to develop the type of leadership that we want for our children, for our employees, for our communities. That’s the attitude of service that you have had for many, many years. And I commend you extremely for that. I think you’re a really brilliant professional in what you do. And congratulations on the new book.

Ginny Baro  23:51  

Thank you, Susana, and I’m always so grateful to you.

To get your copy of Healing Leadership, out April 14th, and access everything related to the book from bonuses to downloads and become part of the Healing Leadership community, visit HealingLeadership.com

Pitch competitor Tennille Ortiz empowers youth through cake design

Tennille Ortiz, owner and designer of The Ellinnet Cake Collection

Second-place winner of the Latinas SmallBiz Pitch Competition, Tennille Ortiz, is the owner and designer of The Ellinnet Cake Collection, a luxury custom cakes and confections boutique which offers bespoke custom cake designs for special events.  In addition to the boutique, The Ellinnet Cake Collection also offers a cupcake decorating service for birthday parties and other events on their chic and mobile bakery called The Cupcake Carriage.

Passionate about empowering children and inspiring them to leadership, Tennille is utilizing her position to bring opportunities to children, especially those from underserved communities. Though creative cake decorating and baking workshops, Tennille hopes to inspire a passion and drive in the youth and inspire them to follow their goals and dreams in life. 

From hobby to craft

Tennille found her own passion for cake-design toward the end of a seventeen year career in healthcare management. Always having been a creative spirit growing up, Tennille was drawn to cake-design as a fun hobby to pass the time during her maternity leave. She began by taking a few introduction classes at a local bakery. Here she learned the basics and focused on making birthday cakes for friends and family. 

She never intended for her little hobby to become anything more, however soon Tennille found herself spending hours of time reading up on and studying different baking and decorating techniques while also practicing her own baking and decorating skills. As her skills grew, Tennille became more interested in the art of cake design and desired to expand her knowledge even further. 

This is when she made the bold decision to leave her career in healthcare administration and enroll in professional cake-design courses with top New York City designers. These courses helped her master some more difficult techniques such as sugar sculpting, blown sugar art, and 3D sculpting, but still the majority of her craft was self-taught. 

Tennille at work creating one of her custom designer cakes.

From craft to business

A few years later, in 2013, Tennille founded The Ellinnet Cake Collection. The business quickly grew and she was sought out for her clean and sophisticated designs. Her cakes were unique and trendy, inspired by the latest fashions, which attracted a high end following of loyal clients and event planners.

Still, starting her own business came with its own set of challenges. At the same time, learning to navigate these obstacles became incredibly rewarding for Tennille and taught her much about herself and her strengths as a business owner. 

“I’ve learned a great deal about entrepreneurship and have realized what it takes to build a business,” she says. “I think one of my biggest struggles was realizing that it’s very hard to build and scale a business while still working ‘in’ it.” 

Like many new business owners, Tennille wanted to do it all herself. This spread her very thin and affected her business’ growth and her own health. 

“I learned that as much as I love cake design if I wanted a real business I had to let the craft go and focus more on building my business,” says Tennille. 

She has since hired a team to help her with her business and she is working on making The Ellinnet Cake Collection and The Cupcake Carriage a brand everyone will know. 

Another common struggle Tennille has faced is growing her business with very little capital. She soon learned the importance of budgeting and having a solid business plan. 

“We can easily get caught up in fast cash flow and think this is our win,” says Tennille. “What’s important is that every startup saves and put the money back into the business so that your able to grow. The money will come, you have to be patient.” 

You might be interested: Andrea Giraldo celebrates Colombian heritage through coffee

Finding success in giving back 

For a long time, Tennille did not feel successful, even when she had conquered her obstacles and was generating a steady growing revenue. She believed her success would be determined by numbers and reaching specific financial goals. 

It was the launch of The Cupcake Carriage that eventually changed her perspective. After three years of hard work, The Cupcake Carriage was finally launched in June of  2019 as a service to provide instruction on cake design and to help empower and educate young girls and boys, with each workshop designed to deliver a message that sparks leadership ideas. 

Tennille posing with The Cupcake Carriage

Tennille has always had an interest in teaching and empowering our youth and so The Cupcake Carriage seemed like the perfect way to give back to the community. Growing up in the inner city, Tennille witnessed first hand the challenges children face growing up under certain circumstances such as poverty, lack of a good education and mentors, or the lack of resources and tools needed to succeed. She remembers old friends she grew up with who unfortunately were murdered, turned to drugs, or went down the wrong path. 

“I was one of the fortunate ones who didn’t take that path but it’s because of that experience that I have developed a passion to give back to my community,” says Tennille. “My goal is to one day create a program that empowers young adults by teaching leadership skills and opens them up to the world of entrepreneurship.” 

The Cupcake Carriage is her first steps toward that goal. By engaging children in fun, creative activities, such as baking and decorating, Tennille hopes to plant the seeds of leadership in young children and show them that their dreams are possible. 

Since its launch, The Cupcake Carriage has been a success, generating a huge buzz of excitement which has it fully booked into March 2020. 

But Tennille did not recognize this success until a few months after the launch when she received an email notifying her that the largest package they offered had been purchased. 

Tennille aboard The Cupcake Carriage during empowering workshop

“I did a happy dance,” says Tennille. “I was so excited that everyone was receiving The Cupcake Carriage the way they were, that the concept was proven! But then I read the email.”

The email was from someone from Wagner Projects, with whom she had gone to school with and who was inspired by Tennille’s success. In the email her former classmate says:

“I have been waiting for The Cupcake Carriage to launch for 2 years now. I’m making a huge sacrifice in purchasing your largest package, not only because my daughter loves cake decorating but because I am excited to show her what a business owner from Wagner Projects looks like[…] I’m proud of you and your success. I can’t wait for my daughter to meet you.”

This message had an instant and profound affect on Tennille. She pulled over immediately and cried like a baby in her car. It was then that she realized she was truly successful. 

“Despite what people may think, success doesn’t come from money, it comes from serving, giving back, and living in your purpose,” says Tennille. “I met that little girl, and in her, I saw me–a little Latina full of dreams, able to see past her circumstances.”                                                                                                                                                                

New victories and successes  

Competing in this year’s Pitch Competition was the next step for the expansion of The Cupcake Carriage and The Ellinnet Cake Collection. Despite struggling with public speaking and presentations, Tennille decided to challenge herself for her business. And this challenge paid off, winning her second place in the competition. 

“I’m so happy I did!” she says. “Deciding to challenge myself helped me gain a great deal of exposure, a ticket to The Red Shoe Movement and a full scholarship to Rutgers Business Schools EPI Program for urban development! I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and proud that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.” 

Tennille plans to continue to grow her business and create a brand that not only brings smiles to every important milestone in people’s lives but will also empower children to dream big and be open to a world of possibilities of their own.

ALPFA’s 50 Most Powerful Latinas gather in Jersey City to receive awards

Awardees and attendees of different organizations at the 50 Most Powerful Latinas Summit in Jersey City (Photo credit Negocios Hispanos USA) 

The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) gathered the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in Corporate America Summit at the Goldman Sachs Headquarters in Jersey City on October 3rd.

 

ALPFA’s list prioritizes women leading large public companies with significant operating roles, rather than C-Level staff roles. It includes women operating global private firms, entrepreneurs who scaled their businesses into the middle market, and Latinas, who although recently retired, exercise leadership roles on Fortune 500 boards.

most powerful latinas

Damian Rivera, CEO, ALPFA

“This list puts a spotlight on Latina executives and amplifies their exposure across the country,” the association emphasized. “The list serves as a platform to continue their legacy and amplify their voices to inspire the next generation of women.”

This years’ summit was focused primarily on building legacies and fostering the next generation of Latina leaders. The Summit Agenda included sessions related to the State of Latina Leadership in Corporate America, Increasing Latinas in Corporate Boards, and breakout sessions to develop younger Latinas  leaders into the pipelines of the corporate landscape.

Hosted by Damian Rivera, new ALPFA CEO since September 2018, Damian and his team raised to the occasion with a very complete agenda covering topics from Financial Acumen to Mindfulness and Wellness for women in corporate boards.

Damian comes from a 21 year-career as Managing Director in Accenture’s Resources Utilities. His focus on social entrepreneurship would come as no surprise to people who know him. In addition to his client roles, he served as Accenture’s Managing Director responsible for North American Hispanic American Employee Resource Group from 2011 – 2017.

The 50 Most Powerful Latinas list

The first four places in the list were awarded to:

most powerful latinas

Myrna Soto, COO of Digital Hands

#1 Myrna Soto

COO of Digital Hands, and Member of several Boards including CMS Energy, Spirit Airlines, Popular Inc, Banco Popular. A seasoned cybersecurity practitioner, she has let multiple cybersecurity transformation programs in major communications, media, hospitality, financial services and critical infrastructure organizations.

