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Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Porcaro

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Picaro turns crisis into business opportunity

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Picaro transformed an external crisis into a business opportunity for her marketing communications company. She is the founder of the well-established, award-winning marketing communications agency, SRP Communications & Brand Design, SRP Interactive, and SRP Health Care Communication. Her company has offices in both Miami and Buenos Aires, and serves a variety of clients from startups to global corporations.

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Porcaro

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Porcaro

At SRP, their theme is: we understand; we create; we connect; we deliver results. Silvina is dedicated to her clients and passionate about helping them expand their businesses to the next level through marketing communications. Her motto in business and in life is “Let’s make it happen!” and that’s exactly what she does.   

Her career in the corporate world began when she was just 17 years old. She then earned her Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and graduated as Valedictorian of her class at the age of twenty.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, it was inevitable that she too would eventually start her own venture. First Silvina worked for various companies, establishing herself in the world of marketing. After graduating college, she moved to São Paulo, Brazil where she worked for a renowned design company, learned a lot, and made good friends. When the “Collor de Mello’s Crisis” happened in Brazil, Silvina was forced to return to Buenos Aires as it was too difficult for her to live as an immigrant woman in the expensive city of São Paulo.

In Buenos Aires, she continued to work for various companies, including a prestigious newspaper. This position is what lead to the start of her company. She performed very well in her role and the company rewarded her with a raise and a promotion. It was at this moment that Silvina saw the future stretched out before her.

Following the family path of entrepreneurship

“I decided that taking that path would lead me to be an employee in the corporate world,” she explains. “Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, that was something that just wasn’t in my DNA.”

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Picaro

One of Silvina’s book also available in English

Silvina stuck by her motto– “Let’s make it happen!”– and turned her entrepreneurial dreams into a reality. She went back to school and earned her Master’s Degree in Corporate Communications and then a Marketing MBA. From there she grew her business as the Argentinian market opened its economy to the world and her company was able to gain international clients such as Unisys, BASF, KPMG, and Liberty Mutual. Additionally her previous employers became her clients as well.  

Silvina continued through tough challenges and obstacles such as the Argentinean crisis in 2001 which Silvina describes as “the most significant challenge I faced as a business owner.” During the crisis, the economy was crippled and many of Silvina’s clients owed money which was unlikely to be collected. This lead to the devaluation of the company’s assets and business levels dropped.

“Looking back on it, I feel that we acted like the well-known business story of the frogs in the milk bucket,” says Silvina. “We kept on paddling tirelessly until we sensed something hard below our feet. Having converted the milk into butter, we jumped out of the bucket.”

Silvina and her team stuck to her can-do motto and turned around the situation. They worked tirelessly and pursued all options in search of a solution. For clients who could not afford them, they swapped products and services. It was a “win-win” situation that allowed everyone to continue doing business together. Those products and services were then shared with the company’s employees who now could enjoy restaurants, entertainment, clothes, groceries, and more as company “benefits.”

“I think, at this point, we had the happiest employees in the country, while most of our competitors just disappeared!” says Silvina.

As they continued to succeed and grow as a company, they were able to establish a location in Miami in 2002 and become the international Marketing Communications Agency SRP is today.

What it takes to build a successful company

Building such a successful company requires a strong support system. Silvina cites her family as her source of strength. Her parents and sister are all entrepreneurs themselves and her husband is her business partner, an incredible leader, and overall her best friend. Her teenage daughter, Kayla, also inspires her everyday. “She is my link to the GenZ’s, a more aware generation. She helps me understand things in a different dimension.”

Alongside her family, her friends are also incredibly important. Having kept friends since kindergarten and constantly making new ones, Silvina has created a huge network of supportive people.  

“This incredible network of friends spread all over the world are…an invaluable source of help and life advice when I need it.”

When asked to give some advice of her own to other aspiring Latinas, Silvina stresses a strong network and self-motivation–that can-do attitude of “Let’s make it happen!”

You might be interested: Latinas brand identity and the power of your Hispanic accent

“Don’t wait for the perfect timing,” she says, “you need to create it! Motivate yourself; there is nothing so powerful as your inner energy. Create your network, build a team you can rely on and always keep moving forward in the direction of your goals.”

As Silvina’s journey demonstrates, all things are possible, even in the face of hard obstacles success can be achieved through persistence, innovation, and hard work.

leadership

Impact Consulting LLC a Latina-owned firm aims at disrupting leadership status-quo

Lucy Sorrentini is the founder and CEO of Impact Consulting LLC, a management consulting firm that focuses on disrupting the status-quo in leadership diverse representation.

leadership

Lucy Sorrentini with Impact Consulting LLC team, a management consulting boutique firm that aims at disrupting the status-quo of leadership diversity

The firm designs and executes programs for women and multicultural professionals, offering organizational development and talent consulting services, professional and leadership development training and executive and small group coaching services.

Lucy created her consulting firm after more than 20 years in corporate executive human resource roles, most recently as Diversity & Inclusion Leader at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Throughout her years working in the corporate world, she witnessed a lack of diversity in leadership roles and the many challenges and struggles women and multicultural individuals faced. As a corporate leader herself, Lucy felt compelled to use her position and resources to help others.

Lucy’s strong feminine role model in leadership

leadership

Lucy Sorrentini, founder and CEO at Impact Consulting LLC

A Puerto Rican Latina born and raised in the South Bronx, Lucy grew up surrounded by strong hardworking individuals, her biggest inspiration being her mother. Widowed at 33 and left to raise seven children, Lucy’s mother worked long hours as a bodega owner.

“Never once did I see her complain about having to work 12 to 14 hour shifts 7 days a week,” Lucy shared. “By far she was one of the most resilient women I have ever met.”

Lucy’s childhood and upbringing formed her strong passion for helping others and her devotion to her fellow “sisters.” As a young girl she loved to volunteer at church and community events. Her experiences growing up in a women-centered household and attending both an all-girls high school and all-women’s college showed her the benefits of being part of a “sisterhood.” These experiences also revealed the challenges faced by smart, talented, and caring women.

“I’ve always had the aspiration to start a venture of my own and I always knew it would be in a space that empowered women and girls.”

Once she entered the corporate world, Lucy used her influence to raise awareness of the conscious and unconscious biases that stood in the way of equal opportunity and advancement of minorities in leadership and she also worked to improve businesses and human resource systems.

These issues were only one part of the problem though. What Lucy began noticing was that many diverse potential leaders were “opting out” of leadership and not because they weren’t qualified or interested.

“They did not feel valued for being themselves,” Lucy explained, “and they did not want to compromise their authenticity for the sake of advancing to the next level.”

It was then that Lucy had a “light-bulb moment” which prompted her decision to create her own firm focused exclusively on solving these issues.  

Trials and tribulations of a Latina entrepreneur

leadership

Lucy Sorrentini is an active advocate for women and other minority individuals thorugh Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching strategies and solutions.

Her entrepreneurial journey has been both challenging and rewarding. The biggest initial challenge for Lucy was translating her plan and mission into a sustainable and profitable business.

“I underestimated the level of effort that comes with being an entrepreneur,” she said. “Although I was prepared with knowledge, expertise, solid networks, and capital funding, I did not think through all the details involved with going from business plan to execution.”

She participated in Goldman Sachs 10K and Tory Burch Small Business Programs for early start businesses, which helped Lucy rethink and further develop her business and move past these challenges.

Main strengths that also helped set her apart from others are her values based leadership, expertise, and results with impact.

Her biggest advice is to know your client and be clear on what problem you are solving for them. “I work diligently to support the values of clients and make the client’s mission, my mission.”

Her expertise in the field allows her to deliver solutions with the maximum impact to her clients and she is focused on results. “Strategy without implementation is just as bad as implementation without strategy. My experience brings both to my clients in a way that is achievable, measurable, and sustainable.”

Not everyone starting out has the years of experience that Lucy does, but she recommends to look at those who came before you and have achieved success and study their methods.

“Expand your network and sphere of influence to include others who will provide you with feedback and support you on your entrepreneurial journey.”

You might be interested: Ileana Musa developing ALPFA Latina leaders for a global society

Lastly she hopes others take the time to enjoy the journey. “Always remember why it is that you went into business for yourself in the first place. This will by far be one of the most challenging and exciting times of your life!”

Lucy holds an Executive MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, and a B.S. from the College of New Rochelle in New York. She is a Certified Coach with the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and the Myers Briggs Foundation.

Uchi

Latina Chef-preneur Uchi Davidzon explores international sauces flavors

Luciana “Uchi” Davidzon is a Latina Chef-preneur with a background in marketing and culinary arts. In 2017 she founded Umikah— a line of food products created for people who live on the go or are too busy to cook or bake from scratch.

