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women-in-tech

Rosario B. Casas is closing digital divide for Hispanics with #Brooklyn2Bogota

Brooklyn2Bogota is a digital incubator for Hispanic business owners created by BCPartnersTech and led by women-in-tech advocate Rosario B. Casas and Felipe Andrés Forero Hauzeur. The program aims to help close the digital divide post-COVID for business owners and entrepreneurs by focusing on empowerment, digital transformation, and business growth through a variety of activities and mentor lectures. 

women-in-tech

Rosario at TEDxTalk. (Photo courtesy Rosario B. Casas)

Women-In-Tech advocate Rosario B. Casas 

Brooklyn2Bogota leaders Rosario B. Casas and husband Felipe Andrés Forero Hauzeur. (Photo courtesy Rosario B. Casas)

Award-winning women-in-tech advocate, Rosario B. Casas is Co-Founder of Business Creative Partners, BCPartnersTech, leading digital adoption and transformation for Hispanic owned businesses. She is a Colombian-born serial entrepreneur, now based in New-York, with over 8 years of practical experience in data and technology platforms and management roles.  

In addition to BCPartnersTech, Rosario is also Co-Founder and CEO of  XR Americas, a company dedicated to expanding the borders of immersive technologies –Virtual Reality, Augmented, Mixed– in industrial applications. Rosario is a Colombian entrepreneur based now in New York.

As a champion and enthusiastic advocate for women-in-technology, she is obsessed with finding more women and Hispanics using technology to solve key global challenges. To further encourage and support women-in-tech, Rosario has co-founded several strategic partnership models, serves as a member of the Big Data Advisory Board at Rutgers University, and has been a lecturer at TEDx, The World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship , and The World Innovation Network TWIN Global, among others.

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How #Brooklyn2Bogota is empowering Hispanic business owners 

Brookly2Bogota is a community for digital transformation and business growth founded by Hispanic talent. Focusing on empowering business owners in the areas of Leadership, Products, and Growth the Digital Incubator Cohort offers valuable insights and guidance to participants through a series of lectures and discussions with mentors and experts as well as various activities and networking opportunities. 

digital incubator

Women-in-tech leader Rosario B. Casas is building a community for the digital transformation and business growth of Hispanic entrepreneurs. (Photo courtesy Rosario B. Casas)

The 8-week Incubation Program was initially created as a tool to help reduce the digital divide post-COVID and strengthen the knowledge of business owners and entrepreneurs, especially of Latino origin – both in the New York / New Jersey area and in Latin America.

The training program provides tools for participants to accelerate the growth of their company in the new digital world post-COVID and carry out the digital transformation they require while acquiring knowledge and skills related to design thinking and agile methodologies.

Focusing on the fundamental pillars of Leadership, Product, and Growth, the incubation process takes place over 8 uninterrupted weeks where entrepreneurs receive receive theoretical sessions and panels of specialized topics, dictated by carefully selected mentors for each area.

The thematic mentoring sessions between members of the Network of Mentors and the companies participating in our programs provide participants with expert knowledge and guidance as they move through the program. The cohort offers both private individual mentoring sessions and open conversations, many of which can be viewed here


Finally, the program provides participants with a private network that brings together the mentors and participants who complete the program. This network allows for further connection, collaboration, and exchange of ideas in the future and continued growth for entrepreneurs and business owners. 

Recently the program completed their first 8-week Digital Incubator Cohort. The first cohort provided 8 weekly closed live sessions and 23 open sessions, over 61 hours of live broadcast time, 93 individual thematic mentoring sessions, and approximately 110 hours of individual thematic mentoring. 

Applications for the second cohort are open now. See here to join.

Latina leader Sara Peña impacts young lives through community empowerment

Sara Peña is a Newark native working toward community empowerment. She strives to empower Latinos, especially the youth, through advocacy, legislature, and mentorship. She is currently the Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development in the NJ Department of State, as well as the founder of the Boys to Leaders Foundation.

Community awareness 
community empowerment

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Community empowerment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Youth mentorship 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

community empowerment

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

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Self-empowerment  

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

Be fearless 

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

 Understand finances

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

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

Grow Personally

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

Build and Nurture Relationships/Partnerships

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

 Self Care

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

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

― Maya Angelou

 

wellness, freelance

Balancing wellness and your freelance work

Balancing wellness is a critical component of any successful freelance career. Freelancing is an attractive source of income for many, whether it’s part-time or full-time. That said, you must find time for your own wellness if you want to avoid the risk of burnout, as shared by these successful professional freelancers.

wellness, freelance

(Photo credit: Christina@wocintechchat.com – unsplash)

Looking out for yourself

Your freelance work shouldn’t come at the detriment of your own health. This tip holds true for all kinds of freelancers, but especially for those juggling another job alongside their freelancing. Publishous suggests spacing out your projects to give you some breathing room if you can; for those who can’t, consider planning out your work week in advance to give you an idea of what kind of tasks you need to complete.

wellness, hip latinaStructuring your day around a specific plan can help you avoid the dreaded freelancer burnout. Due to the flexibility of freelance work, it’s possible to work to your own timeline. If you are working another job make sure that, as best you can, the jobs don’t overlap as this is sure way to burnout.

While you’re busy planning out your day, remember to leave some time to exercise. HipLatina emphasizes the importance of physical activity with the rise of the body positive movement, and this self-confidence booster helps give you a bit of a break from your busy routine. More importantly, exercise helps give you the physical strength to tackle even the most demanding workday.

Finding communities and mentors

Freelancing can be a lonely job; so finding fellow freelancers within your area gives you a support network of like-minded individuals, which is good for your mental wellness. The best place to find such support is in co-working spaces. These have popped up in all major cities and have transformed how freelancers and solo entrepreneurs work. Industrious outline how top co-working spaces have community memberships which gives users access to exclusive events where it is easy to network and meet fellow freelancers. Having a physical space that puts you in contact with fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs can also give you that much-needed boost of motivation when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Freelancing opens you up to a whole world of possible connections, even from people outside your industry.

Mentorship is likewise crucial for any freelancer to succeed. Mentorship is likewise crucial for any freelancer to succeed. A great mentor will not only help you improve your craft, but will also help you navigate the busy and ever-changing world of what it means to freelance. From introducing you to good clients or teaching you how to deal with bad ones, a mentor makes the lonely freelance path feel a lot less, well, lonely.

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Here at Latinas in Business we are no strangers to finding meaningful work in today’s increasingly competitive environment. While freelancing is attractive, you should remember that the freelance industry is still in its infancy. This means there are a lot of exciting opportunities to come in the near future, but that you should also look to care of yourself amidst the hustle and bustle of working freelance.

Ana Larrea-Albert NENANI Mentoring Future Latina Leaders 2016.1

Ana Larrea-Albert the Latina entrepreneurial spirit applied to mentorship

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

Ana Larrea-Albert, Latina entrepreneur

Ana Larrea-Albert, founder of NENANI

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

Who is Ana Larrea-Albert?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ana Larrea-Albert WeLead event at Florida Atlantic University

WeLead event at Florida Atlantic University

Latina entrepreneurs’ struggles became her inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

Ana Larrea-Albert, mentor -mentee high school student

Ana Larrea-Albert, mentor -mentee high school student

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

Ana Larrea-Albert today

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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