#2 Maria Martinez

EVP Chief Customer Experience Office at Cisco Systems, Inc. She oversees Cisco’s $12.5B Services and Customer Success organizations helping customers transform their businesses through Cisco products.

#3 Grace Puma

Executive Vice President Executive VP, Global Operations and Transformation at PepsiCo., Grace leads the global operations center of excellence, global procurement, concentrate operations, safety and security.

most powerful latinas

Nina Vaca, President and CEO. Pinnacle Group

#4 Nina Vaca

Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group. Since founding Pinnacle Group in her mid-20s, the company has been ranked among the Inc. 500/5000 fastest-growing companies in the country for 13 years. The company is now in its global expansion and the launch of its global resource deployment platform.

See the complete list of  the 50 Most Powerful Latinas officially announced on Aug. 5.

 

You might be interested: ALPFA National Chair Yvonne Garcia on the 50 Most Powerful Latinas (exclusive interview)

About ALPFA

ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals For America) is the longest standing Latino organization with 80,000+ members assembled in 45 professional and more than 160 student chapters across America. Our ambition is to connect 1 million passionate Latino leaders for exponential impact.

 

First Lady of New Jersey

First Lady of New Jersey emphasizes women entrepreneur leadership at Latina conference

First Lady of New Jersey Tammy S. Murphy addressed women’s leadership at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch organized by Latinas in Business Inc.

your best age lorraine ladish

Lorraine Ladish addresses fear of aging in Your Best Age

Do you feel you are at your best age? Are you afraid of telling how old you are? Are you scared of the physical changes that come with the aging process? Do you think it is too late to achieve your dreams?

With these challenging questions, Lorraine C. Ladish, autor and founder of Vivafifty.com starts her new book “Tu Mejor Edad – Para tener una vida extraordinaria” (Your Best Age -How to Have an Extraordinary Life). Lorraine, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Viva Fifty, is a bilingual author of 18 books, writer, editor, speaker and social media maven.

 

Lorraine C. Ladish at Hispana Leadership Institute your best age

Lorraine C. Ladish at Hispana Leadership Institute Conference in Dallas, TX

“Women in their thirties want to know what they need to do in order to stay healthy, be in good shape and feel vibrant when they reach their fifties,” Lorraine affirms in the book’s prologue. “When I turned 50 a few years ago, I got a lot of congratulations from my community but also, some comments that didn’t sit so well such as ‘you look great for your age’ or ‘don’t you worry, fifties are the new forties’. I thought them over and found those comments didn’t reflect my reality,” she explains.

Lorraine believes whatever age we are in, that is the best age to live our lives. Her new book covers different aspects of life at thirty, forty, fifty and beyond. The purpose of the book, the author says, is to feel empowered, informed and full of life after you are done with it.

You may be interested:  Lorraine C Ladish new book REACH!, a story of triumph over hard circumstances

“Nobody teaches us how to evolve as we get older and how to enjoy the process of aging. Women should face each decade with enthusiasm instead of fear. I want every woman to know it is possible to feel young and vital regardless of the year you were born in, without thinking the best is behind us,” she affirms.

Your best age started with Vivafifty.com

your best age

Tu Mejor Edad,  Lorraine C Ladish’s new book (Spanish version)

A bilingual community that celebrates being 50+,  Viva Fifty! empowers middle age women to enjoy life and realize their dreams, showing that age is not a barrier to anything they want to accomplish.

“Viva Fifty is the realization of my dream to build a bilingual and multicultural community that celebrates life and the joy that midlife can entail. My hope is that we can inspire and empower one another to thrive in health and happiness. To that end I invite writers, bloggers and readers alike to share their stories and ideas on how to live life to the fullest, because fifty is not the new thirty. Fifty is the new fifty. And life at fifty is grand!,” says Ladish in the introduction to her site.

With weekly articles and posts on subjects and issues that matter to her target audience, Ladish continues to bring to her readership important news, ideas and personal stories that inspire and educate.

Most importantly, she says, “I promise we’ll do our best to make you feel at home and help you enrich your life, and to give YOU a voice.”