Uchi

New international flavors for Umikah sauces

Umikah is a unique combination of artisanal and exotic sauces. Uchi, an Argentinean born, took this idea out of inspiration and passion for the complex flavors of the world. The recipe was developed a long time ago and, at the time, the sauces blew the mind of many away.

So then Uchi thought: “Why not share this incredible story with the rest of the planet (who is eager to try our sauces)?”  Currently the brand had added new sauces with its newest flavors being passion curd, Yuzu curd, dulce de leche and chocolate sauce.

Uchi, following the passion of culinary arts

Uchi

Luciana “Uchi” Davidzon Latina Chef-preneur

Uchi began her career in the corporate world working for companies such as KPMG, Waterhouse Cooper and Dannon. She immigrated to America about fourteen years ago.

When she came to the U.S. she decided to “reinvent” herself and follow her true passion– culinary arts. Uchi began by taking some courses and finally going to culinary school in New York. From there she started a catering business and a blog which opened her to many opportunities as a freelance writer. She is even working on a book which she hopes to publish soon.

A woman of many talents, Uchi still searched for something more. “The idea of creating sauces came to me because I truly couldn’t stop hearing my inner entrepreneurial voice that was constantly asking me to do something combining my business and culinary backgrounds.” And then, Umikah was born.

Resilience and persistence, two entrepreneurial necessary skills

Uchi’s journey with Umikah is still new. Along the way she has faced some challenges, the biggest one being learning the processes of licensing and regulations. Patience was key for this process as she researched and read all the regulations and took all the necessary exams. “I have finally passed the obstacles,” she says. “Resilience and sticking to a plan is hard but really pays off at the end!”

This resilience is one of her strengths which has been instilled in her from a young age. “I was raised in Argentina. We are used to an economy that changes continuously and is not so steady,” she says. “That experience made me more flexible and taught me how to react to unpredictable events.”

One such event that Uchi recounts when crisis struck at her catering business. She was pregnant at the time and working 12-14 hours a day. “I had a huge belly (36 weeks!)…I truly couldn’t move with much coordination.” Uchi hurried as best she could with her tasks that day as they prepared for a big event.

Then, at the last hour just before the event, disaster hit. “I was in a hurry while trying to do too many things at once,” Luciana explains, “and a multi-layer cake fell over my belly. To this day I don’t know how I was able to put that cake back together in under five minutes!”

It’s truly an amazing accomplishment and a testament to her skills and resilient attitude. Her words of advice for the unexpected and business in general is “be prepared, don’t get desperate during difficult times, and get all the help and advice you can” especially from family, mentors, and professional experts. And of course, “Follow your passion!”

 

pneumonia children with asthma

Latina entrepreneur combats infants’ pneumonia deaths with biotech

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and is the number one infectious cause of death among children under five years of age. Through Nopneu, Temiloluwa Adeniyi is developing a revolutionary tool that works like a pregnancy test to diagnose pneumonia in a simple and quick way. 

pneumonia children with asthma

One million kids die each year from pneumonia according to UNICEF

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and is the number one infectious cause of death among children under five years of age. More children die from pneumonia each year than measles, malaria, and AIDs combined. That’s close to 1 million children annually.

According to UNICEF, death caused by childhood pneumonia is usually linked to poverty-related factors such as: “undernutrition, lack of safe water and sanitation, indoor air pollution and inadequate access to health care.” The American Thoracic Society says, “Pneumonia does not have effective advocacy…. It does not get the attention it needs from biomedical scientists or from research funders. More effort is needed now.”

Attempting to tackle this issue is biomedical engineer, Temiloluwa Adeniyi, with her biotech startup, Nopneu. Through Nopneu, Adeniyi is developing a revolutionary tool that works like a pregnancy test to diagnose pneumonia in a simple and quick way using color coded results obtained from saliva swabs.

This process cuts back on the time lost through the current standard diagnosis method which is a chest x-ray– time which is often critical in whether a child lives or dies. In many countries and communities where childhood pneumonia deaths are so prevalent, access to equipment such as chest x-rays and specialized staff members who can operate these machines are often scarce.

A passion to help since childhood

pneumonia

Nopneu LLC founder Temiloluwa Adeniyi (courtesy Nopneu)

This Dominican/Nigerian engineering scholar formally began her startup in 2016, but she’s had a passion for science and humanitarian causes since childhood. She reflects on the formative experiences that helped her developed these passions.

