Fatima Pearn received Latina Leader Award at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Fatima Pearn was honored with the Latina Leader Award at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition where she also participated as a guest judge. As the current VP Business Development Office at Valley Bank, Fatima has had a lengthy and successful career in banking. She has shown exemplary skills and has acted as a leader and mentor to others while contributing to the expansion and success of multiple banks throughout her 15+ years in the banking industry. Taking to the stage to accept her award, she shared some of her professional journey, inspiring those in the audience with her success story. 


Fatima Pearn, Vally Bank, receives the Latina Leader Award from Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc.

Working up from the bottom

Fatima’s banking career began in 1989 at First Fidelity Bank where she worked in the Import and Export Department. After only two years, she put her own career on hold to help her husband at the time with his own business. The couple later divorced, leaving Fatima to support two young boys as a single mother. The four years that followed were difficult, with Fatima working multiple jobs to support her children. Then, in 2001, Fatima decided it was time to make a significant career change.  

“I needed to make a change in my life and start thinking about a new career,” says Fatima. “A career that would give my family and I better health benefits, and also allow me to contribute to a retirement plan.” 


Fatima Pearn accepting the Latina Leader Award during the WINNERS Reception at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Fatima decided the best option would be to return to banking, since she already had some previous experience in the field. When an opportunity as a Teller opened up at PNC Bank, Fatima took a chance and applied. 

“I wanted to learn the retail banking industry from the bottom up,” she says. 

Never having pursued a formal higher education, Fatima gained all her expertise by learning on the job from mentors and taking specific courses and accreditations in her field. Beginning from the bottom helped Fatima quickly learn the ins and outs of the banking world and soon became a leader to others.  

New love and opportunities

During this same time, Fatima remarried to the love of her life. Her husband had two children of his own, and together they raised their four children before growing their family with another child together, a baby boy, who is now fourteen years old and a blessing to their lives. Fatima’s husband and their children gave her the drive to better herself and encouraged her to further grow her banking career.  

Soon Fatima was promoted from Teller to Financial Sales Consultant, and then in 2005 she was offered the opportunity to be a Business Development Officer by her Team Leader. This position put her in charge of five branches in Essex and Hudson County with book of business to grow. 

“My job was just to bring new business to the bank and close a minimum of $5 Million dollars in new money in lending, C&I, owner-occupied, Loc and Investment Real estate,” says Fatima. “The first question my Team Leader asked me was: Where do you think you are going to target new clients? I thought about it for a couple of days and got back to him with a plan.” 

Her plan involved three steps. First she did research on Reference USA. Then she reached out to her husband’s relative who was a fireman in Kearny at the time. She asked him if he could share a list of new businesses that opened in Kearny from January to that date. Lastly, she registered to be a member of the Kiwanis, Rotaries and the Chamber of Commerce in the area. This plan proved to be successful as one year later, Fatima was invited to be the Treasurer by the Portuguese American Chamber of Commerce in Newark.

“I also took private lessons to learn the basics on how to play golf in order to be able to participate on golf outings at the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce,” Fatima says. 

After a few months, she started showing great results in her position, and she worked with her retail partners and loan officers to have client appreciation days at their branches after work hours. These events made their clients feel appreciated which lead to the building of Center of Influences (COI’s) for the business.  

Conquering language barriers

Being a Latina has also been incredibly instrumental in Fatima’s success, opening her up to many opportunities to expand her relationships in her career. 

“I was able to connect with many different cultures because of my background and the connections I was making in my community,” says Fatima. 

Her Latina background was especially helpful when it came to language connections. While working in Kearny, Fatima was the only employee who was able to speak Spanish and Portuguese. This allowed Fatima to bring in a lot of new business and relationships to the bank that otherwise would not have been possible due to language barriers. And Fatima knows all too well the struggles of working around a language barrier.  

“When I first came to the USA, I didn’t speak English and it was hard to adjust,” says Fatima reflecting back on her early beginnings. “I worked hard and connected with American people to learn the language. It was very challenging, but also would up being very rewarding.” 

Now Fatima is able to give back and help connect with clients who do not speak English or are not as confident with the language yet. This unique opportunity has driven Fatima to success and has also made her very proud of her past and where she started from. 

“Be proud of your past and who you are today,” says Fatima, “keep working hard, reach out to those around you to gain support as well as provide support. You can be successful in your profession too.”


The Valley Bank Team (L to R) Sofia Cordero, Fatima Pearn and Dorothy Kahlau,
First Sr VP
Valley National Bank

Being a leader to others

Following her time working at Provident Bank in Kearny, Fatima’s reputation as a leader and successful worker offered her multiple opportunities in the years that followed, such as the position of Assistant VP Business Banker II at PNC Bank in 2007. She worked there for eight years managing a book of business with over a hundred clients which grew her book of business to over fifty percent. She then was contacted by Santander Bank where she was offered the position of Vice President Middle Market Relationship Manager. This position covered Essex and Hudson County where Fatima managed a book of business of over 150 clients. During this time she also served as President of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) of the West Orange Chapter in NJ and led her department in Small Business Administration production which included the largest deal size of over $20M in revenue.

In 2018, Fatima accepted a new opportunity at Valley Bank, where she currently works, as the Vice President Commercial Lender. Here she develops and monitors business plans to support the company’s strategic goal of increasing client based and corporate branding. She also participates in community and non-profit organizations. 

Her professional journey has taught Fatima that success is always possible no matter where you begin. It all comes down to your goals and actions. “You may feel like you are nowhere near accomplishing your goals right now, but there is time to change that,” Fatima encourages. “Great things can be accomplished if you put your mind to it and work hard. The first step is to plan and to give yourself goals.” 

You might be interested:  NJ Senator Teresa Ruiz is Inspirational Speaker at 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

She believes in the process of working toward short-term goals to build on and reach one’s ultimate goal of success. Additionally Fatima stresses the importance of resources and support. 

“It never hurts to ask for help or support from the people around you.” Reflecting back on her journey, she says, “I never thought that I was going to be the position I am in now. I dreamed of being a nurse because I wanted to help people. I was always a natural leader, always worrying about my friends and family and trying to help them. I realized that nursing wasn’t a good fit for me as I got older. So, I chose to be in banking because I liked to help the small and medium size businesses to grow. I would like to encourage everyone not to give up on your dreams.”

Valley National Bank

Thanks to Valley Bank’s Team for being a constant supporter of Latinas in Business Inc.

Sponsor of the 2019  Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition


Latinos aging in America

The Hispanic Paradox: Roberto Muñiz talks about Latinos aging in America

As the baby-boomer population increases, Latinos aging in America have become a “good news-bad news” kind of topic. On one side, Latinos continue to puzzle doctors and researchers by aging at a slower rate than other ethnic groups, a phenomenon called “the Hispanic Paradox.” On the other, evidence of health disparities, lack of health insurance and poverty levels make them a vulnerable group that requires special attention from policy makers and healthcare providers alike. We interviewed Roberto Muñiz, President and CEO of Parker, to help us understand how Latinos age in America.

Latinos aging in America

Roberto Muniz at a Parker event. (Photo courtesy of Parker)

The findings of a UCLA study published in Genome Biology may help scientists understand how to slow the aging process for everyone. It seems that Latinos age more slowly at a molecular level, explained Steve Horvath, a professor of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and these findings might be used in future aging research.

Researchers believe that Hispanic culture might contribute to this phenomenon — including being closer to their families, keeping fresher food in their diets with less fast food, and manual labor keeping workers in better shape.

Nobody more qualified to speak to this topic than Roberto Muñiz, who for nearly 20 years has been President and CEO of Parker, a best in class, non-profit, New Jersey-based aging services organization that recently celebrated its 110th anniversary. This long-term experience in the aging sector makes Muñiz the ideal expert to discuss how the Latino community views aging—especially cultural nuances such as potential stigma around nursing homes and assisted living facilities vs. living at home or with one’s family.

How do Latinos feel about aging?

“Latinos embrace aging and see it as a natural progression of life,” Muñiz told “They value family interactions and usually have a large, very close-knit family where the younger ones understand that they will eventually take care of the aging members,” he added.

Coming from a big family with six sisters, Muñiz recalls that there was always someone able to care for their mother. As she got older, she appreciated having family around.

“Latinos do, however, still fear aging because they have a higher rate of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, than other ethnic groups. Regardless of this, Latinos really make aging part of life and tend to feel comfortable with that new stage,” he stated.

