Posts

children leaders, leadership

Teaching leadership: Helping children become leaders and develop strong communication skills

Teaching leadership skills is something every parent hopes to instill in their children. After all, helping children become leaders has many advantages. Kids that develop into leaders generally have a strong sense of self-esteem. Self-esteem provides kids with confidence and the drive to excel.

children leaders, leadership

Kids that develop into leaders generally have a strong sense of self-esteem. (Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels)

As we gear up for the back-to-school season, parents and children alike are saying goodbye to summer and preparing for the changes ahead. After over a year of virtual learning and hybrid classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have announced the return to in person learning. Returning to the in-person classroom will be a change for many, especially children who were young or new to school when the pandemic began.

However, many children are also eager to return to school. Sure, it’s bittersweet saying goodbye to summer, but being around peers again and having daily structure is something many children secretly miss, especially after such turbulent and unpredictable times. In addition to the structure and social aspects of in person learning, school also provides children with the opportunity to take on leadership roles, from leading class discussions and projects to taking on roles in extracurricular clubs and sports, these activities help strengthen and develop those crucial leadership skills. However, school is only one of the many avenues through which children can develop these skills. Perhaps more crucial, is what they are learning at home.

Nurturing and developing leadership skills at home

Many people may wonder: what makes some kids grow up to become great leaders while others grow into adulthood lacking the ability to organize a game of kickball?

Experts argue that certain children are natural born leaders. Some kids are born with an innate ability to take charge and execute on a vision they conceive in their minds. But those same experts also agree that leadership skills can be learned and need not be reserved for the lucky few born with the leadership gene. It is possible to develop leadership skills within all kids – and the earlier the lessons begin, the earlier they develop their leadership style.

teaching leadership, parenting,

You don’t have to wait for a certain age to begin teaching leadership. In fact, the earlier the lessons start, the earlier children will develop leadership skills. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

Helping children become leaders has many advantages. Kids that develop into leaders generally have a strong sense of self-esteem. Self-esteem provides kids with confidence and the drive to excel.

Leaders also develop strong communication skills. As these young leaders accept greater and greater responsibility, they are required to interact with others. These interactions develop within them stronger-than-average communication abilities that assist them in other aspects of their lives.

teaching leadership

Children become leaders by learning from example. (Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels)

Finally, developing leaders acquire the skill of negotiation and learn how to work with others. As these emerging leaders increase their leadership activity they are placed into situations that require collaboration and compromise – skills that are greatly valued.

  1. Make Leadership Part of Your Child’s Vocabulary: “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker

If you’re going to help your child develop as a leader you need to describe what a leader is and does. The best way to do that is to make leadership a term that is used frequently to describe favorable traits. Conversations about leadership can originate when talking about the things other students did at school, the traits of characters in their favorite television shows, or the examples described in books they read or had read to them. Highlight leadership traits such as honesty, perseverance, kindness, creativity, intelligence, etc.

  1. Give Your Child Opportunities to Learn and Exercise Leadership: “All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” – Albert Einstein

Leadership opportunities begin the moment at which your child begins to interact with other children. Beginning with preschool, through Boys Scouts/Girl Scouts to AYSO and Little League, and into cheerleading and science club – every day provides a venue for your child to put to use your leadership lessons. Be sure to observe as much as possible and provide feedback one-on-one. Remember to praise your child for exercising leadership.

  1. Set a Leadership Example: “Example is leadership.” – Albert Schweitzer

Leadership is best taught by example. Be sure to share your leadership experiences with your child. When possible, bring your child along to view you in action! If you volunteer at the local library, belong to the local Rotary Club or serve as an elected official, share your leadership experiences with your child to give your child something that links your conversations to the real world.

  1. Go Easy on Your Child: “Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” – Soren Kierkegaard

As your child gets older, peer pressure increases. While all parents wish that children would avoid any form of peer pressure, the reality is that they live in a very difficult world. As a parent developing a leader, what is most important is to monitor your child, communicate openly and describe their actions that may be inconsistent with the acts of a leader. Refer to your conversations regarding the traits of leaders. These conversations may become more difficult as your child grows and becomes more independent. Have faith and trust that your child will respond appropriately when outside of your influence.

You might be interested: How MiLegasi’s founder deals with resilience in children during COVID-19

Alice Rodriguez: Overcoming obstacles and the power to succeed in business and life

The 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit (WEES) was a day full of inspiration and empowerment. With inspiring guest speakers, panels from industry leaders, and interactive deep-dive workshops, the event centered on giving entrepreneurs the tools to THRIVE! post-pandemic. One of the main moments at 2021 WEES was hearing from Keynote Speaker, Alice Rodriguez, Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Alice Rodriguez

Keynote Speaker, Alice Rodriguez, Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“She is a person who is raising the bar for Latinas in Business and I’m absolutely grateful for her presence here,” said Susana G Baumann, President and founder of Latinas in Business when she introduced Alice.

With over 30 years of extensive banking experience at JP Morgan Chase and positions in business banking, consumer banking, Alice Rodriguez serves a leading role in community engagement initiatives and localization strategies. 

“Congratulations for this wonderful summit, and all the wonderful content you are providing to Latina entrepreneurs is so important,” says Alice Rodriguez while opening her speech. 

Below, Alice shares three key aspects from her presentation to empower YOU to succeed. 

“Lessons learned from my Sheroe”

“Behind every great woman there is another great woman,” Alice begins.

Alice’s great “sheroe” was her mother, Alicia Nuñez Ramírez who had the most impact on her life. 

“This was a woman who came to this country when she was 15 years old,” Alice shares. “My grandfather died when she was 12 years old and my mother came to a family of 12 and it was very difficult for my grandmother to raise all of those children by herself. So she sent her children away to live with another family while my mother ended up living with an aunt in Texas.  She met my father who was from the US and they started our family.” 

Growing up, Alice saw how her mother overcame a lot of adversity. “She had this very strong ability to never get flustered, which I learned from her and I believe she was completely ahead of her time.  She was a strong independent Latina that just did not take a no for an answer and I recognize that I stand on her shoulder. She came here with a middle school education and it didn’t stop her from learning. She taught me everything, how important family is, values, faith, how to create your own success and take a risk. She was always figuring out how to get over those barriers.” 

One of the most important lessons she taught Alice was “‘Life is not fair’ so you can’t sit there and see how things don’t go your way. You have to figure out how to get back or what you need to do in order to change the path that you are currently on,” Alice says. 

She continues, “When I think about my mom and Latinas today… Latinos are making such an impact in this country. According to a Neilsen report, every generation of Latinas are making great progress when it comes to education. For Latinas that are 50 or older, 13% of Latinas have a Bachelor’s Degree. If you are between 35 and 49 that number goes up to 18% and if you are between 25 and 35 years old that number is 19%.” 

Alice Rodriguez’s mother did not read or write. She had a seventh-grade education. Then Alice was the first in her  family to graduate from College. Finally, two days ago Alice’s youngest daughter who’s now 29 graduated from her 3-year residence in John Hopkins. 

“I am a real example of those statistics on the great strides that Latinas are making. It’s not just education, it’s also what we see in politics,” says Alice. “There’s no question that Latinas are making a very big impact in entrepreneurship.”

Alice Rodriguez speaking virtually at the 2021 WEES.

You might be interested: Congrats to all our 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awardees!

Amazing statistics on Latino power

“I want to share with you really important statistics that are not shown in the media. Everybody knows we have 61 million Latinos in this country, a number that is growing very fast and the economic activity that Latinos are providing to this country is significant. If we say ‘Latinos are their own country’ it will be the 8th largest in the world. Larger than Italy, South Korea or Brazil. The labor participation for Latinos has been extremely strong.”

Alice continues, “A large number of baby-boomers are retiring every month. If you were a country that didn’t know where your population is going to come from you would be extremely worried.  The good news is Latino participation is growing and this is where I became super optimistic about the real economic power that Latinos have and how we need an equal system.” 

“As we look at Latino-owned businesses in this country, there are 5 million and growing and Latinas are growing 6 times faster than the overall coverage. Which brings me to what I am doing in the Hispanic US Chamber and JP Morgan Chase as the Head of Community Impact. At the Chamber we see this economic power and we know that is real and we are working very hard in what we call the 3 Cs: 

  1. Capital: We recognize that Latino-owned businesses really need to have this access to capital and also the work that we are doing with the administration, with banks is extremely critical. 
  2. The second C is connections. I don’t have to tell this group how many organizations out there are very focused in really engaging minority suppliers and this is a really great opportunity to have all of you prepared to be able to do business at a larger level and so the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is really providing those introductions so those procurement opportunities are available at the Federal level, al the local level and obviously at the corporate level. 
  3. And the third C is Capacity Building; so we are very blessed to have 250 local chambers that we are working very closely every day and we recognize not every chamber has the same capabilities so our ability to build capacity with them has been critical. It includes more webinars, more content, etc.

“In JP Morgan Chase. I had a very long career and what I’m doing today is one of the most impactful assignments I ever had. We have to be sure that we are bringing the power to our local communities, how we can help with that mentoring, with that coaching, with that advising. We are very excited about the programs we put in place and more importantly we believe that this five-year commitment that we made is really going to be an opportunity to provide more access to many Latinas in businesses in this country. 

I want to leave you with a few takeaways

Alice concluded her presentation with a few key takeaways that every entrepreneur and business owner could use to help them grow and THRIVE! in business and in life. 

“Really take care of your financial health,” is Alice’s first recommendation. “Knowing the details of your business and really understanding your own credit and where you are in income perspective. Spend the time. There are lots of resources to help with that.”

“The second is that you have to love a lot of paperwork, if you don’t like it you just have to get over it,” Alice continues. “Be sure that you have the right CPA, that you have an accountant, that you have a lawyer, that you have a banker and more important that you have a relationship with the banker. This is critical and we discovered during this pandemic how critical it was in order to get the resources that were available.” 

Third, is no surprise to any entrepreneur. “Network, network, network. It’s important to keep up with the people that you meet, understanding what their background is because you never know when you are going to need that person. Even if that person can’t help you, they can always connect you to the right person that perhaps can help you.” 

Finally, more important than anything else is self-care. Without taking care of yourself, everything else will unravel. 

“I think as Latinas, as women, we want to do it all,” says Alice. “But we just are human beings like everybody else and if we don’t slow down and really take care of ourselves, physically, mentally we are not going to do anyone any good and we are certainly not going to do our professional lives any good. Take that time. Some people meditate, some people exercise, some people just don’t do anything. Pick whatever works for you but more important, take care of yourself.” 

Latina leader Sara Peña impacts young lives through community empowerment

Sara Peña is a Newark native working toward community empowerment. She 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.

Community awareness 
community empowerment

Sara Pena, Director, Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development at NJ Department of State.

Born and raised in Newark, NJ, Sara has always had immense pride and passion for her community. As the daughter of immigrant parents, from Ecuadorian and Dominican descent, she witnessed first hand the hardships faced by immigrants. 

“I saw a lot of things that would frustrate me in regards to how my mother was treated just because she didn’t speak the language,” says Sara. 

As children, she and her sister would try to share as much information as possible with their parents, but the language and cultural barrier still made many things difficult. 

“Resources were limited and mentors were unheard of, at least to me,” Sara explains. 

Sara soon took on the “adult” role and with that came an awareness of the many complicated issues affecting her family and community. This awareness motivated her to make a change and become an advocate and leader for other Latinos. 

 

Community empowerment

After graduating from college, Sara returned to Newark to volunteer with various local organizations and focus her efforts on community empowerment. She soon began working with organizations like Leadership Newark, whose mission is to be a catalyst to engage, empower, connect and improve the network of community and civic leaders as they each commit to build, strengthen, and serve for the common good.

Sara Pena addressing a business audience (Photo courtesy Sara Pena)

Another amazing organization Sara became a part of and President was LUPE Fund -Latinas United for Political Empowerment. LUPE’s focus is to educate, empower, and engage Latinas to promote leadership and civic service. The organization also collaborates with other women’s and children’s organizations on issues of common interest, such as health and education, in order to advance the Latino community. 

Volunteering with these organizations exposed Sara to women who looked just like her in executive positions, having families and successful careers, and making a positive change within the community. But what really attracted Sara the most about these women was the advocacy work they do as leaders throughout the state. 

As President of LUPE, Sara supported multiple Latinas in both political sides to run for office in NJ (Photo courtesy Sara Pena)

“They worked tirelessly to ensure we had representation in the legislature and our voices would be heard,” says Sara. “My passion was policy work and I was able to explore more of it in the role of an executive  board member and later in 2017 become the President of the only Latina statewide organization in New Jersey! Here was this little girl from Newark NJ now leading one of the most powerful organizations for women in the state.” 

Having other women as role models and mentors propelled Sara forward on her own journey. One of her biggest struggles early on was simply believing in herself. 

“Others believed and saw something in me that not even I could see,” she says. 

Once she began to surround herself with these like-minded individuals, she began to see just how much potential was within herself. 

“I knew if I wanted to make a change it started with me and everything else would fall into place.” 

Youth mentorship 

As a community leader, Sara’s mission to improve the quality of life and the empowerment of the state’s Hispanic community. One major way in which she has been doing this is through her organization the Boys to Leaders Foundation

Launched in 2013, the Boys to Leaders Foundation empowers and motivates young men by providing leadership training, educational programs, and positive personal and professional development. 

Sara was inspired to create the foundation for her son, Anthony. 

“I saw there was a lack of positive role models that looked like him and as a single mother it was very difficult for me,” she says. 

Knowing first hand the importance and impact of role models and mentors, Sara felt it was an imperative need within the community. 

“It is our job to provide opportunities and guidance to the next generation of leaders,” says Sara. “Mentorship changes lives. We must offer them hope, expose them to bigger and greater things outside of what they are used to. Allow our young people to have choices!” 

Through the organization, Sara has been able to see first hand the amazing impact of mentorship and opportunities. A few years after the launch of the organization, Sara was approached by a young man who was then in his senior year of college. He told Sara that if it had not been for the conference he attended in 2014, he would never have known he could apply to Rutgers Newark, join the Honors Society, and travel abroad to study. The conversation went on for about a half-hour and the two decided to continue meeting at least once a year to see how he was doing. 

“He was so grateful and couldn’t stop thanking me for starting the organization,” says Sara, remembering the moment. “Every so often I get these beautiful reminders that the blood, sweat, and tears I have put into this organization is certainly worth it.” 

The organization continues to impact young lives through its various programs and events. Their various partners include: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties, AspiraNJ in Newark, Newark Public Schools, New Jersey Garden State Scholars Program and many more. 

 This year the foundation is hosting their 8th Annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference in partnership with Dr. Diane Hill from Rutgers University –Newark Campus. Additionally they conduct various events throughout the year to educate the parents and youth on topics that are important to them such as Immigration and Financial Aid Workshops. 

“We bring families together so they understand the important role they have in a young man’s life,” says Sara. 

Sara’s goal now is to expand the work of the foundation statewide. 

community empowerment

Members of LUPE – Latinas United for Political Empowerment (Photo courtesy of Sara Pena)

You might be interested: Pitch competitor Tennille Ortiz empowers youth through cake design
Self-empowerment  

Throughout Sara’s years as a professional and community leader, she has learned many lessons about self-empowerment and success. For other Latinas who are looking to start a business or make a career change, she offers 5 tips to live by: 

Be fearless 

Overcoming your fears and getting started is noble, but the true tests of a fearless entrepreneur will be constant, from initiating a conversation at a networking event, severing ties with a partner who is causing harm to the venture, and perhaps failing. One who can fail miserably and not be scared to dust themselves off and try again and again until they are successful is truly fearless. This also applies to starting a career or restarting your next career change.

 Understand finances

Sara Pena has received multiple awards for her community empowerment service (Photo Courtesy of Sara Pena)

Learn how to make your money work for you. Get a coach! Attend a financial literacy workshop 

Grow Personally

Know your strengths and weaknesses and know who to put where in order to make your business a success. You should always seek out ways that work best for you to grow in different areas of one’s life. Whether it is personal or professional development in the end, it all comes full circle. 

Build and Nurture Relationships/Partnerships

All types! (May also come in handy when you are looking for babysitters)

 Self Care

Love Yourself most of all! If you can’t look at yourself in the mirror and be happy with what you see, how can you market yourself/product into the success it should be. Stay healthy, exercise, yoga, mediate…..make the time. Put on a little lip gloss/red lipstick!

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

― Maya Angelou

 

Visionary social entrepreneur Jacqueline Camacho inspires Latinas to land on their dreams

Jacqueline Camacho, international speaker, author, and entrepreneur (Courtesy of JC)

Jacqueline Camacho is a visionary social entrepreneur that has created an enterprise of inspiration. Living by the motto: “Taking off is optional, landing on your dreams is mandatory” Jackie has soared high and achieved much in a short time. At only 36 years of age she has founded two award-winning companies, established two nonprofit organizations, published sixteen books, created over ten products, and held dozens of events around the world.

Landing on your dreams

Jackie’s drive is her passion for supporting the dreams of other women. Often referred to as a “dream catcher,” she uses her strategies as a speaker, author, and entrepreneur to support thousands of women to live a life of significance. 

Surviving cancer at age 21 and 23 sparked a sense of urgency in Jackie to serve others and make an impact.

“I learned how to live and how to transcend,” she says.  

Seizing the opportunity to live a full life and chase her dreams, Jackie created her first company–a full service marketing agency–in 2006 at the age of 23. In 2010, she then wrote and published her first book The Little Book of Business Secrets That Work! and by 2014 Jackie launched both her international publishing house, Fig Factor Media, and her first nonprofit, The Fig Factor Foundation

With the launch of her publishing house came the start of her book series, Today’s Inspired Latina. The award-winning anthology series shares the success stories of Latinas, inspiring hope and motivation “for anyone sitting on a dream and thinking it can’t come true.” As of 2019, the series is now the largest collection of Latina stories in a book in the world. 

Jackie launched the series along with her nonprofit as a way to inspire young Latinas toward “unleashing the amazing” in themselves and going after their dreams.

Jacqueline Camacho

Jacqueline Camacho, a life as a servant leader (Courtesy of JC)  

Jacqueline Camacho

Jacqueline Camacho achieved her dram of being a sports pilot (Courtesy of JC)

Living by her own motto, Jacqueline Camacho landed on a dream of her own: becoming a sports airplane pilot, which she achieved in 2018. As one of the few Latina sports pilots in the United States, she is about to embark on the historic air race that twenty women flyers participated in crossing the United States 91 years ago, including the famous Amelia Earhart.

Being a servant leader

Using her strategy-focused mind and vision to connect the dots and see what others cannot she has been able to build a successful brand for herself and use her talents to serve others. It is her life-long quest to be a servant leader and help people achieve their goals. 

“I have a heart for other peoples’ dreams,” says Jackie. “I am activated by their desire to manifest success in their lives.” 

Jacqueline Camacho

Jacqueline Camacho continues to achieve her purpose by helping other achieve theirs (Courtesy of JC)

Over the years she has shared her inspiration in four continents and aligned with some of the most powerful brands to elevate others. 

Jackie recalls one occasion where a successful entrepreneur reached out to her to help position her as an international speaker–this was her dream. After working together, in just six months they were able to create her brand and get her several media placements and over seven speaking engagements in five countries. 

It’s these moments, helping someone attain their dreams, that mean the most. “I live for those exponential moments,” says Jackie. 

Her advice to others who are looking to land on a dream is to believe in your vision, never quit, and impact the lives of others. 

“In the measure that you help others achieve their dreams, you will inevitably achieve yours.” 

You might be interested: CEO and founder of The Business of WE Paulina Lopez betting on women entrepreneurs

leader

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

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

leader

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

Working up from the bottom

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

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

leader

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

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

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

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

New love and opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conquering language barriers

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

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

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

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

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

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

leader

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

Being a leader to others

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valley National Bank

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

Sponsor of the 2019  Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition

 

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

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

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

 

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

most powerful latinas

Damian Rivera, CEO, ALPFA

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

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

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

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

The 50 Most Powerful Latinas list

The first four places in the list were awarded to:

most powerful latinas

Myrna Soto, COO of Digital Hands

#1 Myrna Soto

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

#2 Maria Martinez

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

#3 Grace Puma

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

most powerful latinas

Nina Vaca, President and CEO. Pinnacle Group

#4 Nina Vaca

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

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

 

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

About ALPFA

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

 

Latina leadership

Corporate executive Beth Marmolejos shares insights on being a Latina leader

How hard is it to become a Latina leader? Throughout her career, Beth Marmolejos has risen to leadership roles and achieved great success in her field.  Her story offers some insights and advice to other aspiring Latina leaders.  

Latina leadership

Beth Marrazini-Marmolejos

Bethania “Beth” Marrazini-Marmolejos is a passionate, hard-working corporate executive with 25 plus years experience in the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industries. She is currently employed by Anthem in New York City where she serves as an IT Executive Advisor for the New York and Wisconsin markets.

Beth began her corporate career in 1987, working as a Data Sales Entry analyst for MEDCO Health Solutions Accounting Department in Franklin Lakes, NJ. She began this job with no college credits and through her years with the company she was able to earn both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Eighty-percent of her courses were paid for by her employer as long as she maintained her grades.  After ten years of intensive coursework, Beth graduated with honors earning a Bachelors in Accounting and a Masters in Finance.

While she worked toward earning her degrees, Beth continued to move up through various roles within the Finance department at MEDCO. These experiences helped prepare Beth for the leaderships roles that would soon follow in her career.

Seeing challenges as opportunities for Latina leadership

Latina leadership

Beth Marmolejos Speaker at Bellas Fashionistas NY 2018 with Founder Flerisel Bello

One story Beth shares is when at MEDCO, her company bought a subsidiary called “Accredo” for $2B. At this time, both the President of that subsidiary and Beth’s boss, the Vice President of Financing and Pricing, decided to leave. “That challenge was a blessing for me,” says Beth. As the Senior Manager of Finance, Beth was propelled into a major leadership role helping the company through the acquisition and integration of the subsidiary.

“Then, I was young and did not realize what a huge undertaking and responsibility this was, I just faced the situation head on and did my job,” she explains. “That being said, the opportunity opened doors for me to be flying on the company’s jet with senior leaders to Memphis…and got a promotion to Director of Finance after the acquisition was completed,” says Beth.  “The moral of the story is that I was able to remain calm and focus despite the challenges, and ended up getting promoted.”

Later in 2013, Beth left MEDCO to work in New York City for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield under the leadership of Brian Griffin, an old colleague of Beth’s from MEDCO. Here she continued to rise quickly, earning the title of Director after only six months of starting at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Beginning in 2016, Beth started working as IT Executive Advisor for the state of New York and Wisconsin for Empire’s parent company, Anthem. Here she continues to be someone people love to work with. She believes her Latina roots give her an edge above her peers and have led her to success within her field. She faces every situation with a can-do mentality and positive energy– traits that have been fostered in her through her Latina upbringing.

When working with others she always treats people with respect. “I truly and genuinely make everyone feel valued and that comes from the Latina in me! We love people!” says Beth.

“Latinindad,” a challenge or a benefit for Latina leadership

Latina leadership

Community Leader Honoree from North Jersey Federal Credit Union with Arlene Quinones Perez, Esq and Lourdes Cortez, President.

Beth also cites that one challenge she has faced throughout her years in her field is often being the only Latina in her department. At times she has felt that she needs to “tone down” her passion and enthusiasm to project at a more Executive level. This act of self-censorship is difficult because “As you know, we Latinas are very passionate!” says Beth.

Another challenge has been dealing with people that do not share her same business ethics and moral compass. These people often become hindrances as they do not understand Beth’s enthusiasm or misinterpret her desire to help as having a hidden agenda.  Still, Beth does not let these people discourage her.

You might be interested: Arlene Quinones-Perez opening speaker at Female Leadership Business Retreat

Throughout her years of experience she has learned many insights. To other Latinas searching for success in their own careers, Beth shares that “when you treat people with respect…that creates a good reputation that you can leverage to obtain better opportunities within your organization.” She believes that the key to obtaining leadership roles is to be a “can-do type of person” and to be happy, positive, and knowledgeable as these traits will attract others to want to work with you.

Beth’s story shows what can be achieved through hard work and a good attitude. She has risen through various positions in her field and now occupies a Latina leadership role across many organizations.  She hopes to help other Hispanic professionals achieve success, especially Latinas, by opening doors to help them move forward.

“I am eager to…make sure that more people that look like me are at the leadership table with me.”

 

female leadership women helping each other

Female Leadership: Why women do not support each other?

I wanted to share some personal reflections about our very successful and recent Female Leadership event we conducted in the New Jersey/New York region. These opinions are my own and in no way reflect the opinions of others who participated at the event.

female leadership women helping each other

Contrary to what often happens in social media, where people usually post their most successful moments, I want to bring some reflections that I hope will generate productive discussions moving forward.

The GOOD: The event got great reviews from participants, as we have profusely shared on social media. I would say the best part was the energy in the room, the discussions generated by guest speakers and coaches, and the friendliness. Please see photo gallery and testimonials!

The BAD:
It was a Saturday and a long day! Even if most attendees agreed that it was worthwhile, it was a very long day. Thanks to our volunteers and all the people who helped us put the event together, we pulled it through but I felt I had been run over by a truck the next day … and the next! We will definitely review our format for a more productive day.

The UGLY:
The white elephant in the room is, why women do not support each other? We discussed it at the event and with some of the speakers, and there is always a dose of extreme judgment about each other in women in any position or role.

Arlene Quinones-Perez female leadership

Arlene Quinones-Perez, Esq.. Partner at DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole and Giblin, LLP and Pres Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

In the words of Arlene Quinones-Perez, partner at the hosting Corporate Sponsor and one of our speakers, ““Other women would judge harshly their female counterparts –even more than men do,” she said. “Being a woman is like having a cross on your back that makes you more visible.”

In my own experience, men are usually more readily eager to give a hand, open a door, say a word of support or  are even more forgiving than women. I have found it difficult to deal with women who have the power to make decisions to support me and still choose not to –people that know me personally, not talking about strangers.

I understand that conditions are not always in favor of supporting a project or an initiative –I do not expect positive results 100% of the time but… Send me a nice response acknowledging my efforts. Pick up the phone and get to know me better -after all, I am one of you! Tell me NO with a reason and a smile, for God’s sake!

And then, of course, there are the great exceptions to this rule, and those who ALWAYS take the time to answer an email or pick up the phone, no matter how high in the structure or how busy they are –and you know who you are!

You might say I am venting with you and yes, I am! Because we need to bring these topics to the table if we are authentic in our promises to rising together. I’ve been in large Latina leadership meetings in which final conclusions of the meeting were around supporting and empowering each other and then… nothing!

So today I want to share with you a fantastic NO response I got from a company based in New Jersey. It is an example of professional courtesy and exceptional vision, in my view, because it talks about the culture of a company. I knew nobody in the company and my request was a total “cold call.”

And here it is:

Susana,

My name is Flor Wickham, I support Rita Mitjans and the ADP Foundation. Thank you for your email.

As you can imagine, the ADP Foundation receives many more requests to participate in funding endeavors than our limited resources will permit. This leads to difficult decisions in establishing priorities and means that a number of important activities and requests, such as yours, cannot be supported by the Foundation.  Our focus is to support our associates philanthropic giving by matching associate donations, supporting education through scholarships for children of ADP Associates and giving to key education partners, and with the remainder we try to focus giving where there is significant associate engagement.  Our sponsorships are based on a more national/global reach aligned with our CSR pillars.

Best of luck to you and we commend you for the work you are doing with female leaders worldwide.

Kind regards,

Flor Wickham | Director
Corporate Social Responsibility

Kudos to you, Ms Wickham, and for raising the bar on professional courtesy!

There is no one person who can do this alone- you might think you can but reality is, we all need to work together! Be willing to open doors for other women, because others have opened doors for you! That is the practice of true leadership!

 

What is your experience on women supporting each other?  Do you find it more often in certain environments than in others? And what can we do to make it better?

Angelique Sina

Angelique Sina joins the LatinasinBusiness.us Editorial Advisory Board

Angelique Sina

Angelique Sina, new Madrina and member of LatinasinBusiness.us Editorial Advisory Board

Welcome to our new “Madrina” Angelique Sina, the latest member of our Editorial Advisory Board. We are extremely honored to have such a powerhouse helping out in our quest for the economic empowerment of the Latina working woman!

A finance professional at the International Finance Corporation and a member of the World Bank Group, Angelique Sina was recently appointed by the Mayor of Washington, DC to serve as a Commissioner for the Latino Community.

Angelique began her career in Washington DC participating in the prestigious Cordova and Fernos Congressional Internship program (2010). She then worked at the United States Congress in the offices of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Pedro R. Pierluisi, and Governor Luis G. Fortuño. She brings impeccable credentials as a Latina in the Financial and Business policy arena.

As a passionate advocate for women and their success in business, Angelique launched “Amigas,” an influential network composed of a global society of prosperous women that are Friends of Puerto Rico.

Amigas” connect and empower women in the Washington DC region to be the leaders that will help build the future of Puerto Rico. Amigas is a program under the broader umbrella of Friends of Puerto Rico, a nonprofit organization that Angelique co-founded and leads as the Executive Director from 2015 to present. They have organized events that have raised over $85,000 to date to support and preserve the arts, culture and education in Puerto Rico.

Angelique Sina

Friends of Puerto Rico Javier Llano, Angelique Sina, and David deRosa. (http://www.elnuevodia.com/entretenimiento/cultura/nota/museodeartedeponceresuenaenwashingtondc-2039736/)

This year, Angelique was accepted in Hispanics in Philanthropy 2017 NGEN Fellow. She was featured in AISEC Líderes Boricuas, 2015 and was also a Nominee in SmartCEO 2017 and Forbes 30 under 30 2017.

In 2016, she was selected in Mujeres de HACE Leadership Program, a Hispanic Leadership program for Latinas at the executive level (graduated in 2016).

Angelique volunteers regularly in multiple national professional organizations, bringing to them her energy and contagious enthusiasm to generate results. She has served on nine Boards of Directors in a variety of roles:

  • Board Member as Fundraising Chair (2017) at Mujeres de HACE DC chapter;
  • Advisory Board Member at Viva Latino National Magazine;
  • Board Member Art Museum of the Americas raising over $25,000 in one event;
  • Member, Johns Hopkins Women in Business Council;
  • Board member at the University of Puerto Rico Alumni and Friends Abroad (UPRAA);
  • Co-Head in International Finance Corporation’s Women’s Network;
  • Board Member as Government Relations Chair (2015-2016) at the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) DC Chapter (NSHMBA since renamed Prospanica);
  • Communications and Business Development Adviser (Pro bono) in Save a Child’s Heart;
  • Executive Assistant (volunteer) at the Puerto Rico Democracy Political PAC; and
  • Host Committee for Annual Fundraiser at Tudor Place.

Angelique Sina is also a member of New America Alliance, Latina Leadership Caucus; Latinas Think Big community; Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Ellevate Women’s Network; Kennedy Center; Art Museum of the Americas; and Citizens Association of Georgetown.

A graduate from the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla, where she was the Class Valedictorian, Angelique later received a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University.

A millennial philanthropist and a strong supporter of the arts, education and conservation, especially related to the prosperity of Puerto Rico, she shares her expertise as a contributor at the Huffington Post. This native of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, confesses to be an avid golf player in her spare time.