She remembers watching shows such as The Magic School Bus and Bill Nye the Science Guy, which nurtured her interest in science. Commercials for organizations such as Save the Children and The Red Cross also impacted her as a child. “I would watch the commercials time after time and wonder how I could help the people those organizations served,” Adeniyi explains.

You might be interested: Access Latina announces business accelerator for Latina entrepreneurs in STEAM

Her mother was also a crucial influence, always volunteering and helping out within her community. She also encouraged Temiloluwa’s passion for S.T.E.M. by enrolling her in science enrichment programs and driving her to science museums for weekend excursions.

“All these childhood experiences have made me really passionate about driving social change with engineering.”

When pneumonia became a real challenge

pneumonia

Nopneu LLC founder Temiloluwa Adeniyi recently received a (courtesy Nopneu)

Temiloluwa took these passions and went on to study Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati where she began working on what would eventually become Nopneu.  

Her early project was an algorithm for a class that could determine when an infant was susceptible to pneumonia and the onset of the disease. After the project was completed Temiloluwa could not forget the 1 million children who continued to die yearly from the disease. “This fact was unacceptable to me,” she said.    

She cites her spirituality as an important factor in starting her business. “I felt God urge me to keep working on this project, and finally I accepted the challenge.” She formally began Nopneu in October of 2016. From there she began her journey as an entrepreneur, navigating the various challenges of entrepreneurship.  

The challenges of entrepreneurship and pneumonia

“One of the biggest challenges for me has been doing things for which there are no models….There aren’t many people of color in S.T.E.M and there are even fewer who are leading change in biotech…especially Afro-Latinas.”

You might be interested: Mafe Jackson, a Colombian Afro-Latina working tirelessly for DC Ward 7

Finding supportive groups such as the National Society of Black Engineers and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Student Entrepreneurship Program have helped her access great opportunities and meet other like-minded individuals.

Another challenge has been raising money for her startup. “Many entrepreneurial resources…suggest first raising money from friends and family.” This may be an easy strategy for upper class entrepreneurs, but for those who come from working-class backgrounds like Temiloluwa, it is not so feasible. Instead, she has applied for grants and pitch competitions along with also setting up a GoFundMe page.

pneumonia

 

Her Latina background has been her strength in navigating these challenges. “When you come from a working-class background, like me, you learn how to make amazing things from a small amount of money.” She has implemented innovative strategies to work with her limited funds and make big changes. “It’s no different than what I …and what so many other Latinas see their Moms do. With a few simple ingredients and a small budget you could have a fabulous meal. I’m doing the same now, only with biotech.” Without her Latinas background, Temiloluwa believes she wouldn’t have the same strengths and approaches to problem solving and innovation.

Because of this, she urges other Latinas to utilize their strengths in their own endeavours.

“What the world perceives as our disadvantages can be our superpowers if we decide to see them that way, and leverage them to our full ability.”

 

Please help this Latina entrepreneur fulfill her dream visiting her GoFundMe page.

Liliana Marzan Perez

Liliana Perez Latina entrepreneur exploring creativity in home décor

A booming home décor business is stemmed in the creativity of a Latina entrepreneur who applies her design knowledge as well as her financial savvy to improve people’s environments.

Liliana Marzan-Perez, home decor

Liliana Marzan-Perez, founder and designer EventCraftsStudio.com

In this day and age it is easy to get caught up in our hectic lives and sideline our passions and dreams. We tell ourselves there is never enough time while we wait for the “perfect moment” to start something.

This was the case for Liliana Perez, a first generation Dominican-American, who finally began her decor business while working in the financial industry for 11 years. Liliana is the owner of Event Craft Studio, a seasonal wreath and home decor company.

When asked what finally pushed her to pursue her business, she said it was the need for a “creative outlet.” Liliana has a background in design, having earned degrees in Interior Design and Home Products from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

Previously in 2013, she began her journey as a side business Event Crafts Studio home decorowner by becoming a licensed wedding planner. However, Perez realized, “as much as I loved planning weddings, I did not want to work in that industry.” She terminated her wedding planning company in 2015.

Meanwhile, she indulged her creative cravings in her everyday life by decorating the spaces around her. This ultimately led to the launch of her present company, Event Craft Studio, after friends and family noticed her seasonal decorating skills.

