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Damaris Diaz

Damaris Diaz shares pandemic stories and how COVID has impacted the Latino community

In our most recent National Conversation with Latina Leaders event, Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery: Resources and Trends, correspondent and TV personality, Damaris Diaz joined the conversation in a fireside chat with Latinas in Business Inc. President and CEO, Susana G Baumann.

Damaris Diaz

The free event sponsored by Prudential took place virtually on March 19 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST streaming on Zoom and Facebook Live, featuring two panels of Guest Speakers, including Damaris, and with Keynotes Speaker Stacie de Armas.

Don’t miss our next event! Meet&Greet: SOCIAL MEDIA HACKS AND TRICKS

During the fireside chat, Damaris shared stories of her own experience in the pandemic as well as the stories of others she has encountered throughout her work as a journalist and TV correspondent.

Born in La Vega, Dominican Republic, Damaris moved to the U.S. with her family as a young child, residing first in New York, before settling down in New Jersey as an adult. A Seton Hall graduate, Damaris focused her studies on communications and criminal justice. Now, as a journalist, correspondent, and TV personality, Damaris has had the opportunity to interview countless people and share their stories with larger audiences.

Born in La Vega, Dominican Republic, Damaris moved to the U.S. with her family as a young child, residing first in New York, before settling down in New Jersey as an adult. A Seton Hall graduate, Damaris focused her studies on communications and criminal justice. Now, as a journalist, correspondent, and TV personality, Damaris has had the opportunity to interview countless people and share their stories with larger audiences. 

Some key topics Damaris spoke about were the impact the pandemic has had mentally on the Latino community, essential workers, business owners, and families who have suffered unexpected losses, including her own family. 

Biggest lessons learned during the pandemic 

Susana G Baumann 4:23

I would like to ask you, you know, what, what lessons have we learned from the pandemic? You know, this unexpected devastation? I know you have been covering a lot of personal stories of family, emotional and financial distress.

Damaris Diaz 4:54

That’s right, Susana. It’s been you know, it’s been a whirlwind…So many of us have been affected on so many levels. I have friends who say to me, ‘Oh, wow, you know, I haven’t gotten COVID. And my family’s all okay.’ And I’m like, wow, God bless you, you know that that’s not my story. My story early on, my cousin’s parents both fell ill in the hospital. Here in a local hospital in New Jersey, just two days apart. Ambulance came for the mom, ambulance came to the dad, the next day, within a week…And you know, nobody was prepared for that nobody was prepared for a loss in the middle of a pandemic, where you can’t even congregate with your family and be there for them and hold their hand and be a part of their pain.

And, you know, we all know the same way we’re born, eventually, someday we’re going to die. But to kind of have to face this in the middle of a crisis where we don’t even know like: Is there a cure? Well, you know, what’s the medication? What’s going to happen with our families? And then you start seeing the stories…on a daily basis of young people, people in their 20s, children of all age,  and so we are living with this fear, not knowing ‘At what point am I going to get it? And how is my system going to react to it?’

I think that the lessons we learned, one of the biggest lessons learned here is: you’ve got to be prepared. How do you prepare for this kind of thing? You know, we kind of go through life on a day to day thinking, ‘Okay, I need to prepare for today. What’s my, what’s my assignment for today, I’m going to call and get a permanent release. And I’m going to get my cameraman lined up, and I’m going to get my editor ready, and we’re going to do this.’ We’re preparing for the now, for the now. But there’s, you know, tomorrow and the day after that, and the week after that and the month after that, and there’s so many things that we don’t think about, but this pandemic has put it in our faces, you know, hit us on the forehead, like, ‘Hey, wake up, wake up! Are you ready? Are you ready for this?’ Nobody was ready for this. And we’re like reinventing the wheel every day as we go along, trying to figure out our lives in the middle of this health crisis that’s just not here in the U.S., but it’s in the entire world.

Susana G Baumann 7:54

Correct. Yes. One thing that you mentioned was really, very, very powerful on the inability to be there for your losses, for the people who are passing. I know personally, friends who lost their parents. And like you said, they were not able to even say the goodbyes…rituals are important in any society, and this pandemic put us totally on hold for those very traditional rituals that help us cope with the losses. 

Two sides of the pandemic: from despair to hope 

Damaris then shared various stories of individuals in the pandemic, from the hardships of being an essential healthcare worker to how a small business owner found hope and success helping others. 

Damaris Diaz 8:41

One of the first stories that I covered that really hit hard for me and for so many viewers was a nurse in New York City. She works as a nurse, and so you know, a lot of our first responders were the first ones to get COVID because they had to work there without masks without, you know, the gloves without all the safety precautions because the hospitals weren’t prepared. And so she got COVID, she had to isolate herself, her kids were sent somewhere else. Her mom would leave her food, along with other relatives, at her doorstep. And she’s thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, what’s going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to my mom, if she gets it? What’s gonna happen to my children? When can I see them?’ So when she finally got clear to go back to work, she drives across –she lives in Jersey– she drives across the George Washington Bridge, and she said, it was like this magnetic pool, just trying to pull her back to New Jersey, like ‘Go home, don’t do this. And she said, you know, she kept thinking, I have a duty I have to do this. So she said, ‘Oh, God just helped me get past the bridge. Once I get past the bridge, maybe when I get to the parking facility, maybe I’ll have the courage to go.’ 

So she’d park in her car and cry. She’d walk to the hospital and she’d still feel that magnetic pool saying to her, don’t do this go home and just be with your family because the world as we know it has changed and you know, and our lives could end tomorrow. And that’s when she heard the applause. Her shift started when the applause began every night around 7pm. And she says those applause were the ones that got her through, got her through those doors, got her to, you know, to her posts and helping people day after day. But she said she cried, every single day  she drove to work. And you know, now it’s almost a year later, and she’s still working as a nurse, and she probably still feels conflicted. But she’s got a duty, you know. 

I think that when I got into journalism, I thought, I just want to tell happy stories. There’s so many things that are happening in the world that are going to make us sad, that are going to make us feel crushed, I want to tell happy stories. And I’ve been very fortunate to travel the world, to interview celebrities, and movie sets, sports figures, artists, on red carpets, I’ve had the blessing and the luck to do that. But you know, the reality is, that that’s not everything. We suffer through sadness, we suffer through loss, we suffer through pain. And there are a lot of stories out there to be told, you know, of very strong women that have a voice and deserve for their stories to be told. 

So for me, that was such an honor to be able to tell her story, even though it broke my heart. And even though my voice is cracking, as I was interviewing her, you know, as a Latina, you’re, you’re raised to be strong, like, don’t shed a tear. And if you shed a tear, don’t let anyone see you. And so you know, it’s like, wow, this, this pandemic has taken a couple layers off of me, off of the way I’ve allowed the world to see me.

Susana G Baumann 11:31

This has been tremendously challenging for all families, and especially for women. So what are the good stories? Because also, the pandemic has brought, you know, some fantastic ways that he has transformed our lives for good. What do you think they are? 

