2021 WEES

Final Lineup of Stellar Speakers to support THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Announcing final lineup of stellar speakers for the Latinas in Business THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit  (2021 WEES) to support Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs. 

2021 WEES

THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit Speakers Lineup.

We are pleased to announce our final lineup of speakers for the Latinas in Business THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit (2021 WEES), a unique conference that year after year gathers successful Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs to Learn. Connect. Succeed!  

With THRIVE! as our motto this year, the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit will center on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights that will propel them forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will feature various panels with industry leaders, inspiring guest speakers, deep-dive workshops, and our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions and post-panel discussion forums.

The event takes place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm in a Virtual Space, followed by the Latina Leaders Awards ceremony from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus (by invitation only).

Register now at

Announcing Final Lineup of speakers for THRIVE! 2021 WEES 

Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College

Michael J. Smith, Co-Host – Michael J. Smith is the President of Berkeley College. Since his appointment as President in 2015, Mr. Smith has been unwavering in his commitment to student success. 

Under the leadership of Mr. Smith, Berkeley College has expanded its reach among diverse communities, including through prominent Latino and African-American organizations. In addition, the College has been recognized for its volunteer and community service contributions, and was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. 

Before joining Berkeley College, Mr. Smith was Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of MetLife Realty Group. He is also an accomplished public servant. He was twice elected to represent the 55,000 residents of District 3 on the Westchester County Board of Legislators from 2012 to 2015, serving as the Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Capital Projects during the 2014-15 legislative term. 

Mr. Smith is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Fordham University Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Fairfield University.

Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google Program Manager.

Lucy Pinto, Opening Keynote Speaker – Lucy Pinto is the Grow with Google Program Manager. 

As the Grow with Google Program Manager, Lucy works to level the playing field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to digital resources by providing them with the digital tools and resources to succeed. 

Additionally, Lucy is a thought leader, a consultant, and a partner who helps teams at Google audit and anticipate inclusion needs as well as implement strategies to make better products, processes, and services. 

Currently, she manages the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. Prior to her role as Program Manager, Lucy served as Diversity Systems & Programs Design Manager at Google, and Business Inclusion Program Manager. 

Lucy received her B.B.A in Management and International Business from the University of Georgia. 

Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Managing Director, Global Corporate Banking, Bank of America Securities.

Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Closing Remarks – Patricia Pacheco is a managing director in Global Corporate Banking at BofA Securities, the institutional broker dealer business of Bank of America. 

Pacheco is responsible for Latin America and European large corporate subsidiaries with $2bn above in global annual sales based in North America. In this capacity, she manages a $60M portfolio and has driven more than 316% growth in revenues since 2014 when she joined the firm. 

Pacheco has been actively involved in leading many Hispanic and employee network initiatives throughout the course of her career. She currently serves as co-chair of Bank of America’s Hispanic Latino Executive Council and emeritus chair of the firm’s Hispanic Network Executive Advisory Board (HOLA NY).

Pacheco holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Manhattanville College with dual majors in international business and Latin America studies.

Alice Rodriguez, Managing Director, Head of JPMC Community Impact and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman. 

Alice Rodriguez, Keynote Speaker – Alice Rodriguez is the Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Head of JPMC Community Impact Organization. 

Alice Rodriguez has over 30 years of extensive banking experience with JPMorgan Chase and its predecessors. She has held executive positions in Business Banking, Consumer Banking and Wealth Management. Her most current role is Head of JPMC Community Impact Organization. 

She provides strategic counsel and serves an integral leadership role in community engagement initiatives and localization strategy. In this capacity, Alice collaborates with Corporate Responsibility to bring together the best of business, philanthropy and policy efforts to drive inclusive economic growth. Alice leads the Community Impact team that is driving the firm’s a $30B commitment to advancing racial equity.

A trailblazer in her field, Alice has a natural tenacity, tempered with a steadied approach in both life and business. In a career spanning three decades, she has put people and purpose first, supporting community efforts beyond her corporate responsibilities. A lifelong commitment to minority-driven causes has earned her numerous board appointments and accolades including her current role as Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Alice holds a BBA in Management from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. 

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Assemblywoman, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Latina Leaders Award Ceremony Remarks – Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the Assemblymember and State Committee Woman/District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn. She is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), which serves to promote economic diversity in New York State.

Bichotte Hermelyn, a former Wall Street banker, engineer and small business owner, has leveraged her experience in the free market to push public-private partnership initiatives across the state.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she championed bills to jump start the economy and improve equity for minority and women-owned small business owners. Bichotte Hermelyn hosted a webinar and participated in several panels with MWBE stakeholders to help them navigate the Coronavirus crisis and access resources, including grants and loans, and helped with strategies to reduce the spread of the virus. 

She provides annually, a platform that promotes networking, education, and resources for existing or potential MWBEs through a series of workshops at the National Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Conference. Under her leadership, the number of certified MWBE firms in New York State has more than doubled. The state has also set a goal of utilizing MWBEs for 30% of all state contracts, the highest rate in the nation. 

Bichotte Hermelyn holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and four undergraduate degrees in mathematics and engineering. She is currently a Juris Doctorate Candidate at Brooklyn Law School.

You might be interested: Vogue Senior Editor Latin America Jose Forteza and Univision Correspondent Daneida Polanco to support THRIVE! 2021 WEES

2021 WEES

Register now for this must-attend event! Only 3 days left! 

Grow with Google: Lucy Pinto discusses digital tools, trends, and resources for small businesses 

A report conducted by Grow with Google in partnership with the Connected Commerce Council found that since the pandemic began, 72% of Latino businesses are now using digital tools to reach customers online and keep their businesses open. 

Post-Covid Recovery: Trends in technology and digital tools 

Since the pandemic hit in March of last year, the impact on small businesses has been tremendous. Across the country, small businesses have struggled to stay afloat as restrictions continue to disrupt their business flow. Some of the small businesses that have been hit the hardest are minority-owned small businesses. 

During Latina in Business’ March virtual panel, “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends,” panelists discussed how the pandemic has shifted our relationship with technology. Now more than ever, businesses are relying on digital tools to connect with customers, grow, and thrive. Lucy Pinto, who is the Manager of Diversity and Community Training programs for Google joined the conversation, sharing insights and resources on digital tools for small businesses. 

As the Grow with Google Program Manager, Lucy works to level the playing field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to digital resources. She manages the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. 

Lucy Pinto shares digital trends and resources 

Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google Program Manager.

Pilar Avila, Latinas in Business Board Member and Chair of Finances and Governance, moderated the virtual panel. Below are some highlights from her conversation with Lucy Pinto on how small businesses can utilize digital tools, such as the Grow with Google program to help their businesses thrive. 

Pilar Avila  4:09  

So Lucy, access to technology. Digital Access has been, before, during and post pandemic critical for the growth of businesses. However, in many communities, many families, we have seen that the digital divide, and the lack of access to resources…has been accentuated with a pandemic. However, we know that you at Google are addressing exactly those challenges through your program Grow with Google Digital Coaches. Can you tell us about the program and the impact that it’s having as well as any growth trends that you’re identifying through the program, or any other services and programs at Google?

Lucy Pinto  5:45  

Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much for that. And thank you for the opportunity to be here….So Grow with Google is really Google’s initiative to provide digital skills training to Americans across all states. And so, as part of that initiative, one of our main focuses is to really focus on small business communities because we know that small businesses are the backbone of the country. And when you get a little bit more granular, what we do know, as data will show is that the rate at which Black and Latino businesses in the country are growing far extends those of other peers. And so we know that Black and Latino businesses, Latina businesses, as well, are fueling new business growth in the country.

And so in 2017, as part of an effort to help those businesses, those new Latino businesses that are launching and growing, we developed a program called the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program to specifically cater and reach small businesses that are Black-owned, or Latino-owned. And through the Digital Coaches Program, we provide free digital skills training and coaching to help these small businesses grow and thrive online. And since 2017, we have actually helped train over 60,000 small business owners, where we have digital coaches.

Our coaches deliver workshops in English and Spanish as well, because we know that sometimes they’re you know, in these communities, especially, you have a lot of immigrant communities that come in, you know, they’re starting their businesses, they’re launching, and sometimes they prefer to get information in Spanish. And so we want to make sure that we’re not leaving anybody behind. And we have, we have those workshops in Spanish as well. 

When COVID hit, we really had to pivot our own program plan, because all of these trainings and programs were done in person. And so when COVID hit we pivoted to virtual and that April, I remember last April, we saw such a tremendous interest in learning about these digital tools. So much so that as a Grow with Google team, we ended up partnering with the Connected Commerce Council to lead a report on what are the trends that we’re seeing during COVID? What are our small businesses doing? How are they feeling? How are they thinking? And as part of that report, we actually found some very interesting facts, very specific to Latino small businesses.

You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

Key findings from the report 

  • Since the pandemic began, a large percentage of Latino small businesses are relying on digital tools as a safety net. 
  • 32% of Latino small businesses have been forced to close because of COVID. That’s 1 in every 3. 
  • 72% of Latino businesses (compared to 60% percent of the general public) adopted Google tools and digital tools to reach customers online, to update their customers, and to expand their reach and stay open.

How to grow your business with Google

Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. The program has trained over 60,000 businesses on digital tools and works on initiatives that invest in communities that are underrepresented online to untap their potential, help them succeed, and drive bottom line impact. As our world becomes increasingly more digital, these skills and tools will be vital to business growth and success so be sure to take advantage of these free resources. 

Additionally, the Grow with Google Small Business Fund through the Opportunity Finance Network provides financial support to minority-owned and women-owned small businesses. The Fund will allow community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to support both the short-term recovery and long-term financing needs of America’s small businesses by providing low-cost, fixed-rate loans of up to 10-years with an option for interest deferral. 

Since the fund launched it has distributed $90 million in funding to businesses across the US through the local CDFIs and there is still $80 million left to deploy. 

For more information on the fund visit the Opportunity Finance Network.

National Conversation with Latina Leaders, Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery,

Announcing speakers for must-attend National Conversation with Latina Leaders event

Announcing nationally recognized speakers for the “Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery: Resources and Trends” virtual event, to discuss what’s next for Latinas and other minority owned small businesses who have experienced extreme hardship during the Post-Covid economic crisis. 

Latinas in Business Inc. announces an extraordinary group of speakers from around the country for their second virtual National Conversation with Latina Leaders event titled “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends”. 

National Conversation with Latina Leaders, Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery,

Join us for our second virtual National Conversation with Latina Leaders event,“Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends.”

The event takes place Friday, March 19 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST – 9:00 am to 11:00 am PST on Zoom and live-streamed on Facebook. For free registration to this event visit The event is open to all entrepreneurs regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. 

The President and CEO of Latinas in Business Inc, Susana G Bauman states, “After this very challenging year, it is important to regroup and think strategically about how to recover and take charge of our businesses. I am very grateful for the response of these amazing Latina business leaders that will provide the knowledge and resources needed for businesses not only to survive, but to excel.”

Panel 1. Funding and Resources for Latina Small Business Recovery

Guest speaker: Jennifer Garcia

From CA, Jennifer Garcia, Interim CEO at Latino Business Action (LBAN). LBAN’s mission is to strengthen the United States by empowering Latino business owners to grow. Under her leadership, she oversaw four successful cohorts of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education (SLEI-Ed) Scaling Program empowering nearly 300 Latino and Latina entrepreneurs to complete this prestigious program. 

Guest speaker: Wendy Garcia

From NY, Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of the NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, is another confirmed panelist. Wendy Garcia is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and managing diversity related projects across all bureaus of the agency. 

Guest speaker: Christina Fuentes

From NJ, Christina Fuentes, Managing Director – Community Development within the Community Development Division at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). Christina is responsible for developing, coordinating, and managing initiatives that support community development,  such as incentives and loans along with brownfield redevelopment, historic preservation, and small business services including traditional financing, technical assistance, partnering with Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s (CDFI)  and COVID-19 recovery programs.

Panel 2.  Trends Impacting Growth in Post-COVID “New Normal”

Guest speaker: Rosario B Casas

From Bogota-Colombia, Rosario B Casas, a Colombian born serial entrepreneur and award-winning women-in-tech advocate has been confirmed as one of the panelists for the event. She is the Co-founder of XR Americas, a NYC headquartered software company, using spatial computing for workforce skills development, as well as the Co-Founder of Business Creative Partners (BCPartnersTech) leading digital adoption and transformation for Hispanic owned businesses. Additionally, she is self-admittedly obsessed with finding more women and Hispanics using technology to solve key global challenges.

Guest speaker: Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon

From NY, Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, the Managing Partner of Avante Capital, is currently responsible for identifying, executing, and managing investment opportunities. Ivelisse is a longtime advocate and champion for women, minorities, and the underserved and underrepresented. She holds leadership roles in several local and national non-profit organizations and even launched a philanthropic organization called We Will with her two sisters, to support and empower underserved women and minorities in the areas of healthcare, education, and financial literacy. 

Guest speaker: Lucy Pinto

From NY, Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google Program Manager, works to level the playing field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to resources needed to grow. She manages the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. The program has trained over 60,000 businesses on digital tools. work on initiatives that invest in communities that are underrepresented online to untap their potential, help them succeed, and drive bottom line impact. 

“Although it is evident that throughout the United States, Latino entrepreneurs have encountered extreme difficulty, it is important to note that they have been extremely resilient and have adapted their businesses to navigate these ever-changing conditions,” Baumann continued. 

Join us and all our supporting organizations in bringing solutions to America’s backbone, small businesses, and especially minority women and Latina-owned businesses, their talent, innovation and their constant sense of purpose to support their communities. 

Click HERE for registration. You won’t want to miss this event!