“I decorated the team’s cubes in the office and I changed the theme [of] my Christmas décor on a yearly basis” Liliana described. The positive response to her decorations were overwhelming and her friends and family pushed her to start her own business.

She now designs seasonal wreaths for all occasions for people’s home decor during the holidays.

You might be interested: Two Latina entrepreneurs simplify sophisticated home décor for Millennials

Liliana commented, “It is such a great feeling to see someone’s home decorated with something I created.”  

In just a few short years her company has grown, along with her prospective client list. Liliana says her greatest challenge as a business owner is “Time! ….I have to meet my demands at work, as a mother, a wife and a business owner,” she explained.

home decor

Spring wreath creation Event Craft Studio

“Unfortunately, my business has taken the back seat too many times so I decided to do something for it every day.”

Liliana says her family has been her biggest strength and support to combat the pressures of time and juggling many tasks at once. From pushing her to pursue her dreams to helping out with her children, she feels “fortunate to have so much support.”

Although time will always be an intimidating force, Liliana’s advice for other Latinas who are aspiring to start their own businesses is to “Just go for it.”

“There will never be the ‘perfect moment’ and it is important to make time for one’s passions and dreams,” she shared. “It also helps to have a mentor. People love to help and there is more than enough business to go around for everyone.”

Ana Larrea-Albert NENANI Mentoring Future Latina Leaders 2016.1

Ana Larrea-Albert the Latina entrepreneurial spirit applied to mentorship

As many immigrant Latina entrepreneurs, Ana Larrea-Albert has continued to reinvent herself  from one business venture to the next and the key reason for her rapid growth is her unrivaled record of giving back to her community, often incubating future generations of Latina entrepreneurs and corporate aspiring leaders.

Ana Larrea-Albert, Latina entrepreneur

Ana Larrea-Albert, founder of NENANI

For most Latina immigrants, there are obstacles from the very first day they arrive; they face barriers in language, lack of access to healthcare, discrimination and exploitation, and have access to few or no resources. Amidst this gloom and despair, every now and then, one Latina makes it big and opens the door for others to achieve their dreams. And this one person is Ana Larrea-Albert, a Latina who is not only making a name for herself in the world of entrepreneurship but most important, she is willing to share her success.

Who is Ana Larrea-Albert?

Ana was born in Quito, Ecuador and then at a young age moved with her family to Florida. She obtained her MBA from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where she specialized in international business. Today, in a promising corporate career, Ana Larrea-Albert is vice president of Marketing and Customer Experience at ALMACO Group.

Ana Larrea-Albert presenter and panelist at Women Maritime Global Leadership at World Maritime University, Sweden 2015

Ana Larrea-Albert presenter and panelist at Women Maritime Global Leadership at World Maritime University, Sweden 2015

“My journey in the world of mentorship started a few years ago when I realized that there was a severe shortage of Latinas in corporate America,” she told LatinasinBusiness.us.

She then created NENANI, an online platform that aims at elevating the profiles of other successful Latinas who are contributing to their communities.  Through this website, she has opened a pipeline to mentor young Latinas as future leaders and entrepreneurs.

In addition, through her Human Accelerator Program, she also spends time coaching successful female executives so that they can reach their maximum potential. Ana realized that just like her, Latinas by virtue of their ability to speak at least two languages and their entrepreneurial spirit, could become major players if they were provided with the opportunity.

Ana Larrea-Albert WeLead event at Florida Atlantic University

WeLead event at Florida Atlantic University

Latina entrepreneurs’ struggles became her inspiration

The inspiration behind NENANI were Ana’s own struggles which she faced when she first entered the corporate world but rather than being defeated by negative comments, she actually thrived and overcame adversities.

She built courage and gradually started to take a vocal stance for all Latinas. “When I started out, there was very little diversity in corporate America and there was very little support for women, in general,” Ana said.

Today, through NENANI, Ana is fulfilling her dreams of making a global change by regularly featuring up and coming Latinas who not only have achieved success but who are also making their contributions to society, irrespective of their political affiliations.

Ana’s biggest motivating factor has been her desire to succeed at all costs. Like most spirited Latinas, Ana has never been afraid to take risks. When going beyond her comfort zone, excitement and courage has allowed her to achieve more and led to greater personal satisfaction. Lastly, she feels that the key reason for her success has been an unquenchable thirst for learning and wanting to constantly absorb the world’s knowledge.

However, Ana is fully aware that to make a significant change in the lives of Latinas, she needs to network with and prepare these women with leadership qualities at a much younger age. She is a firm believer that NENANI will enable her to reach the masses and help most of them achieve their dreams. She has now partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Mentoring Project to reach Latina students and give them the tools necessary to become successful leaders and entrepreneurs.

Ana Larrea-Albert, mentor -mentee high school student

Ana Larrea-Albert, mentor -mentee high school student

“Everyone should take on a mentorship role.” And she added, “We don’t need to have a C-level title or have several decades of expertise. We each can be that guiding light to someone who looks up to us or could learn from our experience. Mentor someone in your office, students at your Alma mater or even family members, all of which I do. In turn, you will learn so much from your mentees; you will feel inspired and proud of your mentee’s progress. The more comfortable we become with the role of being mentors, the easier it will be for the next generation to find a helping hand. Let’s create a culture of mentorship so that nobody needs to look desperately for that perfect mentor,” she stated.

Ana Larrea-Albert today

Ana currently sits on the Think Freely Latino Advisory Board, a new U.S. Hispanic and Latino outreach project focused on Latino empowerment. She has also served as a Board Member on various Latina Professional Organizations that encourage diversity and independent thought. For her work at NENANI, she was recognized as a 2017 Latina of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine.

Her vision is to achieve greater levels of talented and capable Latina representation in corporate America and the Government. She is fully aware of the challenges that face her but she knows there is no turning back.

Ana Larrea-Albert and Susana G Baumann at the 2016 Latina Best Business Awards

Ana Larrea-Albert and Susana G Baumann at the 2016 LatinainBusiness.us Best Business Awards

“Latinas have waited a long time and have started to climb the corporate ladder but to get to the top, all they need is a little push, and bit of mentoring,” she concluded.

In 2011, Ana Albert-Larrea she was named Marketer of the Year for her business initiatives in Latin America. Previously, Ana has also held financial positions with the Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and a few other multinational companies.

 

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Social mission integration

Latina entrepreneur: How your social mission can optimize your business model

Is it important to have a social mission in your small business? Our Guest Contributor Jeff Zhou explains how having a social mission in your small business can help you optimize your business returns by aligning  your social mission with your business model. What he calls “You can have your cake and eat it too.” Welcome, Jeff!

Social mission integration

As a founder, I am always optimizing our limited dollars between competing goals. One area I have never had to compromise is social mission. We are fortunate to have mission alignment: at my company, Fig, our business return is maximized when our customers achieve the highest possible credit score.

What is mission alignment? Simply put, it is the level to which a company’s social mission is baked into its business mission. A company’s business mission will always be to generate return, while the social mission can be anything from improving access to drinking water to making it easier to get a reasonable loan.

When these two missions are not aligned, it can cause internal conflict because social mission activities have real costs, and companies have limited dollars.

With complete alignment, a company no longer has to make trade offs: there is a single path forward.

Let’s look at an example:

TOMS is a shoe company that popularized the Buy One Give One (BOGO) approach. Buy one pair of shoes and they will give one to someone in need.

Toms improving lives social mission

Toms improving lives social mission

It is a fantastic model that provides many shoes to those who need it, but it is not completely mission aligned because giving shoes away is a cost to the company. While the marketing, sales, and other benefits could ultimately outweigh costs, I would argue there is room for more alignment because BOGO is not a core business activity.

TOMS’ core business is making and selling shoes. TOMS then uses a portion of the proceeds to buy shoes / clean water / medical supplies for in-need groups. I can break out these two distinct activities because, from the start, the mission is not baked into the core business.

What if the societal benefits could be irrevocably tied to selling shoes? What if TOMS’ shoes were only made and sold via companies owned by the people that they are giving shoes to today? What if TOMS’ process of making higher quality shoes naturally created clean water as a byproduct?

My ideas might be farfetched, but I am hoping to demonstrate that it is possible to improve TOMS’ mission alignment. If TOMS’ shoes were made and sold by the people they’re giving shoes to today… then TOMS core business of making and selling shoes would no longer be separated from their social mission to support communities in need! In 2013, TOMS started producing shoes in Haiti, a region they were giving shoes to… mission alignment!

How can you find social mission alignment?

