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civil rights movement

5 Unsung Civil Rights Movement’s women activists you should know 

This year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we want to celebrate some of the incredible but unsung women activists of the Civil Rights Movement. 

The contributions and efforts of women in the Civil Rights Movement have often been overlooked and overshadowed by men. Even today, the mainstream historical narrative of the Civil Rights Movement primarily focuses on the efforts of men in the movement and minimizes the contributions of women. 

Within mainstream narratives, women such as Rosa Parks have been “reduced to limited images of obedient femininity, or “accidental” matriarchs.” The typical story most children learn in school about Rosa Parks is that she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus. The narrative often depicts Rosa Parks as a random woman who simply decided to do this one day. In reality, Rosa Parks was an activist and member of the NAACP for many years prior. 

Like Rosa Parks, the portrayals of women in the Civil Rights Movement as “accidental” matriarchs work to diminish the impact of their activism. Instead of being seen as active participants, the mainstream historical narrative reduced the efforts of Black women as “passive and unassuming.” 

However, Black women were certainly not passive participants. They played active critical roles throughout the Civil Rights Movement, from leading local civil rights organizations to serving as lawyers on school segregation lawsuits. African American women operated as local leaders in many areas, bridging the gap between national and local grassroots organizations. 

Women of the Civil Rights Movement 

Coretta Scott King 

Activist Coretta Scott King, 1964. (Source: Wiki Commons)

Coretta Scott King is most famously known as Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife. However, her activism began long before her marriage and extended beyond her husband’s death. In her activism, she also voiced her experiences with sexism within the Civil Rights Movement stating, 

“Not enough attention has been focused on the roles played by women in the struggle. By and large, men have formed the leadership in the civil rights struggle but there have been many women in leading roles and many women in the background. Women have been the backbone of the whole civil rights movement…Women have been the ones who have made it possible for the movement to be a mass movement…”

Additionally, we would not have this day to celebrate if it weren’t for the consistent efforts by Coretta who lobbied for 15 years to help establish Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday. 

Without Coretta, the iconic Montgomery bus boycott likely would not have happened. After the King’s home was bombed in 1956, the family pleaded with Coretta to leave Montgomery. She refused, choosing to remain by her husband’s side. If Coretta had left, her husband said he would have followed, and the Montgomery bus boycott may never have happened. 

Dorothy Cotton 

Activist Dorothy Cotton. (Source: Dorothy Cotton Institute)

Dorothy Cotton was a leader and activist who was recruited by King to work at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta. She originally planned to stay for only three months, but ended up staying for 23 years.

She went on to serve as the conference’s national director of education and was the only female member of the executive staff. As the SCLC’s Educational Director, she was arguably the highest ranked female member of the organization. While working with the conference, she helped train activists in nonviolent action.

One of her biggest achievements within the movement was establishing the Citizen Education Program, a program to help blacks register to vote. The program also helped teach community and individual empowerment. 

In her autobiography, she wrote, “our work with SCLC was not just a job, it was a life commitment.”

Dorothy has also been credited with typing the famous “I Have a Dream” speech in a hotel room in Washington. 

Jo Ann Robinson 

Civil Rights Activist and teacher, Jo Ann Robinson. (Source: Wiki Commons)

Jo Ann Robinson was a college professor and the first person in her family to graduate from college. She is known and remembered as the woman who orchestrated the famous Montgomery bus boycott after she was degraded by a bus driver for sitting in the “whites only” section. 

Later, she became president of the Women’s Political Council in Montgomery and made it a priority to desegregate the city’s buses. She led the Montgomery bus boycott becoming a key player behind the scenes and faced arrest, violence, and intimidation for her activism. 

Later, in her memoir, she reflected on the bus boycott and wrote, “An oppressed but brave people, whose pride and dignity rose to the occasion, conquered fear, and faced whatever perils had to be confronted. The boycott was the most beautiful memory that all of us who participated will carry to our final resting place”

King also praised her work in his own memoir stating, “Apparently indefatigable, she, perhaps more than any other person, was active on every level of the protest.”

