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Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia tells you how to leave a secure job to launch your dream business

Jennifer Garcia is a multi-faceted business professional and leadership coach with a passion for empowering people and transforming businesses. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), a collaboration with Stanford University driving research, providing education, and cultivating a growing ecosystem of 800 scaled Latino and Latina entrepreneurs across the United States and Puerto Rico, who contribute nearly $4.9 billion in annual revenue. 

Jennifer Garcia, founder of Fluential Leadership. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

Jennifer is also the founder of Fluential Leadership, a business and leadership consulting firm focused on elevating small-to-medium-sized business performance through developing and executing growth strategies, recruitment, and retaining talent.

Cutting the ‘golden handcuffs’ to start business from zero 

Like many entrepreneurs, Jennifer was driven to start her own business out of a desire to pursue her passion and make an impact. For fourteen years, Jennifer worked in the finance industry and in a variety of leadership roles at Bloomberg, a global financial data provider. Through her work, she recognized her strength in developing people, transforming teams and departments. 

Her work at LBAN has also allowed her to continue elevating Latino businesses to the next level by creating growth pathways. Jennifer’s passion for helping women and Latino business owners and leaders grow is what ultimately led her to launching her dream project, Fluential Leadership in 2018. 

Jennifer wanted to make a greater impact and use her expertise as a leader and consulting coach to help others achieve their own career goals and dreams. 

“I positioned myself to equip business leaders and elevate small-to-medium-sized businesses, which are the driving force in the U.S. economy,” says Jennifer. “I have a unique perspective with a long corporate career, first-hand experience as a business owner and a birds-eye view supporting businesses through LBAN and Fluential Leadership. I’ve learned that there are systematic challenges and barriers for women in professional careers, and in entrepreneurship.”

Launching Fluential Leadership was the first step for Jennifer was both exciting and challenging. She was stepping into the unknown and leaving the comfort, certainty, and stability of her career. 

“I stepped away from a successful career, a secure job inclusive of all the benefits provided by a top-tier corporation. I often describe it as the cutting of ‘golden handcuffs’.  The challenge was going from zero to one, building from scratch, doing the role of a CEO, CMO, CFO, content writer, content deliverer, and much more,” says Jennifer. 

entrepreneur, leadership, mentor

Jennifer Garcia mentoring at an event. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

However, these initial challenges only helped to further fuel Jennifer’s passion and determination. Launching Fluential Leadership afforded her the opportunity to pursue something she was passionate about and build something that was all her own. She says there were many long days and nights, but she put in the time and effort, determined to make an impact and follow through on her dream. 

“Each of our journeys are unique, our entrepreneurial dreams or careers are personal, and so is the price that is paid for it,” she says. “It’s important for me to understand my ‘WHY’. Why am I doing this? Why am I putting in the long hours, why did I step away from a secure career?  It is that understanding that sustains me through the season.  And I do remember that seasons change.”

Owning your story

Like the changing seasons, life can be unpredictable. However, change is good and necessary for any progress or growth. Every entrepreneur is on their own personal journey and that journey becomes your story. Where you started from, how you worked to get to where you are today, where you stumbled and failed, and where you succeeded. 

“My story is my unique strength, and so is yours,” says Jennifer. “It is my story and experiences that shaped who I am today, how I approach business, and the lens in which I propel other business leaders. I grew up selling Christmas trees and firewood on the side of the road with my father, not around the dining room table discussing stocks and bonds or venture capital. The conversations and the work I do today with my kids, with women professionals and business owners, has the ability to empower and elevate leaders, creating exponential and generational impact.  Regardless of my starting line, my purpose is consistent and that is to move the needle for women, business leaders and the Latino community.” 

business, leadership, mentor, storytelling

“Don’t mute your story. Let the world know!” (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

For entrepreneurs, both established and aspiring, embrace your story and own it. Your story is what will set you apart from others. Your story is uniquely yours. 

“Don’t mute your story,” says Jennifer, “let the world know!” 

Writing your story, telling it to the world, and following through on your dreams can be daunting and even downright terrifying. But the alternative is never trying, never sharing, never starting. Jennifer took a chance on her dream, stepping away from the comfort of a corporate job to build something new. 

You might be interested: Employees are quitting in record numbers to start their own business

To the aspiring entrepreneurs looking for that final push, Jennifer says, “Go for it! Jump and grow wings on the way down. There will always be logical reasons why today is not a good time to start your business or aspire for the new career move.  I’ve found that opportunity doesn’t always present itself in opportune times and we just need to embrace it.  Learn what you can from the season.  To borrow a few lines from the powerful poem by William Arthur Ward:

Believe while others are doubting

Plan while others are playing

Begin while others are procrastinating

Work while others are wishing

Persist while others are quitting

Diary of a Future President

‘Diary of a Future President’ empowers young Latinas to dream big 

Disney+ “Diary of a Future President” is inspiring and empowering young Latinas to use their voices, dream big, and become leaders. 

We know the key to raising leaders is to start young. Instilling leadership skills in children is the first step in the road to raising the next generation of future leaders and role models. But to raise a leader, parents need to not only be role models themselves, they also need to surround their child with positive representations of leadership. 

Diary of a Future President

“Diary of a Future President” is showing young Latinas that they can dream big. (Image Source)

For young Latina girls, the Disney+ family comedy “Diary of a Future President is stepping up to empower and inspire a new generation of future leaders. 

Showing young Latinas that leaders can look like them

The show follows the life of the young Cuban-American Elena Cañero-Reed (Tess Romero) as she navigates the trials and tribulations of middle school. We see glimpses of a future-Elena (Gina Rodriguez) who has become the President of the United States. Told through voice-over narration as adult-Elena reads through her childhood diary, the coming-of-age series follows the future leader as she grows and learns important life lessons that will eventually lead to her future as President.

Diary of a Future President, Gina Rodriguez

“Diary of a Future President” star and executive producer, Gina Rodriguez. (MiamiFilmFestival, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Showrunner, Ilana Peña says she drew inspiration from her own life and upbringing for the creation of the show. Her goal with “Diary of a Future President” was to portray a coming-of-age tale of a future leader with the focus on girlhood, culture, and family. 

“I had seen a lot of stories about boyhood and I have seen a lot of these origin stories where you have this messy, complicated adolescence. But, I had not seen a lot with girlhood and giving girls permission to be messy and flawed,” Peña said in an article with KGET.com. “I wanted to show that they can achieve great things and the messiness is part of their superpower. Their failures are things they can learn from. I wanted to create a show that was inspirational in a lot of ways but also was realistic.”

Diary of a Future President

“Diary of a Future President” is tackling girlhood and showing young Latinas that leaders can look like them. (Image Source)

In addition to tackling girlhood and inspiring young girls to see themselves as leaders, another important aspect in the creation of the show was culture. Depicting the life of a young Latina and her family in an honest and realistic way was crucial to Peña. In an era where diversity and representation matter, Peña wished to give young Latinas the role models to look up to that looked like them physically and culturally. The message she hopes young Latinas will receive is that they are capable of dreaming big and becoming future leaders too. 

Guiding young leaders to success 

Now entering its second season, “Diary of a Future President” is putting more focus on the importance of adults and how supportive families help empower children to become confident leaders. It’s the people, places, and things that surround children in their youth that will influence who they become. 

Peña and her team hope to give young viewers the adult role models they wished they had growing up. Additionally, Peña has embraced her own role as mentor and role model to the show’s young cast. On set, the young actors are given the opportunity to use their voices, offer suggestions, and participate in the process. The show’s team is a diverse group, with many women in key leadership roles such as Peña herself as showrunner, and Gina Rodriguez as an executive producer, along with many female directors and writers. 

The show’s adult actors have also stepped into the role of parents. Actress Selenis Leyva who portrays Elena’s mother said, “We feel like the second season has opened it up to be a true family show where we see how important it is to have the mother, a father figure, a family unit. Whatever that unit may look like it is still important to have that unit.

role models,

The family show emphasizes the importance of role models and the crucial part parents and family play in shaping future leaders. (Image Source)

“I love that our voices are heard and so important in power this season. The biggest lesson for me once I became a mother is how you always have to be mindful of how you move about your daily life. Your children are always watching,” she added. 

You might be interested: Teaching leadership: Helping children become leaders and develop strong communication skills

When asked to give words of guidance to their younger selves, the cast shared words of wisdom in an article with Yahoo!

“I would definitely tell my younger self it’s going to be all right,” Leyva said. “ It really is. It’ll take time, but it’s gonna be all right. It’ll work itself out.”

The cast’s young lead actress, Tess Romero shared her own words of advice. “I would probably say be more outgoing, be more open to trying new things and talking to different people and just experimenting. That’s what being a kid is about.”

Finally, Peña reflected back on her past self, urging young viewers to “Hold on to that spark.” She recalled how as a young girl she was very confident but that over the years that belief in herself waned. 

“I think if you had told teenage me you are going to have a TV show, she would have been like ‘Yes. On Disney? Of course. And we will be on Broadway on the side and we will be in movies and I will have a column in the Miami Herald’,” Peña said to KGET.com. “But, if you had told that to 20-year-old me, or even 25-year-old me, I would have been like ‘Oh no. Not me. I couldn’t.’” 

Tapping back into her past self to create “Diary of a Future President” has reminded her of the strengths she possessed as a young girl. She hopes other young Latinas will tap into that strength as well and never lose it as they grow into future leaders. 

“I think it has been really meaningful to connect with my younger self and get that unapologetic-ness back,” she added, noting that she would instead look to her 13-year-old self for advice, not the other way around. “Diary of a Future President” season 2 is now streaming on Disney+.

Community leader and nonprofit organizer Sandy S. Broughton shares her story of career success and lessons learned

Sandy S. Broughton is  a leader in her community and a role model and a champion for women in business. Today she shares with us her career story and journey to career success.

Currently, Sandy S. Broughton is the Community Development Officer of Investor Bank’s New Jersey branches. In this role she works to support and connect the bank’s NJ branches in the nonprofit space, overseeing the development of community relation activities and creating business development and expansion strategies of nonprofit organizations.

Sandy S. Broughton, Community Development Officer of Investor Bank’s NJ branches. (Photo courtesy Sandy S. Broughton)

Additionally, Sandy plans and hosts the banks’ Annual Not-for-Profit Conference in New Jersey and serves on the Investors Bank Foundation Vetting Committee. She is also the co-chair of the Community Committee of the bank’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Defying expectations and navigating challenges on the road to success 

Sandy has had a long and successful career thus far. With almost 30 year experience in the nonprofit sector, she has been broadly recognized for her achievements and excellence in the field and in her various leadership roles. 

Among her recognitions, she is the proud recipient of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s most prestigious honor – the Woman of Distinction Award, the Tri County Scholarship Fund – Woman of Achievement Award, Special Parent Advocacy Group (SPAG) – Hero Award, and last but certainly not least, the NAACP’s Community Achievement Award. Among her proudest professional accomplishments, Sandy has been recognized in the Investors Bank “Circle of Excellence – Best of the Best” four times during her tenure with the bank. 

Sandy’s career success was not achieved alone or overnight and she realizes that she stands on the shoulders of many amazing women who came before her and who helped her along her journey become who she is today. 

Born on a farm in North Carolina, Sandy moved to Paterson, NJ at an early age. Her family did not have a lot of money but getting an education was always stressed by her parents and college wasn’t an option. 

Sandy attended THE Eastside High School in Paterson, you know the movie, Lean on Me, and graduated in the top 20 of her class of over 650 students.  She expressed to her guidance counselor she wanted to attend Rutgers University, and was told she wasn’t ready for such a big school and that she wouldn’t get accepted. She instead was encouraged to go to the community college. 

United Way Warmest Wishes Coat Drive. Sandy serves on the Board and proudly participates as coats are collected for needy children throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties. (Photo courtesy Sandy S. Broughton)

 “Don’t get me wrong – community colleges are amazing, but I wanted the whole campus experience. I applied anyway and got accepted and couldn’t wait to tell her! When I did – she responded, ‘Let’s see how long you stay there.’ Those words could have ended my vision of that on-campus experience. However, I used it as a challenge,” says Sandy. “That fall, I went to Rutgers and I worked hard. I surrounded myself with people who were hungry for a degree – just as I was. Not only did I want my family to be proud, but I had to prove that guidance counselor wrong and send her a copy of my Rutgers degree – AND I DID!” 

Motivated by this challenge, Sandy went on to receive her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey – Douglass College. She then continued her education and earned a Master of Administrative Science degree, with a concentration in Leadership and Non-Profit Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU). She completed her final coursework at the Wroxton Campus of FDU in Oxfordshire, England, northwest of London. 

Achieving career success: “If I can do it so can you!” 

Sandy pictured with Carlos Medina, President — Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ, and entrepreneur, Quovella Mitchell. (Photo courtesy Sandy S. Broughton)

Sandy reflects back on that story about her high school guidance counselor’s discouragement and lack of faith in her and the impact one person can have on your life. Perspective is everything. Sandy could have accepted her guidance counselor’s low expectations and gone down a different path. However, she instead followed her dreams and did not let others stand in her way in achieving what she knew was possible for herself. 

“One person or one decision can totally change the course of your life. So, it doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you have – if you work hard and surround yourself with the right people, you can do whatever you put your mind to,” Sandy says to other women struggling through doubts and looking to achieve career success. 

Sandy has had a long and rewarding career because she knew her potential and did not let anyone dim her light. Through her work in the nonprofit community she has served in numerous leadership roles and impacted the lives of many. 

Prior to joining Investors Bank in March of 2014, she served as the Executive Director of the Ocean County College Foundation for 11 years where she raised millions of dollars to support the student scholarship program, as well as special projects and programs of Ocean County College. Sandy also spent nine years at the Girl Scouts in North Jersey in various capacities, culminating in the position of Director leading the fundraising, public relations, community development initiatives, and special events. Additionally she has held positions at the United Way of Passaic Valley, the Urban League of Bergen County, and Hackensack Medical Center. 

You might be interested: 2021 WEES: Announcing THRIVE! Women’s Panel Speakers 

Currently, she serves on the Board of Trustees of RWJ Barnabas Health Systems – Community Medical Center Campus; Ocean County College Foundation; NJ ACE Women’s Network; and the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in addition to serving on various committees including, but not limited to, the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s Resource Development Committee, and the Boy Scouts/Jersey Shore Advisory Board. 

Sandy also volunteers with the Caregivers of Ocean County Alzheimer’s Respite Program and is also a member of New Beginnings Agape Christian Center in Freehold, NJ, where she serves in the Usher’s Ministry. 

Sandy delivering lunch to and visiting a “special lady” in a program that is near and dear to her heart during COVID-19. (Photo courtesy Sandy S. Broughton)

Her numerous positions and leadership roles within the community is an inspiration to women everywhere that each of us are capable of achieving great career success in our personal and professional lives and inspiring others with our work. Sandy’s story shows us the importance in believing in yourself and your own potential. One person can change the course of your life, for the good or the bad — you get to decide! 

 “If I can do it – so can you! If my work can make a difference – so can yours,” says Sandy. “You get what you work for – NOT what you wish for.”

 

Healing Leadership

Healing Leadership: A conversation with Dr. Ginny Baro about the need for great leaders

Author of the #1 Bestseller, Fearless Women at Work, delivers her second book, Healing Leadership, that explores the secrets of healing leadership and recommends high-performance habits for improving self-leadership and developing a growth mindset and resilience. 

Ginny Baro

Dr. Ginny Baro, #1 bestselling author, award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, and career strategist

Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work. Named one of the Top 100 Global Thought Leaders, she delivers coaching programs, trainings, and keynotes to global audiences to develop individual women and leaders and helps Fortune 500 companies build inclusive leadership dream teams. Prior to starting ExecutiveBound®, Baro, who holds a Ph.D. in information systems, an MS in computer science, an MBA in management and a BA in Computer Science and Economics, was a director at Lord, Abbett & Co., LLC. She also worked for Alliance Bernstein and Prudential. She immigrated to the U.S. at age 14 from the Dominican Republic and speaks fluent Spanish. Healing Leadership (Bavaro Press) is her second book.

You might be interested: Changing leadership after #METOO a conversation with executive coach Dr. Ginny Baro

The genesis behind Healing Leadership: A conversation with Susana Baumann and Dr. Ginny Baro

Latinas in Business CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, sat down with Dr. Baro to discuss her upcoming book, Healing Leadership, which comes out April 14th, 2021. 

The highly anticipated book did not start out as a book at all. Originally it began as a series of interviews with five leaders that Ginny conducted for her Fearless Leaders Challenge, a five day training event for Fearless Women At Work, back in the middle of the pandemic during May 2020. The focus of the interviews was to explore three main questions: What are the critical skills that leaders need right now in the middle of a pandemic, where there’s so much uncertainty? What can companies do to develop their leaders and their talent during this time when people are virtual? And what can leaders do to develop a unique edge?

Healing Leadership

Dr. Ginny Baro’s upcoming book, Healing Leadership. Out April 14th.

Ginny Baro 

Those were the three questions that I was very curious about. So I went through the five interviews. And when I finished, I started to write out a framework for the Fearless Leaders Challenge….Well, what I realized is that intuitively, what I wrote out was the table of contents for a new book, not for a five day challenge. There were way too many subjects to be covered in five days. And that was the genesis of Healing Leadership….I know the last 30 years that I’ve been around working, I have been exposed to so many different types of leaders and I knew  from that experience that leaders make or break an organization, and that so many of us leaders never received a manual of how to be great leaders. And so this became my goal to not only talk about my experiences, but also bring other leaders’ experiences to be part of this project. And that’s how you got involved in this book and 40 other leaders along with you.

Susana G Baumann  15:29  

Yes. And I thank you very much for the opportunity. It was fun to do the podcast and then to read the result of the interview was really very, very humbling. Now, Ginny, what is the core topic of healing leaders leadership? What do you think leadership needs to be healed?

Ginny Baro  15:54  

So yes, by the title Healing Leadership, it implies that there’s healing to be done. So that the healing to be done, from my perspective, is that there dis-ease, disease in leadership today. And like I mentioned, there, we were never taught, we were never trained to be good or great leaders and inclusive leaders. If we’re lucky to have a good role model, then we lucked out. But if we don’t have a good role model that we can emulate, we end up doing a lot of things that create the toxic work cultures that marginalize people at work. And that, quite frankly, doesn’t do justice to the talent that we are leading. And so that is really the core of all the topics that I discussed in the book have to do with: how do we show up as leaders in a way that, rather than create a toxic culture, it cultivates the type of inclusive culture that allows all of our talent to flourish based on their qualities and their abilities? How can we as leaders cultivate those talents, so that we can coach, mentor, and develop them and so that those that have what it takes can rise to the top and continue the leading legacy and be able to lead our teams to higher productivity, to be more cohesive, to collaborate, to innovate, and do all the things that we need our businesses to do to survive and thrive.

Susana G Baumann  17:35  

Very, very interesting. Now, you mentioned that you started with five interviews, right? And then you ended having 41. So how did you select the people who were going to be part of your book number one? And second, what was the reaction when you extended the invitation?

Ginny Baro  18:00  

So number one, I just want to say that if you have any project where you’re thinking of involving other people, people, I think, by nature, meet their need for contribution when they say yes to you. And so number one is I made sure that the topic was interesting, “healing leadership”, everybody said, ‘I’ll talk about that.’ Right? Everybody has an opinion about what critical skills leaders need. Everybody has an opinion as to how they should be developing leaders. And everyone has an opinion about how to develop a unique edge, because the leaders that I asked, they had all done all of those things. So I went out with the goal of finding diversity. I wanted to include the voices of leaders who were just emerging, and leaders who had retired. So I speak to Nicole who’s only been in business for four years out of college. And I speak to Jerome and Nick Donofrio who ran IBM, and who also were the CEO of Sealed Air, the inventor of bubble wrap. So everything in-between, including Susana Baumann, the leader of Latinas in Business, of course, and Pilar Avila, who as we know, or everybody who knows Pilar, she’s running Renovad, and she is really transforming how women show up as leaders in business. And so when you get such a beautiful array of people from different sectors, profit, nonprofit, from different industries, from financial services to pharma, all over the place, I believed that that was going to give the book nice texture and background and speaks to the value of diversity and inclusion.

experiential retreats

Pilar Avila, Founder and CEO, InterDUCTUS and Renovad

Susana G Baumann  20:21  

Which gives you a fantastic opportunity to showcase like you said, a very, very wide range of opinions and attitudes towards leadership, and also different modalities and different styles of leadership, which is important for people to be able to choose, ‘Well, this is my my type of leadership that I can follow and service.’ 

Ginny Baro 20:45

Absolutely. Yeah. 

Susana G Baumann 20:47

So Ginny, tell me, just to end this interview: What is the main takeaway? Why do I have to buy the book? 

Ginny Baro  21:16  

For me, it’s really about what I mentioned, we did not get a leadership manual when we became leaders. And I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed, like anything when it comes to self development, when we take ourselves and our development seriously, and we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, setting the vision, being the conduit for change and transformation, leading with flexibility, all those skills that are so important as leaders, that once we know what they are, we can become that type of leader.

Dr. Ginny Baro on leadership: “I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed…and when we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, [etc]…we can become that type of leader.”

And if we’re not leading in our business roles, right now, guess what? We are all leaders in our own life. So my biggest takeaway and desire for this book is for people to have this roadmap. And they can assess, ‘how am I doing against these critical leadership skills?’ And if they don’t have one of those skills, they now know and they have the tools in the book to acquire the skills, and the resources, because I’m also creating a wonderful community of leaders, where they can reach out to any of the 41 leaders, including myself, and learn more, and continue to expand their network. And this is one of the topics that I discussed at length in the book: How to build an inclusive network of allies and supporters that will support your career and that will help you reach your full potential, because we cannot do this alone. And if we even try, we will find out that we will fail really fast.

Susana G Baumann  22:58  

Correct. Yes, we have to create these networks of collaboration among leaders, among businesses, among women, among all the qualifiers and labels that you can imagine, because that’s when you get the momentum that is necessary to develop the type of leadership that we want for our children, for our employees, for our communities. That’s the attitude of service that you have had for many, many years. And I commend you extremely for that. I think you’re a really brilliant professional in what you do. And congratulations on the new book.

Ginny Baro  23:51  

Thank you, Susana, and I’m always so grateful to you.

To get your copy of Healing Leadership, out April 14th, and access everything related to the book from bonuses to downloads and become part of the Healing Leadership community, visit HealingLeadership.com

team building Bellaria Jimenez

5 Proven team-building strategies by co-author Bellaria Jimenez

Bellaria Jimenez, President at MassMutual Tri State, and Co-author of The Team Game shares proven team-building strategies for business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs.

Bellaria Jimenez, Co-Author of The Team Game (Credit courtesy of Bellaria Jimenez)

She is passionate about business and leadership. With over 25 years working in finances, she has gained the expertise of leading and coaching teams within a business.

When she began her career, she had the desire to help people understand what to do with their money and empower individuals and business owners to make smart choices to grow their assets and protect their family. Beginning as a financial advisor, Bellaria worked her way up. 

During her time as assistant manager she grew her leadership skills by supporting the training needs of her office and stepping in whenever someone needed support. These leadership experiences fostered her love for coaching and would eventually lead to her love for team-building.

“Throughout the years I felt the most energy and joy when I was coaching individuals,” says Bellaria. “When I began focusing my time and attention to developing teams, I became even more energized. This became the start of my love for team-building.” 

Why teams?

Throughout the years of team-building, Bellaria has seen firsthand the impact that collaborating and combining unique skills and abilities has on the overall success of a business. 

“Financial advisors, for the most part, build their practices as solo-practitioners,” says Bellaria. “When we started partnering advisors that had different skill sets to complement each other we were pleasantly surprised with the financial results and an improved experience for the client.” 

After fifteen years of coaching, mentoring, and developing their own teams, Bellaria and business partner, John Brucsek, finally share their proven methods in their book The Team Game: “How Your Business Can Dominate Year After Year.”  

Described as “the definitive playbook for business leaders, executives, entrepreneurs, and managers to build and develop highly efficient teams,” The Team Game takes Bellaria and John’s unique process of creating, coaching, and doubling productivity through teams and breaks it down into strategies that can be adapted to fit all businesses. 

Growing with change

Bellaria Jimenez with her son (Credit courtesy of Bellaria Jimenez)

One of the key takeaways from The Team Game is how teams can allow businesses to continue to exponentially grow ones’ practice in an unpredictable, ever changing business climate. 

In such a competitive business climate where change is so rapid, businesses need to stay competitive and flexible to stay relevant. Often though these changes happen too quickly, and individuals struggle to keep up. Technology is one of the key culprits to staying competitive. Another key issue top performers battle is time capacity. 

“There gets to a point when top performers just can’t keep up with the high demands of the business or growing client base,” says Bellaria. “They reach capacity and their business stalls. Teaming allows them to continue to exponentially grow their practice.”  

You might be interested: Bellaria Jimenez, a Latina leader’s passion helps others achieve their dreams

The 5 Fundamentals of team-building

team-buildingFive key team-building strategies to form a successful, long lasting team: 

1. Compensation: Having transparency on how team members get paid and the positive results of attracting new clients creates a strong culture within each team. How will my actions impact my compensation, including in a commission/fee-based business or an incentive-driven practice? We teach you how to come up with a compensation agreement for both fee-and non-fee-based practices. Once you receive the input from the team, that agreement can be refined. 

2. Client SegmentationSegmenting your book of business is a key to marketing your practice effectively, but it requires you to go through each client and categorize them as your A, B, C, or D clients. Once they are categorized, assign each segment to the appropriate member of the team who will work with them. The top achiever should be focused on the A clients.

3. Roles and Responsibilities: Making sure that everyone on the team understands their role on the team is a critical part to a successful team. It provides clarity and transparency. It is also a key part to good communication. It’s like football. There are 11 players on the team. Each one has a different job. If each one carries out his or her job effectively, the team is going to be successful. Whether you like the New England Patriots or not, most of you know what Bill Belichick says: “Do your job.” That’s critical.

4. The Sales Process: Allow team members to focus on a specific part of the process. You must have a uniform process that all team members are following. That uniformity allows you to identify team players with specific skills and to efficiently meet client needs and create superior customer experiences because everyone on your team has a specific role to play and each does it well.

5. The Client Experience Matrix: The most valuable assets a business has are its customers. If they feel loved, if they feel they are being serviced and getting attention, then they are going to do more business and they are going to refer more people. Remember, we live in a referral world. Think Yelp or TripAdvisor. Referrals can greatly impact your business, both positively and negatively. Just think how videos can quickly go viral.

In her book, Bellaria further breaks down in detail just how team-building works to increase growth and productivity with her top fundamentals from the team-building process. With these tried and true methods, any business leader or entrepreneur can create a winning team. 

Pitch competitor Tennille Ortiz empowers youth through cake design

Tennille Ortiz, owner and designer of The Ellinnet Cake Collection

Second-place winner of the Latinas SmallBiz Pitch Competition, Tennille Ortiz, is the owner and designer of The Ellinnet Cake Collection, a luxury custom cakes and confections boutique which offers bespoke custom cake designs for special events.  In addition to the boutique, The Ellinnet Cake Collection also offers a cupcake decorating service for birthday parties and other events on their chic and mobile bakery called The Cupcake Carriage.

