Posts

“You have the power to change the narrative”: Selina Sosa empowers young Latinas to succeed

Selina Sosa is a serial-entrepreneur with three businesses in diverse fields, from the food truck industry to life coaching and a non-profit for young Latinas.  

Selina Sosa, serial entrepreneur and founder of Ethnic Perspective non-profit for young Latinas.

Supporting young Latinas’ success with non-profit

A transplant from New York, Selina currently resides in Texas with her family who are the love and joy of her life. Always working toward a goal, she is currently pursuing a degree in cultural anthropology, all while working full-time and juggling her three businesses: Flavors of the Islands, a food truck she runs with her husband; Selina Sosa Coaching, a coaching business for career development, and Ethnic Perspective, a non-profit for young Latinas. 

Selina founded Ethnic Perspective in October of 2016 after seeing a need in the community, especially for young Latinas. She noticed there was a lack of Latina representation in many areas of business, education, science and technology. 

“I set out to find women who are making strides in every field and bring a more personal approach to their accomplishments,” she says. “I founded Ethnic Perspective to encourage young women to define their own ideas of success by means of entrepreneurship through education and mentoring.” 

This has been a great passion in Selina’s life and while there have been many hurdles, she continues to look for ways to connect and collaborate with other women to ensure our young Latinas are not left behind. 

“Anything you start will be met with obstacles or struggles,” says Selina.

When she began her non-profit, some of the obstacles she first encountered were around money. “I did not realize the financial investment I would be making starting a non-profit,” she says. “The laws and regulations were not in my area of expertise.” 

Luckily, Selina had people to act as a helping hand and walk her through the process, as well as a plethora of resources online. 

One obstacle she was not prepared for however, was getting women to trust what she was bringing with her organization. 

“In that process, I saw a great lack of support,” she says. “Many people expressed a lack of inclusivity. Why only Latina girls? That was always the question. The truth is why not? Our culture, upbringing, beliefs tend to be vastly different. To meet the needs of a people group, you have to interpret the culture. The hardest part was when other Latina women would also come down on our cause. My heart is still set on changing that narrative.” 

“You have the power to change the narrative”

As a minority business owner, Selina cites her biggest strengths as accountability, honesty, and a drive to finish no matter how hard. She also holds firmly to the belief that: “If you have started anything, you did it because you manifested an innate desire to succeed or make a difference.” 

These strengths and beliefs are her core foundation that have helped her build her successful businesses and push through hardships. 

“On the days that I feel like giving up because I do not see the outcome I hoped for, I remember why I started. Nothing worth fighting for comes easy. Every business established requires a firm foundation to last, if you leave before that foundation is laid it will never achieve its maximum potential,” says Selina. 

Part of laying this foundation is putting in the work and not being afraid to fail. Through all her years in business, Selina has learned not to give up and not to be afraid of failure. 

“Everything requires work, so put the work in. Failure can only come if you try,” she says. “So do it! Make the move. If one strategy is not working, seek another. Keep the pieces on the board moving. It will be the only way to succeed.”

Another key to creating a strong foundation is to know when to ask for help. “As Latinas we often have this ‘I can do it all’ pride –and we can– however, that does not mean you can’t have help along the way,” Selina reminds us. 

You might be interested: SHE founder Verónica Sosa builds Hispanic women entrepreneurs global community

Selina is grateful to all the women who saw her vision and helped her make her non-profit for young Latinas a reality.  

“I can not speak about the organization without shining a light on those that helped me start the venture,” she says. “Shelly Cassady was with me from the beginning and was the VP for 4 years. She helped bring insight from the perspective of an educator. Briana Reyes & Rikeisha Cunningham-Byrd were my two college students who were on our board of directors. They helped provide insight into the needs of their generation. Since then the faces of our organization have changed but the heart behind the mission has not.”

These women and others helped give Selina balance and clarity as she built Ethnic Perspective and together they also published a book, Rise Up to Greatness, to share their inspiring stories as women, entrepreneurs, and Latinas. 

Ethnic Perspective, Rise Up to Greatness, young Latinas

Rise Up to Greatness features the stories of 11 fiery women who have come together to create this compilation book and devotional. Not only do they speak about faith in God, but share their personal stories of tests, trials, and triumphs to encourage, uplift, and inspire young women.

We wanted other women to know no matter where you started, you have the power to change the narrative of your ending,” says Selina about the book. “In the process of all of this, my mother was fighting a battle with cancer. When I wrote the book, I was able to share with her my vision and stories about things that happened that she did not know about growing up. She was able to see my book be published, and I was able to hear her express her love and that she was proud.” 

Unfortunately, a year after Selina had begun this journey, her mother lost her battle with cancer. 

“There is something about the loss of someone who meant everything to you, that gives you the drive to succeed. She would have loved all that we were able to accomplish and I know would have been standing right there with me along the journey.”

Now, Selina continues her journey, helping other young Latinas succeed and reach their own dreams. 

