Maternity made fashionable, Designer Laura Diaz-Alberto creates stylish looks for expecting moms

Manifesting financial goals with Valerie Sanchez, co-founder of Divine Asset Management

Valerie Sanchez is the partner and co-founder of Divine Asset Management, a women-owned and led financial services firm which provides the tools and…

Latina Career Expert Victoria Jenn Rodriguez empowering diversity in the workforce

Career expert and consultant Victoria Jenn Rodriguez is the Founder and CEO of VJR Enterprises, a talent management consulting company dedicated to elevating, enriching, and empowering people to become the best versions of themselves.

latina entrepreneur

Victoria Jenn Rodriguez, Founder and CEO, VJR Enterprises

Passionate about diversity in the workforce and motivating people, Victoria Jenn has spent much of her career using her skills to elevate specifically women and people of color in their career aspirations.

In a world where women and minority groups are often told they “can’t,” Victoria Jenn has worked to shift that mentality among her clients. As a career strategist and brand consultant for over 15 years, she has inspired people to turn their “I can’t” and “I’m too scared” to “I can and I will.”

This passion for diversity in the workforce and helping other professionals attain opportunities in their careers has been a constant thread throughout Victoria Jenn’s own career journey. Over the years she has worked in a variety of fields, learning and honing her skills as a coach, consultant, and strategist.

She began her career on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers followed by Barclays Wealth where she focused on sales and trading services. From there she went on to serve as a program manager at the Council of Urban Professionals, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering minority professionals. During her time in this position she worked on legislation that would provide more access to capital for minority and women owned businesses across the state of New York.

Victoria Jenn has also worked at Morgan Stanley, where she played a critical role in creating progressive programs to drive the recruitment, development, and retention of minority talent at the company.

Finally, prior to becoming a full-time entrepreneur, she worked at Johnson & Johnson where she managed talent development and again developed programs and strategies to boost diversity within the company. Victoria Jenn was also head of early talent recruiting and workforce diversity at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Career expert a passion for helping minorities

career expertVictoria Jenn’s passion for helping minority groups reach success in their business ventures has been the center of her career so it only makes sense that she would take the leap into entrepreneurship by launching her own company which would allow her to do what she loves most: elevate, enrich, and empower clients to reach their career goals.

In addition to VJR Enterprises, she also recently launched her own show, #VictoriaJennTV, on YouTube to shine a spotlight on stories of professionals of color who have achieved success in their careers. Alongside her company and show, she is also the President and Founder of The Female Collaborative, a global network for progressive women focused on revolutionizing the way women work and do business together. Her goal in all her projects and business endeavors as a life coach, brand consultant, and career strategist is to motivate, inspire, and push her clients to optimize their full potential while still remaining authentically true to who they are.

Victoria Jenn has coached professionals from both entry level to executives. Her clients both private and corporate, ranging from small to Fortune 500 and they include: iHeart Media, NBCUniversal Comcast, Barclays, BlackRock, The Food Bank for New York City, Morgan Stanley, Jet, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, PWC, and many more.

You might be interested: Latina entrepreneur Pilar Avila launches Renovad experiential retreats around the world

Speaker and trainer as career expert

Victoria Jenn Speaking to Group

Her skills and success in empowering the masses and inspiring others has made Victoria Jenn a highly requested speaker and trainer on topics such as brand management and social media, leadership, networking, and negotiating. Additionally, she is a popular guest blogger on many career advancement sites where she shares her expertise and advice.

She not only hopes to continue to inspire professionals in the workforce but also today’s youth, specifically young women, to become the best they can be. As a member of the Board of the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, a charter school dedicated to creating the next generation of female global leaders, she hopes to help young women reach their goals and become future leaders in the workforce.

You can reach Victoria on #VictoriaJennTV on YouTube Channel

Victoria Jenn Rodriguez Full Brand

energy democracy

Young Latina Daphany Sanchez leads energy democracy movement in NYC

Energy democracy is a collaborative community effort focused on shifting away from traditional corporate modes of energy to energy models that are governed by local communities and are environmentally conscience. Daphany Rose Sanchez is an advocate for energy democracy responsible for creating Kinetic Communities Consulting and one of the 50 winners of Grist50! 

energy democracy

Kinetic Communities ED Daphany Rose Sanchez, on of Grist50! awardees (Photo courtesy of Kinetic Communities)

Each year, Grist -a nonprofit news organization for people who want a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck- searches high and low for the most inspiring innovators and do-ers working on fresh solutions to the planet’s biggest problems.

The result is a collection of 50 Fixers working to build a sustainable world that works for everyone. Solutions come in many shapes and sizes: exciting technologies, smart campaigns, forward-thinking legislation, innovative products, courageous organizations. Fixers vary, too; they include farmers, entrepreneurs, comedians, activists, scholars, scientists, and more. Kinetic Communities Executive Director, Daphany Rose Sanchez is one of#Grist50 2019! Congratulations to all #Grist50 fixers!

energy democracy

Daphany Rose Sanchez, founder and ED Kinetic Communities NYC

Founded in 2017, Kinetic works at the crossroads of affordable housing and energy efficiency, serving low- to moderate-income New Yorkers through education, networking, and making opportunities easier to understand. Daphany, a New York City public housing resident, is passionate about ensuring that all New Yorkers preserve their homes through energy democracy.

Daphany has always been an environmentally conscience person, but her experience during Super-storm Sandy was the major turning point in her career that led Daphany to pursue a collaborative approach to her work in the energy field. After the storm she witnessed how engineering companies and community organizations worked together to help people rebuild. It was then that Daphany realized that what needed to be done was not build something new, but merge existing markets.

She decided to adopt this model of community collaboration and energy democracy for her work in the energy field. Her main goal is to give under-served communities a seat at the table in the fight against gentrification by reducing New York City’s contributions to climate change.

Challenging the status-quo with an energy democracy model

Through Kinetic Communities, Daphany has been able to challenge the status-quo when it comes to energy efficiency.

“Our perspective accelerates clean energy implementation with existing communities that are not traditionally engaged,” she explains. “I have been able to design programs focused on reducing harmful air pollutants, increase visibility for the elderly, and promote job creation for people of color regardless of their socio-economic class and education.”

These experiences have propelled Daphany forward in her journey to spread energy democracy. In a male-dominated industry, Daphany leads the charge in energy democracy for under-represented communities in New York.

“As a minority and a 4-foot-11 woman, I often face validation challenges from industry professionals,” says Daphany, describing the obstacles she has faced.

energy democracy

(Photo courtesy of Kinetic Communities)

Reaching where she is today has not been easy. Growing up she took on many student loans just to have an opportunity to have a seat at the table with other decision makers. She has faced people questioning her validity and position as a leader in her field. Yet she has not let these challenges deter her from her goals.

“Instead of feeling oppressed, I became obsessed with having a catalytic impact on breaking stereotypes,” says Daphany.

Daphany chooses to focus on her strengths and use her skills to effect change. Her skills of perception, creative collaboration, and community intuition have been essential skills in leading New York toward a climate neutral environment. These are skills that have been ingrained in her since childhood. Daphany believes that working collectively as communities is the key to addressing important issues such as systematic housing injustice, economic development, and environmental sustainability.

You might be interested: Leaders, influencers and entrepreneurs converge in NJ at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch (EEL)

A vision for New York’s future

“My vision of New York’s future is an equitable carbon neutral city,” say Daphany. “One where organizations work side by side, and community members are empowered to take hold of their energy democracy without burden of stereotypes directing their lives.”

Daphany’s work in promoting energy democracy is making great strides in actualizing that vision. Her accomplishments thus far include being recognized as one of Grist50!, collaborating with NYCHA to create rooftop gardens at 24 buildings in 8 developments, creating green jobs for NYCHA residents, and organizing efficiency awareness campaign events that provide active workshops on energy efficiency. Additionally, Kinetic Communities has joined a national campaign which collectively reached 58 governments, 358 organizations, and 80 million residents in the country. Through the efforts of this campaign, the Brooklyn Borough President announced October 5th as Brooklyn’s Energy Efficiency Day. These experiences have only emphasized the importance for collective action in the energy field. Through collective community efforts change can be effected.

As parting words of advice to others looking to effect change in their careers, Daphany encourages people to find mentors and be curious.

“Explore how other new businesses are implementing their products and learn from their opportunities how you can be different and excel in the future,” she says.

Finally, she encourages people to see their that persistence and risks are worth it. The opportunities for change and success are limitless through learning and accessibility and Daphany hopes to continue to make opportunities available to under-served groups through her own work in the energy field.

experiential retreats

Latina entrepreneur Pilar Avila launches Renovad experiential retreats around the world

Renovad’s carefully curated experiential retreats entice participants to take a breath of fresh air, clear their minds, stimulate their senses, refresh their souls and reconnect with the essence and power within themselves.

Meet Pilar Avila at the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch in Jersey City on June 13 – Wellness Panel Speaker 

Inspired by her journeys across 5 continents and 18 countries,and the desire to spend more quality time with the extraordinary women who serve as her mentors and collaborators, Pilar launched Renovadexperiential retreats as an extension of her organizational change management consulting practice, interDUCTUS.

The inaugural 2019 programs, August 27-31 in Italyand in MoroccoNovember 27 – December 1, will be followed by experiences in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico and Thailand in 2020. Renovad pivots on deep destination knowledge, andremoving the burden of travel planning and the risk of trial & error, to design experiences focused on relaxation, inspiration and adventure.

The idea behind the experiential retreats
experiential retreats

Renovad experiential retreats are carefully curated by Founder and CEO Pilar Avila (L)

After building a fruitful career over 26 yearsproviding leadership at institutions across the private equity, hospitality, and nonprofit sectors, Pilar Avila decided to launch a consulting practice as a boutique lifestyle business.

Pilar stated, “As women focused on sustaining our families, advancing our businesses, and improving our communities, too often we place ourselves far down the priority list. Reality is that in the measure that we nourish ourselves, we are more effective in lifting others. This is the impetus for Renovad retreats.”

The experiential retreats are intentionally without speakers and prescribed programs, to open space and set the state of mind for participants to let go, listen to their inner voices, delight on the sounds they will encounter around the world, to ultimately reinvigorate mind, body and soul.A “come as you are and when you please” approach provides participants the freedom to flow, dial up and down on activities, and further tailor their own renewal experience.

Pilar Avila, the passage from corporate to entrepreneurship

Pilar’s reputation as a strategic, innovative, multidisciplinary, results-oriented business and civic change leader precedes her. But in her own words, it took a whole new level of gustiness to muster the courage and take the plunge from employment to entrepreneurship. “The biggest challenge I overcame in launching my business was the fear of leaving behind the certainty of an increasing and predictable income. I had always known that my biggest anxiety in life was building and maintaining financial security, being prepared to support my family in time of need and opportunity, and securing funds for a comfortable retirement.”

Pilar took inventory of what she had accumulated and figured that if she could generate funds to sustain her lifestyle while protecting her net worth, she would likely be in a good position to retire when the time comes. She decided to invest in herself by allocating 10 percent of her reserves as seed money for launching her business.

As Pilar’s network got word that she was in the process of launching a consulting practice, the first client knocked on her door and validated her move to entrepreneurship before she could even complete her new company branding and print business cards.

The three most relevant strengths Pilar developed through her career and that provided a solid foundation to launch her business included a proven ability to successfully manage most critical business aspects of a non profit and small business enterprise, a deep and wide network of collaborators and advisors across industries and markets, and a reputation for getting things done with a focused, transparent and win-win approach. “These continue to be my biggest assets that I’m tapping in building my management consulting practice and Renovad’s experiential retreats,” Pilar explained.

Building experiential retreats as an change agent
experiential retreats

Beautiful landscapes of Italy for Renovad experiential retreats

As Pilar continues to delve in this new stage of life and business, her commitment as a change agent, passion about the rise of diverse leadership, and championing of equal access to economic opportunity and investment in education, are as strong as ever.

She isenergized by the determination that women are applying in advocating for equal pay and opportunity. She has been an advocate in her own way since the beginning of her career. “It always makes me smile, and wonder where I got the guts, when I recall approaching my boss during a yearly performance review – it was my second professional job five years into my career,” she said.

Considering her title and job responsibilities, not to mention her unstoppable drive and developing talent, Pilar knew that she was grossly underpaid. She showed up at the performance review ready with highlights of her accomplishments over the previous year. Her boss commended and thanked her for her vision and success in implementing a new national program.

Before the talk on salary and bonuses, she swiftly presented him with a basic budget of living expenses (in excel, of course) required to sustain the modest lifestyle of a young professional, such as her, in Washington, DC. The budget demonstrated that she was underpaid at least by 50 percent; she received a 30 percent increase in compensation on the spot. The next year her income increased by another 30 percent when she accepted a position at another organization.

“Three years later and eight years into my career, I broke into the six-figure income club and purchased my first home, one of seven real estate investments I have made to date. I am certain that without the audacity of standing up for the pay that I deserved, things would have worked out differently”.

You might be interested:  Leaders, influencers and entrepreneurs converge in NJ at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch (EEL)

If you are thinking of starting your own business
experiential retreats

Mysterious rias in Morocco to hold your imagination

Here is Pilar’s advice to Latinas who are thinking of starting their own business or would like to achieve success in their profession or career:

  • Focus on utilizing and showcasing your current strengths while developing other strategic skills that may enhance your career and business success in the future.
  • Skills are not everything – a collaborative, kind and win-win approach will take you a long way.
  • There is nothing more valuable than your reputation – do not compromise on transparency, trustworthiness and kindness., an initiative of interDUCTUS, hosts world-class renovation experiences around the globe in destinations that evoke relaxation, inspiration and adventure, providing women of consequence a unique opportunity to reinvigorate mind, body and soul. RSVPfor upcoming retreats.

www.interDUCTUS.cois an organizational change management consulting practice focused on enhancing the capacity and performance of nonprofit and private enterprises by providing extended leadership and multidisciplinary expertise.



Ivana De Maria presents her storytelling app at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch

Ivana De Maria, will be presenting her storytelling platform StoryPlace at the upcoming 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch “Beauty, Health and Wealth: Taking Charge of Our Lives,” to take place on June 13 at the Hudson County Culinary Conference Center in Jersey City, NJ.

Ivana De Maria, actor, TV writer and producer, women’s advocate and philanthropist, is the creator of an egoless social media storytelling platform by taking all the positive elements of social media and cutting out the negative, purely ego feeding elements. A twenty-six year old Latina entrepreneur, CEO and founder of StoryPlace, Ivana and her team have created a revolutionary egoless social media platform where empathy comes first.

What is “egoless” social media?

StoryPlace’s core values are empathy, solidarity, philanthropy, culture, and connection.

“In an age where empathy is at an all time low and ego-based social media at an all time high, StoryPlace aims to create an egoless social media experience with empathy at its core through the act of sharing true stories and life experiences,” said Ivana De Maria to

The storytelling platform gives a voice to ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Through reading and sharing stories, people are able to connect and engage with others on a deeper level. StoryPlace is not about competition such as who has the most ‘likes’ or the best selfie. It’s about community and connection. Everyone has a story to tell and every story offers a fresh new perspective, idea, or lesson to readers.

The vision for StoryPlace began formulating in Ivana’s mind over the past few years along her travels and her time working in the entertainment industry. A storyteller at heart, Ivana became increasingly interested in creating content based on true stories. After studying business and law at Boston University, Ivana moved to Los Angeles to focus on acting and producing for film and television. Frustrated with aspects of the entertainment industry, Ivana began re-evaluating what she wanted from her career.

Register now to meet Ivana, use her storytelling platform StoryPlace and hear her story in person during the Fireside Chat at the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch.

Finding her way in a very competitive industry

Ivana De Maria, actor, TV writer and producer, women’s advocate and philanthropist

“When I began my acting career, I very quickly hated how the ‘system’ worked. I couldn’t understand how someone’s career could depend on so many factors that were in the hands of complete strangers. I also realized that I did not have the personality to sit around waiting for people to give me opportunities,” Ivana shares.

This shift in perspective helped her discover alternate forms of creating and sharing content. There were more options out there for her as a creator and consumer. The industry was changing. Creating digital platforms and alternate distribution channels, people now had more creative power which once belonged exclusively to big name studios.

“I realized we are living in a world where phones can make videos and we have free distribution channels online,” says Ivana. “There is NO excuse not to be creating our own content, and more importantly, people are interested in finding these new and untold stories that we ALL have to tell.”

This awareness was the push Ivana needed to begin producing her own creative content. She started with her own stories and listening to the stories of others. By becoming more involved in the process of sharing, she soon noticed just how many untold stories there were in the world, waiting for a chance to be shared.

Ivana was turned off by the egocentric mentalities that dominated pre-existing platforms, where people seemed to compete for a sense of status. These platforms were not the place for the kind of deep, connecting stories Ivana wished to tell and read. So she decided it was up to her to create a new, egoless social media platform where these stories could find a home.

Register now to meet Ivana, use her storytelling platform StoryPlace and hear her story in person during the Fireside Chat at the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch.

Overcoming self-doubt

Entering the world of story telling apps with StoryPlace was somehow uncertain for Ivana. She had a clear vision of what she wanted StoryPlace to be, but beyond that the rest was uncharted territory for her. Initially she struggled a bit, spending a lot of time and money doing things only “halfway.”

“Somehow it felt ‘safer’ this way,” says Ivana. “Then, one day I realized this was not going to work unless I really invested my entire self, mind, and trust into my vision. Time, space, and energy are by far the most valuable elements a person has to offer and for a while I underestimated their significance.”

Once Ivana put her full self to the task of making her dream a reality, the process became smoother. Instead of worrying about all that she did not know about storytelling apps and tech, she was eager and thankful for people’s advice and guidance.

Guided by others advice and her own strengths have helped her navigate through the bumpy obstacles along the way.

Being Latina, being a woman, or being simply human

StoryPlace is a storytelling egoless social media platform that aims at sharing real stories from real people.

Speaking on her strengths, Ivana says, “I believe that more than because I am Latina or because I am a woman, my strengths come from a place of simply being human.”

Her strengths derive from her lived experiences, the people she has met, conversations she’s had, things she’s seen and places she’s been to. All these moments have helped her develop her strengths and weaknesses. Ivana self-professed greatest strength are her instincts. She works and functions largely based on instinct.

However for some time she did not view them as a strength. She was consumed by self-doubt over her decisions and wondered if her ‘experimental’ egoless social media app would be well received. She questioned if she could or should trust her instincts.

“Then I realized that my instinct was not this magical, intangible thing, but rather a combination of all that I have lived,” says Ivana. “Once I reclaimed my instinct and gave it the respect in deserves, it became my biggest strength and my number one advisor.”

Additionally her mother’s words always echo in her mind when she fears failure.

“My mother would tell me: Don’t worry. If you don’t do it, it’s fine, nothing will happen. But listen carefully, NOTHING will happen. However, if you do decide to do it, maybe SOMETHING will happen.”

This message has always stuck with Ivana, who’s best advice to anyone, both in their career or life, is to just TRY.

You might be interested: 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch announces keynote and celebrity speakers

Defining success with experiential storytelling 

Success is often difficult to define because it is specific to each person. Ivana spent many sleepless nights after the launch of StoryPlace on the iOS App Store filled with nervous thoughts, questions, and insecurities. Subconsciously she was thinking about this idea of success. Would she get those millions of users? Would she make money? Was this even a good idea?

She had created something new and different, something some people might not know how to react to: an egoless social media platform. What exactly did that mean? What were the expectations? It was all new territory, for Ivana as a creator and for consumers too.

“I felt like I had given birth to something and then sent it off into the universe,” Ivana says of the experience.

And behind all these nervous jitters was that undefinable concept of success. Would her efforts be “worth it”?

The answer came to her in an email. It was from a woman who had dealt with difficult situations and had fallen into a depression. She shared with Ivana how finding the storytelling platform and reading stories that spoke to her current situation helped her feel less alone.

“She thanked me and said that StoryPlace had given her the strength to keep going,” says Ivana. “Suddenly after sleepless nights of trying to define what success would mean for StoryPlace, the answer was so clear, right there in front of me. It made everything worth it.”

Register now to meet Ivana, use her storytelling platform StoryPlace and hear her story in person during the Fireside Chat at the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch.


interactive media Stacey De Jesus

Latina entrepreneur Stacey de Jesus uses interactive media to celebrate people’s lives

Stacey De Jesus is a Latina entrepreneur of Puerto Rican descent, working in interactive media where she helps clients build digital platforms for their businesses. A detailed, goal oriented Latina, Stacey always stays on task to deliver exactly what her clients want.

interactive mediaShe is a team player who not only is able to deliver results, but also knows when to listen and let others take the lead. She spends time speaking with her clients, listening to their ideas, thoughts, and opinions, so that together they can make something great.

At 43-years old, she recently earned her Master’s Degree in Interactive Media last August– being the first in her family to do so. She now she works in the field of interactive media, helping businesses as well as people create digital products and build strong online communities.

“Getting businesses digital is my goal,” says Stacey.

She achieves this through various methods including: online marketing strategies, web design, video/audio editing, as well as video promotions.

“My disciplined approach is to create online content, ensuring that the final product will be meticulous and expertly tailored to [my clients’] specifications,” Stacey explains.

Her career in interactive media has always been about helping others through her gifts and talents. Stacey’s decision to start a business in this field began 5-6 years ago at her local church, Trinity Christian Center in Elizabeth, NJ.

interactive media Stacey De Jesus

Stacey De Jesus (second from L) with EVE staff at their first Trinity Christian Center Women’s Conference

She worked there as Media Director, helping them with their online presence and making videos and digital resources for the church. She enjoyed this type of work, being able to create something for others, and she soon realized she was good at it too. From there Stacey decided to go back to university to pursue her Master’s in Interactive Media.

Interactive Media as a path to celebrate people’s lives
Stacey De Jesus hard work paid off with her Interactive Media degree

Stacey De Jesus hard work paid off with her Interactive Media degree

While at university she faced some financial struggles. Being a single woman, working full-time, while also being a student, it was difficult to juggle finances while also devoting time to her growing business. However, now that she has graduated, Stacey is putting all her efforts into creating and having a successful business.

Propelling her forward through the challenges and obstacles are the words of her mentor, Amanda Tapping, who always says, “Small ripples, make big waves.”

“You may think you’re taking small steps, but in the end, you may be having the biggest impact,” says Stacey.

This is what motivates her when it feels like things are going nowhere. Results and success are not always instantaneous. Everyone’s path is different but the smallest steps and actions can lead to great things.

Stacey’s favorite example of this is seeing how her own products impact her clients. She recalls how she once created two videos for two separate individuals, to celebrate a family member’s life. One was deceased and the other was celebrating their 75th birthday.

Her videos touched the family members of those two people and she was able to use her skills to help celebrate their lives. A seemingly small act– putting together two videos– created such an impact for two families.

Experiences like these motivate Stacey to continue to use her business to “bless others” with her gifts. She began her career in interactive media as a way to help her church and community and she continues it now to help even more people expand their businesses digitally and create digital products that will make an impact–from a small ripple, to a big wave.

latina journalist

Being authentic helps Latina journalist and event producer Zayda Rivera face challenges

Zayda Rivera is a seasoned Latina journalist and public relations executive who began her company 3L Communique in 2015 after a successful 18-year career in newsrooms, TV studios, and public relations agencies. Creating her company was a way for Zayda to focus on what she was truly passionate about–being authentic, giving back to her community and inspiring the next generation to do the same.

3L Communique focuses on event production and partnerships for Latino, African American, and LGBT communities, combining all of Zayda’s expertise acquired in her past career in entertainment journalism and public relations.

The company began when Zayda noticed that she rarely saw women leading production behind-the-scenes—and even rarely were they Latinas. “I wanted to fill that void,” she explains. “Secondly, I wanted to take charge of my life and career.”

She began by utilizing her network of connections to produce major events– such as black tie galas, award ceremonies, summits, and conventions– for nonprofit organizations and corporations in 2016. From there she then went on to create inspiring public relations campaigns to raise awareness about social issues which disproportionately impact communities of color such as the rental housing crisis and preventable illnesses.

 Proving self-worth a main obstacle in a Latina journalist and entrepreneur career

women of color latina journalist

Zayda Rivera, founder and CEO, 3LCommunique at the 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

“I still find it difficult to be taken seriously by some,” she says. “I takes time to build a rapport with clients, especially when you’re on your own, a woman, trying to succeed in a male-dominated industry.”

Despite her qualifications and expertise it has still been a challenge to gain credibility in a world saturated with “overnight success stories,” self-described experts, and the multitude of “President and CEO” titles found on professional networking sites.

“It’s difficult to decipher the real from the fake,” Zayda explains. “It is likely that if I worked for a major public relations agency or well respected publication, people wouldn’t second guess my expertise. It’s why being authentic is so important to me. Authenticity goes a long way in a world of posers.”

Not only does Zayda value authenticity when it comes to clients, but it is also the foundation of her relationships with her colleagues in the workplace. As a strong team leader she believes in building people up and celebrating them while giving them direction on how best to grow.

“Creating a work environment out of fear does not work. I know first-hand that when people feel crappy about going to a thankless job, they are less productive,” says Zayda.

Instead she fosters an open environment where everyone’s work is valued and each person can learn from each other. Her career and her way of leading others has been inspiring to many.

Changing lives by inspiring others

She shares a story of how when she was first starting out with her company, she was approached by a young Latina woman at a holiday party for Hispanic journalists. This woman told Zayda how her career had inspired her to pursue her own dreams and goals. This revelation that her work as a Latina journalist could influence someone so much completely blew her away.

“It was hard for me to conceptualize how many people my work was reaching from behind my computer screen.”

latina journalist

Zayda Rivera is a seasoned Latina journalist with over 18-year experience in various media

During this time, Zayda was searching for someone to help her with her business. Ideally this person would be a woman and even more ideally, a Latina. That young woman who approached her at the party just so happened to be exactly the strong, intelligent, go-getter she was looking for. Since then they have worked together on various projects. Zayda describes that the best part of this partnership, however, has been seeing this young Latina excel in her own career and reach new heights through her experiences working with 3L Communique.

“I want to create hundreds and thousands and millions of stories just like this. Knowing that I’ve had something to do with the success and overall development of a younger woman of color, who isn’t afraid of challenges and hard work, is priceless to me.”

Inspiring other Latinas to go after their goals

Latina journalist

Zayda River, CEO 3LCommunique wins 2nd Place at 2018 Latinas in Business Pitch Competition

She says, “Being a Latina entrepreneur, who faces challenges daily, is my way of giving back, simply by showing others that anything is possible with determination and hard work.”

Despite the struggles, Zayda believes it is important to always keep moving forward, to get back up after one stumbles and leave behind footprints for others to one day follow. Additionally she believes one should always be a student of life and never stop learning.

“Not just within your craft, but also in learning all the tools you need to be a strong business owner,” she says. “Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Gain knowledge about what it takes to run a successful business. And keep moving forward.”

Empanada Fork seals the deal with new products by Latina entrepreneur Hipatia Lopez

empanada fork Hipatia LopezThe Empanada Fork Utensil aka, “The Empanada Fork Press Tool and The Empanada Fork Pastry Sealer”, is a utensil that is easy, effortless, fast, painless and resulting in beautiful dough design for those whom cherish in food presentations.

Making empanadas, turnovers, calzones and other filled pastries is a lot of fun, but it can also be very time consuming and painful when it comes to sealing the dough/pockets/pastries, etc, which was how the idea was born. The Empanada Fork Utensil made of stainless steel with a soft handle which makes it easy to use. This innovative product is a special design with fork-tines and a sturdy utensil which is a great addition to any kitchen.

The Empanada Fork Press Tool seals your empanadas without using the old technique of the regular standard fork. Just push down on your pastry and “boom”, turnover for another seal (if needed, depending on texture of dough) and a complete seal in 2 seconds, next…

This year we launched a new addition to our “Empanada Fork Utensil” family, “The Empanada Stampers!” This new product is a tool to stamp the empanada dough to identify the filling inside the dough: cheese, beef, veggie and chicken. So now you can entertain an abundance of different empanada varieties without the worry about how your guest will know what filling it is. Also great tool for those who have food preferences and dietary constrains. The empanada fork Hipatia Lopezstampers will work well on both size forks, regular and large.

empanada fork Hipatia Lopez

Cooked empanadas pressed with the new utensils, great for people with food preferences or dietary constraints.

Fans here you go…, I am delivering my promise.

So we have come a long way and now you can enjoy making and eating empanadas with any filling, with a complete seal, a choice of a size along with the description stamped for the identification of the filling and will be great display for entertaining.



Empanadas can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can be served as appetizers or snacks and they can easily make a full and satisfying meal. Lets not forget the sweet side of filling, the desserts. Use the Empanada Fork Utensil today and relish extraordinary experiences while making your tasty empanadas.

I say these products definitely “seal” the deal. The Empanada Fork Utensil by H.L. Unico LLC was invented and patented by Hipatia Lopez.

Follow Hipatia Lopez in these Social Media Outlets:  IG @Empanadafork; FB @Empanadaforkutensil, Twitter @Empanadafork