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons 

Civil Rights leader, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons. (Source: crmvet.org)

Gwendolyn “Gwen” Zoharah Simmons first became involved with the Civil Rights Movement when she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) after hearing a speech by Dr. King. She was later one of three women chosen to be a field director for the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, which aimed to establish “Freedom Schools” and increase black voter registration.  

Through her work within the organization, she organized twenty-three volunteers who built Freedom Schools and a library, conducted a literacy program and mock voter registration project, and rallied for integration of local restaurants and schools. 

Like many other women in the Civil Rights Movement, Gwen was also vocal about gender inequality and fought for women’s rights as well. Sharing her experiences with gender inequality as a woman leader she said, 

“I often had to struggle around issues related to a woman being a project director.  We had to fight for the resources, you know.  We had to fight to get a good car because the guys would get first dibs on everything, and that wasn’t fair…it was a struggle to be taken seriously by the leadership, as well as by your male colleagues.”

Dorothy I. Height 

Activist and leader, Dorothy I. Height. (Source: nsp.gov)

Dorothy I. Height’s political activism began in high school when she began participating in anti-lynching campaigns. When she was set to begin college, Dorothy was met with roadblocks due to her race. She was accepted to Barnard College in New York, however, the college later changed its mind and refused to admit her, stating that they had met their “quota” for black female students. 

These early experiences with racism motivated her activism. She later attended New York University where she earned two degrees in four years, a Bachelor’s in education and a Master’s in psychology. 

Dorothy’s achievements only continued as she ascended to the presidency of the National Council for Negro Women, a position she held from 1957-1998. As an activist within the Civil Rights Movement, one of her crowning achievements was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Dorothy helped organize the march and stood close to King as he delivered his memorable “I Have a Dream” speech. However, the experience was an eye-opener for Dorothy in which she saw how women’s contributions were brushed aside. Despite her skills as a speaker and leader, she was not given the opportunity to speak that day. 

Of the experience she said, her male counterparts “were happy to include women in the human family, but there was no question as to who headed the household.” 

Despite the lack of recognition, Dorothy continued her activism and went on to serve as a leader in various organizations such as the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), serving as their National Interracial Education Secretary in the 1940s and the first director of its Center of Racial Justice in 1955. Dorothy also helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus and has received many honors for her contributions such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom which was awarded to her in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. 

Celebrating our 12 Leaders of 2021

As another year comes to a close we at Latinas in Business look back on the inspiring stories of our 2021 Leaders. Each month of the year we have featured one woman leader from our Latinas in Business community who is inspiring, pushing boundaries, and setting leadership examples. 

Each one of these women has shared with us their wisdom and their journeys, showing us that success does not happen overnight; it’s often a bumpy road, but with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.  

See below to learn a little bit about each of our 2021 Leaders and check out their individual feature articles to read their whole stories and learn from their journeys as entrepreneurs, business owners, and career driven women. 

Latina Leader

Leader of January: Claudia Vazquez 

In January, Claudia Vazquez shared her career journey with us. As a bilingual and bicultural Latina Leader with over 20 years experience in the insurance and benefits industry, her work is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, education, and uplifting the voices of women and Hispanics in the marketplace. Currently she serves as a Director of Product Management within Prudential’s Group Insurance Customer Solutions Unit where she leads the Business Resolution Team. In addition to her work at Prudential, she also serves as a Board Trustee of BRICK – Achieve Community Charter School, which services elementary children. 

2021 Leader

Leader of February: Maria Elena Noel-Vaeza

In February, we learned from Maria Elena Noel-Vaeza about how the UN is working to help women around the world. Maria-Noel is the Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean. A Uruguayan native, she holds a doctorate in Law and Social Sciences from the University of the Republic of Uruguay and a master’s degree in public policy from John Hopkins University in Washington DC. Prior to this role, Maria-Noel served as Director of the Program Division at UN Women headquarters in New York. She has also served as Political Counselor at the Uruguayan Embassy in Washington DC and delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. 

Leader of March: Damaris Diaz 

The charismatic Damaris Diaz shared pandemic stories with us this past March. As the host of Univision’s Despierta America, she had the opportunity to speak to individuals about their pandemic experience and shared with us her own insights and lessons learned. In addition to television host, Damaris is an accomplished multicultural and bi-lingual Marketing Media Professional, broadcast correspondent, and TV personality. Damaris has received two Emmy nominations and many special recognitions from diverse organizations. Throughout her career, Damaris has interviewed a long list of Hollywood stars such as Mick Jagger, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, and Rita Moreno as well as world-renowned singers/performers like Marc Anthony and Celia Cruz among others.

2021 Leader

Leader of April: Dr. Harbeen Arora 

In April, thought leader, businesswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, author, spiritual seeker and speaker, Dr. Harbeen Arora showed us how she manifests multifaceted leadership with strength & simplicity. Founder and Global Chairperson of the ALL Ladies League (ALL) and Women Economic Forum (WEF), she is a global leader for women. A powerful global network of 200,000 women worldwide and growing toward ‘Mission Million’, ALL and WEF are among the largest communities of women entrepreneurs and leaders worldwide offering platforms and ecosystems for personal and professional growth.

Ivana Sedia

Leader of May: Ivana Sedia 

In May, we learned from Ivana Sedia about how her company, Unida Translation, is helping people connect and transcend borders. Unida Translation delivers both spoken and written word translation services in over 125 languages for projects in the certified, legal, government, medical, and technical fields. Ivana’s business grew out of a hobby and passion for translation and language learning. With experience with writing in Spanish and English and working for the government by assisting non-English speaking immigrants, an MBA in management, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, International Relations and Diplomacy with a minor in Italian, Ivana taught Spanish and Italian lessons. She then decided to use her language skills to help transcend borders for businesses and organizations in need of translation services.

Latina Leader

Leader of June: Alice Rodriguez 

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. Alice shared her story of overcoming obstacles to succeed during the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit as Keynote Speaker. During her Keynote speech, Alice shared how her mother was a big influence and inspiration growing up. She reminded us that, “Behind every great woman there is another great woman,” and the importance of having women mentors and leaders to look up to. See her full speaker highlights and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in her full feature article.

Latina Leader of te month

Leader of July: Natalie Diaz 

In July, Pulitzer Award-winning poet, Natalie Diaz, shared her experiences as a Latina and Native American woman in her book Postcolonial Love PoemBorn in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, Natalie now lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she is a professor at Arizona State University. She is also actively involved in the preservation of the Mojave language, working with the few remaining elder speakers of the language in an effort to revitalize the language and prevent its erasure. Natalie described her book as “a constellation, able to pool a lot of different communities together….We’re all fighting for this Earth, for one another against injustice.”

Latina athletes, Tokyo Olympic Games

Leader of August: Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

During the Olympics this past summer, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn broke records winning Gold in the women’s 100m Hurdles final. The 24-year-old athlete finished in 12.37 seconds, winning by .15 seconds.

Jasmine’s win marked Puerto Rico’s second ever gold medal and she became the first Puerto Rican of Afro-Latina descent in history to win gold while representing Puerto Rico. 

She is a role model and inspiration to all young Puerto Rican girls, especially young Latina athletes aspiring to follow in Jasmine’s footsteps. Her win showed Latinas athletes everywhere that they too can be Olympic Gold Medalists too. 

Rosita Hurtado

Leader of September: Rosita Hurtado

Our 2021 Leader of September, showed us how a childhood passion can become a successful design export. Rosita Hurtado is a fashion designer and entrepreneur who’s known for creating the fashion brand Rosita Hurtado and Rosita Hurtado Bridal. She is also the founder of Rosita Hurtado Menswear, Ixoye, Rosita Hurtado Shoes, and the perfume La Rose by Rosita Hurtado.

An accomplished designer with a career spanning 37 years, her work has been featured across the globe at events such as New York Fashion Week, Miami Fashion Week, and Los Angeles Fashion Week, and more and worn by stars such as  Eva Longoria, Lucia Mendez, Lupita Ferrer, Gloria Trevi, and Ximena Duque.

Leader of October: Marcela Berland 

In October, Marcela Berland shared her career journey and how a quest for longer maternity leave in the 90s lead her to a successful career working remotely from home before it was popular. Marcela is the President and CEO of Latin Insights, a strategic communications firm  that focuses on the Latino market and Latin America. LI bases their strategies on research and digital and AI tools and develops digital and marketing strategies to help clients achieve their goals.

After over 20 years, Marcela’s venture has become a success. She now serves a variety of clients that include political candidates and heads of state, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. As a successful Latina, she is also often the only woman in the room when working with Presidents and political candidates in Latin America.

Lucy Pinto, Latina Leader

Leader of November: Lucy Pinto 

Our 2021 Leader of November showed us how technology at Google is working to close the digital divide for minority small business owners and underserved communities. Lucy Pinto is the Manager of the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which works to level the field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to resources needed to grow online. The program delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses and has trained over 80,000 businesses on digital tools to help them succeed.

Throughout Lucy’s 9 years with Google and prior, she has strived to create inclusive outcomes for communities who lack access to opportunities. This passion has guided her journey personally and professionally, stemming from her identity as a Peruvian immigrant who came to the U.S. at eight years old and became a first gen college graduate in her family.

2021 Leader

Leader of December: Evelyn Padin

Finally,  Evelyn Padin’s story showed us the power of diversity in the legal world. Evelyn Padin is a Seton Hall Law Alumnus, Class of ’92, a former social worker, and a trustee of the Hispanic Bar Association. Additionally, she is a successful entrepreneur who runs her own family law and civil litigation practice in Jersey City. In November of this year she was nominated by President Biden  to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge in New Jersey. This pick continues Biden’s pledge to appoint more diverse individuals to high level positions.

Continuing a line of historic strides forward for women of color in government positions, Padin is the second Latina to be nominated to this esteemed bench since the Honorable Esther Salas, U.S.D.J., former HBA-NJ President, was nominated over a decade ago.

Nicole Mason shares how Lemonade Day builds confidence in youth through entrepreneurship

Nicole Mason serves as the National CEO of Lemonade Day, a non-profit committed to preparing youth for life by instilling an entrepreneurial spirit. For 15 years, Lemonade Day has offered youth K-8 an entrepreneurial and experiential program infused with life skills, character development, financial and business literacy, and mentorship. Their vision is for all children to be introduced to entrepreneurship through the real-world experience of starting their own business – a lemonade stand, the quintessential first business for young entrepreneurs. 

Embracing the entrepreneurial mindset 

As a proud first-generation college graduate, Nicole grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. Her parents came from modest means, and yet without a college education, they overcame hardship to build a successful international freight forwarding business. Nicole took the core values they instilled in her, along with the experience of watching her mother persevere through the challenges of running and expanding a business in a male-dominated industry, and used those paradigms to guide her into social entrepreneurism. 

“Entrepreneurship is about much more than starting your own business. It’s a mindset – a way to define yourself, interact with the world around you, and make an impact on your community,” said Nicole. “At Lemonade Day, youth entrepreneurship education is a vehicle to teach essential and foundational skills and values. They help youth develop a mindset critical to navigating all aspects of life.”

Lemonade Day helps youth develop a mindset critical to navigating all aspects of life.

Throughout her nearly 20-year career in non-profit, Nicole has taken her entrepreneurial mindset and connected this to the broader community to do good and be a part of something bigger than herself. Before joining Lemonade Day, she spent 12 years working in the affordable housing and homeless services field. That experience helped shape her belief in how incredibly important it is to teach values of entrepreneurship to children, especially minorities and underserved communities. 

“It is imperative to break the cycle of generational poverty,” Nicole said. “Research shows that for every state that experiences a one percent increase in entrepreneurship, they see a two percent drop in the poverty rate.”

Building confidence through entrepreneurship 

Building an entrepreneurial mindset also builds confidence and provides individuals of any age with the tools to achieve success. 

Nicole learned for herself how the entrepreneurial mindset can help strengthen one’s confidence and self-esteem. As a child, Nicole was bullied and felt challenged to fit in with her peers. This had a lasting impact well into adulthood. 

Nicole Mason, National CEO of Lemonade Day. (Photo courtesy Nicole Mason)

“My confidence and feelings of self-worth were strained. I had to navigate preconceived notions and misguided judgments. Imposter syndrome was often triggered. Over time, I learned how to adapt with poise and gravitas by connecting to people from their perceptions. I can’t change who I am, nor how people perceive me, but I can read a situation and respond to it with a tone and countenance that represents respect, consideration, and understanding. This technique has enabled me to overcome challenges and obstacles and inspire others through my passionate spirit,” said Nicole. 

Traditionally, successful entrepreneurs have been comprised of older, Caucaisan men. As a young woman, Nicole learned to embody her petite size and stature and to harness her bubbly, energetic spirit. She soon developed a high level of confidence in her ability to motivate others. Rather than using her energy to fix her shortcomings and try to be someone else, she focused on developing her strengths. 

“I found my voice to stand boldly behind my convictions and persuade people when necessary, not in a manipulative way, but in an intentional way that gets the job done and keeps people engaged and on board.” 

Despite her ability to persuade others, Nicole constantly reminds herself not to become easily discouraged. She promotes with enthusiasm and stands down with grace. She is not afraid to admit fault, nor does she hesitate to seek counsel from trusted mentors. 

“I align myself with strong women, experienced in their field. I allow myself to be vulnerable and transparent. I connect deeply with people. No connection is too small. You simply never know where it might take you,” she said. 

“This is an entrepreneurial mindset at work. This is me as a minority leader – a creative, passionate, colorful, innovative, problem-solver, who hustles in a meaningful and purposeful way to inspire others and enact social change.”

Lemonade Day’s impact on youth development

Through her work at Lemonade Day, Nicole has seen firsthand the effect the program has on youth development of skill-building, self-esteem, confidence, and future life stories. Lemonade Day’s founder, Michael Holthouse often says, “Attributes of a successful entrepreneur correlate to those of being a successful, thriving human being.”

Brianna Garcia named Lemonade Day’s 2021 National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year. (Photo courtesy Nicole Mason)

Nicole shared the story of Brianna Garcia of Lomita, California, a young girl who embodies this mantra. 

“Named Lemonade Day’s 2021 National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year, Brianna followed our 3-pronged approach to set a goal, make a plan, and work the plan to achieve her dreams. By operating her very own business, she learned the important tenets of our program and was encouraged to spend some on herself for her hard work, save some and open a bank account, and share some with a charity of her choice. 

With each and every activity of the program, you can visibly see her self-esteem and confidence grow. She persevered through every challenge and was incredibly innovative to differentiate her business by making frozen lemonade and incorporating another business venture: her handmade necklaces and bracelets and lemon-scented slime. As Brianna proclaims, ‘Now that I have had the chance to run my own stand and see how great being an entrepreneur is, I am going to continue doing it!’ Brianna is now working with her parents and the Lomita Chamber of Commerce President to secure a real business license and kitchen license so she can operate at local events outside of Lemonade Day.

Entrepreneurs take risks, believe they can realize their dream if they work hard, take responsibility, and act as good stewards of their resources. Today’s youth share that optimism but lack the life skills, mentorship, and work experience necessary to be successful. We at Lemonade Day want to build self-esteem and new mindsets that can propel youth to success they likely would not have pursued otherwise.”

For aspiring entrepreneurs of any age looking to achieve success, Nicole says it is important to first define what it means to be successful for you. Determine how you want to leave a great legacy in life. To achieve your dreams, be sure to align yourself with a purpose and with people who share your core values. 

Leave your heart in each encounter in life, maximize the beauty of connecting with others, and use your talents to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Then rock it like no other with grace, humility, dignity, elegance, and integrity. And don’t forget to have fun and celebrate often!”

 

Colin Powell

Alma and Colin Powell’s lasting American promise to the nation’s youth 

Colin Powell was a trailblazer and role model for Americans. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell spent 35 years in the Army and rose to the rank of four-star general before serving as the country’s first Black national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state. 

Powell passed away on Monday after complications of Covid-19, his family said in a statement on Facebook. Powell had been vaccinated, however he was being treated for myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body’s ability to fight infection; this compromised his immune system and the effectiveness of the vaccine, The Associated Press reported. 

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said. 

Honoring America’s Promise to the nation’s youth through life of service

Born in Harlem to Jamaican immigrant parents, Powell grew up in the South Bronx. His childhood was marked by financial struggle and hardship. In his 1995 autobiography, My American Journey, Powell wrote, “Mine is the story of a black kid of no early promise from an immigrant family of limited means who was raised in the South Bronx.” From these humble beginnings, he rose through the ranks, becoming a prominent public figure in America and breaking barriers. 

Speaking on how Powell’s early years influenced his actions in life, President Biden said, “He believed in the promise of America because he lived it. And he devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others.”

Alma Powell, author, advocate, speaker and Chair Emeritus, America’s Promise Alliance. (Photo Source)

After retiring from the military in 1993, Powell began dedicating more time to fulfilling that promise. In 1997, Powell became the Founding Chairman of “America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth”, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in America. Together with his wife, Alma, they worked to advocate for and improve the lives of children and youth by ensuring that Five Promises are fulfilled in their lives. 

Alma Powell later wrote the children’s book, “America’s Promise” as a way to teach and exemplify America’s Five Promises to children.

In the playful picture book, Alma Powell introduces young readers to the basic principles of America’s Promise — caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, marketable skills, and opportunities to serve.

“Our mission is to mobilize people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of our nation’s youth by fulfilling five promises for young people,” Alma wrote

The Five Promises ask Americans to step up and create a world where the nation’s children can thrive and achieve adult success: 

  1. Caring Adults in Every Child’s Life – Develop relationships with parents, tutors, mentors, coaches, and other adults with an interest in the child’s well-being.
  2. A Safe Place After School – Create locations with structured activities during non-school hours.
  3. A Healthy Start -Provide good nutrition, protective immunizations, and sound dental care and hygiene.
  4. Marketable Skills – Offer effective education and practical experiences for career development.
  5. Opportunities to Give Back – Encourage community service – so that the cycle continues.

Throughout his life, Colin Powell exemplified these values as a youth advocate, public servant, parent, and leader. His accomplishments and historic firsts as a person of color also made him an inspiration and role model to many young Black Americans. 

Colin Powell

Colin Powell was a trailblazer and role model for Americans, inspiring many through his work, Kamala Harris shares. 

“Every step of the way, when he filled those roles, he was by everything that he did and the way he did it, inspiring so many people,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking on his influence. “Young servicemembers and others not only within the military, but in our nation and around the globe, took notice of what his accomplishments meant as a reflection of who we are as a nation.”

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

By the time Powell retired from the military, he was known as one of the most popular public figures in America, “owing to his straightforwardness, his leadership qualities and his ability to speak in blunt tones that Americans appreciated.” (The New York Times) 

“He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam,” said George W. Bush in a statement Monday. “Many presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience. He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend.”

Colin Powell lived a life of service and achieved great accomplishments through his merits. He leaves behind a legacy as trailblazer and role model who broke racial barriers in our nation. As an inspiration to many, his work will continue on, with his lasting American promise to make the world a better place for our youth.

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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.”  

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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.