Latinos aging in America and nursing homes

Roberto Muniz is uniquely qualified to talk about Latinos aging in America (Photo courtesy of Parker)

Roberto Muniz is uniquely qualified to talk about Latinos aging in America.

Research shows current nursing home admission rates for Hispanics are far below levels for other ethnic groups. Hispanics accounted for 5.5 percent of all nursing homes residents in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2016, according to government data.

“Hispanics have traditionally used formal long-term care services less than other US ethnic groups. They are less likely than Caucasians and African Americans to live in nursing homes and use of home health aides,” Muñiz explained.

Difficulty communicating because of cultural or language barriers is one of the factors contributing to their lower use of long-term care services. Traditionally, children, mainly women, take on the role of caregivers in a family.

However, as times change and more women are joining the workforce, there has been an increase in family members being placed in nursing homes or assisted living in America. “This trend is still observed in Latino families, but to a lesser extent,” Muñiz said.

“Since culturally Latino families feel the responsibility to care for their loved ones at home, many tend to feel guilty because they place a lot of emphasis on family unity,” he explained. “It is uncomfortable for them not knowing how their elders are being taken care of, but they recognize that although they’d prefer to support them themselves, the younger members have to work and deal with their own families issues,” Muñiz added.

You might be interested:  Women pay inequality gap follows them into retirement

Options for Latinos placed in assisted living and nursing facilities

Assisted living and nursing facilities in the U.S. are usually established by for-profit organizations. Although most nursing homes participate in the Medicaid programs, Medicaid is not accepted in most assisted living organizations, making it very expensive for those who cannot afford these services when they are most needed.

Latinos aging in America

Roberto Muniz addressing the audience at a Parker event.  (Photo courtesy of Parker)

“Assisted living facilities are regulated by each State but they are less regulated in comparison to nursing homes,” explained Muñiz. And he continued, “Each state has different requirements; for instance, in New Jersey, regulations require that assisted living facilities that have been in operations for longer than three years must allocate at least 10 percent of their units for residents who are Medicaid eligible, allowing individuals with limited resources to participate in the State Medicaid waiver program,” he indicated. Raising awareness of these regulations is extremely important so that families can take advantage of this option.

Regarding nursing facilities, elderly Hispanics, more than non-Hispanics, depend more of nursing homes that are located in inner cities where typically Hispanics tend to reside, making it more accessible to family members. However, these facilities are usually characterized by severe deficiencies in performance, understaffing and poor care.

Role of “abuelas” in the Latino family

Due to salary gaps, educational disadvantages and lesser work opportunities, Latinas carry these disadvantages into retirement.  These economic circumstances have given “abuelas” a key role in the family.

“The “abuelas” contribute by helping with the children while parents are working,” Muñiz said. “Regardless of where the grandmother lives, she’s still the matriarch of the family and many times responsible for instilling core family values. Their relationship with their grandchildren is sometimes even stronger than the kids’ relationships with their parents. This connection may be affected when grandparents are placed in nursing homes or assisted living, but nevertheless grandparents are seen as the backbone of the Latino family.” Muñiz assured.

What Latinos aging in America expect from their future

Latinos aging in America have added a new challenge to the country’s already steep rise in its elderly population as baby boomers enter their retirement years. Policymakers must prepare for this shift in the aging population, as it is expected that by 2050, long-lived Hispanics will account for nearly 20 percent of those older than 65, four times the five percent they represented in the year 2000. However, it might help that a nationwide survey conducted by Parker found that 72 percent of Hispanics do not fear or worry much about aging at all, and 57 percent of Hispanics think of aging in positive ways using words like “hopeful,” “relevant,” and “vibrant.”


About Roberto Muñiz

Roberto Muniz, President and CEO of Parker Latinos aging in America

Roberto Muniz, President and CEO of Parker (Photo courtesy of Parker)

Roberto Muñiz arrived in America from Puerto Rico when he was 13 years old—one of 14 brothers, sisters, and half-siblings—speaking almost no English at all. He spent his youth in a tough area of Elizabeth, New Jersey, but found solace in volunteering at Alexian Brothers Hospital, where he received a free meal for every four-hour shift he worked. He then began to envision a future career in aging services, a sector in which he has been a national thought leader for more than a quarter century.

