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gender inclusion in the workplace

Mariela Dabbah, the perils of a global pandemic for gender inclusion in the workplace

As 2020 draws to a close, Mariela Dabbah, founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement, reflects on the Covid-19 pandemic impact for gender inclusion in the workplace. The pandemic has touched all communities and industries across the globe but most importantly, it has affected the lives of women. The consequential economic crisis is now being called the “she-cession” because women, especially those working full-time jobs, have been mostly affected by having to keep up with their jobs remotely AND managing children and their schooling at home. 

Mariela Dabbah, founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement (Photo courtesy Mariela Dabbah)

Mariela Dabbah, founder of a leadership development company powered by a global community of women and men allies who support each other for career success, is working to give women the support they need amid these challenging times. 

The TEDx and International speaker, award-winning, best-selling author and go-to corporate authority for Fortune 500 companies interested in inclusive cultures sat for an interview with LatinasinBusiness.us on this very specific and concerning topic. 

How the pandemic has affected women in the workplace

Despite much progress over the years in regards to the issue of gender equity in the workplace, women are still under-represented in higher level positions, with only 7% of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. “And while many organizations boast of having a higher percentage of women than men at lower levels of the pyramid, it continues to be very lonely at the top,” Mariela says. 

In the post-Covid landscape, some of this small progress is now being dialed back. The most recent research shows how women have been much more affected by the pandemic, with one in four considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce. Many organizations are now losing their female and diverse talent at higher rates than before. 

“This is connected to the fact that women and particularly women with diverse backgrounds and with disabilities have less resources needed to support them at this time. Primarily, reasons include women tending to be the person in charge of childcare, but also, they generally make less than their male counterparts. When a decision needs to be made of who in the household will quit their job, it’s usually women,” says Mariela. 

As the primary caregivers in most households, women were already in charge of the many hours of unpaid work related to raising a family and keeping a home. This past year they have had to shoulder even more of these responsibilities as lockdowns caused children to become homeschooled through distance learning. The struggle of juggling their careers while being a hands-on parent and maintaining their household has forced many women to compromise, step back or quit all together. 

Foreseeing a negative pandemic effect on women in the workplace early on, Mariela and her team developed programs and initiatives to support them. 

The pandemic shock first, the impact later 

“It’s been a very tough year for all of us,” says Mariela. “The first few weeks of the pandemic, I felt as lost as everyone else. It wasn’t so much the change of working from home rather than going to the office. I’ve been working mostly virtually for the last decade. It was more a feeling of unease. Feeling drained. Having no willpower, having not one spark of creativity. As if everything had literally been put on pause, even my brain.” 

This same feeling has been felt by many women struggling to adjust to this new post-Covid reality. It’s hard to figure out what to do next when the future feels uncertain, with no access to resources and support systems to help them navigate these tumultuous changes. 

Women across the globe coming together virtually in solidarity for gender inclusion in the workplace (Photo courtesy Mariela Dabbah)

“It wasn’t long before we started hearing horrible stories of women being overwhelmed by trying to juggle all the new responsibilities. For instance, stories of bosses micromanaging their teams to the point of asking associates to have their cameras on during the 8 to 10-hour workday so they could check on them,” Mariela shares. 

Mariela and her team immediately created a program to address this sense of impotence and being overwhelmed to provide women with a support system that helps them avoid making rash decisions. Additionally, they have launched an initiative that continues to propel the fight for gender inclusion in the workplace. 

 

gender inclusion in the workplace

#InclusionIsNotOnPause initiative (Photo courtesy Mariela Dabbah)

“We launched the #InclusionIsNotOnPause initiative to remind everyone that we needed to keep our eyes on the gender-inclusion ball or we’d lose a lot of our hard-earned gains of the past few decades. This initiative provides a set of tactics that organizations can implement to openly show their support for inclusion of all its talent.”

Continuing the fight for gender inclusion 

Join the #RedShoeTuesday campaign! (Photo courtesy Mariela Dabbah)

Despite the pandemic and the struggles this past year, 2020 has also been a time of growth for many, Mariela included. This strange year has had its ups and downs, and for many the “break” from our traditional routines has led to inspiration and sparked new ideas for innovation. 

“I’ve been very lucky this year just by staying healthy.  Also, the fact that we’ve been delivering our programs virtually for so long played to our advantage; we made tweaks and improvements to everything we offer. My team and I kept coming up with new ways to better serve our clients now that they are all working from home,” says Mariela.

One personal highlight of 2020 that stands out to her is her invitation to present at TEDx Deer Park Women

“It was an amazing opportunity to share my vision for promoting a Global Leap of Consciousness in gender equity with our #RedShoeTuesday campaign.”

What’s next in women equity in the workplace?

“As the pandemic has proven, it’s impossible to predict what will happen five years from now. But our mission is to level the playing field for women and we will continue to do whatever we can to achieve it,” says Mariela. 

The Red Shoe Movement continues to develop new programs to address the needs of its clients and communication campaigns that keep raising awareness to reach gender equity. One of their latest programs is the Allyship Circles to help people talk about problematic issues in a safe environment. “The goal is to foster a culture of inclusion as quickly as possible so that all associates feel like they belong and that they are valued for their contributions,” Mariela explains.  

gender inclusion in the workplace

Wear your red shoes too for gender inclusion in the workplace! #RedShoeTuesday (Photo courtesy Mariela Dabbah)

We have seen many women step into leadership positions this past year, especially in politics. Each time a woman rises in leadership, it shows others that this too is possible for them. That kind of mentality is what Mariela hopes to continue to foster moving forward. 

You may be interested: Gender diversity in the C-suite, where Latinas stand

“The ‘seeing is believing’ kind of effect really works,” she said. “But progress inside corporations continues to be very slow. At the higher levels, there tends to be more women in roles such as HR, Communications and Marketing and many less in other areas of the business. However, since #BlackLivesMatter, the country seems to have experienced an awakening and as a result, organizations seem to be honestly committed to real change. We’ll have to wait and see if these changes stick. For now, we are seeing a wave of companies looking for real solutions to the inequity situation and this will have an impact not only on Black associates but on all under-represented groups, including women.” 

The future ahead is still uncertain, but as we head into the new year, Mariela and the Red Shoe Movement are more focused than ever in ensuring that she and her team continue to help women prosper and thrive in their careers.

best Holiday gifts

10 best Holiday gifts to support Latina entrepreneurs

Still looking for the best Holiday gifts? Here are some ideas that not only will be a great gift but also will help a Latina entrepreneur achieve her dreams!

At LatinasinBusiness.us, we are all about promoting Latina entrepreneurs and Latina small businesses. We also support the work of numerous Latina leaders in the country so here is a list of the best Holiday gifts you can choose to make a great impression and yet support a Latina working woman.

  1. Donate $50 to our campaign and receive a beautiful LatinasinBusiness.us Tote Bag

Looking for a gift that will make a difference?

We donated $2000 to Puerto Rico and Mexico Disaster Relief funds through the Hispanic Federation. Now we need YOUR help to continue supporting our labor of love.

For three years now, we have been promoting Latina small businesses with five employees or less COMPLETELY FREE! Only a small $50 donation will help us continue helping Latina entrepreneurs and Latina small businesses achieve their dreams.

Donate $50 and you will receive our thanks with a very practical LatinasinBusiness.us Tote Bag that will proudly announce, “I support a Latina entrepreneur.”

 

  1. Today’s Inspired Latina™
best Holiday gifts

Yai Vargas, Founder Latinistas and Minue Yoshida, business and public speaking coach

 

Today’s Inspired Latina™ is a book series of inspiration and hope, a poignant collection of personal stories that will activate your passion.  These are success stories that need to be told, to motivate our community for generations to come. By overcoming language barriers, self-doubts and other obstacles in their way, these strong Latinas are a great example of how inspiration and perseverance can lead you to happiness and success in business and life. It’s a positive, empowering read for anyone sitting on a dream and thinking it can’t come true. Today’s Inspired Latina™ shows that it can!

 

 

 

 

Hanging Secrets intimate apparel organizer closet

Hanging Secrets intimate apparel organizer

3. Hanging Secrets

Frances Prado is the winner of several national contests and a Home Shopping Network regular with her extraordinary bras and underwear organizer “Hanging Secrets.”

Frances is a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants who found her passion of being a Latina entrepreneur later in life and is devoting part of her profits to cancer research. ‘

This practical and useful product comes in two versions so you have choices, the regular size that fits perfectly in your closet, and the traveler size to take all your intimates in a perfect condition no matter where or how long you are traveling. Get them both!

 

 

  1. Tu Mejor Edad – Para tener una vida extraordinaria

The inspiring story of the founder and editor-in-chief of Vivafifty.com, a community of women in their thirties, forties, fifties and beyond who want to live their lives without barriers and enjoy every minute of it. Lorraine C Ladish is a prolific author, blogger, writer and social media maven that has created a dynamic community of women around the world.

your best age lorraine ladish

 

  1. Lux Beauty Club Hair Extensions

From Human Wavy Tape-In Hair Extensions to Clip-Ins, and from Synthetic Clip-In Hair Extensions to Synthetic Straight Flip-In Hair Extensions, there is something for everyone who would like to have astonishing hair. Lux Beaty Club is now offering 10% discount if you get in before the end of year!

hair extensions Lux Beauty Club

 

  1. Red Shoe Movement

Buy any of the products featured on the Red Show Movement site and you will be on your way to a fantastic journey of empowerment and networking. From books to webinars to charms and more, the Red Shoe Movement is a powerful opportunity to make your career dreams a reality in corporate and in business.

Red Shoe Movement Signature Event

Showing support for #RedShoeTuesday Red Shoe Movement event

 

gourmet popcorn Carmen Milagros Torres

 

 

 

  1. The Popcornerie

Why do people love popcorn? Carmen Milagros Torres grasped the childhood tastes and smells of our childhood to remind everyone that popcorn is a commodity no matter our age. Tampa Bay’s The Porcornerie takes your order by phone or online so don’t wait to visit their site!

 

 

  1. LuMesh Lip Gloss

The only lip gloss you will ever need! It takes care of your winter lips and hydrate the thirsty summer kisses! LuMesh lip gloss is a permanent solution to regular and bothersome touchups and in a great variety of shades that interact with every skin tone. Buy it as a gift or for yourself!

LuMesh lip gloss

 

Chef Amalia's first book received nine national and regional awards.

Chef Amalia’s first book received nine national and regional awards.

 

 

  1. Amalia’s Guatemalan Kitchen – Gourmet Cuisine with a Cultural Flair

Internationally known as a socially responsible innovative entrepreneur, chef and philanthropist, Amalia Moreno-Damgaard has dedicated a great part of her life to becoming a healthy gourmet chef, author and speaker and has received numerous awards and international recognitions. A great gift for those with Guatemalan cuisine nostalgia or just those who love to try new recipes!

 

 

  1. Empanada Fork
Hipatia Lopez with Empanada Fork, best Holiday gifts

Hipatia Lopez with her invention Empanada Fork

 

 

We could not end our 2017 Holiday Gifts list without our Empanada Fork, the creation of inventor Hipatia Lopez who was last year winner of Project American Dreams at the Home Shopping Network. Hipatia is one of very few Latina entrepreneurs in the USA with a patented invention. She has dedicated her life to promote Latino culture and encourage other Latinas to create and innovate.

 

So make your selections and support our work of love by helping any of these Latina entrepreneurs by finding your best Holiday gift!

Latina entrepreneurs

Red Shoe Movement interviews Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us

Latina entrepreneurs are a rare species, not in numbers but in quality. Once they find their life purpose, they dedicate their lives to it. Mariela Dabbah is one of them. I met Mariela, founder of the Red Shoe Movement, a few years ago and we connected, maybe because we have similar backgrounds -in country of origin, as immigrants and in many other aspects of our lives. Mariela has become a great supporter of LatinasinBusiness.us, and I’m eternally grateful for it. 

Susana G Baumann with Red Shoe Movement leader Mariela Dabbah Latina entrepreneurs

Susana G Baumann with Red Shoe Movement leader Mariela Dabbah

For Latina entrepreneurs interested in growing their business, there are few people as focused on their challenges as Susana Baumann. Inspiring, generous and connected, her organization is making a difference for small women-owned businesses and the communities they serve. Get to know her!

A multicultural expert, award-winning business writer, public speaker and published author, Susana Baumann is the Founder and Director of LCSWorldwide, a Multicultural Marketing Communications consulting firm located in New Jersey. Susana is the Editor-in-Chief of her company’s new initiative, LatinasinBusiness.us, an online platform dedicated to the economic empowerment of the Latina working woman.

The platform has received the attention and support of Latina leaders around the country including the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the New America Alliance (NAA), and the National Latina Business Women Association (NLBWA). She has received the Latina Excellence Award, the TECLA Award for Best Business Blog at Hispanicize 2015, and was invited to become a media member of the NAA American Latina Leadership Caucus. In 2017, Susana Baumann was named a 2017 Latina of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine.

Most importantly, Susana Baumann is a constant presence in initiatives that matter to Latina entrepreneurs, always ready to provide insights, support and visibility to those who need it most.

Susana Baumann supporting Latina entrepreneurs

Susana Baumann supporting Latina entrepreneurs

RSM— How does someone with your background in architecture and marketing communications decide to focus on Latina entrepreneurs?

Susana G Baumann (SB) — The beauty of moving to another country is the opportunity to find who you really are and what your purpose is. I studied Architecture in Argentina because my father chose that career for me. I had some inclination for the arts but he considered Architecture a more profitable career. I only worked as an architect for a few years and then I became a college professor.

When I had the opportunity to move to the US, I decided a professional accreditation would allow me to work here in something that I always loved, writing and publishing. So I went back to the student’s seat and finished a second Masters degree. My knowledge of English was also an advantage to find work as a bridge between Americans and a burgeoning Latino market that was still growing. I immediately recognized the opportunity to become the voice of many Latinos who didn’t or couldn’t speak for themselves.

After several jobs in corporate and public service, in 1996 I started a home-based, side business. I started as a small translation company but many of my clients had little understanding of the Latino market cultural nuances. A simple translation would not deliver their message. The business took a life of its own and we became a Multicultural Marketing Communications agency.

The focus on Latina entrepreneurs came later, only three years ago, as a result of my experience as a Latina small business owner, and the need to “pay it forward.” I launched LatinasinBusiness.us as my legacy to those young Latinas starting their own struggle as entrepreneurs, to help them overcome the obstacles I had to conquer on my own. Nobody needs to do this alone; there are many resources out there to help Latina entrepreneurs and small businesses if they reach out and show up.

The Role of Latina Entrepreneurs in the U.S. Economy

RSM— Why are Latina entrepreneurs a key segment of the U.S. economy?

SB— Latinas are, as everybody knows by now, the fastest growing demographic opening businesses in the U.S. Not everybody knows, however, that they have a high rate of failure as well. And their revenue growth is not as relevant as their white female counterparts –that extends to Latino male-owned businesses as well.

By helping them grow and sustain their businesses, not only we help them. We also help close a gap in the US economy (a gap that runs in the billions of dollars,) of missed revenue and job creation opportunities. This could help the communities that Latina entrepreneurs serve, grow. Latina small businesses are American businesses. They represent almost 20% of 4.3M Latino-owned business across the country and these are big numbers!

RSM— What do you think are some advantages that Latina entrepreneurs have in this VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) business environment?

SB— The same advantages small business owners always have to hone! I will bring you another acronym, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). As a small business owner, you have to be constantly vigilant about everything that is happening around you, locally, nationally and internationally, so you can make the best decisions for your business. This principle allowed me to survive for over 20 years and constantly reinvent myself according to the circumstances and opportunities that presented themselves. An entrepreneur is a person who is constantly looking for innovation, improvement and to size up new opportunities!

Susana G Baumann, Editor-in-Chief LIBizus Latina entrepreneurs

Susana G Baumann, Editor-in-Chief LIBizus

Learning From Failure and What Can Latina Entrepreneurs Do Better

RSM— Understanding we are generalizing here, are there any particular areas where Latina entrepreneurs could make some adjustments to better reach their business goals?

SB— I speak about this all the time: Break out of your isolation and support each other. We work hard but tend to stay isolated, make our own decisions without bouncing off ideas of other entrepreneurs or business people. And sometimes, being your own advisor might not be the best advice!

Another important issue is that women need to support each other, something men do very well. Women tend to be more judgmental with each other –again, generalizing- and decide in the first three minutes of meeting someone if they like them or not. This judgment is usually made as a response to the other person’s appearance. We need to stop those behaviors, become more socially adept and find good in every person we meet. They might have qualities we don’t have that can help us grow as a person and as a business!

RSM— What have you learned from your own failures as a Latina entrepreneur?

SB— Looking back, when I started my business I had the idea that I was invincible and I was never going to fail. HA! I was hit hard many times. Some situations were of my own making –such as when we had to fold our beautiful bilingual newspaper Periódico Latino, because we couldn’t sustain it. Others were circumstances out of my control –such as the Great Recession of 2008-2010. In both instances, I stayed in the pity-pot for a while, and then I picked up myself and reinvented my business. Once at the bottom, I didn’t feel I had a choice other than going up. I just had to work smarter and even harder, be very persistent. Having a business involves a lot of sacrifices, long hours, lost vacation opportunities, little social life, plus being constantly on the look out for opportunities and for those who can provide them.

Latina entrepreneurs with Susana Baumann

Latina entrepreneurs with Susana G Baumann at 2016 Pitch your Business Competition

RSM— You offer a wonderful opportunity for Latina entrepreneurs to pitch their business and learn a ton of insights from leaders in the field. Tell us about the Latina Small Business Expo.

SB— After two successful years of conducting our “Pitch Your Business to the Media” competition, we have added the Latina SmallBiz Expo to this annual event. We want to celebrate and showcase the power of Latina entrepreneurs in the region, the driving force of many markets such as beauty, retail, clothing, telephone services, food and beverage, financial services and many more.

As I said before, Latina entrepreneurs and small businesses work in isolation. We need to get them out of that isolation and help them find the resources they need to succeed. This is another reason we have the Latina SmallBiz Expo: To bring resources such as IFundWomen, a national organization that runs crowfunding campaigns only for women’s businesses, and the Union County Economic Development Corporation (UCEDC), which is offering a discounted rate business loan through the Tory Burch Foundation. Both organizations will take applications at our event so I encourage those who are looking for funding not to miss this unique opportunity.

One last comment: We encourage the general public to attend this great event and choose LSBEPuertoRico General Admission ($10) at online registration ($15 at the door). Those tickets will be donated in full to Puerto Rico Disaster Relief. To register and for information: https://latinasbizexpo.eventbrite.com/

You can connect with Susana Baumann via social media on Twitter: @LIBizus

Facebook: LatinasinBusiness.us  FB Discussion group: We are LatinasinBusiness.us

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susanabaumann/      LinkedIn Page: LatinasinBusiness.us Discussion Group

This article was published originally on the Red Shoe Movement site. 

Mariela Dabbah, Red Shoe Movement

Q&A with Red Shoe Movement founder Mariela Dabbah

Red Shoe Movement Signature Event in NYC

Red Shoe Movement Signature Event in NYC

Have you heard of the Red Shoe Movement (RSM)? It is the only women empowerment platform born from a movement and sustained by a movement. Mariela Dabbah, its founder and leader, is a world-renowned thought-leader, international speaker, corporate consultant, and best-selling author who has been helping Latinos and women connect the dots to achieve success for twenty years.

Now, she is getting ready to launch her Signature Event of the year at MetLife, a gathering that nobody interested in personal and professional growth can miss. Seriously!

This year 2015 has been an important one for Mariela, when she was selected as one of the “25 Most Powerful Women” by People en Español. Her “madrina” was Maria Elena Salinas, another powerful Latina in media.

We asked Mariela to talk about the event, about her and her future plans. These are her answers.

Mariela Dabbah, Founder of the Red Shoe Movement

Mariela Dabbah, Founder of the Red Shoe Movement with her Lola Ramona shoes

Q: What is the goal of this new event happening November 9 at MetLife? What impact do you expect to create in the participants?

Mariela: This is our annual RSM Signature Event, an event unlike anything you’ve seen. And not only because 90 percent of the people show up with red shoes and ties, but also because of the goals and format. The goal is to provide women with a space to discover what they want professionally for themselves, to experience an “aha” moment that will guide the next steps in their careers. We attain this by inviting them to actively participate in six conversations about topics that are very relevant for career growth. Topics include how to discover your passion, engaging men to propel your career forward, what is executive presence and how to develop it, winning negotiation strategies, embracing assertiveness, and how to be the CEO of your own career

During these conversations, facilitated by senior executives trained in our methodology, women have a sense of how much they have to offer and how much there is to learn. And of course, they become part of a powerful community of likeminded women who support their objectives.

Q: What is the driving force of the Red Shoe Movement now that is has become an international movement? Why do you think it is so successful –in addition to your dedication and passion for empowering women? What does it “awake” in women?

Mariela: We only started three years ago and we now have fans in over 130 countries and work with companies across the US and Latin America helping them develop and promote their female employees.

The 7 Red Shoe Movement Principles along with our #RedShoeTuesday campaign give women a sense of ownership and purpose. Something concrete they can do to fulfill their career goals while helping others to fulfill theirs. The message around defining your own success so you may align your aspirations with your career objectives is very powerful. It all came out of my book Find Your Inner Red Shoe (Penguin 2013). And of course the fact that, as a leadership development company focused on diverse women, we offer year-round coaching and resources to help them move to the next level in their careers. Because both large corporations and individual women can subscribe to our Step Up program it has made it very easy for people to jump on board.

Q: Can you explain a little bit the Red Shoe Tuesday campaign?

Mariela: The Red Shoe Tuesday is a campaign we launched from the very beginning. We encourage people to wear red shoes and ties to go to work every Tuesday to show support for the career advancement of women. This action helps to keep up the conversation about the value of having more women in leadership positions and about what women and organizations can do to make it happen.

L to R: Mariela Dabbah, Maria Salinas Adamari Lopez

L to R: Adamari Lopez, Mariela Dabbah, Maria Elena Salinas

Q: What is important for Mariela Dabbah now that you have achieved recognition as one of People en Español “25 Most Powerful Women”? What is not important anymore? What is next?

Mariela: I was honored to be nominated by Maria Elena Salinas for this powerful list. It’s a great milestone because it gives me and the RSM more visibility so that more women can benefit from being part of our community.

It has also been an important year as we developed amazing relationships with Lola Ramona and Farylrobin, our shoe sponsors. They have enabled us to take our work to the next level by helping us make our events, webinars and programs that much more fun with lots of shoe giveaways!

Nothing has changed much in terms of what’s important to me, though. I still work hard to create and deliver the best quality content across everything I do. I still value each one of my relationships. I still underpromise and overdeliver. So far, my strategy seems to be working well.

Q: Where can people register for the event on November 9 in NYC?

Mariela: Readers can register here for the event. As fans and readers of LatinasinBusiness.us, you can get a 20 percent discount using this coupon rsmsepa2015 at checkout.

 

We also wanted to get the views of our friend and fantastic leader Ali Curi, President and Founder of Hispanic Professionals Networking Group (HPNG), who will be the MC and interviewer for the Signature event.

Ali Curi, President and Founder Hispanic Professional Networking Group

Ali Curi, President and Founder Hispanic Professional Networking Group

Q: What is the added value that Hispanic Professionals bring to the table to the Red Shoe Movement?

Ali: HPNG has had a long history of creating a platform for Latino leaders to share their experiences with other Hispanic professionals. We’re honored to be able to contribute to the RSM Signature Event by inviting HPNG members to learn from Red Shoe Movement members and for them to share their own insight for a well-rounded experience for everyone.

Q: What it means personally and professionally to you to be part of this event?

Ali: Personally, to be involved in great endeavors that service Latino professionals such as this one is part of my DNA. I have always maintained a mission of collaboration with my peers and other organizations to better our Hispanic community as a whole. Am I’m thrilled that I can personally contribute by leading the Lunch Keynote Interview that day.