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Introducing Latinas in Business Inc. Executive Board Members

In a simple virtual ceremony last Friday, five new Trustees were sworn in to Latinas in Business Inc. Executive Board. The 2020 Annual Executive Board Meeting welcomed member’s Beth Marmolejos, Pilar Avila, Danay Escanaverino, Adriane Medeiros, and Maria Santiago-Valentin into their new positions as Board Members. 

Present also was the Founder President and CEO, Susana G Baumann, and one of the Founder Board Members of the organization, Brenda Nava. Brenda now leaves the position of Treasurer to stay on the Board as a Committee Member and passes the torch of Treasurer on to Pilar Avila. 

Executive Board

Latinas in Business Inc. Executive Board Members

On the new Executive Board, Baumann said:

“I’m ecstatic that this group of unstoppable Latinas are coming in to strengthen and grow our organization at a national level. We are extremely grateful for their time and efforts, which are already bringing results in the crucial event we are launching this October 16 and October 23 to energize the Latino Vote. This was my vision for Latinas in Business, a group of young and determined Latinas who will take the torch, the symbol of our logo, and run with it. My legacy as a woman, mother, Latina and immigrant will remain in an organization by Latinas and for Latinas.” 

Introducing the LIB’s Executive Board 

Brenda Nava, Founder Executive Board

Brenda Nava, Founder Executive Board 

Brenda Nava is an avant-garde Hispanic entrepreneur who entered business at the age of 23. Currently the owner and founder of various businesses, including CEO at Daniela Events and CEO at Dafer Business Development Solutions.

With degrees in International Business, Accounting, Taxes and Business Development, Brenda is focused on sharing her experience and knowledge with her community. With several years of experience in the business field, she knows that education is an important foundation for the success of every entrepreneur and is committed to being an example and supporting the development of the community.

Beth Marmolejos, Programs and Events Coordinator & LIB Vice President 

Beth Marmolejos is a business leader, activist, and advocate who strives toward serving as an champion for change daily in both her personal and professional life. Beth serves on numerous boards that support and serve these communities. Some of her positions include  Madame Chair of the Passaic County Workforce Investment Board, Chair of the Passaic County Advocacy and Abilities Committee and Diversity & Inclusion Chair of the American Association of University Women – Greater Wayne Area, and President of the New Jersey Prospanica Chapter, formerly known as The National Society of Hispanics MBAs. 

Pilar Avila, Governance & Treasurer

Pilar Avila, Governance & Treasurer 

Pilar Avila is the founder and host of interDUCTUS, an organizational change management consulting practice, & Renovad, which provides experiential retreats to countries around the world. She is a passionate human striving for higher self-awareness, health, happiness, living free, eradicating judgment and lifting every living being with compassion. As a business and civic change leader, Pilar is strategic, innovative and results-oriented. She launched  interDUCTUS & Renovad after over 26 years providing leadership at institutions across private equity, hospitality, and nonprofit sectors. 

 

Danay Escanaverino, Marketing and Outreach

Danay Escanaverino, Marketing and Outreach

Danay Escanaverino is the CEO of LunaSol Media, a digital agency she has owned for 9 years to help brands connect with Hispanic consumers online. She is also the Founder of MiraClick, an affiliate network for Hispanic and Latino bloggers and creators to monetize their following with campaigns made for Latinos. She is passionate about marketing and technology and her goal is to  help Hispanic entrepreneurs expand their reach through her expertise and services and specifically expand the Hispanic market and unite and support Hispanic businesses. 

Adriane Medeiros, Trustee

Adriane Medeiros, Trustee 

Adriane Medeiros is a Financial Services Professional with New York Life Insurance Company and specializes in life insurance and retirement investment planning. She is a tremendous resource to our community, offering financial tips, seminars, and one-on-one appointments in financial and investment planning. Originally born in Brazil, she has lived in New Jersey for over 32 years and has a degree in Business with a minor in Economics and Finances, from Kean University in New Jersey. Adriane strives to help all her clients achieve a life of abundance and financial empowerment through investment planning so that they can support their families for generations to come.

classroom inclusion

Maria Santiago-Valentin, Trustee

Maria Santiago-Valentin, Trustee 

Maria Santiago-Valentin is a fierce activist, educator, and author who uses her platform to advocate for quality education, classroom inclusion, and environmental causes. A passionate, energetic and creative educator with over twenty-five years of experience in her field, she has taught in Puerto Rico, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and has been recognized for her achievements nationally and internationally. One of the founding members of CURE  — Community United for the Renaissance in Education– a bilingual parent advocacy group working to improve the educational system in New London, Connecticut, Maria has dedicated her life to making the pursuit of knowledge accessible to all. She is also the founder of the NJ Coalition for Climate Justice, an organization that works to bring together social justice movements with environmental movements.

Upcoming event: Regain Our Latino Power 

The main topic of discussion at the year’s Annual Executive Board Meeting was the upcoming virtual event: Regain Our Latino Power. The multi-day event will take place on the two upcoming Fridays: October 16th and October 23rd. 

With less than six weeks until the election, Regain Our Latino Power will focus on discussions about Latinxs essential workers, Latinxs and the economy, Immigration Reform, Deportations and Incarceration of Latino Children and more. The event will also feature guest speakers from Latina Leaders including Keynote Speaker, Maria Elena Salinas. 

We are calling YOU and all Latina leaders because these are URGENT TOPICS TO DISCUSS.

Register now for this FREE virtual event! 

TENTATIVE AGENDA

Friday October 16, 2020 12pm to 2pm EST – 9am to 11am PST

  1. COVID-19 AND ESSENTIAL WORKERS: More protection for Latinxs frontline workers in factories and farms dying of COVID-19; more testing, sick-time leave and protection equipment.

Sign our petition to both Houses of Congress

  1. INCARCERATION OF UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN: We demand the immediate freedom of ALL immigrant children held at deportation facilities where COVID-19 has been detected. They are victims of abuse and neglect; their lives are in our hands, and they are OUR children!

Sign our petition to both Houses of Congress

  1. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR FAMILIES: We request additional financial assistance for families who lost their jobs by no fault of their own; both parties are dragging their feet in approving funding to help families with essential needs.

Sign our petition to both Houses of Congress

Friday October 23, 2020 12pm to 2pm – 9am to 11am PST

  1. IMMIGRATION REFORM: Stop massive deportations that hurt regional economies and break immigrant families. Immigrants bring significant income and tax revenue to regional economies, while provide vital work that bring food and essential products to our homes and our tables

Sign our petition to both Houses of Congress

  1. SMALL BUSINESS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: Finally, we also request immediate forgiveness for small businesses who received PPP Loans of $150,000 or less. Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs are closing their doors every day. They need OUR help!

Sign our petition to both Houses of Congress

6. WHAT’S NEXT FOR LATINOS IN THE USA? How will future generations of Latinxs live and succeed in this country? What is left of the AMERICAN DREAM?

Retreat, live and learn at Blue Osa: How a yoga retreat & spa in Costa Rica is pivoting

Charge ahead with confidence that this too shall pass and the world awaits you. This is our outlook in the midst of the pandemic as we rescheduled Renovad global retreats to 2021 and continue to collaborate with our destination partners, such as Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa in Costa Rica. 

Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa (Photo courtesy Yogi Aaron)

Rewriting the path forward

Yogi Aaron, co-founder and lead of Yoga Teacher Training programs at Blue Osa (Photo courtesy Yogi Aaron)

Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa is a special place that embodies awareness and transformation. It holds stillness for a weary traveler and soul. As Yogi Aaron, co-founder and lead of Yoga Teacher Training programs at Blue Osa, shared with us: “Especially at this time, we need to turn inward and be at peace within ourselves. Take this time to cultivate faith in yourself, your spirit guide or god, to walk on the path you are meant to be on. Ask the important questions of your life. In some ways, we are being given the chance to have a do over. How are you going to rewrite the path forward?”

It has been really hard as Blue Osa has been closed since March 14, and cash flow stopped abruptly. The region has been hit hard as 8 percent of Costa Rica’s GDP comes from tourism. Yogi Aaron believes the impact on the economy is much higher as they are not including the trickledown factor of the tourism income.

“We have budgeted a small amount of money to support as many staff as we can. We can help a little, but I fear it will not be enough,” says Yogi Aaron. “I suffer when I go into the future, and this moment has made me so aware of staying present. When I am present, I am happy and content. When I go into the future, I suffer. Badly.” 

You might be interested: Repositioning her brand, Gladys Cleaning Services faces COVID-19

How Blue Osa is staying present for a better future

As he gathers his strength and focuses on being patient and present, Yogi Aaron sees the economic turmoil as a real blessing – a loss of at least a million dollars kind of blessing. Blue Osa is evaluating everything: Who do we want to be moving forward? What kind of guests do we want to invite here? What kind of people do we want to work with? What quality of life do we want to have? 

Yoga Retreat

Be present to WIN (Photo courtesy Yogi Aaron)

Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa is using social media to stay in touch and continue to build its community. They are offering classes, tarot card readings, meditation practices and more. And they have launched an online Yoga Teacher Training 200-hour Certification and a Residential Life-Transforming Program. Yes, you can now live in Costa Rica at Blue Osa. While this is not an option for all, Renovad welcomes you to retreat in Costa Rica June 19-26, 2021

Don’t miss your opportunity to participate in Renovad’s retreat in Costa Rica June 19-26, 2021. (Photo courtesy Yogi Aaron)

In life, change is a certain constant. Turn inward to be in peace with yourself and the world. Cultivate faith in yourself and your spiritual guide to stay on your unique life path. Count your blessings. Be present to WIN. 


Guest Contributor: Pilar Avila is the founder and host of interDUCTUS & Renovad. She is a passionate human striving for higher self-awareness, health, happiness, living free, eradicating judgment and lifting every living being with compassion.

Charging ahead in life & business: Must be present to win

Pilar Avila, founder and host of interDUCTUS & Renovad (Photo courtesy Pilar Avila)

Guest Contributor: Pilar Avila is the founder and host of interDUCTUS & Renovad. She is a passionate human striving for higher self-awareness, health, happiness, living free, eradicating judgment and lifting every living being with compassion.

Our already fast-changing world is now in ever more extreme and accelerated transformation, as we continue to face a global pandemic, economic turmoil and social unrest. Before Covid, we were dealing with centralized and localized challenges within our own lives and businesses, industries, markets and countries. Today, we are impacted by what happens around the globe. Reality is things will likely get worse before they get better, and we cannot hide and ignore what is happening around us. We must keep up and, better yet, get ahead of change by anticipating what is to come and taking charge of our destiny. The key to this is to be present and make changes now for the future. 

Present changes for the future

There are two aspects to my business: interDUCTUS management consulting practice and Renovad global retreats. Some of the immediate changes we implemented are rescheduling of our 2020 retreats to 2021, and refocusing our time on our change management consulting practice. We are taking an array of trainings and certifications online to further sharpen our readiness to support our clients. We are also identifying ways to collaborate with other management consultants, and the resorts where we host retreats, to support one another and weather the health, economic and social imperfect storm. 

One of countless fun moments from a Renovad retreat (Photo courtesy Pilar Avila)

You might be interested: Beyond COVID-19: Prepare your entrepreneur skills for the survival of the fittest

Take action today

Here are a few actions we have taken and we encourage you to consider as we all charge ahead:

New dates for Renovad trips! (Photo courtesy Pilar Avila)

  1. Face change head on: Be present with eyes open wide and consider changes you can initiate vs. changes you cannot control.
  1. Focus on people and health first: Start with you and the inner circle of family, friends, colleagues, employees, collaborators, clients, neighbors and community.
  1. Establish a new rhythm for life and business: Step one is placing you on the schedule! Tap virtual business networks events, education, and fitness, and learn something new. 
  1. Mind your business: Again, consider people first by assessing any needed adjustments based on you and your team’s ability to deliver on contracts and commitments; assess clients’ needs to adjust your work flow and financial plan accordingly; know that cutting costs and staff is not always the answer, and that investing in who and what will keep you producing is an imperative investment. 
  1. Adapt. Evolve. Transform: Adapt to the virtual economy; consider offering new services and products to generate new sources of cash flow; envision how you wish to evolve and elevate as a human, and make it happen. 
  1. Face and conquer your fears: There is no fearless without fear as fear is part of our human condition and, when ignored, it can be paralyzing; place fear on notice by declaring “Fear, I see you, I know you and I am bigger and stronger than you”.

In life, change is a certain constant. Face it head on placing you, people and health first. Create a new rhythm as you evolve and transform. Remove all fears and obstacles. And be present to WIN.

Morocco 2019

Morocco 2019 Renovad’s Thanksgiving experiential retreat and a robust 2020 program

Morocco 2019 Thanksgiving Retreat– Renovad, the Latinas in Business Inc. strategic partner for international Holistic Retreats, is announcing there are only 6 spots left for their Morocco 2019 Thanksgiving Retreat -November 27 to December 2019.

I must share my personal experience in our last trip to Morocco, a country where we experienced the four seasons in 24 hours -from dust snow in the evening to freezing cold at night to Chergui wind in the morning to over 82 degrees in the afternoon! You won’t regret this fantastic adventure!

Enjoy the enchanting hosting of the Berbers!

Take advantage of a $200 OFF if you register BEFORE OCTOBER 30

Participate in this amazing trip that not only will show you a world of exotic culture but also the adventure of your lifetime!

RSVP NOW and SAVE! 

Only 6 spots left for Thanksgiving in Morocco, Nov 27 – Dec 1, 2019

 

Ready for the Chergui wind!

I personally guarantee the professionalism and dedication of RENOVAD to your enjoyment! 

Morocco 2018

Watch me riding a camel!

The changes in temperature difference are impressive. I have never spent a colder night in my life, sleeping in a tent in the middle of the dessert, all clothes I had with me, gloves, hat and four -yes 2 double- thick blankets on top of me… and I was still freezing! However, the experience is unforgettable.

Morocco 2019 Renovad Experiential Retreat will have the mystery of the East with the cosmopolitan environment of the West!  NY Yankees fans are everywhere!

 

So RENOVAD is offering a $200 OFF to one winner in a DRAW during the Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition among all attendees! Register now and participate in this amazing trip that not only will show you a world of exotic culture but also the adventure of your lifetime!

REGISTER NOW FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN! 

The next day, walking on the dunes with a t-shirt. AMAZING! See us up there? 

The next day, walking on the dunes with a t-shirt. AMAZING! See us up there?

A fantastic journey through the Atlas Mountains

This is a trip you cannot miss!!!

RSVP NOW! 

Only 6 spots left for Thanksgiving in Morocco 2019, Nov 27 – Dec 1, 2019

 

MOROCCO 2019

 

You might be interested:  Latinas in Business co-hosts Renovad experiential retreat in Rome

Notes from Pilar Avila, Renovad’s CEO

As the autumn breezes in, Renovad’s summer will remain one to remember. From launch events in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico, to scouting in Costa Rica, Greece and Tuscany, and successfully hosting their maiden voyage to Italy co-hosted by Latinas In Business, it is one for the history books.

VIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Renovad Summer to Remember

Italy 2019 – La Bella Vita

 

Renovad experiential retreats

Latinas in Business co-hosts Renovad experiential retreat in Rome

Renovad experiential retreat is coming up and we are just dying to be on the plane! It will take place in the  Eternal City -Rome- from August 27 to 31. We are proud to co-host this fantastic opportunity for women who want to get away from their stressful lives, take a breather and enjoy that female bonding that nurtures us and makes us stronger.

Renovad Experiential Retreats

The 2019 Summer Experiential Retreat will take place in Rome, Italy

It has been an eventful summer for all of us between family vacations and keeping up with our businesses. As we launched our Summer Tour, Renovad was welcomed cheerfully by our growing community of women in business and wellness in New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.

We are now a few days away from our maiden voyage to Italy: Rome & Pompeii on August 27-31. We are grateful to launch with a SOLD OUT retreat to the Roman peninsula. Among us will be former presidential and governor appointees; wellness, media, tech entrepreneurs; foundation executives; mother, daughter, niece, sisters, cousins, collaborators & friends – all extraordinary souls.

Renovad experiential retreats

Latinas in Business co-hosting Renovad experiential retreat in Rome. Join us!

Italy’s capital is a sprawling cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. You will be awestruck as you walk the Roman streets to find unidentified sites with multiple levels of underground construction silently telling stories spanning over 28 centuries.

We are staying at Hotel Isa, located in the historic centre of Rome between Piazza di Spagna, the Vatican and Piazza Navona. The main areas of interest can be easily reached walking or using public transport.

Renovad experiential retreats

Hotel Isa is the lodging for the 2019 Summer Renovad experiential retreats

 

 

 

You will step into the ancient ruins of the Forum and the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built, evoking the power of the Roman Empire. You will be inspired at St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum among Michelangelo’s masterpiece frescoes at the Sistine Chapel.

The 2019 Summer Renovad Experiential Retreat participants will be lodging at Hotel Isa -a centrally located boutique hotel.

You will be mesmerized by Pompeii, once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city, which rose from the ashes after being buried for sixteen centuries by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. And you will be nourished physically, mentally and spiritually with a daily Pilates practice at the studio of Sabina Formichella, one of the founders of the movement in Rome.

Brindisi per la bella vita!

2019 Fall Renovad Experiential Retreat in Morocco

However, the adventure doesn’t stop there! There are a few spots left for our Thanksgiving retreat in Morocco. As with all of our retreats, we will experience Morocco through the eyes of women. We will explore the ancient city of Marrakech, which has been standing since the 12th century.

Renovad experiential retreat

As we travel through the Atlas Mountains, we will visit Education For All, a boarding school for girls recently visited by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. And we will be nourished physically, mentally and spiritually with a daily yoga practice and the endless beauty of the land, people and culture of Morocco.

RSVP for MOROCCO

As we continue scouting and curating extraordinary experiences for 2020 in Greece, Costa Rica, Tuscany, Spain, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, we invite you to follow us through social media and confirm your spot for an upcoming retreat. And remember – place yourself on top of the priority list so you continue to rise for you and others in full force.

You might be interested: 6 Benefits of top management diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

Blessings and success always,

PILAR AVILA

For additional information visit Renovad Experiential Retreats

ahora te toca a ti Latinas in business Latina entrepreneurs

Women’s History Month Progress of Latina leadership in business and corporate

Since launching our LatinasinBusiness.us initiative, we have interviewed and were honored with the presence of highly respected Latina leadership. Here’s a list of the Latina entrepreneurs and Hispanic leaders in the business and corporate worlds who visited our pages and shared their experience and wisdom about the progress of Latinas with our readers (by date of publication).

 

Suzanna SanchezSuzanna Sanchez, National President of the National Latina Business Women Association (NLBWA).

“As women, we have a hard time juggling all our roles, as mothers, spouses, professionals and business owners. Organizations such as ours stand behind Latino women in business to help them thrive as leaders. We support policies that would simplify their lives while advancing their economic power.”

 

Angelica-Perez-Litwin_LatinasThinkBigDr. Perez-Litwin,  PhD, a tech social entrepreneur and psychologist  founder of LATINAS THINK BIG

“With 1.4 million computer specialist job openings expected in the U.S. by 2020, and Latinas as the fastest growing female population in this country, it is imperative that we support and advance Latinas in technology and across STEM fields.”

 

 

Angela Franco GWHCCAngela Franco, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

“ Some well-educated first generation Hispanic business owners, especially from Mexico, have opened their businesses in Washington looking for opportunities to work and engage in federal and state contracts. However, they might lack the experience some contracts require, or seniority in working with the agencies. Our goal is not only helping new businesses grow but also sustain the existing ones and help them succeed.”

 

Strayer Portraits -Dr Zoppi RodriguezDr. Irene Zoppi Rodríguez, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and the first Deputy Commander in the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico.

“Every human being has a purpose in life. Many discover it at the end of their lives, when it is too late, becoming a wasted opportunity. We cannot put time in a box so it is up to us to realize our purpose in life as soon as we can. By discovering that purpose, we can fulfill our destiny within that purpose,” Dr. Zoppi said.

 

 

Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar at the 2nd American Latino National Summit

Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar, Chair of the Board of the New America Alliance (NAA) Institute

“In 1999, a Latina Supreme Court Justice seemed but a dream. Justice Sonia Sotomayor has since inspired legions of American Latinas who can now see themselves in law careers. Latinas in business can have a role model in Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and a NAA member. Her inspiring story has already impacted Latinas in banking and now she’ll show the way from a larger platform.”

 

YazminDavidds_high_resDr. Yasmin Davidds, founder and CEO of the Latina Leadership Academy

“I have trained women in both, the organizational or corporate and the entrepreneurial environments. There are differences in every aspect of the negotiation process. In a corporation, the organizational culture designates how a woman can use her power, what is acceptable and what is not, and how much –or little- the organization is open to be questioned, so I always recommend being very cautious. Less evolved organizations have less appreciation for women and for that, they present a higher risk.”

 

Mariela Dabbah, Red Shoe Movement

Mariela Dabbah and the Red Shoe Movement

“Most women looking for empowerment usually end up trying to find a formula that worked for someone else without realizing that their characteristics and personality are likely very different from the person they are trying to emulate. The success of the Red Shoe Movement is based on providing tools for women to find their own definition of success and to follow their own style.

 

Maria_Contreras_Sweet_portraitMaria Contreras-Sweet, Head of the Small Business Administration (SBA)

“We’ve made real progress, but at the same time, Latinos have developed a special culture of entrepreneurship by starting our own enterprises. It’s remarkable to see the growth and strength of Latino-owned businesses. Latino purchasing power is expected to top $1.5 trillion by next year. This means if the American Latino market were its own country, we’d be the 11th largest economy in the world.”

 

 

vice president of research, evaluation and learning at The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Debra Joy Perez, The Annie E. Casey Foundation Vice President-Research, Evaluation and Learning Unit

“What matters to young people is to know that every one of the people they admire has had disappointments in their life. They have tried things and failed. WE have also failed. What distinguishes successful Latinas is that even after failure they try again.”

 

 

Pilar Avila, NAA

Pilar Avila CEO New America Alliance

“Less than one percent of Latinas hold high corporate and/or leadership positions. We need to build new connections, strengthen the relationships among members of the Caucus, and increase the presence of these leaders who bring particular skills to any decision table.”

 

 

Yvonne Garcia

Yvonne Garcia, National Chairwoman for the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA)

“This is the commitment we ask from top corporate management; there must be a mandate from CEOs to mentor and train our women in order to build not only technical skills but also to develop leadership strength and charisma.”

 

 

Solange Brooks, CalSTRS

Solange Brooks, CalSTRS Portfolio Manager

“Progress over the years comes from one’s own preparation. Women in general and Latinas in particular have increased their preparation, improved their education and are achieving in many areas in the workplace. In business, Latinas cannot allow any roadblocks to stop them from fulfilling their goals. You have to go over, under or around them, but you need to be strong, do the work and get that experience you need to be successful.”

 

 

Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar at the 2nd American Latino National Summit

NAA’s Fernandez-Haar on Latinas shaping history

Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar at the 2nd American Latino National Summit

Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar at the 2nd American Latino National Summit

For three consecutive years, I had the opportunity to interview the Chair of the Board of the New America Alliance (NAA) Institute Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar at their annual Wall Street Summit. Having done hundreds of political and business Latino leaders’ interviews, Ana Maria’s friendly personality and savvy approach to the topics at hand made my work extremely easy every time.

This year, NAA’s 15th Anniversary took central stage. Looking back as one of the leaders who was involved in the organization since its inception, Ana Maria believes issues related to Latino political and economic participation are still on the table; however, Latino representation cannot be underestimated. We have made great progress, especially among Hispanic women. Fifteen years at the NAA give her a unique perspective and time frame from which to evaluate progress.

“We live in a data and research-driven environment where no detail of consumer or voter behavior seems too insignificant to measure. Yet at the same time, the democratization of information through social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram has created countless new ways to communicate and connect. All the messages and images are out there, constantly shaping the perceptions that weave the very tapestry of our society,” she said.

Looking at all research available, from the U.S. Census Bureau, Nielsen reports, The Pew Hispanic Center, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and other reliable sources, they show extremely favorable trends for Hispanics, Ana Maria believes.

Their consumer, political and economic clout is clearly on the rise. According to 2013 Census Bureau figures, the drop in the poverty rate among Hispanics – from 25.6 percent in 2012 to 23.5 percent in 2013 and the only demographic group to have increased its economic power–, has impacted the decline in the nation’s overall poverty rate for the first time since 2006.

Who are the Latina pioneers?

“Especially for U.S. Latinas, the future looks promising. Many of our NAA female founding members broke glass ceilings on their own. In fact, Pilar Avila, our first Executive Director, was deemed to be CEO material from the start. It came to pass,” she said.

“In 1999, a Latina Supreme Court Justice seemed but a dream. Justice Sonia Sotomayor has since inspired legions of American Latinas who can now see themselves in law careers. Latinas in business can have a role model in Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and a NAA member. Her inspiring story has already impacted Latinas in banking and now she’ll show the way from a larger platform,” Ana Maria stated.

This progress in no small part is due to their achievement in higher educational attainments. Dr. Antonia Novello, the first Latina Surgeon General, was an unusual occurrence in 1990, Ana Maria recalls. Today, Elena Rios, MD, is the President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, surrounded by many other Latina physicians.

Pilar Avila NAA CEO

NAA CEO Pilar Avila

“On a personal note, when I was 12 years old I couldn’t even imagine a Latina such as Anna Maria Chavez leading the Girl Scouts. If I had, perhaps I wouldn’t have felt so intimidated. Nely Galan’s Adelante Movement is also making a huge difference. She is business, leadership and service in action. And so it goes,” she shared.

Looking for role models in every industry

As a former marketer, Ana Maria never underestimates the power of role models, for that is the first way most young women feel validated and inspired when considering their own paths towards success. If they remain invisible among the high achievers –with media visibility as a measure in the wider society–, that is a message in and of itself.

“But what they see in their own environments counts just as much. No doubt, those who were ‘first’ to arrive are often considered icons; perhaps even statistical outliers. Still, what it possible for one is possible for others. That is a very powerful message, and the message that all NAA women convey every day,” she said.

In the Latina universe those positive representations are increasing much more rapidly now; for instance, among Fortune 500 CEOs, only 50 are women, four are women of color, none Latina. “But if we look at the pipeline, we cannot help to be impressed with the powerful Latinas already in place. That is not counting those making their mark in STEM, tech entrepreneurs, elected office and other areas of government,” she said.

In private industry, women are assuming CEO positions in family enterprises, which used to be unheard. “Remember when companies were named with the family name and added, ‘e hijos’ (and sons)? Adriana Cisneros now leads the Cisneros Group, global leader in media and entertainment, and Doreen Dominguez does the same for the Vanir Construction Group. As I have noted, there is progress on every front,” she remarked.

Political gains also merit mentioning: Susana Martinez, an attorney and governor of New Mexico; Leticia R. San Miguel Van de Putte, a pharmacist and Texas Senator representing the 26th District in San Antonio, and Nelda Martinez, Mayor of Corpus Christie, TX.  “Look at these mid-term elections, a record number of women will serve in the incoming Congress!” she said.

And Ana Maria’s last thought, “Every Latina in the United States is connected to Latin America in some way. So while we wait for the first woman to become U.S.  President, we should keep in mind Latin American presidents such as Cristina Fernandez, Dilma Rousseff, Laura Chinchilla, Michelle Bachelet or think back to Violeta Chamorro. Could this be considered predictive?” she concluded.