A fellow and former board member of the American College of Health Care Administrators, Muñiz is a past president of the New Jersey Chapter, where he is currently a member-at-large of their board of directors. He is the immediate past chair and currently serves as a member of the board of trustees of the New Jersey Foundation for Aging.

Muñiz is the chair of the board of trustees of New Brunswick Tomorrow, a board member of LeadingAge National and LeadingAge New Jersey, and he chairs their Education Committee. Roberto also serves on the Bergen County Advisory Council of the Division of Senior Services and is a founding member of the Life Enrichment Aging Project Professionals (LEAP).

Muñiz has served as a member of the New Jersey Commission on Aging, the New Jersey Advisory Council on Elder Care and the Governor’s Transition Policy Group on Health and Senior Issues.

He is the recipient of the 2013 “Leaders of Tomorrow” award presented by Long Term Living Magazine and, most recently, the 2015 Distinguished Citizen Award by the Boy Scouts of America for his outstanding contributions to the community. In addition, he has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by LeadingAge New Jersey, and both the Young Administrator and the Distinguished Administrator Awards from the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Administrators. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National College of Health Care Administrators for his leadership within the profession of long-term care administration.

Muñiz is a graduate fellow of Leadership New Jersey and was appointed adjunct instructor of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, now Rutgers University. In 2012, he was appointed as a part-time Instructor at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Planning and Public Policy, teaching both the Public Health and Health Administration majors.

Muñiz holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University. He is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (LNHA) in both New Jersey and New York.



office eating Latinas at work

4 Easy tips to change unhealthy eating on the job for Latinas at work

office eating Latinas at work

Over the years, businesses have incorporated a risk-free work environment, instituted safe working appliances and educated workers on safety. Everywhere, there are warning signs of fire and other hazards. But one hazard which is almost never discussed at work is unhealthy eating on the job.

Unhealthy eating on the job is now considered to be an occupational hazard according to the World Health Organization. Food at work is one of the pillars of a productive workforce and an indispensable social element in our society. However, over the years employees have been munching on unhealthy snacks and drinking gallons of coffee every working minute.

Very few workplaces offer healthy meal programs. So workers bring in their own foods, which typically contain high amounts of carbohydrates and are enriched with sugar. Employees eat all the time; in fact, many of them have jars full of candies and chocolates on their desk which they munch on while working. This voracious need to eat junk food not only leads to loss of productivity but also to obesity and many other health problems.

In a recent national survey conducted by Healthy Americas Institute, it was observed that over 50percent of Hispanics and African Americans –compared to 37% of Caucasians– reported they drank sugary beverages almost daily.

Dr Jane Delgado, President and CEO, National Alliance for Hispanic Health.

Dr Jane Delgado, President and CEO, National Alliance for Hispanic Health.

Dr Jane Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nation’s leading Hispanic health advocacy group stated, “For too long the guidelines on what to eat were not driven by the best science.”

Many workers are not fit, have poor dietary habits and the problem is often aggravated by the abundance of sugary foods available in the work place. Too frequently almost any achievement, meeting, discussion or seminar is celebrated with a dessert, doughnuts, coffee and other sugary foods.

Management often believes that offering food is a great way to boost workers’ morale. Workplaces now have vending machines offering every type of snack and sugary beverage possible. Some do not offer clean water so workers are left with no other choice than buying a sugary beverage from a vending machine. During lunch break most employees rush out to order street or junk food which is often high in calories, fat and sugar.

Dr Delgado further stated that, “Already, one in seven calories consumed by youth are from added sugars in products like soda and sports drinks. The impact has been particularly harmful in Hispanic and African American communities that are the subject of intense marketing by the sugar sweetened beverage industry.”


Is it possible to solve this epidemic of senseless munching at work?