Damaris Diaz 12:39

Oh, wow, telling good stories is something that I could do with my eyes closed, because it just makes me feel good. And I know that that’s the effect that we have on people when we tell these stories. 

So recently, I interviewed a– una Dominicana de Nueva York, who started her own business before the pandemic. She learned how to make these beautiful, like balloon arrangements. And she said, ‘You know what, we need to celebrate everything, you know, it’s not just a birthday, or Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate everything, let’s make people happy.’ So she learned how to make these balloons, she started to make them and deliver them and she said, ‘I was bringing joy to people. And then the pandemic happened. And it was like we weren’t allowed to be happy. Because everything has to be canceled, celebrations were canceled. We couldn’t even have a barbecue and get together with our family.’  So she started to do these courses online to help people to learn how to make them and she’d send them all the links, ‘You need to buy the supplies. And these are the cheapest ones. And I’m going to give you a whole how-to, right here right now virtually.’

And she said it’s so important to continue to celebrate our children, especially. Kids that are now being homeschooled, that, you know, who knows how their futures are going to look with this experience. This is a traumatic experience for so many children, you know, forget the fact that ‘Oh, you can’t hang out with my friends and I can’t do my extracurricular activities.’ But a lot of them had to see their grandparents die, you know, their loss of their parents, loss of the other relatives, loss of friends. And so you know, their lives are being formed right now. And this woman said, ‘It’s so important to celebrate them. So I wanted to teach parents how to make these beautiful balloon arrangements.’ And so her business went from starting out to nothing to online to now helping other people.

You might be interested: Stacie de Armas on breaking stereotypes and advocating for Latinas 

There are so many beautiful stories to be told. Yesterday, the Despierta America live, we were at a vaccination center in the Yankee Stadium. It’s open 24 seven, right? So you would think the line would wrap around the entire block considering we’ve been anxiously waiting for this vaccine. But what’s happening? Our Latinos, our African American brothers and sisters are having so much trouble having access to the vaccine. First of all, you go online, and it sends you from one thing to the other to the other, and you can’t figure it out and you think you have an appointment, just to be evaluated to see if you can get the vaccine. And you never even had an appointment for that. 

covid-19 vaccine

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

And there’s this woman in Pennsylvania, her name is Bibi, and online, she started to help people have access to the vaccine. So if you if I called her and said, ‘Listen, girl, I can’t figure this out. My mom needs a vaccine. I know I’m not a priority right now. But she is,’ she will go online, help walk you through the steps, and the next phone call or email you get from her is: Hey, your appointment for your vaccination is on Tuesday, April, whatever. And she’s doing this in her free time. This is an entrepreneur, her little business is suffering. She’s a mother of two, she’s homeschooling her two daughters, she’s got her husband, she’s got to take care of her family and her life. And she’s taking all of her free time to help people that need this service. 

Preparing for the unexpected with Prudential

Lastly, Susana and Damaris discussed the importance of life insurance, especially in such an uncertain time such as now. Culturally, many older Latinos still live by old norms, expecting their children will be around to take care of them in their old age. But this pandemic has opened our eyes to show us that tomorrow is not guaranteed and one never knows when a crisis or health emergency might strike which is why families need to plan now and have these conversations now to be ready for whatever may come in the future. One of the ways to prepare is through life insurance. Prudential 

Susana G Baumann 17:01

So what makes you believe that a company like Prudential can lessen these effects of the devastation of Latino families, especially, you know, those that worry about their finances, and don’t know if they’re gonna make it to the end of the pandemic?

Damaris Diaz 19:01

Well, Prudential, first of all, speaks our language. So whether you’re bilingual or not, Prudential speaks our language. So they’re there to help us and they are experts in this field. I mean, they’ve been around since 1875, before you and I were ever on this planet, and it’s the largest insurance carrier in the United States. So they are the go to place….They understand our community, our values and they know what matters. Like you said, culturally, as we get older, we’re thinking our kids are going to take care of us, right? My mom still has that hope. She still has that hope that my sister, my brother, and I are going to care for her in her older years, because that’s what she was taught. And that’s what my grandparents believed. My grandfather was taken care of by all of his children, seven children, and all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren, until the day he passed about a year and a half ago. We were by his bedside. And before that he, you know, in hospice, every single day, my aunt was there taking care of him, 24/7. 

That’s a full time job and not a full time job, like a 40 hour, you know, full time gig that we would have. Twenty-four seven. And so you know, what we need to plan financially for those situations. 

And those are conversations that we don’t want to have, especially, as a younger person, it’s like, I’m not gonna think about that I have my whole life ahead of me. Really? Something could happen to me tomorrow, and I could be bed bound, God forbid, you know? Tomorrow is now. Like, we have to plan now. And so that’s when a company like Prudential steps in. Prudential understands that  we have different stories. It’s not a one size fits all situation. And so when you speak to one of the experts at Prudential they come knowing what our struggles are.They understand that we speak a different language. It’s not just that hablamos español, we speak a whole different cultural language.

You know, 52% of Latinos do not have an emergency savings.” (Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash)

When my father passed, he was 61 years old, and he passed after a heart attack, years ago, that was like the eye opener for me. I would have never thought about life insurance until that happened. But I remember growing up and hearing them talking about that, and I used to think these people are crazy. They’re planning their death, like they’re buying life insurance….But you know, that’s just the ignorance in a person like myself at that age where I didn’t want to think about tomorrow.

We have to think about tomorrow, we need to have emergency savings, and not just for a month or two months. As hard as that may seem….You know, 52% of Latinos do not have an emergency savings. And that’s proven. And so many people are worried, like ‘how are we going to do this?’ 

It’s not too late. Yes, we’re in a pandemic. Yes, a lot of people have lost their jobs. Yes, we’re in a huge economic crisis, but it’s not too late. Prudential believes that one of the best ways to feel empowered and supported is to learn, educate ourselves, on our finances, have these conversations as hard as they may seem. 

Susana G Baumann 25:00

Thank you so much for your time. We know that’s a challenge for us, for Latinos, for small businesses and uh, but we need to learn to talk about money. We need to talk about money with our children, with our families, with our parents and to plan for the future. 

For more information and resources from Prudential, visit www.Prudential.com/tuSumas

strategic alliances

Latinas in Business CEO appointed by NJEDA to help NJ Economic Recovery

Latinas in Business founder and CEO Susana G Baumann has been appointed to the Entrepreneur Zone Working Group by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), making her an active leader in the NJ economic recovery that is expected to take place in the next months. 

Susana G Baumann

Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

This group of policy experts will evaluate the viability of reducing unemployment in marginalized communities by establishing “Entrepreneur Zones” within existing Opportunity Zones.

“As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that we redouble our efforts to achieve Governor Phil Murphy’s vision for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Helping innovative companies launch and grow in New Jersey is a critical driver of sustainable, equitable economic growth. It is especially important to support the growth of companies in historically marginalized communities where job opportunities and access to capital are hard to come by. Entrepreneur Zones have the potential to achieve both of these goals, and the Working Group will provide valuable recommendations on how this policy could work in New Jersey.”

The Act requires the Working Group to consider whether the establishment of entrepreneur zones in which the State provides tax incentives, regulation relief, and financial support to local entrepreneurs is the most effective way to create jobs in the State. 

Susana G Baumann called to serve by NJEDA

On behalf of her experience working with Latina entrepreneurs and Latina-owned businesses, through which she has empowered them and shown the path for entrepreneurship, Susana was called to serve her fellow citizens. Susana will serve without compensation but will be considered a Special State Officer.

As an award-winning multicultural communications expert and strategist, public speaker, journalist, published author, and small business advocate, Susana has worked extensively with communities, organizations, and government agencies both locally and nationwide. 

Previously, Susana has been named “Journalist of the Year” by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey for her service and advocacy to Latino small businesses; a “Latina of Influence” by Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine; and in 2018, received the Red Shoe Movement “Leaders Who Walk the Talk” Award in NYC, among other recognitions. 

influencer, Susana G Baumann

Susana G Baumann 2017 Latina of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine.

In 2019, she was invited to become a SheSource Expert at Women’s Media Center (WMC), a progressive, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem to raise the visibility, viability, and decision-making power of women and girls in media, thereby ensuring that their stories get told and their voices are heard.

In 2020, Susana was distinguished from a pool of candidates from Encore.org, and assigned an Encore Fellowship to work with United Way of Central Jersey in New Business Development and Branding Strategy. She is also an active member of the NJ-AARP Speaker’s Bureau. 

Susana has been featured in several national media outlets including Abasto Magazine, Huffington Post, VOXXI News, Negocios Now, Americano Newspaper, CBS, FOX, Yahoo Finance News, and has been a guest to the Joe Torres TV program Tiempo at WABCTV, and several times to Contigo en la Comunidad at Univision 41 NYC.

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners, Susana G Baumann

At Univision 41 Contigo en la Comunidad (L to R) Katiria Soto, Susana G Baumann, Mary Dressendofer, Tania Molina

Her extensive experience as a Latina leader and business entrepreneur has positioned her as the perfect candidate to serve on the Working Group Entrepreneur Zone, where she will continue to help better the lives of entrepreneurs in the state of New Jersey. 

You might be interested: National Conversation with Latina Leaders to address Latina Small Business recovery in Post-Covid19 economic crisis

Other relevant NJ leaders to serve in the Entrepreneur Zone Working Group

The Entrepreneur Zone Working Group will evaluate the viability of the Entrepreneur Zone concept and consider options for implementing the policy in New Jersey. The members of Entrepreneur Zone Working Group are:

  • Dr. Dale G. Caldwell – Chair of the Working Group; Professor, Farleigh Dickinson University
  • Susana G. Baumann – President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.
  • Kelly Brozyna – Chief Executive Officer and State Director, America’s Small Business Development Centers – New Jersey
  • Saki Dodelson – CEO and Founder, Beable
  • John Harmon – President and CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
  • Jill Johnson – CEO, Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Kevin Johnson – K Johnson Enterprises, LLC.
  • Brandon McKoy – President, New Jersey Policy Perspective
  • Carlos A. Medina, Esq. – President, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Courtenay Mercer –Principal, Mercer Planning Associates; Executive Director, Downtown NJ
  • Damon Pennington – President & CEO, ATS Group
  • Indy Samra – Co-Founder, Punjabi Chamber of Commerce
  • Tom Szaky – Founder and CEO, TerraCycle

In addition to considering the establishment of entrepreneur zones throughout the state of New Jersey, the Working Group is also charged with identifying census tracts within the State that are suitable for designation as an entrepreneur zone.

It’s a great honor for Latinas in Business to have Susana in such a position where she is called once more to serve the New Jersey community and help better the quality of life for New Jerseyeans, as she has been doing for many years. 

About NJEDA 

NJEDA, Working Group

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) grows the state’s economy and increases equitable access to opportunity by supporting high-quality job creation, catalyzing investment, and fostering vibrant, inclusive community development.  NJEDA works in partnership with a diverse range of stakeholders to implement programs and initiatives that improve quality of life, enhance economic vitality, and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness. Their vision is to make New Jersey a national model for sustainable and equitable economic growth by investing in communities, fostering innovation, and supporting industries with high quality-jobs in the State.

Business.NJ.gov

Business.NJ.gov now “en español” for Latinxs businesses in New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy announced the launch of the Spanish language version of Business.NJ.gov — the State’s new digital front door for businesses looking to start, operate, and grow in the Garden State. The announcement comes as the State concludes Hispanic Heritage Month — a celebration of Hispanic and Latinx heritage, culture, and contributions, that spanned from September 15  through October 15.

Business.NJ.gov

Cover of the new Business.NJ.gov en Espanol

“Entrepreneurship and innovation are just a few of the many ways that New Jersey’s Hispanic and Latinx communities deeply contribute to the Garden State’s rich cultural landscape,” said Governor Murphy. “As we continue to modernize and streamline the State’s ability to serve our businesses, we must do so in a stronger and fairer manner — that means ensuring that our resources, programs, and services are accessible to as many people as possible.”

Launched earlier this year, Business.NJ.gov simplifies businesses’ experiences interacting with the State by consolidating critical information and resources from more than 15 different agencies into one easy-to-navigate “first stop” for businesses. Users can find information on financing options, assistance with obtaining permits and licenses, tax information, and guidance on business planning and marketing.

Business.NJ.gov

Planifique un negocio, one of the tools for startups (Courtesy Business.NJ.gov)

Connect via live chat with experts “en Espanol” on Business.NJ.gov

In addition to the fully-translated content, Business.NJ.gov also offers business owners the ability to connect via “live chat” with experts from the Department of State’s Business Action Center — this service will also be available for Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs by Spanish-speaking business experts.

“Experts at the Business Action Center help tens of thousands of businesses each year,” said New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “Live chat has enabled us to deliver expert advice in a faster and easier way to all business owners, and the ability to deliver human-to-human service in a multitude of languages, including Spanish, ensures that we can assist entrepreneurs from all walks of life and backgrounds.”

A key feature of Business.NJ.gov is its constantly-evolving content — a cross-agency and multi-lingual team collaborates on a daily basis to ensure the site’s content is both up-to-date and serving the needs of New Jersey’s businesses. Complementary Spanish-language content is available the same day to ensure parity and opportunity across the State’s business community.

Inicie un negocio, one of the tools for startups (Courtesy Business.NJ.gov)

“Offering the user-friendly content and services on Business.NJ.gov fully in Spanish is one more step on the way to a modern, simplified, 21st-century experience for business owners in New Jersey,” said New Jersey State Chief Innovation Officer Beth Noveck. “Business.NJ.gov will continue to be the foundation of new, innovative services that cut across State bureaucracy to transform the experience of starting, operating, and growing a business in the Garden State.”

strategic alliances

Susana G Baumann, Founder President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

“As Founder President and CEO of Latinas in Business Inc., I applaud the initiative to translate such an important tool for thousands of immigrant Latinx entrepreneurs and small business owners who do business in their mother tongue and serve their local communities. They come to this country in pursuit of the American Dream, and they encounter language and cultural barriers that prevent them to achieve their path to success. These resources are an excellent way to help them navigate the tools they need, and support them in achieving their goals, which in turn builds a stronger economy for all New Jerseyans,” said Susana G. Baumann.