Passionate about empowering children and inspiring them to leadership, Tennille is utilizing her position to bring opportunities to children, especially those from underserved communities. Though creative cake decorating and baking workshops, Tennille hopes to inspire a passion and drive in the youth and inspire them to follow their goals and dreams in life. 

From hobby to craft

Tennille found her own passion for cake-design toward the end of a seventeen year career in healthcare management. Always having been a creative spirit growing up, Tennille was drawn to cake-design as a fun hobby to pass the time during her maternity leave. She began by taking a few introduction classes at a local bakery. Here she learned the basics and focused on making birthday cakes for friends and family. 

She never intended for her little hobby to become anything more, however soon Tennille found herself spending hours of time reading up on and studying different baking and decorating techniques while also practicing her own baking and decorating skills. As her skills grew, Tennille became more interested in the art of cake design and desired to expand her knowledge even further. 

This is when she made the bold decision to leave her career in healthcare administration and enroll in professional cake-design courses with top New York City designers. These courses helped her master some more difficult techniques such as sugar sculpting, blown sugar art, and 3D sculpting, but still the majority of her craft was self-taught. 

Tennille at work creating one of her custom designer cakes.

From craft to business

A few years later, in 2013, Tennille founded The Ellinnet Cake Collection. The business quickly grew and she was sought out for her clean and sophisticated designs. Her cakes were unique and trendy, inspired by the latest fashions, which attracted a high end following of loyal clients and event planners.

Still, starting her own business came with its own set of challenges. At the same time, learning to navigate these obstacles became incredibly rewarding for Tennille and taught her much about herself and her strengths as a business owner. 

“I’ve learned a great deal about entrepreneurship and have realized what it takes to build a business,” she says. “I think one of my biggest struggles was realizing that it’s very hard to build and scale a business while still working ‘in’ it.” 

Like many new business owners, Tennille wanted to do it all herself. This spread her very thin and affected her business’ growth and her own health. 

“I learned that as much as I love cake design if I wanted a real business I had to let the craft go and focus more on building my business,” says Tennille. 

She has since hired a team to help her with her business and she is working on making The Ellinnet Cake Collection and The Cupcake Carriage a brand everyone will know. 

Another common struggle Tennille has faced is growing her business with very little capital. She soon learned the importance of budgeting and having a solid business plan. 

“We can easily get caught up in fast cash flow and think this is our win,” says Tennille. “What’s important is that every startup saves and put the money back into the business so that your able to grow. The money will come, you have to be patient.” 

You might be interested: Andrea Giraldo celebrates Colombian heritage through coffee

Finding success in giving back 

For a long time, Tennille did not feel successful, even when she had conquered her obstacles and was generating a steady growing revenue. She believed her success would be determined by numbers and reaching specific financial goals. 

It was the launch of The Cupcake Carriage that eventually changed her perspective. After three years of hard work, The Cupcake Carriage was finally launched in June of  2019 as a service to provide instruction on cake design and to help empower and educate young girls and boys, with each workshop designed to deliver a message that sparks leadership ideas. 

Tennille posing with The Cupcake Carriage

Tennille has always had an interest in teaching and empowering our youth and so The Cupcake Carriage seemed like the perfect way to give back to the community. Growing up in the inner city, Tennille witnessed first hand the challenges children face growing up under certain circumstances such as poverty, lack of a good education and mentors, or the lack of resources and tools needed to succeed. She remembers old friends she grew up with who unfortunately were murdered, turned to drugs, or went down the wrong path. 

“I was one of the fortunate ones who didn’t take that path but it’s because of that experience that I have developed a passion to give back to my community,” says Tennille. “My goal is to one day create a program that empowers young adults by teaching leadership skills and opens them up to the world of entrepreneurship.” 

The Cupcake Carriage is her first steps toward that goal. By engaging children in fun, creative activities, such as baking and decorating, Tennille hopes to plant the seeds of leadership in young children and show them that their dreams are possible. 

Since its launch, The Cupcake Carriage has been a success, generating a huge buzz of excitement which has it fully booked into March 2020. 

But Tennille did not recognize this success until a few months after the launch when she received an email notifying her that the largest package they offered had been purchased. 

Tennille aboard The Cupcake Carriage during empowering workshop

“I did a happy dance,” says Tennille. “I was so excited that everyone was receiving The Cupcake Carriage the way they were, that the concept was proven! But then I read the email.”

The email was from someone from Wagner Projects, with whom she had gone to school with and who was inspired by Tennille’s success. In the email her former classmate says:

“I have been waiting for The Cupcake Carriage to launch for 2 years now. I’m making a huge sacrifice in purchasing your largest package, not only because my daughter loves cake decorating but because I am excited to show her what a business owner from Wagner Projects looks like[…] I’m proud of you and your success. I can’t wait for my daughter to meet you.”

This message had an instant and profound affect on Tennille. She pulled over immediately and cried like a baby in her car. It was then that she realized she was truly successful. 

“Despite what people may think, success doesn’t come from money, it comes from serving, giving back, and living in your purpose,” says Tennille. “I met that little girl, and in her, I saw me–a little Latina full of dreams, able to see past her circumstances.”                                                                                                                                                                

New victories and successes  

Competing in this year’s Pitch Competition was the next step for the expansion of The Cupcake Carriage and The Ellinnet Cake Collection. Despite struggling with public speaking and presentations, Tennille decided to challenge herself for her business. And this challenge paid off, winning her second place in the competition. 

“I’m so happy I did!” she says. “Deciding to challenge myself helped me gain a great deal of exposure, a ticket to The Red Shoe Movement and a full scholarship to Rutgers Business Schools EPI Program for urban development! I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and proud that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.” 