Because this senseless eating has become deeply ingrained in our work habits, making any colossal change is bound to fail. Thus, making small incremental steps might improve workplace habits that boosts productivity and helps bring out a new “YOU.” Here are some unhealthy habits that you can get rid off by taking the following measures:

  1. Get up and stretch: No matter how busy you are at work, try and take a break every hour and walk around. Sitting all day can lead to back pain, serious weight gain and makes you very tired. If you sit around all day, even regular exercise will not help you lower the health risks. Make it a habit of walking and stretching yourself for a few minutes every hour.
  2. Eat lunch with others: Americans tend to eat lunch at their desk and rarely interact with others. Social isolation tends to impact negatively on longevity. Moreover loneliness can lead to depression, loss of self-esteem and even overeating. Consider lunchtime as an opportunity to connect with other co-workers and share healthier eating habits, exchanging recipes or healthy food you bring from home. Dare your co-workers to a game of healthier habits the group can agree upon, or to try healthier food from restaurants around the office. Count calories and keep a score for each co-worker, agree on a weekly prize for the winner –the one who ate fewer calories that week on the job. Make it fun, not stressful!green salad in a plate
  3. Stop mindless snacking. One common reason why people tend to snack endlessly is worry and stress. Further, when people are stressed they tend to eat unhealthy sugary foods to re-energize the brain with low quality sugary foods. Often people who are stressed are also in a hurry and tend to eat whatever is available in the vending machine or on the street. These choices take a nutritional toll. The human body is not able to digest food while you are in a “fight or flight mode” and hence digestive problems also tend to be more common in stressed individuals. Symptoms like bloating, excess gas, belching and stomach cramps are common complaints in high strung individuals. If you are stressed and hungry, take a deep breath and drink lots of water first. This will partly take away the hunger and allow you to make some decent choices for your snacks. Always plan ahead and have available healthy snacks- so you do not rush to the nearest vending machine when aggravated.
  4. Get outside and, if possible, do some walking: Work can become very absorbing and often people tend to Multiracial business people working outdoor in townforget how much time has passed. It is important for all workers to get outside and get some sun. This natural light is vital for your health, happiness and mood. There is ample evidence showing that the brain produces more mood balancing substances like serotonin and endorphins, when one is exposed to sunlight. Plus you also get a healthy dose of sun which is necessary to make vitamin D. Instead of eating a snack during break, go for a ten minute walk. There is no exercise that comes close to walking for health benefits. It allows you to enjoy nature, lose weight, lowers your cholesterol and on top of it all walking is FREE. Finally walking is very safe unless you fall down a pothole, while texting.

In the past few years, many laudable efforts have been made to alter the eating habits of workers. The National Alliance for Hispanic Health has is now committed to support healthy retail options and information for Hispanics. Dr Delgado adds, “We are particularly pleased to see the recommendations limiting the amount of added sugars in our diet to no more than 10 percent of daily calories.”

The Alliance is all in favor of increasing taxation on sugary foods (teaspoon tax) to help reduce the intake of these foods. If these efforts fail, it appears that occupational health will need to enter the battle of “mindless eating” by making it a topic of discussion within the culture of each company.

Would you be willing to lead such initiative in your workplace?

Somos Latinas the power of Latino women in a New York artist’s vision

Ernesto Camacho Artist from The Bronx

Ernesto Camacho Artist from The Bronx

Ernesto Camacho is an artist native of The Bronx, NY, who has exhibited at various galleries in the New York City and Connecticut areas, and has won several awards including the prestigious “15th Annual Brio Award” from the Bronx Council on The Arts. Reviews of his paintings have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Manhattan Arts International, and The Advocate & Greenwich Times. His work centers on the experiences of his people, Latinos, and their whereabouts in urban life. Ernesto’s lifelong fascination with New York has inspired him to do an ongoing series entitled, “Diaries of a City”. He is also interested in the ethnic origin of Latinos and especially Latinas, a powerful synergy of races and cultures that prompted his series “Somos Latinas.”



Where were you born and how did you become an artist?

Birds of paradise Ernesto Camacho

Birds of paradise by Ernesto Camacho

I’m a Bronx native, raised during the 70’s when it was “burning down.” Those days left indelible impressions in my mind and heart that I cherish till to this day. Many of these memories included sounds of congas echoing off the project walls late into the summer evenings; riding mass transit to and from high school, exposing me to an evolution of graffiti on subway cars that resembled portable art galleries; snd the wonderful smells of our “comidas creoles de Puerto Rico” that permeated my native hallways.

My neighborhood was rich with Puerto Rican and African American culture that brought excitement into my young imagination. Although people spoke abusively about The Bronx during the seventies, I could only find good in my environment much like “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids”.

These memories; these cultures rich in history, art, food, and dance have influenced the way I paint with a papyri of never ending subject matter; a subject matter filled with affection & storytelling.