The worst (and best) part about finding alignment is that there is no silver bullet: every company is unique. For the little that it is worth, here are the three questions we asked ourselves repeatedly at Fig to get to mission alignment.

1) What is success for our customer?

2) How can we build a business that creates this success?

3) If we do everything (be honest with yourself, everything means everything) to drive business return, how does that impact our customer success outcome?

At Fig, we ultimately found alignment through business model innovation. TOMS achieved alignment through operations. Finding alignment is not easy, but it has allowed us to operate more efficiently and grow without fear of losing our core mission.

Working on social mission alignment or think it is a waste of air? I would love to hear your thoughts and share ideas! Reach out at jeff@figloans.com.

 

Jeff Zhou social mission

Jeff Zhou, Founder FigLoans

 

Jeff Zhou is founder of FigLoans, which changes the way people with low credit experience banking by offering emergency loans and financial stability products in a socially responsible way. He was a peer-selected winner of Village Capital: FinTech US 2016.

 

personal brand, tell your story 2017 Latinas of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle Tell your Story

LatinasinBusiness.us Susana G Baumann among Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latinas of Influence

The 2017 Latinas of Influence will be recognized at Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latina Conference on April 5 and 6, 2017, Ontario, California.

2017 Latinas of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle personal brand

2017 Latinas of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle

Hispanic Lifestyle is excited to share with you our 2017 Latinas of Influence list. Our appreciation and gratitude to everyone who submitted names for our listing. Thank you for your time and commitment in sharing these wonderful stories of Latinas making a difference in our communities.

On March 1, 2017 in honor of Women’s History month (March 1, 2017 to March 31, 2017), Hispanic Lifestyle will profile each one of these Latinas of Influence on our website  hispaniclifestyle.com  In total, Hispanic Lifestyle will share throughout our network 31 inspirational and empowering stories. Stay tuned the posted Latinas of Influence will be highlighted in RED.

Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latinas of Influence will be honored during the  Hispanic Lifestyle’s Latina Conference 2017 to be held on April 5 & 6 2017 at the Ontario Airport Hotel and Conference Center, Ontario, CA.  The 2017 Latinas of Influence have been invited to attend and participate in the Luncheon portion of the program on April 6, 2017. Here is a link to the updated schedule of the 2017 Latina Conference, http://bit.ly/2ggWcZt

There will be a 2018 list, so please continue to share your stories with us throughout the year.

Richard Sandoval, President, Hispanic Lifestyle

Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latinas of Influence listing

Adriana Gallardo CEO, Adriana’s Insurance Services, Rise Programs
Alba Colon General Motors, NASCAR Sprint Cup Program Manager
Ana M. Albert Vice President of PR and Marketing for ALMACO Group
Anna Sauceda President at Associated Construction Services Group
Brissa Sotelo-Vargas Manager, Southern California Public and Government Affairs at Tesoro Refining and Marketing, LLC
Carrie Madrid Founder & President at The CARE Project, Inc.
Cecilia Herrera Bolbolian Community Leader, Latino Market Manager New York Life.
Cynthia L. Hernández Chief Attorney
Davina A. Ferreira Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Alegria Magazine
Deborah Deras, M.S., ALSP Keynote Speaker I Marketing Consultant I Author
Elianne Ramos Principal and CEO, Speak Hispanic Communications
Josefina E. Canchola Associate Director of Partnerships Puente Project
Liana Mendoza Actress, Business Owner
Lina Montes Business Owner, Community Advocate
Lupita Sanchez Cornejo Director of External Affairs, AT&T
Maria Ventura Public Affairs Manager- Southern California Gas Company
Marisol Morales Director of Civic and Community Engagement, University of La Verne
Marlene Forte Actress,
Marty Rodriguez Broker Associate, CENTURY 21 Marty Rodriguez
Nancy Baca Melendez Spanish Town Heritage Foundation
Nely Galan Owner, Galan Entertainment, Author
Patricia Chavez Senior Vice President/Market Executive
Patricia Pérez Principal, VPE Public Relations
Patricia Rae Actor, author, illustrator
Patty Juarez National Diverse Segments Director, Wells Fargo
Rosa M. Fregoso Attorney at Velasco Law Group
Rosa Santana Founder and Chief Executive of Santana Group
Rosario Dawson Actress, Producer
Shayla Rivera Comedian, STEM, Rocket Scientist
Stacey Sanchez Senior Community Loan Officer, CDC Small Business Finance Entrepreneur
Susana G. Baumann Editor-in-chief at LatinasInBusiness.us

 About the 2017 List Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latinas of Influence listing was compiled from nomination submittals by our audience. The final selections were done by Richard Sandoval, president of Hispanic Lifestyle Inc.

 

gourmet popcorn

Carmen Milagros Torres gourmet popcorn and family, the Latina way

Why do people love gourmet popcorn? Many say because it is different, tasty, comforting. Others just love the smells of childhood. Carmen Milagros Torres’ gourmet popcorn startup story is one of empowerment, passion, commitment and the courage to share family traditions, a Latino twist for the most demanding palates.

gourmet popcorn Carmen Milagros Torres

Carmen Milagros Torres, La Dona Carmen, founder of The Popcornerie

She is the owner of Tampa Bay’s The Popcornerie, a family owned business that aims at bringing the highest quality of freshly made gourmet popcorn to its customers. Carmen has recently been selected a semi-finalist on Project American Dreams, an initiative launched by HSN and Dreamers Ventures to feature Latino-owned businesses.

Carmen’s inspiration and driving force

Carmen is a New Yorker of Spanish descent; both her parents are from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Carmen’s inspiration to start her own gourmet popcorn business came from her experiences as a young, eleven-year-old girl helping her abuela’( Spanish for grandmother) make popcorn balls for their friends using original, cherished recipes. “I finally put the pieces together and decided that I wanted to carry this family tradition. It just felt right. Ironically, my daughter is named ‘Palomita’ –‘Palomitas’ or ‘palomitas de maíz’ is the Spanish equivalent of popcorn–”, Carmen told LatinasinBusiness.us.

Being a single, working mother to three children, her children’s future was always her top priority. She was especially determined to ensure that her daughter, “who will face more challenges in life than others simply because she is a double minority”, has a secure future. When she reached a point in her life where her children were no longer dependent on her, she decided to concentrate on starting her own business.

Initial obstacles and how she overcame them

gourmet popcorn Carmen Milagros TorresWhen she first set out to start her own gourmet popcorn business, she could not afford to leave her day job. Amidst the grueling task of trying to balance both her day job and setting up her business, she many times found herself wanting to give up.

After her grandfather’s death, she nearly did. However, her children, the very reason she decided to start her business in the first place, told her to keep it going. Their advice was all the encouragement she needed to get back to work with renewed zeal and fervor.

Carmen Milagros believes in turning every seemingly negative situation into a positive one. Recounting an incident from the time when she was still in the experimental stages of making her gourmet popcorn caramel recipe, she talks about how that incident has always stayed with her.

“I have a habit of placing my reading glasses at the top of my head when I’m not using them. On that particular day, I left the popcorn in the oven to cook and reached for my glasses in order to read,” she recalls. Unable to read, as the words looked blurry to her, she remembers wondering how her glasses had gotten so dirty. When she tried to clean them, she then realized the lenses had fallen off from the frame.

Much to her astonishment, she found the lenses melted at the bottom of the oven landing. “I have kept those lenses until this day and fondly think of them as my lucky charm,” she said with a smile.

Growth and success of gourmet popcorn “The Popcornerie”

gourmet popcorn Carmen Milagros TorresHer unwavering dedication and out of the box thinking is what makes Carmen stand out from the rest. She embraces her roots and incorporates the rich Spanish heritage in all aspects of her business. A great believer in self-improvement, she constantly finds ways to enhance her product. “There’s always room for better”, she asserted.

When she was selected as a semi-finalist on Project American Dreams, she knew the road to success was opening in front of her. Project American Dreams, launched by HSN and Dreamers Ventures, is a business competition to discover, mentor and launch products created by Latino entrepreneurs. If selected among the five lucky winners, this opportunity will give her the right platform and encouragement to boost her business.

You might be interested:

Four Latina entrepreneurs featured on LatinasinBusiness.us semifinalists in HSN competition

Carmen’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs

She stresses the importance of hard work, sound research and the courage to keep going even when the odds are against you. “Never give up”, Carmen stated. She also talks about how keeping her family close and going to them for advice has helped her grow both personally and professionally.

“My children are my driving force”, she said, “My eldest son Damien constantly tells me ‘focus on nuts and bolts mom’. My children are my biggest fans and my toughest critics and I love and respect them for it”, she signed off.

 

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gourmet popcorn Carmen Milagros Torres