Ladish was previously Editor-in-Chief of Mamiverse.com, the award-winning online hub for Latina moms. She has contributed to People en Español, La Palma of The Palm Beach Post, NBC Latino, Babycenter and Redbook, and was the managing editor of VOXXI Mujer, an online news site for English-speaking Hispanics. She lives in Sarasota, FL with her quirky blended family.

team building Bellaria Jimenez

Bellaria Jimenez, a Latina leader’s passion helps others achieve their dreams

Bellaria Jimenez, President of MassMutual Tri State, will be Keynote Speaker at the Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch your Biz Competition on November 9 at NJIT in Newark NJ (150 Bleeker St – Free parking at 154 Summit Street). To see Bellaria speak, please register: https://latinasbizexpo.eventbrite.com/

Bellaria Jimenez

Bellaria Jimenez, President at MassMutual Tri State and Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition Keynote Speaker

 

Bellaria Jimenez is the President of MassMutual Tri State, an agency that focuses on building long-term relationships with individuals, employees, and business owners to help them achieve financial security.

With 22 years of experience in financial planning, Bellaria leads a team of 35 managers and 175 sales representatives who attend the needs of over 210,000 clients, 6.7 billion in client assets, and offices in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.

“My passion for helping people achieve financial peace of mind was triggered by my own family experiences,” Bellaria told LatinasinBusiness.us. “We came from Venezuela when I was seven years old because my father was a well-known local artist who wanted to advance his studies in the US,” she recalls.

However, as an artist, he was never able to achieve the level of notoriety he had back in Venezuela. He explored other opportunities to sustain his family, starting a small newspaper printing shop.

“He never had sound advice from professionals who surrounded him, and he retired with a very small pension late in life,” Bellaria explains. “I believe that it is not uncommon for a lot of individuals and business owners who are so concerned about their daily problems and obstacles, fighting to survive and sustain their businesses, that they make poor decisions for their futures,” she said.

Sacrifices started at a young age for Bellaria Jimenez

While attending college full-time, Bellaria was working for Continental Airlines also as a full-time employee. “I had to do a lot of sacrifices to pay my way through college. I knew an education would pay off some day but I was not sure how,” she recalled.

While trying to live her own life, Bellaria was also witness of the family situation at home. She then decided to read and acquire knowledge about managing finances by studying individuals who had been successful in their business lives. She switched her course of studies and started taking financial courses.

In 1995, Bellaria entered the financial industry. “At the time, there were very few women in this field, specially Latinas and young ones. Those were very tough beginnings.  I tried to surround myself with the best mentors and most experienced colleagues who would teach me the way,” she explained. “Tell me who you have lunch with and I will tell you how successful you are, that was and continues to be my motto, constantly learning from others.”

She continued her studies to become a Certified Financial Planner then working for First Investors, a company that was later acquired by a Canadian firm. Bellaria saw an opportunity to join MetLife, a well-established financial company where she flourished for 15 years.

“It was during all these years that I discovered my passion to help others achieve their goals. My manager took notice of this talent and started offering me some managerial responsibilities. I did not know at the time great changes were coming my way,” she said.

Taking a step into a stellar leadership role

In 2016, MetLife sold the Individual Distribution Division to MassMutual. “I was offered a leadership role for which I have been preparing, unknowingly, for a few years. It was a thrilling moment, full of mixed feelings but I knew I was ready,” she said.

Bellaria Jimenez, President at MassMutual Tri State

Bellaria Jimenez, President at MassMutual Tri State, has received numerous awards including the 2016 Prominent Woman award.

As the President of MassMutual Tristate, Bellaria focuses on helping individuals and business owners, especially women, who need guidance and customized solutions to their specific need.

“We focus especially on Latinos, women and the younger generation, who are now out of college with a lot of debt and fewer opportunities than their parents,” Bellaria explained. “Young people are not attracted to financial planning early on, when you really need to manage your finances. They see older people –the agent average age is 51-and they think it is something their parent do or need,” she explained.

At MassMutual Tristate, Bellaria’s team is working hard at attracting younger men and women who would like an opportunity to advance their careers helping others. “Many people think you need an MBA to build a career in financial planning but in truth, you just need a passion for helping others and a series of certifications and licenses that we, at MassMutual Tristate, provide and guide all potential candidates to achieve,” she said.

The company also offers a great deal of training and support through their virtual university, mentors that help them not only build a client portfolio but also how to do marketing, sales and establish strong relationships with their clients.