Ethnic Perspective is dedicated to stepping up their efforts in addressing issues within Hispanic communities through cooperation and community empowerment. They strive to make a difference, and invite you to learn more here.

Perla Tamez with volunteers

Latina Serial Entrepreneur Perla Tamez shares lessons learned

Perla Tamez is a Latina serial entrepreneur, child speech pathologist assistant, and public speaker. For the last decade she has dedicated her life’s work to empowering others to unlock their truest potential. From her thriving outpatient pediatric clinics to her advocacy work for healthcare and children’s rights policies, Perla is a powerhouse of unstoppable drive. 

serial entrepreneur

Perla Tamez, National Speaker at 2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit (Latinas in Business)

Perla grew up in the small town of Hidalgo, Texas, where she learned at a young age to run toward her dreams. An overachiever in high school, Perla graduated with fifty-two college hours already under her belt and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, which allowed her to devote her passion to help children rehabilitate. Then at the age of just twenty-one Perla founded her first outpatient pediatric clinic, Dynamic Rehab Group, which over the past eleven years has grown into one of the largest providers in South Texas. 

Lessons learned from a serial entrepreneur 

Throughout her 12 years of business, Perla has had startups in 13 industries. She is a serial entrepreneur. She’s tried it all, from publishing a local magazine, owning a high-end furniture store, importing and exporting fruits and vegetables…the list goes on and on. 

Not all of her ventures have been successful, but Perla sees every experience–even the failures–as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

“I’ve had several business failures. Seven of my startups were not good deals, but the lessons I gained are invaluable and I continue to grow my expertise to help others not make the same mistakes,” says Perla. “A failure when accepted and turned into knowledge is gold.” 

After years of experience, and many ups and downs, Perla has learned from past mistakes and offers a few words of advice to other young business women aspiring to conquer their dreams. 

Her 3-step process is as follows: 

  1. Identify your goal: Having a clear goal is key. 
  2. Next, recognize your team: Those who support you will be the ones helping you reach your goals, so make sure you surround yourself with the right people.
  3. Finally, celebrate your success and accept constructive criticism.

Most importantly, Perla says, “Never give up and keep pushing.” 

Finding success and fulfillment in speech pathology 

Her ambitious, goal oriented mentality is what helped her find success in her passion as a child speech pathologist. 

In an interview with Authority Magazine, Perla recounted how as a teenager she often visited her mother’s adult daycare center. “During those visits, I noticed speech therapists working with elderly clients who experienced issues with their speech following traumatic brain injuries or severe strokes,” she said. Seeing them find their voices again was an amazing and uplifting experience that would later inspire her to pursue a career in speech pathology. 

Her rehabilitation clinic has helped thousands of children over the past decade to rehabilitate and progress in their language abilities. Child speech pathologists help children process and understand information, while also addressing other issues such as decreasing stuttering or improving articulation. Language is one of the major tools we use to express ourselves and connect with others and the work child speech pathologists do is often life-changing for children. For Perla, it has been incredibly inspiring to witness her patients reaching big life milestones. 

“My favorite anecdote is recently when one of our patients with Down Syndrome graduated from high school,” she shares. “He was our very first patient, 12 years ago. Seeing him graduate was a big success to our therapist and family. As his mom said, we were a  big part of his rehabilitation process.” 

Moments like these are the true markers of success for Perla. Having started multiple businesses in her 12 plus years as an entrepreneur, she has learned that success is not found in monetary numbers, but in the impact of her work. She couldn’t have imagined how many lives she would help when she took that leap of faith and launched her first startup straight out of college at 21, but all the obstacles and challenges have been worth it. 

Supporting Hispanic communities during Covid-19

In addition to her work in speech pathology, Perla’s passion for service extends to her work as the National Hub Director of Hispanic Star, leading 30 plus chapters of Latinos around the U.S., who are role models in their communities. 

Hispanic Star volunteers distributing essential products to communities in need (Photo courtesy of Perla Tamez)

Perla joined Hispanic Star because of her passion for supporting fellow Hispanics reach their own goals and dreams. 

You might be interested: Ojala Threads social entrepreneur supports underserved communities during the pandemic

Hispanic Star volunteers (Photo courtesy of Perla Tamez)

“As a minority owned business, I support women and minorities. I have 99% Latina women in my company and as we support them, we grow in support from our community,” says Perla. 

At Hispanic Star, she is working to further amplify the voices of Hispanics. 

“Hispanics have to be seen, heard, and valued! This is our time to shine!” 

During Covid-19, the organization has been specifically working to help support Hispanic communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic in the U.S. 

In the past 3 months Hispanic Star has helped over 200,000 people and raised $150,000 to help people secure food and hygiene essentials and pay rent and utility bills.

These numbers will hopefully continue to grow with donations and volunteer support from corporations, community members, and leaders. 

You might be interested: Latinas In Business Virtual 2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit