networking on zoom

6 Tips for multicultural networking on Zoom in 2022 

How we define socializing “at work” and networking has changed drastically in the past two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Now, we’re all plugged into the digital realm. Most connections are made from our home offices over video rather than face-to-face. 

Since 2020, Zoom has become one of the fastest-growing apps of the pandemic. It is now the number one platform for businesses and professionals to connect and network, with meeting participants increasing by 2900 percent

While we may be used to it by now, many still find it challenging to successfully network on Zoom and other video conferencing platforms. Those who spent much of their professional career networking in person find that networking on Zoom is less personal, and connections feel superficial. It can also be more difficult to establish these connections in meetings and other virtual events when pressed by time. 

Networking on Zoom can add some barriers

Multicultural networking on Zoom is an additional challenge, adding in cultural differences, language barriers, and other factors complicated by virtual communication. Miscommunication and awkwardness are likely to occur online if individuals are not prepared. Some participants may feel left out or unwelcome in multicultural settings if they are in the minority or others do not include them in conversations. 

However, preparing for virtual multicultural networking on Zoom is not difficult. Below are some tips that will help you breeze through your next virtual meet-up and make those crucial connections!  

You might be interested: The future of work is hybrid – here are an expert’s recommendations

6 Tips for multicultural networking on Zoom 

Variety is the spice of life, which extends to our networks and professional circles as well! We need diversity in our networks, and a good network will naturally be diverse so learning how to navigate multicultural spaces is essential. Navigating these spaces online creates an additional challenge, but fear not—with these tips, you’ll be connecting virtually like a pro in no time. 

  1. Moving past miscommunication – Miscommunication happens. Especially online, it’s practically a given that something will get lost or misinterpreted at some point. Add in cultural differences, language barriers, and varied communication styles, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Or not. As long as you go in knowing that miscommunication is likely to happen, you can better navigate the situation if / when it occurs. Instead of assuming the worst, focus on thinking positively and presenting yourself as open and understanding. Others will feel more comfortable around you if they know you are willing to take the time and effort to understand them and work through communication issues. 
  2. Keep an open mind and avoid stereotypes – Stereotypes are ingrained in our society. Often, we don’t even realize we judge others based on these preconceived notions. However, we each need to work to dismantle these ideas. When entering a multicultural setting, keep an open mind. Get to know people as individuals rather than make assumptions about what they might be like based on stereotypes. 
  3. Start small – If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of networking with large groups over Zoom, try participating in smaller virtual events first. Especially with a multicultural group, it may be better to engage with fewer people to get to know each other and minimize the potential for miscommunication and other obstacles that arise in larger groups.
  4. Prep before the meet-up – If you’re nervous about going in blind to a meet-up, see a guest list available. If so, you can use this list to familiarize yourself with the others who will be in attendance. You take a few minutes to read their LinkedIn profiles or visit their businesses’ sites and use that info to better connect with them once you meet virtually. Depending on the nature of the meeting, this additional background information could help you curate questions or spark relevant conversation topics. 
  5. Take the initiative – Be an active participant. Whether you’re a total introvert or extremely outgoing, people will be drawn to you if they see you actively participating and attempting to engage with others. You don’t have to be the loudest in the (virtual) room, but your engagement will be appreciated. The more you participate, the more familiar you will become with others. You’ll definitely be remembered. In multicultural settings, the conversation may flow to cultural topics and personal cultural experiences. Being an active and engaged participant in these conversations will show your commitment to cultural inclusivity. Your connections will be more substantial from your active participation. 
  6. Follow-up beyond the first meeting – After connecting on Zoom, follow up! Since many feel rushed or disconnected in virtual meetings, adding cross-platform communication can help to solidify the tentative connections you’ve made. Follow them on social media, send them a personalized LinkedIn note or email, comment and share their content and continue to build that relationship beyond Zoom!lift-to-the-top

Now that you have some ideas on how to go about multicultural networking on Zoom, get more ideas on how to network during LIVE events with Latino bicultural audiences. Sign up for our newsletter and download our FREE e-booklet, “10 Steps to Happy Networking with Latino Bicultural Audiences”! 


You might be interested: Is working remotely a pain? Tips to be more comfortable and productive




Franca NYC co-founder, Jazmin de la Guardia on how art connects us through common language

Jazmin de la Guardia is the co-founder of Franca NYC, a small Brooklyn based design studio that focuses on handmade ceramics. 

 Franca NYC was born from an idea: There are common threads that bind us. No matter where you come from or where you are going, there is a commonality to be discovered. This common language, or lingua franca, is what we strive to achieve.  Craftsmanship, design, and artistry make up the foundation of our work, and we continue to seek out ways to bring the soul of lingua franca to each piece.

Born in Paraguay, with a mother from Uruguay and a father from Cuba, Jazmin grew up with a passion for travel and art. That passion eventually led her to Pratt Institute in NYC where she received her Bachelor’s in Printmaking. Following her education at Pratt, Jazmin took her skills and passion for art to co-found Franca NYC with her business partner, Sierra Yip-Bannicq. 

The idea for their ceramics design studio came about in 2016, after both women expressed an interest in owning a business. 

“We were both working in small design studios at that time and as much as we loved our jobs, we were both really excited about the idea of starting our own business,” said Jazmin. “We decided to launch our brand at NY NOW, where we got a lot of exposure all at once and thankfully started getting orders to get us through those first months.” 

The women chose the medium of ceramics to be the focus of their business because it was something they both loved and had been drawn to back during their college days. Focusing on ceramics also had the benefit of being low-cost. Starting out, Jazmin and Sierra had a very limited budget, like many new entrepreneurs, so making their products in-house from start to finish without having to make a huge investment in machinery and production equipment was a big advantage. 

Jazmin working in studio. (Photo courtesy Jazmin de la Guardia)

Jazmin recalls one of her fondest memories of these early days, while she and Sierra worked in their first studio making their products. 

“Sierra and I are working long hours in our first studio, just the two of us, making what felt like a million cups and mugs. We felt like we were melting, we had no AC and the studio was so hot the tar from the rooftop—we were on the top floor, walk-up—was literally melting into our space. The kiln was firing and it just seemed like we were inside a giant oven. Even though the situation seemed less than desirable to most people, we were thrilled to be there and would not have wanted it any other way. For us it was all worth it because we were working towards building something of our own and being independent.”

The threads that bind: Leveraging social media and community 

As they developed their business, they learned to navigate challenges and obstacles and leverage their strengths. 

One of the biggest challenges they faced as their business grew was learning to be flexible with their production volume. Jazmin shared that there were many times when they had more orders than they could accept, while other times when the flow of orders was much slower. 

“It was important for us to try and keep our staff throughout the year so we decided to try and ride the slower times as best we could,” said Jazmin. “During the slower moments, we relied on social media to keep up with brand awareness. Thankfully things seem to be more stable now and we feel we can plan our production accordingly, but I would say trying to be as flexible as possible was key to us growing as a business.”

Franca NYC leveraged social media to stay connected with customers and build their network. (Photo Source)

Through the use of social media such as Facebook and Instagram, Jazmin and Sierra were able to stay connected with customers and gauge what products they were interested in. It’s this connection, both online and in their local community in NYC that has been their strength and helped Jazmin and Sierra drive their business forward. 

“Thanks to our community we were able to ask for advice when we needed it and learn from our peers. We’ve been very lucky in this sense,” said Jazmin. 

You might be interested: Argentinian artist Lucia Maman explores feminine themes

Jazmin admits that at the beginning, she never would have even thought to reach out to other people, or even strangers, to ask for advice or just chat about their experiences as a business owner. 

“Now I can say it’s one of the things I recommend most people do, especially women. A quick Instagram or Messenger DM can go a long way,” Jazmin said. “Always reach out to other women. Creating that network and community will be not only great for your business but will also help you get through some of the overwhelming times you’ll inevitably go through as a business owner.” 

As Franca NYC’s message states: There are common threads that bind us. No matter where you come from or where you are going, there is a commonality to be discovered.

2021 WEES

THRIVE! What to expect from deep-dive workshops at 2021 WEES

Don’t miss out on these fantastic deep-dive workshops and our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions at the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit!

2021 WEES, deep-dive workshops

Register for the 2021 WEES to participate in deep-dive workshops in three key areas: Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation.

This year’s 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit theme is, “THRIVE! Imperatives Shaping the Future of Women Entrepreneurs.” The theme is reflective of the changes and trends generated by the COVID19 pandemic and the event will bring together corporations, minority women entrepreneurs, and students to take advantage of tools and insights that will propel YOU forward to THRIVE in the “new normal.” 

This must-attend hybrid event will feature a variety of deep-dive workshops in three key areas: Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation. Then, after each workshop session, take part in our signature Peer-to-Peer Networking Sessions, where you will have the opportunity to engage with the Workshop Facilitators and share your own best practices in a collaborative group learning discussion. 

2021 WEES

Register Now to save your spot so you too can gain the tools to THRIVE! 

Join us for our Deep Dive Workshops! 

Are you ready to THRIVE? Make the jump to a better you by joining us for our deep-dive workshop sessions. Choose your path from PERSONAL POWER, FINANCIAL WELLNESS, and BUSINESS INNOVATION. 

SESSION 1 Workshops

PERSONAL POWER – Taking Care of Your Inner Self: The Road to Resilience (2:00 PM – 2:30 PM) 

How to harness your potential by learning how to manage stress, personal care, and relationships. These insights will help you empower your business, career, and life beyond the pandemic.


Jennifer Garcia, Interim CEO at Latino Business Action (LBAN)

FINANCIAL WELLNESS – Getting to Series A: Advancing your Business to the Next Stage of Growth (2:00 PM – 2:30 PM)

You may have launched your business with seed capital, which was invested by friends, family, or your own savings. Now it’s time to attract investors for the next stage of growth. Learn what Series A can do for your business, if it’s right for you and how to go about securing this crucial funding for your next stage of growth.

Speaker: Jennifer Garcia, Iterim CEO, LBAN

BUSINESS INNOVATION – Sustainability and Digital Transformation: Upgrading your Tech to Optimize your Business Performance (2:00 PM – 2:30 PM)

Google is not just a brand; it is a verb! Have you tried to “Google” your business?” Have you ever wondered how potential customers can find your business online but never dared to try?

In this workshop, you will learn how Google Search works and how you can improve your website’s visibility with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The session also introduces products like Google My Business, Google Trends, Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Ads, and more.

You might be interested: 2021 WEES: Announcing THRIVE! Men’s panel speakers 

SESSION 2 Workshops

Speaker: Dr Ginny A. Baro, PhD, Executive Bound, Author, Healing Leadership

PERSONAL POWER – The Sandwich Generation: Thrive while Homeschooling, Caregiving and Running a Business (4:00 PM – 4:30 PM) 

A recent study found that school closures, stay-at-home orders and balancing family responsibilities disproportionately affected working moms more than fathers. In this workshop, we will learn ways to tackle the tough decisions, unique anxieties and challenges women still have to face while trying to balance many priorities as we approach a post-COVID world.

Speaker: Dr Ginny A. Baro, PhD, Executive Bound, Author, Healing Leadership

FINANCIAL WELLNESS – Why Am I Not a Million Dollar Company? Understanding Alternative Sources of Funding  (4:00 PM – 4:30 PM) 

After years of running your business, do you find yourself asking, “Why Am I Not a Million Dollar Company?” Ask the Experts instead!

You know you need capital to expand, hire and prototype new products. We’ll explore funding options to help you grow your business to where you always knew you could be: a million-dollar company.

BUSINESS INNOVATION – Bottom Line: Sustainable Practices that Increase Your Business Bottom Line  (4:00 PM – 4:30 PM) 

Integrating sustainable practices into a company’s operations can not only motivate employee engagement and encourage technological solutions, but it can also actually save the company money. Find out which sustainability practices you can readily implement without increasing your overhead and boost your company’s bottom line.

Take center stage with our Peer-to-Peer Networking Sessions

Each workshop session will be followed by a networking and group discussion session. Take center stage at this multi-participant discussion with the Workshop Facilitators! Attendees have the opportunity to engage with the Facilitators and each other by sharing their feedback and voicing their reactions to the content.

Participants are encouraged to share their own best practices with the group related to the topic discussed on the panel. This Peer-to-Peer Sharing is a tried-and-true collaborative learning experience that helps everyone expand their business knowledge.

The time to THRIVE is now! Register for #2021 WEES today!

resources for Latinas in business

10 Free online resources for Latinas and other women small business

Latinas are unstoppable! That’s why we decided to bring you these 10 free online resources for Latinas in business, to take your business to the next level. Of course, if you are a woman entrepreneur or small business owner, you can also take advantage of these resources! 

resources for Latinas in business

10 Free Online Resources For Latinas In Business

If you’re looking for the best free online resources for Latinas in business, that means you are serious about business! Let us show you the best resources we’ve found so far for Latina business owners.

We know there are a lot of specialized tools out there, but when we are starting with our business we need to save every penny we get. That’s why we wanted to create this list of free resources to help your business grow: 

Marketing Resources

These are some of the most useful platforms to get the marketing part of your business right on your first try.

Hubspot’s Website Grader

free resources,

This free tool allows you to analyze your most important customer touchpoints. It looks at things like SEO or responsive design and gives you a grade from 1 to 100. 

This is a particularly useful tool if you are not sure why you are not getting visitors or conversions. In short, this tool tells you which areas are working and which ones don’t.


When dealing with multiple social media accounts, this is a very useful tool that can help you keep track of what you post and where. 

This tool also lets you schedule your posts and it offers you a keyword tracker. If you are starting your business and don’t want to lose track of your social media interaction, the free version of Social Oomph is for you.

Google Keyword Planner

free resources

Good ol’ google! This tool is designed to help you deal with everything related to SEO. It gives you some valuable insight into keywords and search trends. This platform can even help you predict if which keywords will work the best for you. It is free to use, but you need to have a Google Adwords account.

Free Digital Design Resources

If you don’t want to invest in a Graphic Designer, we have 3 options that can help you get a professional-looking webpage or post, in minutes.


free resources

By this time, you should have heard about it. It is a very friendly platform that allows you to create some basic design. The best part is there are a lot of pre-made designs! You can just take one, change text and images, and that’s it! 


This is a web design platform that you can use in your WordPress website. It lets you create your page, and add images and text by just dragging boxes.

Once you got your WordPress account you just have to download and install Elementor and you can start improving your webpage. The biggest benefit of this platform is you don’t have to know anything about code or graphic design to create an amazing site.


When you start a business, getting a proper logo can be expensive. So if you want to have just a quick logo to start your Facebook or Instagram page, you can use Logomakr. This tool lets you make very basic designs, add text and create simple, but colorful logos for your business.

free resources

Business Development Resources

Platforms and resources that can get your business on its feet or support you to make it bigger.


The Small business Administration of America helps people to manage, star, build or grow their businesses.

This institution has been with us since 1953, bringing aid, counsel, and protecting small business owner concerns.

You might be interested: SBA to Prioritize Smallest of Small Businesses in Paycheck Protection Program


SCORE is a non-profit organization and partner of the Small Business Administration. This platform is a huge network of volunteers and business mentors that has helped thousands of businesses to grow or get started since 1964. While they have some paid products, most of their programs are offered at no cost.

Hispanic Online Marketing

While the platform offers many services at a cost, their blog contains a lot of useful resources and network opportunities for Hispanic people.

As they put it, they feature best practices, case studies, and research.

Resources For Training

It is always a smart decision to improve constantly, that’s why we have these free resources for you

Association Of Women’s Business Centers

This is an association that works to give economic justice and business opportunities for women. The AWBC also provides training, mentoring, and business development for women in business. 

National Hispanic Media Coalition

This is a non-profit organization that has helped create new business opportunities for Latin people. They focus specifically on Latin concerns within the entertainment industry.

Ser Mujer

In 2014 Ser Mujer was born as a program to empower women entrepreneurship inside the US. This organization collaborates with other non-profits to provide women with educational and business resources.

Funding Resources For Latinas

There are many banks and companies that offer funding plans for the Latino Community.

Wells Fargo

This famous bank has an interesting funding program focused specifically on small businesses. Here you’ll find tips, tools, and guidance to take your business to the next step. provides loans and can help you connect with other business owners. ACCION is a large nationwide nonprofit network in the United States that can guide you to achieve your business goals.

Kapor Capital

Kapor is an Oakland-based fund that provides support to startup companies. They provide business owners with funding, but also with education, innovation, or justice.

Network Resources

Pages and platforms that can connect you with other Latinxs entrepreneurs.


The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute is dedicated to developing Latino leaders in the business industry. It provides leadership, public services, and advocates for the Latino community in the US.

Hispanic Women’s Corporation

The HWC was founded as a response to all the obstacles Latinas face when trying to start a business. This corporation founded in 1981 aims to share experiences and resources amongst the Latin community.

Latin Business Association

A private non-profit organization that’s one of the most active Latin business communities. This organization represents over 800,000 Latino-owned businesses in California.


Succeeding in business as a Latina is completely possible! And with these free online resources for Latinas in business, you will get the business of your dreams in no time!

Did we leave something out? Let us know in the comments!

Written by the team at Chavez Web Design, LLC




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. 


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.

You might be interested: Venezuelan tech entrepreneur revolutionizes social storytelling with video-sharing app FlickPlay

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.


How to become an influencer and advance your business

I was recently asked by an acquaintance to provide the “secret” to becoming an influencer within a community. I responded that while I consider myself a big fish in a very small pond, the process that I follow can scale and provide big fish in a big pond results.

Pope-Francis-Catholic-Church-of-England-and-Wales-CC influencer

Pope Frances, one of the greatest influencers of our times.

The following are the six steps that I have found to be effective in creating influence within a community. I believe that anyone can follow these steps to begin their journey towards becoming an influencer:

1. Determine the industry/segment in which you wish to become an influencer:

There’s a difference between being famous and being an influencer. O.J. Simpson was and continues to be famous. Better yet, infamous. John Wooden was an influencer. In the sports industry today who do you think is more successful in influencing the community – even posthumously? Wooden, of course. Influencers must choose a community upon which they will focus and serve. They must respect that community and the community must have no reason to disrespect them. While future influencers need not be experts in community matters, they must eventually evolve into subject matter experts before they earn influencer status.

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2. Create content that demonstrates your thought leadership and expertise:

Influencers within any community/industry generally have expert knowledge of matters within their domain. The masses listen and act on the advice of influencers specifically because they are experts. Whether their expertise relates to accounting, art or lipstick, influencers are perceived as being subject matter experts. Individuals seeking influencer status must demonstrate their mastery to the community/industry. In today’s content driven world this means that expertise should be evidenced in one or more content formats, including but not limited to, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts or any other form of content that is preferred by the community. Expertise and thought leadership must come through clearly in order for the community to adopt the individual as an influencer.

3. Develop public relations to put a face to the name:

Something I continually tell attendees at my workshops is that people do business with people. And people are influenced by people. While the Internet, social media and its many forms of content are essential, at the very core we want human interaction. Individuals seeking tocreatetheirplaceintheinfluencer Hall of Fame must ensure that they walk away from their computer screens and actually meet the community they are looking to serve. Through speaking engagements, networking functions and other face-to-face interactions influencers-in-process can help generate needed buzz from those individuals that read the book or saw the video or heard the podcast and have now put a face with a name. Big time influencers will tell you that it is not possible to meet the entire community or respond to every email, tweet or message. But they will also tell you that they invest time interacting as much as possible.


Photo credits (Top L to Bottom R) Susana G Baumann at Univision 41 Studios; Susana with Yvonne Garcia, ALPFA National Chair; Susana with Nina Vacca, CEO Pinnacle Group and Pres Emeritus US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Susana with the NAA American Latina Leadership Caucus and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

4. Build your list:

One of the most valuable investments an influencer can make is to sign up for an account with Mailchimp, Constant Contact or some other email program. Consideration should be given to capturing contact information with the release of every piece of content. Show me a successful influencer and I will show you an effective contact database. In today’s social media world it is also important to develop followings in-platform. This means growing connections, likes, followers, etc. Both email lists and social media platforms are essential to the distribution of content that reinforces influencer status as well as grows influence through sharing.

5. Create collaborations/partnerships:

The biggest mistake an influencer-in-training can make is assume that he/she must do it all alone. In today’s democratized world where a dishwasher has as much of a chance of being an influencer as a billionaire, there are many opportunities for collaboration. Something that my Two Men In Your Business co-host Aaron M. Sanchez and I do frequently with our workshops is to bring in others with an expertise that fits our program. We promote those individuals to our following and they do the same with theirs resulting in greater reach and broader influence. The concept of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours is an effective tool for developing influence.

Elianne Ramos, one of the most influential Latina in politics, with Susana G Baumann, at Hispanicize 2015.

Elianne Ramos, one of the most influential Latinas in politics, with Susana G Baumann, at Hispanicize 2015.

6. Remain active and innovative: 

The first five steps above represent the tactics necessary to establish oneself as an influencer. However, in order to remain successful the tactics must be consistently applied and revised based on feedback. An influencer is not a state – it is a way of life. Successful influencers are consistently seeking new ways to grow their community, new approaches to deliver content, new presentations of old content and the development of new content and ideas.

Using these six tactics will allow anyone to develop into an influencer. I credit my big fish in a small pond success to these tactics. Perhaps it’s time to move to a bigger pond!


Jesse Torres has been named to the list of the Top 20 Most Influential Community Bankers in Social Media. The title was bestowed by the Independent Community Bankers of America.


Latinas leaving corporate America, startups, small business, launching a business

Leaving the rat race to launch your dream business

startups, small business, launching a businessBy Jesse Torres

During my Money Talk radio interview on KCAA with Los Angeles area game developer Giovanni Luis, co-founder of MakeData and co-creator of the Papermals Pre-K app, he explained how he made the leap to entrepreneur after 20 years of working for Electronic Arts and Sony.

His work experience gave him the technical expertise and his parenting role gave him the motivation to move from creating blockbuster action games to making high-quality educational apps. “My corporate experience gave me the confidence to go out and create these games,” he said.

He first stumbled upon game development after completing a degree program in industrial design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. “I just happened to know a piece of software that they were using to develop a game called Nuclear Strike,” said Luis, calling the experience a “happy accident.” This resulted in a five-year run with Electronic Arts followed by 15 years of working for Sony’s gaming unit.

As his children began preschool, Luis started to explore the technology used by his school district. He felt that the software and apps available left a lot to be desired, both from the educational and visual perspective. Thus the gamification expert decided to leave the corporate world to start his own company with several like-minded associates.

Luis has another advantage: his preschool and kindergarten-age children. Every day his kids rekindle his passion to develop meaningful apps. His goal is the highest level in edutainment. Luis strived to fashion age-appropriate educational lessons, such as instruction in numbers, sizes and coins.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when launching your new business, according to Luis:

  1. Aim to exceed expectations. While Luis’ education apps are less complex than the games he developed for Electronic Arts and Sony, he aimed to develop products that exceeded the ordinary and expected. He wanted his first app to have such a visually stunning interface that the pre-K crowd would adore it and that a high level of engagement would result in solid word-of-mouth referrals from parents and teachers.

Make a product that incorporates the wow factor to increase sales organically.

  1. Know the business landscape. An entrepreneur must be intimately familiar with the industry he’s operating in. Luis wished to market his app as not only a game but also as educational technology. This dual purpose could potentially improve the return on investment.

Keep your finger on the pulse of the market in order to provide timely innovations and provide a product that meets buyers’ evolving desires.latina microfunding

  1. Produce for the masses. Luis learned the importance of economies of scale while developing games at Sony. A single AAA game could take as long as 18 months to develop, cost millions. A large customer market is needed generate a return on investment.

In California alone thousands of new kindergartners arrive on the scene each year, Luis discovered. Papermals Pre-K has Spanish and Mandarin versions to capitalize on the growing Latino market in the States and the large Mandarin-speaking population abroad.

Target growing niches to fuel market expansion and provide opportunities for innovation.

  1. Score a quick win. Luis and his small band of fellow developers needed a quick win to serve as proof of his concept and keep the troops motivated and engaged — and eating! Rather than trying to create an app with an evolving technology like virtual reality, Luis and his team focused on the iOs and Android platforms, creating their first app in three months in the hopes of soon generating revenue.

Identify strategic opportunities that can provide an immediate return on investment so as to support current operations and increase the likelihood of the company’s survival.

  1. Tap into influencers. Luis and his team develop apps for a market just out of diapers. This market does not carry a credit card or use mobile devices. So Luis cannot directly market his product to end users. Instead, he must find the individuals who can influence its purchase, such as teachers, school district administrators and parents.

One impressed teacher could recommend an app to dozens of parents. And impressed parents might engage in verbal and social-media-based word-of-mouth, prompting scores of purchases.

Beginning on Day 1, create genuine relationships with parties that can maintain influence or build relationships with the target market.


 About Jesse TorresJesse_Torres

Jesse Torres has spent nearly 20 years in leadership and executive management posts, including executive management roles at financial institutions. In 2013 the Independent Community Bankers of America named him a top community banker influencer on social media. He is a frequent speaker at financial services and leadership conferences and has written several books. He hosts an NBC News Radio show called Money Talk with Jesse Torres.
Follow @jstorres or contact


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