2021 latina leaders awards

Congrats to all our 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awardees!

Last Thursday, June 10th, Latinas in Business co-hosted the third annual Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit and Latina Leaders Awards, alongside Berkeley College for a day of inspiration, empowerment, and networking as entrepreneurs gained the tools to THRIVE! post-pandemic. 

2021 latina leaders awards

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony honored 12 influential Latina Leaders featured on Latinas in Business this past year.

This year’s unique hybrid event featured virtual panels with industry leaders, inspiring Keynote Speakers, and deep-dive workshops in three key areas: Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation. 

Read the full event recap here

Following the virtual portion of the event was the 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony and reception, broadcasted live from New York City. The beautiful ceremony saw 12 influential Latina Leaders from the past year honored for their success as entrepreneurs and community leaders. 

The stunning Daneida Polanco of Univision, presented the awards alongside Latinas in Business’s CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, in a heartwarming ceremony that gathered and celebrated not only our Latina Leaders, but Latina entrepreneurs everywhere. 

While some of our Awardees were not able to be at the live ceremony due to distance and travel restriction, it was still a touching moment as we honored each Latina Leader for their amazing achievements. For those that were there at our live reception, hugs were all around as guests and speakers took to the podium, many meeting in person only for the first time after a year of virtual communication. 

The “Unstoppable” Latinas in Business Executive Board with Susana G Baumann, President and CEO

We were especially moved by the tribute and memorial to the life of Jessica Asencio delivered by her sister, Shirley, who accepted the Latina Leader Award on the late Jessica’s behalf. Shirley shared a beautiful poem of Jessica’s and reminded us all of Jessica’s warm, loving spirit. Jessica’s life and memory will be remembered always by the Latinas in Business community. 

We also heard from Awardee Maria Noel Vaeza, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean, in a virtual acceptance video that highlighted the effects COVID-19 has had on women around the world. 

Susana G Baumann with Small Business Champion, Wendy Garcia. 

Receiving the Small Business Champion Award was Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer, NYC Office of the Comptroller Scott Stringer. Wendy has embodied the title of “champion” with her work as Chief Diversity Officer where she is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Wendy also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group comprised of national, local, corporate, and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors.

You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

Guest Speaker Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn alongside Daneida Polanco of Univision.

We then had the honor to welcome Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn as a guest speaker. As Assemblymember of NY and State Committee Woman/District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn she has worked to develop programs and opportunities for minority and women owned small businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she championed bills to jump start the economy and improve equity for minority and women-owned small business owners. Under her leadership, the number of certified MWBE firms in New York State has more than doubled. The state has also set a goal of utilizing MWBEs for 30% of all state contracts, the highest rate in the nation. It was a great honor to hear her speak and we thank Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn for her support in our event and the beautiful certificates she provided to our Awardees. 

Following the 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony, guests were invited to the live beautiful reception to further connect and celebrate the success of women entrepreneurs. 

It was certainly a night to remember! We look forward to our next event where we will continue to Learn. Connect. Succeed! And THRIVE! 

Wilda Diaz

Hon Mayor Wilda Diaz to be honored at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch

Hon Wilda Diaz, Mayor of the City of Perth Amboy, will be honored at the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch as the first Latinas in Business Small Business Champion. For registration:

Wilda Diaz

Small Business Champion Hon Wilda Diaz, Mayor of the City of Perth Amboy

This year’s theme for the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch “Beauty, Health and Wealth: Taking Charge of Our Lives” attracts organizational leaders, social media influencers and successful entrepreneurs who have been tapped to gather at the Hudson County Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk Ave, Jersey City NJ 07306 on June 13, 2019 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm (Registration, breakfast and networking starts at 8:00am ). The event is being co-hosted by Hudson County Community College.

“it is a great honor for me to present this award to a Latina trailblazer like Mayor Diaz because not only she is the first and longest lasting Latina Mayor in New Jersey but also she has been an relentless champion of small businesses in the Business District of Perth Amboy and also in the State of New Jersey at large,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc., organizer of the event.

Wilda Diaz was re-elected as Mayor of the City of Perth Amboy for a third [four-year] term in November 2016. She was first sworn-in on July 1, 2008, becoming the first female to hold that office and currently the only elected Latina Mayor of Puerto Rican descent in the State of New Jersey.

As she marks her 10 year anniversary in serving the City of Perth Amboy, she remains at the forefront of issues such as expanding programs for our children, youth and families, maintaining an open and honest government, business expansion, economic development, job creation and preserving the City’s history. Furthermore, as a recovery effort from the damage of Superstorm Sandy, over $17 million for renovations and storm mitigation were invested to create a state-of-the-art waterfront, which has received exceptional awards for design and completion. 

Diaz, most notably has taken an unwavering stance to stabilize the City’s financial condition. She continues to combat inherited debt, she’s achieved an A+ bond rating upgrade and stabilized taxes for the past four consecutive years. Her administration’s Capital Improvement Program and several other cost cutting strategies, reduced the overall debt by over $50 million and saved a community from near bankruptcy within the first five years of being in office.

She has championed plans for the development and preservation of arts, history and culture by creating a city-wide arts plan, inclusive of mural projects and economic development features that advance the City’s strategic plan. Additionally, by establishing a Historic Preservation Commission and Green Initiatives, the city has seen vast improvements and attention towards both treasured structure and antiquated infrastructure. This includes her efforts placed towards two of the City’s most utilized historic structures, the Perth Amboy Free Public (Carnegie) Library, with nearly $2 million in capital improvements and the redesign plans and preservation of the Perth Amboy Train Station, while securing nearly $50 million in NJ Transit funds for future construction.

Wilda Diaz

Hon Mayor Wilda Diaz, 2019 Small Business Champion Award

Diaz’s aggressive outreach and promotion of business advocacy has welcomed major corporations to Perth Amboy, such as Buckeye Partners and Target, the first distribution center in the State of New Jersey. Her administration has attracted over half a billion dollars in corporate investments in the past five years, while creating local jobs and beautifying and remediating over several hundred acres of industrial property that had been vacant for decades.

“We have also gathered exceptional main speakers such as Cenia Paredes,founder of Cenia New York, as well as a Fireside Chat with actress, TV writer and producer, women’s advocate and creator of StorySharing, Ivana De Maria,and award-winning, TV producer and Master of Ceremony Jackeline Cacho, both coming from Los Angeles.

You might be interested: 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch announces keynote and celebrity speakers   

In addition, organizational leaders, influencers and entrepreneurs from around the country are converging in Jersey City to produce the most dynamic event for Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs in the Northeast region. We continue with our goal to help them “Learn. Connect. Succeed!” and find the network and resources they need to advance their businesses,” Baumann said.

For additional information: