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2020 Latinas In Business highlights and most read articles 

Our 2020 Latinas in Business Highlights and Most Read Articles are here!

This year has been unpredictable from start to finish. At first glance, we may think 2020 was all bad, but looking back at our 2020 highlights and most read articles, it’s hard not to see how much we’ve still managed to accomplish amidst all the chaos and uncertainty. We have been challenged this year and we have all struggled, but the Latinas in Business community has risen to the challenges and come together to uplift and support each other. Through collaborative initiatives and virtual events, our community has innovated and adapted to the unexpected changes brought on by 2020. 

Each year we strive to set the bar higher and this year was no different here at Latinas in Business Inc. We are so blessed and honored to have such an amazing community to readers, supporters, and collaborators. We thank you so much! Gracias! 

Now, here are the 2020 Latinas in Business highlights and most read articles on LatinasinBusiness.us, our dedicated editorial platform that promotes and empowers Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs.

2020 Latinas in Business most read articles 

Latina Leader of March, Sara Pena (Photo courtesy Sara Pena)

In March we honored community leader and advocate, Sara Peña, as Latina Leader of the Month. As a Newark native working toward community empowerment, Sara strives to empower Latinos, especially the youth, through advocacy, legislature, and mentorship. She is currently the Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development in the NJ Department of State, as well as the founder of the  Boys to Leaders Foundation. Sara was also previously President of  LUPE Fund -Latinas United for Political Empowerment– whose focus is to educate, empower, and engage Latinas to promote leadership and civic service. 

Through her community leadership and service work, Sara helped to improve the quality of life and the empowerment of the New Jersey’s Hispanic community. We can’t wait to see what she will do next! 

Isahias Stanback, StedFast, and Jackeline Sansone, Branch Manager, Investors Bank at 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo.

In May, Latinas in Business shared a step-by-step guide to help you through the PPP sole proprietor application process

For sole proprietors and micro-businesses -also known as solo-preneurs-, the SBA subsidies and loans this year have been a frustrating experience. And these programs have been designed with large employers in mind, making it all the more difficult for small businesses and sole proprietors to navigate the application process. 

But Latinas in Business had you covered with a list of resources, explanations, and step-by-step instructions on how to get the best results with your PPP application. 

Check out this reader-favorite article for more tips and resources for your next application process.

(L to R) Maria de los Angeles Corral, Education for Excellence; Alicia Garcia, Reuters; Charles Neugebauer, Univision; Jessica K Asencio, LNC; Susana G Baumann and Tathiana Carrasco, Latinas in Business Inc. (Photo Latinas in Business Inc.)

In July we said goodbye to a beloved Latina leader, Jessica K. Asencio. Friends, family, and colleagues came together to honor and remember Jessica and her legacy with loving words and fond memories of the fearless leader. 

Born in Ecuador and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, Jessica dedicated her life to supporting Latino-Hispanic causes and uplifting their voices in the workplace. Jessica became a D&I leader, and was recognized as a Diversity Champion at JPMorgan Chase. She also founded the Latino Networks Coalition (LNC), originally inaugurated in 2010 by JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte and Thomson Reuters. The coalition was launched with additional partners including American Express, Bank of America, Citibank, Credit Suisse and The New York Times.

Throughout her entire career Jessica strove to support and uplift others. She was remembered by many for her hard work, kindness, enthusiasm, and love. 

“She was a leader who led by example with optimism, strength, devotion, and focus,” says Alicia Garcia, friend, and Latino Networks Coalition’s Leader.

“Her desire to elevate the power of our community in numbers combined with her ability to create consensus and bring us together as leaders will forever be remembered,” says Lili Gil Valletta, CEO & Co-Founder of CIEN+.

“She built a legacy on relationships,” says Jonathan Wunderlich, Dream Project Development Director. “I only hope I can follow in her footsteps and continue to listen, to care, and build from there.”

Sister-duo, Lissa and Melissa, Co-founders of Ella’s Eve Cosmetics showing off their liquid lipsticks (Photo courtesy Melissa Polanco).

We ended the summer regaining confidence with Ella’s Eve Cosmetics. Owned by Latina sister-duo, Melissa and Lissa, Ella’s Eve Cosmetics is a new beauty brand that is building a community around self-confidence, authenticity, and empowerment. 

Originally a hobby, the sisters soon found a passion for makeup while watching YouTube tutorials and following their favorite influencers on social media. Then, when they began doing their own research into the makeup industry, they soon found that there were not many Latina owned makeup brands. Additionally they noticed many viewed makeup as “fake” or an inauthentic “mask.” This motivated the sisters to launch their own brand, with a focus on being real, authentic, and confident by using makeup to help people highlight their natural beauty not hide it. 

“Confidence comes from being real, the makeup only enhances the beauty that was already there.”

Libro Magico Amarillo personalized Spanish books for children.

Finally, in fall we learned how these adorable and fun personalized Spanish books for children by Libro Magico Amarillo are helping parents raise bilingual children

Founded by Maria Victoria Sanchez, Libro Magico Amarillo is a publishing company that creates personalized Spanish children’s books. Her books offer a mix of adventures and educational content that keep children engaged and reading longer, all while playing and having fun. These books also serve as a tool for parents raising bilingual children, helping them foster a love and appreciation of Hispanic language and culture in their children. 

With many options to choose from, these personalized books also make great gifts for the children in your life! 

2020 Regain Our Latino Power highlights 

In October, Latinas In Business hosted the Regain Our Latino Power virtual event where important Latinx issues were discussed in the weeks leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election. 

Regain our Latino Power, Thanksgiving

Some key topics included: discussion about Latinxs essential workers, Latinxs and the economy, Immigration Reform, Deportations and Incarceration of Latino Children. 

We were also honored to have award-winning journalist and author, Maria Elena Salinas as guest and Keynote Speaker. 

The multi-day event took place over the two last Fridays of October, leading up to the November 3rd election. Throughout the two days we welcomed guest speakers: Alana Cueto, Amy Hinojosa, Rev. Carmen Hernandez, Attorney Cesar Martin Estela, Gabriela Chavez-Lopez, Maria Santiago-Valentín, and many more

You might be interested: 12 Latina leaders honored in 2020

Oldies but goodies: These past articles made a come-back this year 

These articles made a comeback this year, piquing the interest of our readers. 

Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

In the year of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, many of our Latinas In Business readers were interested in learning the 6 Benefits of top management diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry. With 8 million people employed in the travel and tourism industry and 1.2 million of those jobs linked directly and supported with international tourists, many hospitality and tourism workers were left unemployed this year due to COVID-19, travel bans, and border control. With travel and tourism at an all-time-low, it’s no wonder our readers were interested in how the industry might be affected. 

Readers were also curious about the 8 Top dating sites for business and professional women. Perhaps another COVID-19 inspired read as many were forced to turn their social lives to the virtual realm during lockdown. Due to social distancing, our social lives have also suffered and the dating scene has most definitely not been the same. It’s no wonder readers were interested in the best dating sites to connect with others while still staying safe social distancing during the pandemic. 

In Workplace, a popular article this year was 3 Common mistakes companies make in understanding assimilation in the workplace. As the Black Lives Matter movement brought the issues of racism and diversity to the forefront of national conversation, more and more companies were called out for issues regarding racism in the workplace. An unfortunately persistent issue, many companies still do not prioritize diversity and inclusion in their hiring process, resulting in a marked absence of people of color in leadership positions. Our article on the assimilation in the workplace touches on some of the common mistakes companies make when approaching the issue of diversity and inclusion and how companies can better approach this important matter.  

Finally, in Lifestyle readers were curious about which Latina celebrity is the smartest business woman. From Jennifer Lopez to Eva Longoria, Sofia Vergara, and Salma Hayek, who do you think is the best business woman? Check out our reader-favorite article to find out! 

Thank You! 

Looking back on our 2020 Latinas in Business highlights and most read articles reminds us of what an amazing and inspiring community we have here. Once again, we are so very grateful for all the support from sponsors, hosts, supporters, collaborators, and reades that allowed us to continue our mission to advocate for the economic empowerment of Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs.

Thanks for your support and Happy Holidays for all from us! See you in the New Year!