“At MassMutual Tri State, we offer comprehensive financial services and products that empower our clients to improve their long-term financial situation and reach their lifetime goals and dreams,” Bellaria explained. “If your passion is to help people live a worry free life and make a great career for yourself, I encourage you to contact us and become part of our successful team,” she concluded.

Bellaria has received numerous awards including the 2005 Hispanic Corporate Achiever of the Year 2014, Top 50 Business Women in NJ, and the 2016 Prominent Woman award. A member of the Junior Achievement of New Jersey, she also sits on the FDU board. She had the distinguished honor of ringing the opening bell on Wall Street in April 2010, a success few Hispanic women at MassMutual have achieved.

A version of this article will be published by Abasto Magazine 2017 October/November issue. 

Latina Buying food at the supermarket

Why Latino economic power is greater than political representation

Despite new reports on the increasing Latino economic power –their buying power, insertion in the labor force, and their role as the backbone of Social Security–, the part Hispanics play in the United States’ political arena is still minimal.

Latina Buying food at the supermarket Latino economic power

Latinas make 85% of purchasing decisions in the home

Latinos are the nation’s second largest and fastest growing population group and electorate; however, we are still behind in representation. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) reports that 24. 8 million Latinos who are eligible to vote are not registered.

According to a study conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanics will account for 75% of the nation’s labor force growth in the next decade. A population that is growing rapidly because of an increasing birth rate and is fed by constant immigration–although lessened in the last two years–, Hispanics in the United States are the labor force of the future.

Latino economic power and labor force

A first reason of this assessment is that the aging baby-boomers’ generation or non-Hispanic population entering Social Security massively will need the younger Latino labor force to carry for millions of their pensions. In addition, the non-Hispanic birthrate is slowing down at an alarming rate. White women are giving birth at a later age and to fewer children.

“A second important factor is that Hispanics have a higher labor force participation rate than other groups. The nation’s labor force participation rate—that is, the share of the population ages 16 and older either employed or looking for work—was 64.7% in 2010. Among Hispanics, the rate was 67.5%. There are two main explanations for this gap: Hispanics are a younger population than other groups, and include a higher share of immigrants”, concludes Rakesh Kochhar.

These figures were extracted from the 2010-2020 BLS projections for the U.S. labor force. The report indicates that growth in America will slow overall, while the rest of the world’ labor force —especially in the Asian markets—is growing at a frantic rate. “Hispanics are expected to add 7.7 million workers to the labor force while the number of non-Hispanic whites in the labor force is projected to decrease by 1.6 million.”

The labor force movement should acknowledge this increased role of Latinos as an opportunity for their political participation in the next decades, and act accordingly.

“Latinos need the freedom to form unions and bargain collectively —which means they need the Employee Free Choice Act,” said Gabriela Lemus, executive director of Progressive Congress. She is the former executive director of the Labor Council of Latin American Advancement, a constituency group of the AFL-CIO & CTW. In 2008, she was elected to serve as Vice-Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), later becoming chair where she helped to establish progressive policies for the Latino civil rights movement.

Head Shot  Latino economic power

Gabriela Lemus

Latino economic power expected to grow

Although the number of employed Hispanics has increased from its lowest in 2009, Latino economic power is expected to continue growing as the relatively young population is increasing educational opportunities and moving up the social ladder.

By 2020, Latinos are expected to comprise 19 percent of the U.S. labor force. Women comprised 41 percent of all Latinos in the labor force in 2011, compared to 46 percent among the white labor force.

On the other hand, the Selig Center for Economic Growth reports that Latino economic power has gained momentum —as disposable income, or money that is available for spending after taxes—over the past decade at a staggering rate compared to other minorities.

“The Hispanic market alone, at $1 trillion, is larger than the entire economies of all but 14 countries in the world–smaller than the GDP of Canada but larger than the GDP of Indonesia,” Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the center, notes.

“The ten states with the largest Hispanic markets, in order, are California ($265 billion), Texas ($176 billion), Florida ($107 billion), New York ($81 billion), Illinois ($44 billion), New Jersey ($39 billion), Arizona ($34 billion), Colorado ($22 billion), New Mexico ($20 billion), and Georgia ($17 billion),” says the report, which brings up the issue of political representation.

What can be done  to encourage those who are not citizens yet to acquire their citizenship, and those who are, to participate in the electoral process? It must be our very first priority if we ever want to achieve economic and political power, and make our voices count.