Tennille plans to continue to grow her business and create a brand that not only brings smiles to every important milestone in people’s lives but will also empower children to dream big and be open to a world of possibilities of their own.

executive coach Ginny Baro

Changing leadership after #METOO a conversation with executive coach Dr. Ginny Baro

Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an international executive coach, motivational speaker, leadership expert, and CEO and founder of her executive coaching and career strategy companies ExecutiveBound and Fearless Women @ Work. Over her twenty-five years experience in corporate technology and financial services, Ginny has served in multiple leadership roles.

Using her extensive knowledge of the corporate world and her skills as an executive coach and mentor, Ginny is helping executives lead powerfully, intelligently, and with integrity in the “new workplace,” post the #METOO movement.

Dr Ginny Baro executive coach

The new workplace

The workplace is currently at a transitional point, forced to evolve after the events of the #METOO movement which began in 2017. Since then there has been a tremendous push on those in positions of power to lead better and ensure a safe, productive work environment. Ginny has risen to this call to action and based her two companies around the goal of improving leadership and working environments.

“Leaders set the tone for an organization,” says Ginny. “They make or break a work culture, and they either engage employees or turn them off. However, many leaders often do not have the tools or necessary skills to successfully lead and manage in a new, complex era that demands talent diversity, inclusion, high engagement, collaboration, and faster, better solutions.”

After over two decades working in the corporate world, Ginny was very aware of the issues facing executives and leaders. She knew many of her colleagues faced workplace dissatisfaction. Many were miserable and dreaded going to work. Ginny became a confidant and mentor to these friends, colleagues, and fellow leaders.

“I noticed shenanigans that went on in the workplace, and how many great employees left a company because they had a manager who behaved horribly,” Ginny explained. “I gravitated towards wanting to find the solution and for years became a student of how to lead and build higher performing, engaging teams.”

As Ginny began her business, she drew upon extensive real-life corporate experiences to build solutions that address the issues her peers and teams faced daily. The main three primary challenges she found where:

  • Many leaders struggle to create a work culture that engages employees and brings out the best in people, which leads to mediocre performance.
  • Executives don’t always have a clear roadmap to transform a hostile work environment for one that’s inclusive, regardless of gender and background, and where employees and leaders aren’t subjected to bullying behavior and sometimes even sexual misconduct.
  • Leaders typically don’t receive the support and training required to develop self-leadership skills and lead themselves and others powerfully.

Having identified these key issues, Ginny began building approaches to tackle these challenges head-on, first by working with individual leaders as a professional mentor and executive coach, and second by partnering with organizations that would prioritize addressing these challenges.

The road to entrepreneurship  

Ginny became a Certified Professional Coach in 2015, and in 2017 she launched her business Fearless Women @ Work and also published the Amazon #1 Bestseller Fearless Women at Work: Five Powerful Strategies to Thrive in Your Career and Life! .

The following year she launched her second company, ExecutiveBound, an executive coaching firm which focuses on helping executives to develop their leadership teams.

“Everything seemed to happen so fast, one success after another, but the road to entrepreneurship was far from straightforward,” she said to LatinasinBusiness.us

Ginny formally began her journey to entrepreneurship in late 2016 when unforeseeable circumstances led her to reconsider her career. After over two decades working in the corporate world, Ginny decided it was time for something new. Re-evaluating what was most important in her life she quickly realized the three things she valued most were the well-being of her son, peace of mind, and her health.

“At the time my commute to the metro NYC job market required over three hours a day from Sussex County, NJ,” Ginny explains. “The combination of a long commute and a desire for flexibility to meet the needs of my growing son pushed me to get creative.”

And get creative she did. She reflected on all that she had experienced and learned in her own leadership roles and realized she wanted to help other women navigate the leadership world as an executive coach and mentor.

A big believer in coaches, mentors, and the power of networking, Ginny sought out those very people in her own life to help and support her.  

“Like many new business owners, I had to figure out everything from scratch—from identifying my ideal client, ideal lead generation, closing the sale, marketing, PR, business digitization, operational implementation, every aspect of it, and so on.”

executive coach

Fearless Women at Work is a must read for all working women. Click on cover to purchase.

Instead of trying to do it all herself, Ginny reached out to those who had the expertise and could teach her something new. She hired a business coach to help her learn how to run a business. She hired book coaches who taught her how to write her book in only six months, get it published, and turn it into a bestseller. Leaning on others to guide and teach her was an invaluable asset and true to her own goals of wanting to help others as an executive coach herself. No one person can know it all, but together they can learn from and inspire each other toward greater potential.

“We are creating a community of leaders united by our commitment to uncover choices and possibilities. I encourage authenticity and integrity—I do what I say and live what I advocate,” says Ginny. “My cultural background encompasses a strong work ethic and a sense of elevating others along the way. ‘Una mano lava la otra.—One hand washes the other.’”

The help of others made the journey less stressful, but there were still some challenges: finances and securing clients. At first Ginny struggled with learning how to identify and consistently reach her target market.

“As an entrepreneur, knowing where your next client is coming from and creating a healthy sales funnel to generate potential client leads is imperative. That has been the toughest aspect of running the business thus far.”

Ginny has found that networking with fellow LinkedIn and other professional groups, live and virtual, has been incredibly helpful. And the more she has contemplated the question of her ideal client she has discovered the answer is herself.

“I realized I was my ideal client,” says Ginny, “a leader who wanted to do right by my employees, while also dealing with the shortcomings and challenges women, especially women of color face advancing in their careers.”

On the issue of finances, Ginny was lucky that she had considerable savings to work from, which not every small business has when starting out. These savings were able to sustain her and her son while she got her business off the ground. She was also able to finance all the training she received from professional coaches. However she still ended her first year in the red after all these expenses. This was a setback but not unexpected. Still, the experiences and insight she gained in that first year were invaluable.  

“I learned in only one year more than I could have imagined while establishing a healthy business model from which to continue to grow.”

Inspiring future leaders  

executive coach

Dr Ginny A. Baro with Fearless Girl, a bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal.

Growing up in a small village in the Dominican Republic, Ginny saw a lot of sadness and despair –from physical abuse to emotional abuse and dis-empowerment. She saw that the people around her lived in survival mode–women did not have access to education and suffered along with their children. Growing up in this environment  inspired her to become educated and to rise beyond these early experiences while still recognizing the value and lessons they taught her.

At the age of fourteen she came to the U.S. and since then has actualized her life dream of becoming a successful professional woman and leader. Now she is inspiring future women to do the same.

Sharing some words of advice to future entrepreneurs, Ginny believes in first and foremost to be prepared.

“Learn all you can about your field. Connect with others in that area and get informed. Network, read books, watch videos, biographies. Speak with real people who have done it and get their perspective—notice the pros and the cons and go into it with eyes wide-open,” she shared. 

“Second, trust your gut. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Trust you have the emotional, mental, and spiritual resources to deliver. Finally, find the joy.  Focus on your definition of success, the impact you want to have, and how you want to feel in this world. Consider what brings you joy, what matters to you, and how to leverage your marketable skills,” she advises. 

For Ginny, her joy comes from helping others. In her work as an executive coach and mentor, Ginny has had the opportunity to transform the lives of many individuals, especially women. This she feels is the “ultimate success.” 

“The ultimate success in anything we do goes hand in hand with building great relationships and contributing to others who need our support and expertise,” says Ginny. “To me, nothing feels better than helping others. As you help them, you learn about yourself, and you play your part in making this blip of a lifetime count. As I remind myself, remember that you’re supported by the universe and the universal energy that is love.

female leadership

Superhero LegacyWoman is a real-life character says leadership expert Anthony Lopez

Leadership expert Anthony Lopez has dived into the world of superheroes, examining key characteristics that make a great leader and applying those to the leaders of the future in his new book The Legacy Leader as Superhero: LegacyWoman.

leadershipAnthony López, a sought-after expert on leadership and management topics, is the author of The Legacy Leader series of books as well as See You at the Wake: Healing Relationships before It’s Too Late and Jag: Christian Lessons from My Golden Retriever. He is the CEO and managing director of Azzur Group, a medical device and life-sciences services firm. He serves as chairman of the board for PROSPANICA (formerly the National Society of Hispanic MBAs), and is the founder of L&L Associates, a leadership and management consulting group.

Are leaders Superheroes?

When one thinks of a leader they may not first think of them as a “Superhero,” but that is exactly what Anthony Lopez came up with for the conception of his book The Legacy Leader as Superhero: LegacyWoman

“A true leader is like a superhero– visionary, truthful, loyal, courageous, anticipatory, and innovative. We need diverse leaders with great character and integrity who are able to create legacies through their leadership. What we need are LegacyWomen and LegacyMen because they embody the best qualities of all the best superheroes and channel al their energies towards one pursuit: to lead in a way that creates a legacy that we can be proud of,” concluded López. 

One may be familiar with the iconic superheroes of comics–Superman, Batman, Wonder-Woman, and Captain America. They all not only exhibit superhuman abilities, they also have extraordinary character traits that are admirable in any leader.

leadershipIn the book, LEGACYWOMAN (and LEGACYMAN), represent the amalgamation of all the classic superheroes, merged together to create a new “real world” leader that possesses all the traits expected of the finest leaders.

For instance, Wonder-Woman’s iconic truth lasso is used to highlight the importance of truthfulness and credibility in leaders.  Superman’s vision relates to the need for a leader to be a visionary. Captain America examines the importance of loyalty, and on and on the book uses the lens of superheroes to identify admirable qualities in leaders.

However, unlike other superheroes, there is not just one LEGACYWOMAN. Anyone has the potential to be a LEGACYWOMAN. Lopez says, “We need an entire army of LEGACYWOMEN to lead in industry, government, communities, schools, and everywhere else.” 

 

Why a Woman Superhero or LegacyWoman?

When asked why a book about a Woman Superhero, Lopez says, “That’s easy. I have two daughters and a granddaughter and I want them to know that they can become LEGACYWOMEN themselves.”

Anthony Lopez legacy leader

Anthony Lopez with his almost 10 month old baby granddaughter Maddie. She was born on his birthday last year. Napping together in his backyard in Celebration, Florida.

Additionally he notes that throughout his career he has had the honor of mentoring and coaching many great professionals, “Among them many terrific women who were not always afforded the same advancement opportunities as their male counterparts.”

Because of this, Lopez says he has made it a personal priority to promote and champion women professionals in the workplace.

You might be interested: Anthony Lopez The Legacy Leader talks about female leadership

Lopez hopes the book will propel the right dialogue to continue about what we both expect and need from our leaders, and that we come to hold ourselves and our leaders to a higher standard of behavior and performance.

“I hope it sparks the imagination of people of all ages to aspire to become LEGACYWOMAN or LEGACYMAN the way I wanted to be Batman or Superman when I was a little boy,” Lopez shares. “And ultimately, I hope that it influences our leaders of today, and especially our leaders of tomorrow, to strive for greatness. I would want that to be my small contribution to the world.”

 

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.