I love capturing these subjects by using dramatic light and darkness, with an abundance of refracted colors; exaggerating at times the intensity of the situation in an effort to steer the viewer ever closer to what I am conveying.

What is the power of Latinas?

Mi amor Series Latinas by Ernesto Camacho

Mi amor Series Latinas by Ernesto Camacho

The power of a Latina is her universal appeal. Because she’s the result of a mixture of all people who came to the Americas with the indigenous population, she comes in a beautiful array of complexions and textures that are solely hers. Add to this; the mixtures of food, music, art, and temperaments that have evolved for the last 500 years and what do you get? Humanity at its best!

What prompted you to work on Somos Latinas’ Transformation?

I’m always astounded when people generalize Latinos. A friend of mine is married to a Puerto Rican. He’s Negrito. Just the other day, he was speaking to someone in Spanish and her relative said to her, “Why is he speaking in Spanish?” My friend looked at her relative in amazement and said, “Because he’s Puerto Rican.” Her relative then said, “Really? But he’s black.”

Another friend of mine was surprised when we met a gentleman who was tall, green-eyed, and blanquito, only to find out he was Mexican. After we left, she mentioned that he didn’t look like a Mexican. I asked her, “What does a Mexican look like?” She said, “They’re usually small and brown.”

You can’t make this stuff up. I’m tired of people generalizing what a Spanish person should look like. My great-grandmother was Morenita. My great-grandfather was a Judío blanquito de España. They had 14 children, one being my grandmother. The whole family looked like one giant mondongo. We had every colored hue and textured hair along with different colored eyes. Mine came out Hazel like my grandmother’s. So that’s what I grew up accustomed too. As a Latino, I always associated Spanish people with a rainbow of beautiful colors.

As you become versed in the history of Latin America and all its little Islands, you understand very clearly why you cannot generalize what a person who speaks Spanish should look like. History has made them all inclusive.

So how do you define being Latino/Latina?

Wind Tunnel by Ernesto Camacho

Wind Tunnel by Ernesto Camacho

Latino/a (la teeno/a (plural-nos) “A fusion of different people from distant lands who came together with the indigenous populous thru a turbulent past, and blossomed into a new type of people made up of different hues, textured hairs, and colored eyes; all under the umbrella of one language, that is a Latino.”

One morning Rosie Perez on the View ranted and raved about how Latinos are living in denial. That’s when I finally decided, “That’s it! I have to do a painting that’s been on my mind and heart for the last couple of years; a painting that shows the evolution and beauty of our past history.”

Where and how you find inspiration for your artwork?

Mother's Day by Ernesto Camacho

Mother’s Day by Ernesto Camacho

I love my studio. It’s a world that I cherish. A world that allows me to fully express myself without being judged for any thought, feeling, or idea that flows from my fingers onto my canvas.

Every article in my studio, every trinket, is a reflection of who I am.

It allows me to paint subject matter that’s closest to my heart without hindrance of fear or rejection. It completes the other half of me that few see; or desire to. Ultimately, it’s my platform to create gifts I desire to share with any who are receptive.

I consider the Bronx to be an extension of my studio. Everything in the Bronx; it’s history, streets, parks, trains, playgrounds, are an intrinsic part of my entire make up. It has blessed me with endless subject matter. Subject matter I hope to give to the world for many years.








Mariela Dabbah, Red Shoe Movement

Q&A with Red Shoe Movement founder Mariela Dabbah

Red Shoe Movement Signature Event in NYC

Red Shoe Movement Signature Event in NYC

Have you heard of the Red Shoe Movement (RSM)? It is the only women empowerment platform born from a movement and sustained by a movement. Mariela Dabbah, its founder and leader, is a world-renowned thought-leader, international speaker, corporate consultant, and best-selling author who has been helping Latinos and women connect the dots to achieve success for twenty years.

Now, she is getting ready to launch her Signature Event of the year at MetLife, a gathering that nobody interested in personal and professional growth can miss. Seriously!

This year 2015 has been an important one for Mariela, when she was selected as one of the “25 Most Powerful Women” by People en Español. Her “madrina” was Maria Elena Salinas, another powerful Latina in media.

We asked Mariela to talk about the event, about her and her future plans. These are her answers.

Mariela Dabbah, Founder of the Red Shoe Movement

Mariela Dabbah, Founder of the Red Shoe Movement with her Lola Ramona shoes

Q: What is the goal of this new event happening November 9 at MetLife? What impact do you expect to create in the participants?

Mariela: This is our annual RSM Signature Event, an event unlike anything you’ve seen. And not only because 90 percent of the people show up with red shoes and ties, but also because of the goals and format. The goal is to provide women with a space to discover what they want professionally for themselves, to experience an “aha” moment that will guide the next steps in their careers. We attain this by inviting them to actively participate in six conversations about topics that are very relevant for career growth. Topics include how to discover your passion, engaging men to propel your career forward, what is executive presence and how to develop it, winning negotiation strategies, embracing assertiveness, and how to be the CEO of your own career

During these conversations, facilitated by senior executives trained in our methodology, women have a sense of how much they have to offer and how much there is to learn. And of course, they become part of a powerful community of likeminded women who support their objectives.

Q: What is the driving force of the Red Shoe Movement now that is has become an international movement? Why do you think it is so successful –in addition to your dedication and passion for empowering women? What does it “awake” in women?

Mariela: We only started three years ago and we now have fans in over 130 countries and work with companies across the US and Latin America helping them develop and promote their female employees.

The 7 Red Shoe Movement Principles along with our #RedShoeTuesday campaign give women a sense of ownership and purpose. Something concrete they can do to fulfill their career goals while helping others to fulfill theirs. The message around defining your own success so you may align your aspirations with your career objectives is very powerful. It all came out of my book Find Your Inner Red Shoe (Penguin 2013). And of course the fact that, as a leadership development company focused on diverse women, we offer year-round coaching and resources to help them move to the next level in their careers. Because both large corporations and individual women can subscribe to our Step Up program it has made it very easy for people to jump on board.

Q: Can you explain a little bit the Red Shoe Tuesday campaign?

Mariela: The Red Shoe Tuesday is a campaign we launched from the very beginning. We encourage people to wear red shoes and ties to go to work every Tuesday to show support for the career advancement of women. This action helps to keep up the conversation about the value of having more women in leadership positions and about what women and organizations can do to make it happen.

L to R: Mariela Dabbah, Maria Salinas Adamari Lopez

L to R: Adamari Lopez, Mariela Dabbah, Maria Elena Salinas

Q: What is important for Mariela Dabbah now that you have achieved recognition as one of People en Español “25 Most Powerful Women”? What is not important anymore? What is next?

Mariela: I was honored to be nominated by Maria Elena Salinas for this powerful list. It’s a great milestone because it gives me and the RSM more visibility so that more women can benefit from being part of our community.

It has also been an important year as we developed amazing relationships with Lola Ramona and Farylrobin, our shoe sponsors. They have enabled us to take our work to the next level by helping us make our events, webinars and programs that much more fun with lots of shoe giveaways!

Nothing has changed much in terms of what’s important to me, though. I still work hard to create and deliver the best quality content across everything I do. I still value each one of my relationships. I still underpromise and overdeliver. So far, my strategy seems to be working well.

Q: Where can people register for the event on November 9 in NYC?

Mariela: Readers can register here for the event. As fans and readers of, you can get a 20 percent discount using this coupon rsmsepa2015 at checkout.


We also wanted to get the views of our friend and fantastic leader Ali Curi, President and Founder of Hispanic Professionals Networking Group (HPNG), who will be the MC and interviewer for the Signature event.

Ali Curi, President and Founder Hispanic Professional Networking Group

Ali Curi, President and Founder Hispanic Professional Networking Group

Q: What is the added value that Hispanic Professionals bring to the table to the Red Shoe Movement?

Ali: HPNG has had a long history of creating a platform for Latino leaders to share their experiences with other Hispanic professionals. We’re honored to be able to contribute to the RSM Signature Event by inviting HPNG members to learn from Red Shoe Movement members and for them to share their own insight for a well-rounded experience for everyone.

Q: What it means personally and professionally to you to be part of this event?

Ali: Personally, to be involved in great endeavors that service Latino professionals such as this one is part of my DNA. I have always maintained a mission of collaboration with my peers and other organizations to better our Hispanic community as a whole. Am I’m thrilled that I can personally contribute by leading the Lunch Keynote Interview that day.