“We applaud Governor Murphy for making tools available to our Hispanic business owners.  Hispanic businesses are the engine of the U.S. economy, starting new businesses at double or triple the pace even in a pandemic,”  Statewide Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey President Carlos Medina and Chairman Luis De La Hoz, said.

You might be interested: REGAIN OUR LATINO POWER – A National Conversation with Latina Leaders

2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit

Latinas In Business Virtual 2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit   

Latinas in Business Inc., the national nonprofit organization led by President and CEO Susana G Baumann, is moving forward with their first Virtual 2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit on July 30, 2020 between 1pm and 2:30pm EST.

National and international speakers will interact with participants in an inspirational event that promotes “The Power of Collaborations in a Post-COVID World.” The event will be Livestreamed on Zoom, Facebook and LinkedIn, and is co-hosted by Prospanica NJ Chapter.

2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment

FREE REGISTRATION: https://2020WEES.eventbrite.com

 

“We have all been shaken up with the unprecedented times we are living in, and the uncertainty of when this is going to end. Many organizations are waiting for ‘things to go back to normal’ but at Latinas in Business, we believe that every struggle is an opportunity for creativity and innovation,” Baumann said

National and international Speakers at the Power of Collaborations
Albania Rosario

Albania Rosario, Founder and President, Fashion Designers of Latin America (Photo Courtesy Albania Rosario)

Albania Rosario, Founder and President of Fashion Designers of Latin America, will be this year’s Celebrity speaker at the event co-hosted by Prospanica NJ Chapter. “Albania is a leader in the fashion industry that is fighting to help not only designers but all those involved in the industry, laborers, textile manufacturers, show producers, and many other workers that are suffering the consequences of the pandemic overlapping an historic economic crisis,” Baumann said.

You might be interested: Fashion shows must go on says Fashion Designers of Latin America Albania Rosario

The 2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit presents an interactive panel with international and national speakers including Belgium, EU, based Vero Sosa, Founder and President of SHE (Seminario para Hispanas Emprendedoras), Founder of Business Fit Academy and Business Fit Magazine; and from Texas, Perla Tamez, Serial Entrepreneur and Hispanic Star National Hub Director.

Panel facilitator and co-host of the event, Beth Marmolejos-Marrazini, President of Prospanica NJ Chapter and Hispanic Star NJ Hub Director said, “When we collaborate, a new energy is created that is bigger than our individual efforts. Effectively putting together resources, energy, talents and goals paves the way for the success that we plan together, as well as many unexpected benefits.”

2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit Fundraiser

“We need your generous support because all our work is on a volunteer basis: 100% of your donation goes to continue our mission, promoting and building services and programs for Latinas and other minority women entrepreneur,” Baumann said. “So far we have promoted over 600 minority-owned small businesses who are struggling to survive in this pandemic overlapped with an unprecedented economic crisis because of donors like you. Little or small, every donation adds up.”

fundraiser

For your donation: https://pages.donately.com/latinasinbusinessinc/campaign/2020wees

The grand finale of the virtual event includes the 2020 Latina of the Month Awards Ceremony. Diana Franco, Executive Director, WE NYC, will be recognized with the Small Business Champion Award. “Diana is the most dedicated leader I know to the success of women entrepreneurs. She runs a fantastic network of free services, programs and mentorship for all Women Entrepreneur (WE) in the City of New York under the funding from the city,”  Baumann said.

You might be interested: First Lady of New Jersey emphasizes women entrepreneur leadership at Latina conference

For more information and FREE registration, please visit https://2020WEES.eventbrite.com

To donate: https://pages.donately.com/latinasinbusinessinc/campaign/2020wees

 

 

Latinas in Business highlights

2019 Latinas in Business highlights and most read articles

The 2019 Latinas in Business Highlights and Most Read Articles are here!

Gathering these highlights is a great way to look at the past to see progress, the present to appreciate our blessings and the future to plan our success. This was an intense year for Latinas in Business Inc., with great gains in brand recognition and equity, a higher bar for our promotional events, and the increased support of many people and organizations. Thank you! Gracias!

These are the 2019 Latinas in Business highlights and insights of our editorial year on LatinasinBusiness.us, our dedicated editorial platform that promotes and empowers Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs.

Spring 2019 Latinas in Business Highlights 

The Power of WE NYC and four Latina entrepreneurs building strategic alliances to succeed

In March, we were invited to be a moderator at The Power of WE NYC, a panel “en español” leading to discuss the topic of “Building Strategic Alliances”(Construyendo Alianzas Estratégicas). WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs NYC) is an initiative based out of the New York City Department of Small Business Services dedicated to helping women start and grow their businesses.
strategic alliances, Latinas in Business highlights

The Power of WE NYC (L to R) Diana Franco, WE NYC; Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc.; Juanita Galvis, The Assemblage; Bisila Bokoko, BBES International; Sarah Valdovinos, Walden Green Energy; and Rosario Ballesteros-Casas, VR Americas. (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Also in March, we were invited as Media Partner and LUPE member to support the “Ready to Run® Conference and Eleccion Latina pushes for more diversity in politics .” Diversity in politics is an important issue especially now in such a polarized political climate. Our elected officials should represent the people and reflect the diversity within the population, which means we need more women and people of color in elected or appointed positions.

diversity in government

Ready to Run and Election Latina

During April and May, we worked at planning and executing our first solo but second “Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch” -the first one was concurrent with the 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition-, which launched in June. Read about the participating speakers who supported our mission: Leaders, influencers and entrepreneurs converge in NJ at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch (EEL)

We also honored Hon. Wilda Diaz, Mayor of the City of Perth Amboy, as our 2019 Small Business Champion for her support to our mission. Hon Mayor Wilda Diaz to be honored at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch. Excellent speakers and great Latinas in Business highlights with the Latina Entrepreneur of the Year Awards ceremony.

Wilda Diaz

Small Business Champion Hon Wilda Diaz, Mayor of the City of Perth Amboy during the Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch Latinas in Business Awards.

2019 EEL, Latinas in Business Highlights

Keynote Speaker First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy (C) and Celebrity Speakers Cenia Paredes (L) and Ivana de Maria (R).

(L to R) Lori Margolin, HCCC; First Lady Tammy S. Murphy; Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business; and Jackie Cacho, Triunfo Latino

Summer 2019 Latinas in Business Highlights 

In July, we were invited as a Panel Speaker at Latino Social Media Week, a conference designed for bloggers, social media developers and managers, marketing managers, photographers, press, influencers and people in the digital media industry, organized by Neoyorkinos Media Group with the Google partnership and the purpose is to introduce the latest technological advancements and tools to Social Media.

tell your story

Susana G Baumann invited as speaker at Latinos in Social Media Week at Google

Also in July, we were invited to run a 90-minute session at the Working Mother Media 2019 Multicultural Women’s National Conference in New York City. We had an outstanding turnout and fantastic attendee testimonials. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm!

SESSIONS

 ( 1 Hour, 30 Min )
Round 2A. Empowerment Through Storytelling Workshop – Speaker

In this workshop, YOU are the Storyteller commanding the room. Learn how to tell a compelling and authentic story that will grow your value in the eyes of your networks and leadership, and empower you to be a resilient leader. Don’t miss this interactive and engaging session where the audience becomes the presenters, and the power of story is realized.

 

Fun, fun, under the sun with RENOVAD

The first Renovad experiential retreat took place in the  Eternal City -Rome- from August 27 to 31. We were 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. We will continue to promote and be part of this fantastic initiative by our dear friend, colleague and mentor Pilar Avila!

Latinas in Business highlights

The Renovad Bellas in Rome visiting the Vatican. Congratulations to Pilar and Lisa Avila for such a thoughtful curated experience.

Fall 2019 Latinas in Business highlights

In October, we were invited by The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), which gathered the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in Corporate America Summit at the Goldman Sachs Headquarters in Jersey City.

ALPFA’s list prioritizes women leading large public companies with significant operating roles, rather than C-Level staff roles. It includes women operating global private firms, entrepreneurs who scaled their businesses into the middle market, and Latinas, who although recently retired, exercise leadership roles on Fortune 500 boards. ALPFA’s 50 Most Powerful Latinas gather in Jersey City to receive awards

Latinas in Business highlights

50 Most Powerful Latinas in Corporate America Summit at the Goldman Sachs Headquarters in Jersey City.

Finally in November, the last of our Latinas in Business highlights,  was the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch your Business Competition POWER UP! which presented Wellness, Technology and Lifestyle international speakers such as Super Bowl Champion Isaiah Stanback, Virtual Reality Guru Rosario B. Casas, and the “Latino Shark” Angel Investor Manny Fernandez as a special guest, and many others that showed up to support our mission.

The 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition took place at the Hudson County Community College Culinary Conference Center,  followed by the Investors Panel and 5th Anniversary Cocktail Reception. What a fantastic end of year with so much excitement and a great turnout!

Latinas in Business highlights

International speakers and great sponsors who supported our mission at the Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition. (L to R) Lori Margolin, HC Community College; Dr Stephanie Burroughs, Stephanie Speaking; Isaiah Stanback, Super Bowl Champion and Wellness Entrepreneur; Joseph Camberato, National Business Capital and Services; Aquiles Larrea; Larrea Wealth Management; Susana G Baumann, Latinas in business Inc.; Jacqueline Sansone, Investors Bank; John Harmon, AACCNJ; Fatima Pearn, Valley Bank; and Manny Fernandez, DreamFunded.

We are very grateful for all the support from sponsors, hosts and participants that allowed us to continue our mission to advocate for the economic empowerment of Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs.

 

 

Most Read Articles of 2019

How Latina serial-preneur Danay Escanaverino overcame roadblocks to success

roadblocks to success Danay Escanaverio

Danay Escanaverino, CEO LunaSolMedia and MediaClicks.

Roadblocks to success, whether those she encountered in business or life, did not stop Danay Escanaverino, 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. her new venture, an affiliate network for Hispanic and Latino bloggers and creators to monetize their following with campaigns made for Latinos. We interviewed Danay as our Latina Entrepreneur of the Month. Congratulations on a fantastic journey and thanks for sharing with our readers!

 

Manifesting financial goals with Valerie Sanchez, co-founder of Divine Asset Management

Valerie Sanchez, co-founder, Divine Asset Management.

Valerie Sanchez is the partner and co-founder of Divine Asset Management, a women-owned and led financial services firm which provides the tools and resources to manifest one’s financial goals. With a specific focus on catering toward women, Divine Asset Management offers services in asset management, financial planning, retirement planning, insurance and financial education.

A proud Latina, mother, wife, and business owner, Valerie is grounded by her faith in God and loves serving people in whatever capacity she can. Her desire to serve and make an impact on the lives of others is what led her to manifest her own entrepreneurial dreams.

Empanada Fork seals the deal with new products by Latina entrepreneur Hipatia Lopez

The Empanada Fork Utensil aka, “The Empanada Fork Press Tool and The Empanada Fork Pastry Sealer”, is a utensil that is easy, effortless, fast, painless and resulting in beautiful dough design for those whom cherish in food presentation.

Making empanadas, turnovers, calzones and other filled pastries is a lot of fun, but it can also be very time consuming and painful when it comes to sealing the dough/pockets/pastries, etc, which was how the idea was born. The Empanada Fork Utensil made of stainless steel with a soft handle which makes it easy to use. This innovative product is a special design with fork-tines and a sturdy utensil which is a great addition to any kitchen.

Latina entrepreneur Pilar Avila launches Renovad experiential retreats around the world

Renovad

Pilar Avila

Inspired by her journeys across 5 continents and 18 countries,and the desire to spend more quality time with the extraordinary women who serve as her mentors and collaborators, Pilar launched Renovadexperiential retreats as an extension of her organizational change management consulting practice, interDUCTUS.

The inaugural 2019 programs, August 27-31 in Italyand in MoroccoNovember 27 – December 1, will be followed by experiences in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico and Thailand in 2020. Renovad pivots on deep destination knowledge, andremoving the burden of travel planning and the risk of trial & error, to design experiences focused on relaxation, inspiration and adventure.

Changing leadership after #METOO a conversation with executive coach Dr. Ginny Baro

Dr Ginny Baro, Fearless Women @ Work

Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an international executive coach, motivational speaker, leadership expert, and CEO and founder of her executive coaching and career strategy companies ExecutiveBound and Fearless Women @ Work. Over her twenty-five years experience in corporate technology and financial services, Ginny has served in multiple leadership roles.

 

Thanks for your support and Happy Holidays for all from us! See you in the New Year!

Latinas in Business Inc. Team

Care2Share

Care2Share Investors Bank helps you support Latinas in Business on #GivingTuesday

Investors Bank Care2Share program is helping you help Latinas in Business on #GivingTuesday!  Instead of your money, we are just asking for your support and a 2-minute form registration!

Care2ShareI have a very special thank you to Investors Bank. As seen on this picture, Carlos Yepez, VP Senior Business Development Manager received our Life Supporter Award! Congratulations to Carlos and all the Investors Bank team on behalf of all of us at Latinas in Business Inc.!

So, let me tell you a short story about how I became an Investors Bank customer.

Care2Share

Carlos Yepez, Investors Bank, Received Lifetime Supporter Award

In 2009, my former business LCSWorldwide was hit hard by the Great Recession. With 75% of my contracts in the government sector, I was belly up.

I remember that summer I was looking for extra income and became a “Secret Shopper” for a NJ company. One of the locations I had to visit was Investors Bank. I had to “fake” I was a customer wanting to open an account, become a customer, and then report back to them.

I was so impressed with their customer service and their products that I had an “Aha!” moment. I immediately transferred my business account to Investors Bank and I never looked back.

Investors Bank is a community-serving bank. It is designed to help small businesses like mine -at the time- and yours. Now that Latinas in Business has become a non-profit organization, they are still helping through their Care2Share program!

Care2Share

(L to R) Super Bowl Champion and Wellness Entrepreneur Isaiah Stanback with Investors Bank Manager Jacqueline Sansone

Their Care2Share program helps organizations like ours increase their funding by donating 0.25% of Investors’ qualifying customers’ account balances every time an Investors Bank’s customer signs up to the program.

It costs you nothing! This is how it works:

  • Enroll your eligible Investors accounts with Latinas in Business Inc.
  • We will receive 0.25% on average monthly balance* of your checking account or 0.15% on average monthly balance* of your savings account
  • Complete the simple Care2Share enrollment form and start giving back to your favorite nonprofit, Latinas in Business!

At this time of year, when many organizations are looking for your donation, we just ask you to sign up to the Care2Share program. Do good and it will cost you nothing!

Care2Share

And if you are looking for a bank that serves your small business needs, I hope you would consider moving your accounts to your local Investors Bank, just like I did!

Please sign up now and support our mission to advocate for the economic empowerment of Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs through the Investors Bank Care2Share program!

 

*Your information stays completely confidential and it costs you nothing to participate! This is an advertorial article on behalf of Investors Bank.

You might be interested: Giving thanks and moving forward into 2018

 

leader

Fatima Pearn received Latina Leader Award at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Fatima Pearn was honored with the Latina Leader Award at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition where she also participated as a guest judge. As the current VP Business Development Office at Valley Bank, Fatima has had a lengthy and successful career in banking. She has shown exemplary skills and has acted as a leader and mentor to others while contributing to the expansion and success of multiple banks throughout her 15+ years in the banking industry. Taking to the stage to accept her award, she shared some of her professional journey, inspiring those in the audience with her success story. 

leader

Fatima Pearn, Vally Bank, receives the Latina Leader Award from Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc.

Working up from the bottom

Fatima’s banking career began in 1989 at First Fidelity Bank where she worked in the Import and Export Department. After only two years, she put her own career on hold to help her husband at the time with his own business. The couple later divorced, leaving Fatima to support two young boys as a single mother. The four years that followed were difficult, with Fatima working multiple jobs to support her children. Then, in 2001, Fatima decided it was time to make a significant career change.  

“I needed to make a change in my life and start thinking about a new career,” says Fatima. “A career that would give my family and I better health benefits, and also allow me to contribute to a retirement plan.” 

leader

Fatima Pearn accepting the Latina Leader Award during the WINNERS Reception at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Fatima decided the best option would be to return to banking, since she already had some previous experience in the field. When an opportunity as a Teller opened up at PNC Bank, Fatima took a chance and applied. 

“I wanted to learn the retail banking industry from the bottom up,” she says. 

Never having pursued a formal higher education, Fatima gained all her expertise by learning on the job from mentors and taking specific courses and accreditations in her field. Beginning from the bottom helped Fatima quickly learn the ins and outs of the banking world and soon became a leader to others.  

New love and opportunities

During this same time, Fatima remarried to the love of her life. Her husband had two children of his own, and together they raised their four children before growing their family with another child together, a baby boy, who is now fourteen years old and a blessing to their lives. Fatima’s husband and their children gave her the drive to better herself and encouraged her to further grow her banking career.  

Soon Fatima was promoted from Teller to Financial Sales Consultant, and then in 2005 she was offered the opportunity to be a Business Development Officer by her Team Leader. This position put her in charge of five branches in Essex and Hudson County with book of business to grow. 

“My job was just to bring new business to the bank and close a minimum of $5 Million dollars in new money in lending, C&I, owner-occupied, Loc and Investment Real estate,” says Fatima. “The first question my Team Leader asked me was: Where do you think you are going to target new clients? I thought about it for a couple of days and got back to him with a plan.” 

Her plan involved three steps. First she did research on Reference USA. Then she reached out to her husband’s relative who was a fireman in Kearny at the time. She asked him if he could share a list of new businesses that opened in Kearny from January to that date. Lastly, she registered to be a member of the Kiwanis, Rotaries and the Chamber of Commerce in the area. This plan proved to be successful as one year later, Fatima was invited to be the Treasurer by the Portuguese American Chamber of Commerce in Newark.

“I also took private lessons to learn the basics on how to play golf in order to be able to participate on golf outings at the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce,” Fatima says. 

After a few months, she started showing great results in her position, and she worked with her retail partners and loan officers to have client appreciation days at their branches after work hours. These events made their clients feel appreciated which lead to the building of Center of Influences (COI’s) for the business.  

Conquering language barriers

Being a Latina has also been incredibly instrumental in Fatima’s success, opening her up to many opportunities to expand her relationships in her career. 

“I was able to connect with many different cultures because of my background and the connections I was making in my community,” says Fatima. 

Her Latina background was especially helpful when it came to language connections. While working in Kearny, Fatima was the only employee who was able to speak Spanish and Portuguese. This allowed Fatima to bring in a lot of new business and relationships to the bank that otherwise would not have been possible due to language barriers. And Fatima knows all too well the struggles of working around a language barrier.  

“When I first came to the USA, I didn’t speak English and it was hard to adjust,” says Fatima reflecting back on her early beginnings. “I worked hard and connected with American people to learn the language. It was very challenging, but also would up being very rewarding.” 

Now Fatima is able to give back and help connect with clients who do not speak English or are not as confident with the language yet. This unique opportunity has driven Fatima to success and has also made her very proud of her past and where she started from. 

“Be proud of your past and who you are today,” says Fatima, “keep working hard, reach out to those around you to gain support as well as provide support. You can be successful in your profession too.”

leader

The Valley Bank Team (L to R) Sofia Cordero, Fatima Pearn and Dorothy Kahlau,
First Sr VP
Valley National Bank

Being a leader to others

Following her time working at Provident Bank in Kearny, Fatima’s reputation as a leader and successful worker offered her multiple opportunities in the years that followed, such as the position of Assistant VP Business Banker II at PNC Bank in 2007. She worked there for eight years managing a book of business with over a hundred clients which grew her book of business to over fifty percent. She then was contacted by Santander Bank where she was offered the position of Vice President Middle Market Relationship Manager. This position covered Essex and Hudson County where Fatima managed a book of business of over 150 clients. During this time she also served as President of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) of the West Orange Chapter in NJ and led her department in Small Business Administration production which included the largest deal size of over $20M in revenue.

In 2018, Fatima accepted a new opportunity at Valley Bank, where she currently works, as the Vice President Commercial Lender. Here she develops and monitors business plans to support the company’s strategic goal of increasing client based and corporate branding. She also participates in community and non-profit organizations. 

Her professional journey has taught Fatima that success is always possible no matter where you begin. It all comes down to your goals and actions. “You may feel like you are nowhere near accomplishing your goals right now, but there is time to change that,” Fatima encourages. “Great things can be accomplished if you put your mind to it and work hard. The first step is to plan and to give yourself goals.” 

You might be interested:  NJ Senator Teresa Ruiz is Inspirational Speaker at 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

She believes in the process of working toward short-term goals to build on and reach one’s ultimate goal of success. Additionally Fatima stresses the importance of resources and support. 

“It never hurts to ask for help or support from the people around you.” Reflecting back on her journey, she says, “I never thought that I was going to be the position I am in now. I dreamed of being a nurse because I wanted to help people. I was always a natural leader, always worrying about my friends and family and trying to help them. I realized that nursing wasn’t a good fit for me as I got older. So, I chose to be in banking because I liked to help the small and medium size businesses to grow. I would like to encourage everyone not to give up on your dreams.”

Valley National Bank

Thanks to Valley Bank’s Team for being a constant supporter of Latinas in Business Inc.

Sponsor of the 2019  Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition

 

strategic alliances

The Power of WE NYC and four Latina entrepreneurs building strategic alliances to succeed

The Power of WE NYC presented a panel “en español” leading to discuss the topic of “Building Strategic Alliances”(Construyendo Alianzas Estratégicas). WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs NYC) is an initiative based out of the New York City Department of Small Business Servicesdedicated to helping women start and grow their businesses.

The Power of WE NYC Spanish Panel (L to R) Diana Franco, WE NYC; Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc.; Juanita Galvis, The Assemblage; Bisila Bokoko, BBES International; Sarah Valdovinos, Walden Green Energy; and Rosario B. Casas, VR Americas.  (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

“While there are almost 359,000 women entrepreneurs in NYC and women contribute approximately $50 Billion annually in revenue,” says WE NYC,  “according to our research, men own 1.5 times the number of businesses, have 3.5 times the number of employees, and generate 4.5 times the amount of revenue.”

strategic alliances

Diana Franco, Director, WE NYC (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

I was grateful for the opportunity to be invited as a panel moderator for this event, and to be able to meet with the WE NYC team led by Diana Franco, Director, Women Entrepreneurs NYC. In her remarks, Diana prompted the audience -mostly Spanish speaking entrepreneurs or to-be entrepreneurs- to think of strategic alliances and partnerships as ways of building and expanding their businesses rapidly and more effectively.

strategic alliances

Susana G Baumann, Founder, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

As explained on their event’s brief, “The WE NYC research conducted in 2015, found that 75% of the WE cited the lack of business networks as a challenge. Creating these networks will be especially helpful to obtain clients and build partnerships. There is no better approach to solving challenges than the famous saying ‘two heads are better than one,’ harnessing the strengths and abilities of others from different corners of the ecosystem is one of the most strategic ways for businesses to scale.”

How hard is it to be a Latina entrepreneur?

We know how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur … Moreover, when you carry what I call “the triple qualifier”: being a woman, an immigrant –or a descendant of immigrant parents or grandparents– and a Latina … working and struggling to sustain and grow your business.

We had the opportunity to listen and interact with a panel of women entrepreneurs who benefited from different types of strategic alliances and collaborations and with them facilitated the success of their respective companies.

Juanita Galvis: An enterprise based on collaborations
strategic alliances

Juanita Galvis, co-founder and Chief of Social Impact, The Assemblage. (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Juanita Galvis is Co-Founder and Head of Social Impact of The Assemblage, spaces of co-participation designed specially to promote growth, creativity, and personal and business well-being. These spaces can be used for work, community building and even flexible stays and event production and promotion.

The vision of Juanita’s company describes the values ​​that sustain their model as: collaboration, innovation, relaxation, growth, balance and impact. In the topic of collaboration, for example, they mention the assembly or connection with other creatives, leaders and entrepreneurs to develop projects that inspire social change and disrupt the established order.

Juanita spoke about her biggest challenge, which is a to be part of a family business with her ex-husband. “We have created a different type of relationship between us,” she said, “personal and professional. We established certain rules and we defined our areas of expertise so decisions are made that way. It is not impossible,” she explained.

Rosario B. Casas: Technology and strategic alliances
strategic alliances

Rosario B. Casas, Co-founder, VR Americas.  (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Rosario B. Casas is Co-Founder and CEO of  VR Americas, a company dedicated to expanding the borders of immersive technologies –Virtual Reality, Augmented, Mixed– in industrial applications. Rosario is a Colombian entrepreneur based now in New York with more than 7 years of practical experience in data and technology platforms and management roles.

She is also an enthusiastic advocate for growth of Women in Technology (STEM), co-founder of several strategic partnership models, member of the Big Data Advisory Board at Rutgers University, and has been a lecturer at TEDx, The World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship , and The World Innovation Network TWIN Global, among others.

In addition to its virtual reality products, perhaps the most well-known project of VR Americas was the Telemundo AR campaign for the 2018 World Cup. Through an application, fans of the world could follow and support their favorite teams and players, witness crucial moments of the championship, share it in networks and even play with their favorite effects.

Rosario explained how she started her virtual reality company with two partners that understood their roles. “One is a nerd like me,” she said,” the other one is our out-and-about person, who finds clients partners.”

As a company that needs to develop a portfolio of present customers and at the same time increase the capacity of their company with a vision to the future, they are constantly looking at who their potential clients are and who can benefit from the technology they offer. “Remember that you need to solve a problem, a ‘pain’ that your customers cannot resolve by themselves,” Rosario said.

strategic alliances

Sarah Valdovinos, Co-Founder, Walden Green Energy.  (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Sarah Valdovinos: Access to strategic capital

Sarah Valdovinos is Co-Founder of Walden Green Energy, a company focused on renewable energy projects. In addition to her work at Walden, Sarah makes investments in companies that fight climate change, including solar energy distribution companies in Latin America, charging station networks for electric vehicles, and other sustainable technology companies.

Previously, Sarah worked 10 years in investment banking. She entered the field of energy over twenty years ago at Southern California Edison. Sarah is first generation of a Mexican family, and she has also been the first of her family to graduate from college.

Getting capital from investors is one of the most important obstacles for all small businesses, especially for minority-owned companies. Many do not have the family network and social relationships that can become initial or angel investors.

Sarah defined early on that she was interested in sustainable energy but saw that money was an issue to achieve her goals. “I decided to pursue an MBA and work for a few years in the financial industry, where I not only acquired the knowledge to build my own business with two partners, but also the contacts and relationships I needed to fund my projects,” she explained.

Most impressive is Walden Green Energy’s rapid growth. In just 7 years, they started the construction of two projects that produce 150 MW of solar energy. “To give you an idea, it powers about 50,000 to 60,000 families,” Sarah explained.

Bisila Bokoko: Alliances for international expansion
strategic alliances

Bisila Bokoko, Founder, BBES International. (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Bisila Bokoko is an award-winning bilingual speaker, television personality and advisor to world leaders. Bisila is the founder of BBES International,a business development agency based in New York that represents, promotes and markets brands to reach the global market. She also serves as an advisor to emerging leaders, providing guidance on personal branding and leadership that prepares them to move to the world stage and share their experience at a global market.

Bisila has shared her professional experience and her inspiring journey with audiences around the world during her 18-year career, and has been a presenter in diverse places such as the United Nations Organization in Switzerland, a keynote speaker in the Dominican Republic and in South Africa.

Bisila presents her company as a passport to other markets and she introduces herself as the “ambassador” of the brands she represents. “An Ambassador, like in real life, is someone who represents your brand with total knowledge and expertise about your company and is completely embedded in your company’s vision and goals. It is someone who can speak intelligently and convincingly to global strategic partners and get them interested in your product,” she explained.

BBES International mostly represent Spanish brands that have entered international markets such as Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the United States. “Before I take a new client and develop an international marketing strategy, we evaluate the company to see if they are ready for the jump, and the markets that best fit their needs,” she shared.

        You might be interested: Ready to Run® Conference and Eleccion Latina pushes for more diversity in politics

The audience then got to make questions to these fantastic Latina entrepreneurs who are rapidly growing their businesses and sharing their experiences. We thanked them for their time,  it was truly an extraordinary panel about strategic alliances, and we learned from their successes!

strategic alliances

Q&A Session after the Building Strategic Alliances panel – Dr Ginny A. Baro. (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

 

2018 Latinas in Business highlights and most read articles

Already gathering the 2018 Latinas in Business highlights! Wow, where did time go? This has been such an intense year for Latinas in Business Inc. that it seems it really flew by. Looking back is the only way you realize how far you’ve become and how many of your goals you have accomplished.

Latinas in Business highlights

Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Editor in Chief, Latinas in Business Inc.

Here are some Latinas in Business highlights of 2018 and insights of our editorial year on LatinasinBusiness.us, our dedicated editorial platform that promotes and empowers Latinas in business and the workplace:

2018 LATINAS IN BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

  1. We started in March with participation at the “Dream Project” Fundraiser in NYC where Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz dedicated his reading to us. So honored to be part of this visionary event!
  2. In April, we applied –and were approved- for our non-profit status. Born out of an initiative under the umbrella of LCSWorldwide Language and Multicultural Marketing Communications, we achieved this year’s commitment to convert Latinas in Business Inc. in an autonomous non-profit entity with its own resources and its own team.
  3. Also at the end of April we were invited to participate at the “50 Most Powerful Latinas” event in NYC. Such a treat to be surrounded by these amazing Latinas from all industries.

    2018 latinas in business highlights

    50 Most Powerful Latinas event in Columbia University NYC.

  4. In May, we were invited to participate at the “Banking on Latinos for Growth” with LNC Executive Board members and speakers from major banking institutions hosted by Univision. Our most read article of the year!

    Latino market growth

    (L to R) Adriana, Charles Neurenberg, Univision; Jessica J Asencio, LNC; Susana G Baumann and Tathiana Carrasco, Latinas in Business Inc.

  5. We were committed to increase the number of in-person events in 2018. In July, we partnered with Leo Cervantes, Chef and owner at La Playa Restaurant to party the summer off with “Mexican Sushi en La Playa” event.
  6. In August we launched our first “Latinas in Business Monthly Networking Kick Off” in Bloomfield NJ with a total of 98 registered participants. Guest speaker was Rafael Mata, Director of Hudson County Office of Business Opportunity.
  7. At this event, we launched our “Latinas Inner Circle”membership, an opportunity for Latina entrepreneurs to receive a number of benefits including promoting their brand and their businesses and attending our events at discount price.
  8. We followed up with a Latinas in Business Central Jersey Monthly Networking in “Las Marias” Restaurant and 78 registered participants. Guest speaker in his opportunity was Maddie Brooks at Prudential.
  9. At the end of September, we gathered Latina entrepreneurs at the Town Hall Latino Business Meeting with Lt Governor Sheila Oliver and hosted by Perth Amboy Major Wilda Diaz. Main sponsor for this event was Investors Bank. Outstanding success with a Q&A session and networking event and over 100 participants.

    economic growth

    Town Hall Latina Business Meeting in Perth Amboy

  10. In October we worked frantically in putting together our upcoming November “Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition.”
  11. November also brought a great opportunity to join the AARP “Women of Certain Age”event at Montclair University with the presence of NJ Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg.

    Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, and Editor in Chief, Latinas in Business Inc.

  12. November 8 finally arrived and we had the most powerful and successful event so far! See the “2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo recap celebrating the economic force of Latina entrepreneurs.” Thanks to the generous hosting of Hudson County Office of Business Opportunity and Hudson County Community College, we were able to have a fantastic event full of highlights and great attendance!
  13. The year ended in a high note when we received the Red Shoe Movement “Leaders Who Walk the Walk” award in NYC.Susana G Baumann

So we are very grateful for all the support from sponsors, hosts and participants that allowed us to continue our mission to advocate for the economic empowerment of the Latina working woman.

 

MOST SHARED ARTICLES ON 2018

  1. Latina community leader in the Bronx inspiring service across gender and cultures

Rev. Carmen Hernandez is a Latina community leader, activist, and advocate, working for people for over 35 years in the Soundview section of the Bronx, NY. Inspired by mentors from a young age, she has always felt a calling to help people. Throughout her years as an activist she has created many organizations and services to help her community. [Continue reading…]

Latina community leader

Rev Carmen Hernandez, a well known figure in the Bronx (Courtesy Rev Carmen Hernandez)

  1. Corporate executive Beth Marmolejos shares insights on being a Latina leader

How hard is it to become a Latina leader? Throughout her career, Beth Marmolejos has risen to leadership roles and achieved great success in her field.  Her story offers some insights and advice to other aspiring Latina leaders.  [Continue reading…]

Latina leadership

  1. Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Picaro turns crisis into business opportunity

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Picaro transformed an external crisis into a business opportunity for her marketing communications company. She is the founder of the well-established, award-winning marketing communications agency, SRP Communications & Brand Design, SRP Interactive, and SRP Health Care Communication. Her company has offices in both Miami and Buenos Aires, and serves a variety of clients from startups to global corporations. [Continue reading…]

 

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Porcaro

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Porcaro

MOST READ ARTICLE OF ALL TIMES

6 Benefits of top management diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry 

The hospitality and tourism industry employs a diverse workforce yet at a senior level there are still issues of equality. Diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry is frequent in lower paid, less skilled jobs. However, senior positions at board level such as CEOs, CFOs and upper management career track are short in minority representation, clearly an issue for the industry’s future and development of skilled workers mirroring its market base.

 

MOST READ ARTICLE OF 2018

1.7 Trillion US Latino market growth, opportunity and challenge for banking industry

The explosion of the Latino market growth is no news for the 59 million strong – and growing –Latinos living in the USA. However, in an exclusive interview for LatinasinBusiness.us with Jessica K Asencio, President of the Latino Networks Coalition, we discussed this “cannot-be-missed” opportunity, which continues to be a challenge for companies that are still hovering on this potential without taking radical action.

 

Thanks for your support and Happy Holidays for all from us! See you in the New Year!

Latinas in Business Inc. Team