Latinas in Business Inc. Team

Jessica K Asencio

The power of community, the legacy of D&I leader Jessica K. Asencio (RIP)

All loses of loved ones sadden us, making us reflect on how ephemeral life is. However, sometimes we are impacted by the loss of someone special, who went above and beyond to make a difference in this world, and for that, she will always be remembered. I am honored and humbled to be part of this beautiful celebration of Jessica K. Asencio’s life. Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

  What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we deeply love becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller

Jessica K Asencio (RIP) (Photo Courtesy of Jessica’s friends)

Today we take a moment to celebrate the life and legacy of Jessica K. Asencio. Born in Ecuador and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, Jessica dedicated her life to supporting Latino-Hispanic causes and uplifting their voices in the workplace. Jessica became a D&I leader, and was recognized as a Diversity Champion at JPMorgan Chase.

She also served on the Global Adelante Board–JPMorgan Chase’s Latino/Hispanic Business Resource Group– and founded the Latino Networks Coalition (LNC), originally inaugurated in 2010 by JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte and Thomson Reuters. The coalition was launched with additional partners including American Express, Bank of America, Citibank, Credit Suisse and The New York Times.

Jessica K Asencio’s leadership

“Jessica Asencio was an incredible diversity and inclusion leader and a leader in Hispanic causes, but most importantly she was an incredible friend,” says Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Bank of America HOLA NY Executive Advisory Board Emeritus Chair.

“She was such an influential leader,” describes fellow colleague and friend, Hedda Bonaparte.

“She was a leader who led by example with optimism, strength, devotion, and focus,” says Alicia Garcia, friend, and Latino Networks Coalition’s Leader.

“You were our very own fearless leader,” says friend and HISPA founder and CEO, Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse.

Across all testimonials from friends and colleagues, this sentiment reoccurs. Jessica was an extraordinary and passionate leader who left a lasting impact on everyone she met.

Latino market growth

Banking on Latinos for Growth – LNC Executive Board members & speakers: (left to right) Patricia Pacheco Baez (Bank of America Director), Roberto Peralta (Societe Generale Head of Institutional Client Relations, Roberto Ruiz (Univision EVP & event sponsor), Jessica Toonkel (Reuters News Correspondent), Alicia Garcia (LNC Executive Board Co-Chair), Christian Narvaez (Societe Generale Vamos Latino Network), Rosa Ramos-Kwok (Bank of America MD), Carlos Hernandez (J.P. Morgan Head of Global Banking & lead host sponsor), Juliana Gomez (Univision Director), Jessica K. Asencio (LNC Board Founder & LNC Univision Program Steering Committee Co-lead), Lili Gil-Valletta (CulturIntel CEO & Co-founder), Henry Agusti (Bank of America Head of Digital Banking), Don Perez (LNC Executive Board Member & Program Leader), Alex Reyes (Citrin Cooperman Partner), Flavio Cosenza (Chase Bank Executive Director of Marketing), Charles Neugebauer (LNC Univision Program Steering Committee Co-lead)

At JPMorgan Chase, Jessica K Asencio served as the Global Markets Corporate & Investment Bank CAO, where she was responsible for overseeing global talent management, training, and leadership development. Prior to this role, she also served as Vice President for Corporate Marketing & Communications. In all her various roles at JPMorgan Chase throughout her career, she was responsible for developing and implementing firm-wide marketing and communications programs designed to support strategic initiative and key areas of focus. And as with all her work, she always approached every project with a vibrant, optimistic energy.

“I have known Jess since December 2001 when I moved to NYC to work on a high priority project, and Jess represented the Communications Team for JPMC Latin America,” says dear friend and JPMC Colleague, Don Perez. “I was profoundly amazed with her energy, positive attitude, desire to make a difference, commitment and honesty, all testaments of her spiritual strength.”

Jessica K Asencio with friends and LNC Board Members Alberto Flores, President at XP Contractors Inc. and Don Perez, former colleague at JPMorgan Chase (Photo courtesy LNC)

At the time, Jessica was already involved with the JPMorgan Chase Women’s Initiative Network but not yet with Adelante. When Don Perez became Chairman of the Hispanic/ Latino employee group a few months later, Jessica was one of the first people he recruited.

“I needed all the elements of her spiritual side and positive influence with other members to include JPMC Executives,” says Don. Jessica’s tremendous energy was so valuable and necessary to all the work she did that everyone who worked with her recognized it instantly.

Jessica K Asencio

Jessica K Asencio, LNC Executive Board Chair and Founder, and Vice President, Corporate & Investment Bank CAO at JPMorgan Chase speaking at “Banking on Latinos for Growth: Breaking the Code” forum. (Photo courtesy LNC)

“She opened her network to me and many others, which I am grateful for,” says Alicia Garcia, Senior Program Manager, Customer Proposition PMO (Trading & Regulation), and Refinitiv Latino Network Global Co-Chair. “The LNC was started by sharing best practices across our Latino BRG/ERGs and bringing us together as a ‘familia’ under one voice. Her legacy will continue as her values are ingrained across our LNC members and partners.”

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“Jessica K Asencio was a caring, sharing, and an inspiring Latina leader who was committed to Hispanic inclusion at JPMorgan Chase. Through her visionary initiative, she brought together Latino employees resource groups from multiple NYC companies when she co-founded the Latino Network Coalition. The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) partnered with Jessica on many occasions, including her annual toy drive charity event during the holiday season. I was proud to call her my friend. She will be very missed. May she rest in the peaceful arms of the Lord,” Cid Wilson, President & CEO, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) also shared.

Jessica and the power of community

Jessica believed in the power of community. We are stronger together than apart. In the world of business, people are often told they must be separate, individual, and independent to stand out and get ahead. Our Western society at large constantly feeds us this idea of the individual, making us believe that to be strong we must not rely on others or seek help. But that was not Jessica’s message. As a diversity and inclusion leader, she lived by the incredible power of communities and the importance of standing together. And her communities became “familia.”

“She always focused on the good in each person and that was her biggest strength. Her patience and admiration for people was unconditional. She always supported all the different groups and Latino/Hispanic associations with her entire heart and insisted for all of us to do the same,” says Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Director in Corporate Investment Bank at Bank of America, and HOLA NY Executive Advisory Board Emeritus Chair. “I recall her calling me over and over again to support many groups because she used to say ‘If we don’t do it, as Latino/Hispanic professionals, then who will?’ Her theory was that each of us have an obligation to stand up for each other and for our organizations.”

LNC Puerto Rico and Mexico Hurricanes’ Fundraiser at Copacabana 2017 (Photo Courtesy LNC)

“Inclusion is what comes up for me,” says Lucy Sorrentini, Founder & CEO of Impactful Consulting. “Although she and I had never met before, it was as if I knew her my whole life. She taught me what it really means to be in a community and how to lead as a servant leader. It was never about her. It was all about the cause.”

When working on the Adelante Board, Hedda says, “Her enthusiasm and commitment to make us the top Networking Group was so invigorating that she took us all on the same journey.”

Her influence was such that she could bring people together like no other. Everywhere she went, she made lifelong connections and helped others do the same.

“I met Jessica at the Women of ALPFA workshop in 2016,” Oneida Nolly Araujo shares. “Since then, I was impacted by her diligent and effective leadership. She always was willing to help anyone with a smile on her face. After the convention, Jessica became my mentor and more than my mentor, my lovely and dear friend for a lifetime.”

“She was a remarkable and gifted connector, introducing people with similar backgrounds, experiences, interests, upbringings. Always thinking of others first,” says Frank D. Sanchez, who met Jessica in 2011 after moving to NYC from Colorado. “Jessica made everyone feel we were part of something bigger than ourselves, even before knowing what we were a part of.”

“Her desire to elevate the power of our community in numbers combined with her ability to create consensus and bring us together as leaders will forever be remembered,” says Lili Gil Valletta, CEO & Co-Founder of CIEN+.

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Jessica’s legacy on building relationships

As a diversity and inclusion leader, Jessica was naturally a connector. She was passionate about connecting people and building relationships, and she made lifelong connections with everyone she met.

Months ago, Jessica asked her friend Ivonne, “What word comes to mind when you think of me?”

Instantly, Ivonne typed: LOVE. Jessica radiated LOVE toward everyone. LOVE filled her work as she put it into every project.

“You were, you are, and you will forever be LOVE to me and to all of those who had the good fortune of meeting you,” Ivonne writes. “Your LOVE is an example to all of us, your LOVE is something I will never forget.” As the founder of HISPA, Ivonne will ensure Jessica’s legacy of LOVE lives on by giving the “Jessica K. Asencio Scholarship” at the next New York City HISPA Youth Conference.

Latino market growth, Jessica K Asencio

(L to R) Maria de los Angeles Corral, Education for Excellence; Alicia Garcia, Reuters; Charles Neugebauer, Univision; Jessica K Asencio, LNC; Susana G Baumann and Tathiana Carrasco, Latinas in Business Inc. (Photo Latinas in Business Inc.)

The communities and relationships Jessica built will not forget her. Her legacy lives on through them. She will be remembered as a courageous and influential diversity and inclusion leader. She will be remembered for her positive energy, her kind soul, her genuine attitude, and her love and commitment toward building communities and uplifting Latino and Hispanic voices.

“She built a legacy on relationships,” says Jonathan Wunderlich, Dream Project Development Director. “I only hope I can follow in her footsteps and continue to listen, to care, and build from there.”

We can see in her testimonials the impact she had on just a few of the many people who were lucky enough to know her. Her relationships have spanned decades, and even with those she only just met, it often felt they had known each other forever.

“Jessica taught us the power of friendship and showed us how to genuinely live life to its fullest,” says Frank D. Sanchez, from Rhode Island College.

Jessica’s glowing personality

Jessica’s warm smile drew everyone in. She was always genuine, enthusiastic, and ready to help others.

“My initial impression [of Jessica] was someone with a huge smile and equally huge heart,” shares Lucy Sorrentini, who met Jessica 4 years ago at a social gathering for members of the LPC (Latina Philanthropy Circle). “She was warm, down to earth, committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, an ambassador for and on behalf of the Latinx community, a kind soul, and an incredibly intelligent woman who was on a mission to create real change. After we met, her first words were ‘I’ve heard so much about you and the LPC, how can I help?”

This is the type of person Jessica was, one who was always willing and ready to lend a helping hand, and to do so with love and dedication. She took people under her wing, like Hedda Bonaparte, who was one of the many lucky individuals who Jessica mentored throughout her many projects.

DREAM Project

Members of the LNC Board including Alicia Garcia (Thomson Reuters), Patricia Pacheco de Baez (Bank of America), Susana G Baumann, (Latinas in Business Inc.), Junot Diaz (2008) Pulitzer Price for Fiction,  and Jessica K Asencio. (Photo courtesy LNC)

“I don’t believe that Jessica ever gave up the chance to help inspire and bring someone along with her,” says Hedda. “She taught me not to be afraid to show my abilities and what I can bring. I will miss Jessica especially for the warm, inviting smile she always shared and the hugs that followed. Her famous goodbye: ‘un fuerte abrazo’ I send to you, my friend.”

Patricia Pacheco de Baez and Jessica K Asencio, LNC Board Members and best friends (Photo Courtesy LNC)

“With her dedication to philanthropy, her vision, kindness, and authentic approach, Jessica was never a ‘let me get back to you’ person,” says Jonathan Wunderlich. “She was a ‘does a coffee at 4:30 PM Friday work?’ type of person. She was a straight-talker, a truth-teller, so when Jess said she would do something, it got done. She taught me to inject love into what we do, to be real, and avoid getting caught up in the casual side of connections in NYC and the world of giving back. She taught me to fight when it was time, but to always draw opposition in love, care, and attention.”ns

“Life is short and our legacy is created while we are living on earth. Hers is one many of us will remember forever,” says Lucy Sorrentini.

“She was my biggest cheerleader,” shares best friend, Patricia. “My confidant and my big sister who believed in me more than I believed in myself at times. She encouraged me to reach out to the stars and to always push to become the best version of myself. She has left such an emptiness, but her teachings and her love toward us will stay forever in our hearts. We will continue pushing forward the agenda of the advancement on the Latino/Hispanic causes and we will continue her hard work and build on her legacy. May you rest in peace, Jessica, and we will always remember you every step of the way.”

Jessica, the testimonials of your friends and colleagues are the mark of a life, while short, very well-lived. Your work and legacy will continue on in the power of the communities you built and the lives you touched.

This article was a collaboration between Victoria Arena, Editor, and Susana G Baumann, Editor-in-Chief, LatinasinBusiness.us