Feature American Dream Latina entrepreneurs

3 reasons the American Dream is not dead for Latina entrepreneurs

“The American Dream is dead”, according to recent studies cited by the New York Times. These studies reveal that more than half of Americans believe the American Dream is dead, never existed, or is unachievable. And nearly 6 in 10 people who responded to CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International, feel the dream — however they define it — is out of reach.

Calling all Latina entrepreneurs and Latina biz owners in the Northeast reh to participate at our Latina SmallBiz and Pitch your Biz Competition November 9 in Newark NJ. For registration and details or call 848 238 6090

Latina entrepreneurs at GWHCC Biz Expo American Dream

Latina entrepreneurs at GWHCC Biz Expo

Despite the gloomy statistics there is one notable exception – Latinas. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Hispanic women are defying the trend and with great optimism starting businesses at a rate six times faster than the population at large. Along with their Latino hermanos, Hispanic-owned businesses have grown by over 43 percent in the last decade and now number over 2.3 million strong.

There are good reasons for the average American to feel they will never reach their dreams. Despite the recent economic recovery, lower unemployment and a stabilization of housing prices, the public continues to feel insecure about the future and their financial stability. This anxiety is palpable and exacerbated by the widening gap between rich and poor in America today. In terms of wealth inequality, we are the fourth highest in the world (trailing Russia, the Ukraine, and Lebanon).

According to recent studies upward mobility in the U.S. has stayed the same in the past 50 years despite skyrocketing inequality. Surprisingly, these studies reveal that it is actually harder to move up in America than it is in most other advanced nations. Today it is easier to rise above the class you’re born into in countries like Japan, Germany, Australia, and the Scandinavian nations, according to research from the University of Ottawa and others.

Americans’ pessimism about their future is reinforced by the realization that “upward mobility”, the bedrock tenet of the American Dream principle, is an illusion. It is widely accepted that for the dream to be real, everyone –regardless of their circumstances of birth, race, religion or gender–, should be able to reach their highest potential if they followed society’s rules, got a good education and worked hard and long enough. Yet, the reality seems much different today.

Ivette Monney and Ana Tellez Claros American Dream

Ivette Monney and Ana Tellez Claros, Housing and Comm Services Northern Virginia Inc.

“Latinas are one of the most resilient demographic groups I’ve met in business,” said Susana G Baumann, editor-in-chief of “Although we might not achieve the higher ranks in terms of wealth other groups do –such as white males– we are extremely consistent with our activity, provide employment for family members and other people in our communities, sustain our families as head of household in many cases –even supporting extended family–, all of it without letting negative circumstances or obstacles defeat us, and keeping our dreams alive,” she said.

While there are many individual reasons why Latinas continue to defy the odds and are confidently pursuing their dreams, the central reasons revolve around three core cultural values that define what it means to be Latino …Faith, Family and Frijoles.


Reaching for your dreams requires faith. And while it is true that most Latinos are religious, 68% identify as Roman Catholic according to the Pew Hispanic Project, faith means much more than adhering to religious doctrine or a belief in God. Faith is what inspires Latinos to be the first in our family to attend college, start a business or run for public office when money is scarce and the odds are against you. Faith is what sustains us when times are hard and the dream seems out of reach. For many Latinos, faith alone is the reason we believe in the American Dream instead of a life of struggle.


Family is the heart of the Latin soul. Family, our extended family, is central to Latino identity and is where we get the inspiration, love and support to achieve our dreams. Every major decision Latinos make, like whether to start a business, is done not in isolation but is weighed against the impact on the family as a whole. According to a study by MassMutual, the reason 55% of Latinos start a business is to have something to pass on to their children.


Cecilia Arce, Verde Cleaning Services


Frijoles, of course, literally means beans. However, because of regional variations, Frijoles is the catchall term I use to describe Latino culture in its many wonderful manifestations. And it is Latino culture, including a strong work ethic and a desire to achieve success for our family, which sustains our belief in the American Dream.

Daniel Ortiz (Don Daniel) is the Award-Winning Author of How to Achieve the American Dream without Losing Your Latin Soul, an Inspirational Speaker and Host of the popular TV show “American Dream – Latin Souls.”

 For more information visit

SHCCNJ Social Media Ambassadors

Social Media Ambassadors the online force behind the SHCCNJ Annual Convention

Building a successful event each year requires the effort of dozens of volunteers, Social Media Ambassadors (SMAs) and Chamber members, and this year is no different at the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCCNJ) proudly hosting its flagship event, the 26th Annual Convention & Awards Luncheon on October 14.

SHCCNJ Social Media Ambassadors

The Chamber Annual Convention is an opportunity to bring together all those who work tirelessly with the Chamber and continue its mission of being the voice of the 80,000 Latino businesses in New Jersey. In this opportunity, we wanted to highlight the Chamber’s SMAs, a group of enthusiastic corporate and business owner individuals, who have naturally and voluntarily come together to root for the Chamber and its vast array of activities.

In this opportunity, we asked them two questions:

  1. Why did you decide to become an Ambassador for the SHCCNJ?
  2. What does the Annual Convention mean to you as a SMA?

And here are their answers! (By alphabetical order)


Natalie Adis, Interactive Media Manager, @SocialSplashGur

Marquis Health Services

natalie-adis-shccnj-smaI became an Ambassador for the SHCCNJ since I saw the opportunity to make a difference in our community of Hispanic business owners and especially Latinas throughout the state of New Jersey. I felt it was necessary to share my passion for Digital Marketing through utilizing my talents in an organization that is dedicated to awakening the #Familia spirit in all of us in order to support and celebrate each other’s success. I am proud to be a SHCCNJ SMA.

The Annual Convention means a place where “NETWORKING” does not only mean “meet and greet” but also is feeling welcomed as soon as you walk in the door. I get to meet the Who’s Who of the Latino/Hispanic business community of New Jersey and get to spend the day amongst fellow members of the #Familia.


Liz Chang, Founder and Owner, @pmbreastfeeding

Pretty Mama Breastfeeding LLC

chang36683-005croppedI stand strong behind the mission and vision of the SHCCNJ as I am representing the female minority Hispanic small business owners in the state of NJ. We Hispanics are a power that no one can stop. We contribute to our national business wealth by starting businesses and hiring others. I personally have benefited a great deal from being a SMA and learning from SHCCNJ leadership. My family and I are grateful for all the SHCCNJ has done for my small business.

The Annual convention means an outstanding opportunity for all in our communities to come together, engage and support small business owners. We shared one language, rich culture and passion for prosperity. We come together and celebrate the success that our SHCCNJ local business leaders and their families are having. It means a time to connect and reconnect, learn from each other, welcome other small business leaders and continue educating ourselves to serve our communities at large.

Kathleen M Cronin, Outreach & Communications, @IrishKateNJ

BCC Hackensack-Ciarco & The Small Business Development Center

kcronin-sma-shccnjI became a SMA because I like to Pay it Forward. Influences from Jaime Flores, a former BCC Latino-American Professor changed my path in 2004. I continue to move forward with my Latino ESL students (present and former) by encouraging them to accomplish their goals and help others in their community. They also encouraged me to move beyond the classroom and into the general public (at BCC Hackensack-Ciarco, the Paramus Library, and The BCC Cerullo Learning Assistance Center). I appreciate having the ability to continue the advancement of Latino diversity in business, academics and culture.



Myriam E. Cruz, VP Member Business Loan Officer, @myriamecruz

Financial Resources Federal Credit Union

myriam-cruz-shccnj-smaI heard about the SHCCNJ through a business partner, and was intrigued by an organization that cared about Hispanic Entrepreneurs and provided the resources and support to help them succeed. When I did my research, I found out it was not only the largest Chamber in NJ, but also its mission –helping small businesses grow- was part of my beliefs. I am excited about the opportunities to help business owners to growth and expand their business, and to be able to facilitate access to capital to make their vision be a reality.

Becoming an SMA for SHCCNJ gave me the opportunity to spread the word about an organization in which I strongly believe. It is the opportunity to network with business owners, bankers, and people of many other organizations who care about other people and like good Hispanics, we are always looking to help each other. We are a great #Familia.

Alejandra Girón, Business Loan Officer, @alejandragiron_

The Intersect Fund

alejandra-giron-shccnj-smaBecoming a SMA for the SHCCNJ fell naturally for me. I really enjoyed sharing and showing all the awesome events that the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce would organize with all my clients and referral partners. I was sure that if they decided to attend any events because my “share” sparked their interest, they would make strong business relationships with other small business owners and ultimately they would join the #Familia.

The Annual Convention is an event that allows me to measure the temperature of the Hispanic business market…through the years it has only become hotter. Professionally, this event helps me establish credibility amongst my clients and referral partners. My clients also get to showcase their business! It’s so exciting to see how some of my clients who have never networked before do it with the many professionals that the Chamber attracts. They learn the basics of promoting their business and it places them in an environment where they feel successful.

Ronaldo Linares, Chef, @Chef_Ronaldo

Family Food Fitness

ronaldo-linaresThe Ambassador life chose me. It felt right, it was something I grew into. I would always find my way talking social media strategy, why it is good for business, branding yourself, and most important, growth. I put a lot of time into creating content, growing my audience, and making sure I represent myself in my complete truth. In the long game, I want to help and inspire everyone to grow.

Being a Chamber’s SMA means an opportunity to learn from others, everyone is under one roof, entrepreneurs from all walks of life. It ultimately becomes a chance for me to tell a story and to learn.

Hipatia Lopez, Founder and Owner, @EmpanadaFork

Empanada Fork / HL Unico, LLC

hipatia_2016-shccnj-smaI decided to become an Ambassador for the SHCCNJ because I feel this Chamber genuinely cares about the small business owners and will help however they could. If they do not have the answers, they direct you to the people who do. As a small business owner, in the beginning you feel lost and alone but as my social media presence grew, then I realized I could help others too. This is one way I do it.

The Annual Convention means a gathering of new and familiar businesses in New Jersey. I love to see what new and exciting things the Chamber has for us each year. The powerful speakers who motivate us entrepreneurs are great. I love to share positive energy to the world.

Reina Valenzuela, MBA, Business Management Consultant, @starfishglobal

CEO Starfish Global, LLC.  

reina-valenzuela-shccnj-smaAs an active Chamber member, sharing online came natural to me. However, online outreach to the membership and building an online community takes time and a lot of effort. Having a group of SMAs made things easier for everyone. All associations and cause-based organizations should have online advocates or ambassadors. It just makes sense!

The Annual Convention is a must-attend in my list. It gathers a wider network, the Chamber’s membership, supporters and contributors. In addition, it offers an opportunity learn from other experts in the field and brings the business community together to celebrate outstanding Entrepreneurs.



Thanks to all SMAs who participated in this feature! And don’t miss this opportunity to be part of our SHCCNJ #Familia. As you see, you will find not only great resources and motivation but new friends awaiting to root for your success as well!

Visit us at our booth for a LIBizus Photo Gallery and enter the opportunity to win a ticket to our Best Business Award on November 29 at Son Cubano!

To view information about Sponsorships and Exhibit Booths please CLICK HERE 

For Advertisement Opportunities please CLICK HERE

To register online please CLICK HERE



Ribbon cutting ceremony

SHCCNJ raises the bar at 25th Annual Convention and Awards (photo gallery)

Once again, the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey held its 25th Annual Convention and Expo on October 16 at The Brownstone in Paterson NJ.

SHCCNJ_2015 convention_feature

SHCCNJ gathers main regional Latino leaders for its 25th Annual Convention

Published on on October 01, 2015.

The Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce-NJ will hold its 25th Annual Convention & Expo from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16 at The Brownstone, 351 West Broadway in Paterson.

The event will bring together government officials, corporate leaders and diplomats. Business owners will have the opportunity to network, explore new business opportunities and cultivate relationships with the rapidly growing Hispanic community. There will be more than 60 exhibits where business owners and attendees can explore the varied products and services available.

Carlos A. Medina, Esq Chairman SHCCNJ

Carlos A. Medina, Esq Chairman SHCCNJ


Carlos Medina, the chairman of the SHCC-NJ and a member of the organization for more than a decade will give the opening remarks at the 9 a.m. reception. Medina is the owner and president of Robinson Aerial Surveys Inc. located in Hackettstown. “I look forward every year to this, our marquee event.  We receive so many emails and calls every year thanking us for the connections we help our members and friends make and the positive energy that everyone leaves with,” Medina said.  “The bottom line is that this event helps our members expand their relationships, hone their skills and meet people that will improve their bottom line.  We manage to do this by working hard, but also by having lots of fun.”

A workshop, slated from 10 to 11 a.m. will feature author and photographer Marius Jovaisa, who will speak about “Unseen Cuba,” a book that takes you on a photographic journey of the Caribbean island’s landscapes and cityscapes photographed from the air.

Urban Mayors Panel at the SHCCNJ Annual Convention

Urban Mayors Panel at the SHCCNJ Annual Convention  (L to R) Mayors Steven Fulop of Jersey City, Joey Torres of Paterson and Alex Blanco of Passaic


Urban Mayors, a workshop being held from 11 a.m. to noon will have as panelists Mayors Steven Fulop of Jersey City, Joey Torres of Paterson and Alex Blanco of Passaic. The workshop will be moderated by Jennifer Carrillo-Perez.

Mariela Dabbah will be the keynote speaker during the afternoon awards luncheon. Dabbah is an award-winning author, international speaker, and founder of the Red Shoe Movement, a career and leadership development company focusing on diverse women. She also is the founder and chief executive officer of Latinos in College, a not-for-profit organization focused on helping Latino students and families find the resources they need to successfully choose, pay and graduate from college.

This year’s SHCC-NJ award recipients are the following:

Attorney of the Year: Arlene Quinones, partner, Decotiis, Fitzpatrick & Cole

Latina Trailblazer of the Year: Monique Manso, publisher, People En Espanol magazine

Businesswoman of the Year: Ona Diaz-Smith, creative director, 5 Salon Spa and executive producer of the film Pelo! Pelo!

Small Businessman of the Year: Michael Miqueli, president, San Antonio Trucking

Small Business Advocate of the Year: Kellie LeDet, region 2 administrator, U.S. SBA

Non-Profit Advocate of the Year: Yvonne Lopez, chief executive officer, PRAHD

Restaurant of the Year: Chilltown Kitchen

Chairman’s Award: Cesar Teixiera, president, CATB Imports

“This year we are particularly proud of our six Latina award winners and Latina keynote speaker who focuses on women’s empowerment.  We recognize that Latinas are starting new businesses at a pace seven times greater than the general population,” Medina said.

The luncheon and awards ceremony will take place from 12:30 to 3 p.m. The fee is $75 per person.

For more information, call (973) 900-5886 or email at Visit

For more on the 25th Annual Convention, Expo & Awards Luncheon, click here.

Mariela Dabbah feature

Mariela Dabbah “la poderosa” at the 2015 SHCCNJ Annual Convention

Mariela Dabbah, Red Show Movement

Mariela Dabbah, Red Show Movement

Last summer, when I was thinking and designing the website, I had to decide on different options for the title, the feel and look of the website, its structure and font styles, etc. However, I never had a bit of doubt about the color: it had to be RED.

According to experts, red is “a positive color associated with our most physical needs and our will to survive. It exudes a strong and powerful masculine energy… it is energizing and excites the emotions while motivates us to take action.”

I guess that was the same idea behind the Red Shoe Movement (RSM), the only women empowerment platform born from a grassroots movement and sustained by a movement. Their leader, a world-renowned thought-leader, international speaker, corporate consultant, best-selling author and recently named one of the “25 Mujeres Poderosas” by People en Espanol is Mariela Dabbah, a fearless Argentine-American red-haired whose power and determination has impacted the lives of thousands of women around the globe… and counting.

Mariela Dabbah Maria Salinas Adamari Lopez

Mariela Dabbah with Maria Salinas and Adamari Lopez

I have crossed paths with Mariela at different events but never had the opportunity to talk with her about the #RSM. This time we did connect and the conversation went easily into the topic of empowerment.

“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,” she said.

“Many know the Red Shoe Movement because they have either participated in our signature events, have received training through their workplace, or read my book Find Your Inner Red Shoes,” Mariela told me. “From these experiences, they have discovered what makes them unique, helping them to better align their motivations with their career goals, a very necessary step towards defining your own success.”

And of course, she chose red –the color that excites the emotions and motivates us to take action– for Red Shoe Tuesdays, the idea she coined to encourage women to show weekly support for women’s career advancement by wearing red shoes to work on Tuesday. “We are redefining the leadership development model because we believe it’s broken. For each person, attaining success is a journey that they embark on with their own singular style. What success means to me might not be the same thing it means to you,” she shared.

Mariela Dabbah with Maria E Salinas

Mariela Dabbah with Maria E Salinas at the 25 Poderosas event.

Mariela believes that our society has set up “male genetic markers” as leadership features, which need to be achieved in order to be considered “successful.” Even if women reach those same levels of success, their genetic makeup is different and consequently, it is hard to transform ourselves into someone we are not. “Unless we redefine the concept of leadership to include the feminine aspects and strengths, it will be very hard to move the needle in female representation at the highest decision-making levels,” she said.

In her book, Find your Inner Red Shoes: Step into Your Own Style of Success, Mariela challenges the concept of success and failure. “The word success derives from the Latin succedere which means ‘come after’ and ‘accomplishment of desired end’…the word failure comes from the old French word faillir, which derives from the Latin fallere: ‘to cause to fall’ or ‘to disappoint’… For each person, success…is a journey which each of us embarks with our own singular style… When we understand success in these terms… it’s possible to move away from the simplistic success and failure dichotomy, which can ultimately create a suffocating ‘no way out’ situation…” (Excerpts from the book’s Introduction).

In response to high demand for its programs, the #RSM now offers the RSM Step Up Program- It’s You.Amplified! It’s a way for individual professional women to access phenomenal content (podcasts, Master Classes, the book, and so on,) have a large, powerful network of year round supporters, and receive other benefits. The program is available in English and Spanish.

“Our approach is a program that motivates and engages women so they take control of their careers and grow. We created a number of tools so it could become a sustainable platform for implementation in organizations that we could replicate and measure. Now, these same tools are available to individuals through our new program that anyone can subscribe to through our website,” Mariela said.

The program has been designed to empower already successful women who want to do even better, tweak their leadership skills, or start them on the journey to achieve new professional as well as personal levels of success. And who cannot use that kind of empowerment?

And Mariela promises in her book: “Once you understand that success is what works best for each person, you’ll be able to shake off the stress that ensues when trying to meet goals you haven’t set for yourself, and most likely don’t even make you happy.”

Sign up now to see Mariela Dabbah at the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey Annual Convention and Awards Luncheon on October 16th at The Brownstone in Paterson, NJ. Register here now!

Save the Date SHCCNJ Annual Convention

SAVE THE DATE SHCCNJ 25th Annual Convention & Awards Luncheon

The Brownstone reception hall

The Brownstone reception hall

We encourage you to take advantage of the many exciting opportunities to learn the tools and skills that business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals need to be successful, especially in these economic times. As always, participants can choose from a selection of workshops and also take advantage of the numerous opportunities for career development and networking. You will hear from experts in the business community who will provide their valued insights.

Date: October 16, 2015

Click here to register:

Phone: 973-900-5886



Venue: The Brownstone

351 West Broadway, Paterson, NJ 07522 United States

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The Brownstone greenhouse

The Brownstone greenhouse


7:00 AM  Exhibit Set-up

8:00 AM   Registration & Complimentary Breakfast

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM  Opening Reception –Celebrating 26 years of service!

Join government officials, corporate leaders and diplomats in the excitement and enthusiasm as we open the Annual Convention and Expo and celebrate the Chamber’s 26 years of service. Explore the many varied products and services on display by over 60 Exhibitors. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to make new business contacts, explore new business opportunities and cultivate relationships with the fast growing Hispanic Business community!

9:00AM – 4:00 PM  Expo / Convention

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM  Workshops

Start or expand your business! Take advantage of an opportunity for meetings and learn about valuable resources available for your business.

12:30PM – 2:30 PM  Awards Luncheon*

Be part of this innovative international event! Socialize with New Jersey’s public officials and international diplomats. Learn about New Jersey’s future in International Markets. The atmosphere will be electrifying! Meet corporate representatives and market your organization. Discover the future, Join us!

*Please note that this is a ticketed portion of the event. Tickets are $85/person and must be purchased in advance.*

Click here to view information about Sponsorships and Exhibit Booths.

You may register online by clicking here.

For more information, please contact our office at 973-900-5886 or