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Why reaching “herd immunity” transcends the end of a pandemic (in English and Spanish)

A message from the president and CEO of Latinas in Business (See below for Spanish version). 

As the optimist that I am, I keep remembering the Spanish saying, “Hope is the last thing you lose.” At worst, we can only hope for the best in the new year, the upcoming 2022. Will this be the year we achieve “herd immunity”?

Still, “ending a year” or “starting a new year” is an illusion; time is a continuum that does not stop or change, with the rhythm of the seasons and the variations of nature. We could count the seasons as a full year, why not? After all, the seasons are the beginning of something real in Nature, and we would celebrate our birthdays every three months by living much longer, maybe even longer than Methuselah!

A calendar year is a social construct that follows the movement of the sun or the moon or other events in nature, which different cultures establish as “the norm” to celebrate or commemorate certain religious or historical events. A calendar is a way of giving society and individuals a structure to avoid chaos and anarchy, a succession of numbers – days – and names – months – that makes sense for a particular lifestyle. The Chinese calendar differs from the Gregorian calendar or the Jewish calendar, to name a few.

In the 2022 Chinese calendar, the new year begins on February 1st. (Image: Amazon.com)

And yet, here we are, planning to celebrate the end of a terrible, mind-changing, exhilarating second year of a global pandemic that has challenged society to the brink of utter insanity, blatant stupidity, or sharp enlightenment.

Utter insanity was the reaction of those who are essentially “social animals”, individuals who need physical and personal contact with others of their kind. The confinement meant to them an imposed prison that prevented them from enjoying the daily donut gossiping, the gym cronies, or the dining out limelight. 

vaccine

The pandemic showed how some individuals would rather prioritize an illusory sense of “freedom” over the lives of more than 5 million human beings. (Photo Credit: Unsplash)

Blatant stupidity crowned the heads of those who refused to care for themselves and others, displaying the utmost disdain for a sense of civility or solidarity in pursuit of a political bias. Vaccines or masks are too much of a restriction for these people who prioritize a selfish and illusory sense of “freedom” or self-preservation beliefs to the contamination of a vaccine that saves lives over the lives of more than 5 million human beings, many of which died unnecessarily. And I quote the global death toll because blatant stupidity is not an exclusive “American” quality.

pandemic

(Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

But then some were able to focus on themselves and their families and think about their lives. Many realized that they wanted something more than a mere existence, which did not necessarily mean more material things. Others understood that their working conditions had been unacceptable because there are options to having to travel miserable distances or work inhumane hours in an office far from the people and activities they love the most.

A large group of people took the opportunity to improve their lives by spending less, saving more, and choosing to follow their passion, perhaps leaving an unacceptable culture in the workplace to make better decisions for themselves or to open their businesses. Others decided to move, in search of a more relatable life experience out of state, out of cities, or out of ghettos.

The pandemic also affected life and business relationships. Many broke up with toxic partners or ended frayed relationships. Isolation was a challenge when we had to face ourselves and others who are part of our lives without the usual distractions. The pandemic demanded the ingenuity of many to find a new love; for others, it meant business innovation to respond to new challenges.

The pandemic caused many to make career changes, choosing to follow their passion and leaving unacceptable workplace environments for better choices. (Photo credit: Unsplash)

If the Internet changed the way we have lived, worked, and loved since the 1990s, the pandemic forced us to look at what has become of us with those changes. Have we improved our humanity, our sense of self and community, or are we dragging resentment and darkness into the abyss of isolation?

Despite the rapid development of vaccines around the world and simple precautions to control the disease, lives continue to be lost and people continue to get sick. The pandemic has entered a phase of “phases”, a roller coaster in which seasons, celebrations, and travel play an important role in a hyper-connected world.

pandemic

“Phases” of the pandemic continue, with new variants posing a threat. (Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

The goal to end this nightmare that has changed our lives seems to be achieving herd immunity when a large part of the world community becomes immune to disease through infection or vaccination. The contagion decreases, it becomes unlikely. Thus, the entire community is protected.

As with herd immunity, humanity will still have to choose between “getting infected” or “getting vaccinated” to reach a point of balance. Utter insanity and blatant stupidity will likely spread even further before the personal suffering becomes unbearable.

vaccine

Vaccinations and herd immunity will be crucial in finding balance and eliminating the threat of the COVID-19 virus. (Photo credit: unsplash.com)

Hopefully, sharp enlightenment will spread to more people who will rise with wisdom and insight into the world we want to become, not the one we have become. 

I don’t know if 2022 will be the year we achieve herd immunity as the Omicron threat looms over us. Rather, it will definitely be the year for those who have crossed the troubled waters of change and are ready to continue to do something with themselves, their lives, and their work choices. 

Those who keep their minds alert and keenly enlightened will enter the “brave new world” in which we don’t have much choice: together we achieve a collective human consciousness or we become extinct as a species.

As time continues to progress inexorably, let’s celebrate new beginnings and longings for 2022! After all, it is our only hope.

Thanks to our Executive Board, our members, supporters, and sponsors for believing in our mission!  

Un abrazo,
Susana G Baumann

Happy Holidays from Latinas in Business CEO and President, Susana G. Baumann. (Photo courtesy: Susana G Baumann)


En Español: Por qué alcanzar la “inmunidad colectiva” trasciende el final de una pandemia

Un mensaje de la presidenta y CEO de Latinas in Business

Como buena optimista que soy, sigo recordando el dicho, “La esperanza es lo último que se pierde”. En el peor de los casos, solo podemos esperar lo mejor en el nuevo año, el próximo 2022. ¿Será este el año en el que logremos la “inmunidad colectiva”?

Sin embargo, “terminar un año” o “comenzar un nuevo año” es una ilusión; el tiempo es un continuo que no se detiene ni cambia, con el ritmo de las estaciones y las variaciones de la naturaleza. Podríamos contar las estaciones como un año completo, ¿por qué no? Después de todo, las estaciones son el comienzo de algo real en la Naturaleza, y celebraríamos nuestros cumpleaños cada tres meses viviendo mucho más tiempo, ¡tal vez incluso más que Matusalén!

Un año calendario es un constructo social que sigue el movimiento del sol o la luna u otros eventos en la naturaleza, y que diferentes culturas establecen como “la norma” para celebrar o conmemorar ciertos eventos religiosos o históricos. Un calendario es una forma de darle a la sociedad y a los individuos una estructura para evitar el caos y la anarquía, una sucesión de números -días- y nombres -meses- que tiene sentido para un estilo de vida particular. El calendario chino difiere del calendario gregoriano o del calendario judío, por nombrar algunos.

En el calendario chino 2022, el año nuevo comienza el 1 de febrero. (Imagen: Amazon.com)

Y aún así, aquí estamos, planeando celebrar el final de un segundo año terrible, enloquecedor, transformativo de una pandemia global que ha desafiado a la sociedad al borde de la locura total, la estupidez flagrante o la iluminación aguda.

La locura total fue la reacción de quienes son esencialmente “animales sociales”, individuos que necesitan el contacto físico y personal con otros de su especie. El encierro les significó una prisión impuesta que les impedía disfrutar de los chismes diarios de la oficina, los compinches del gimnasio o estar en el centro social de atención. 

vacuna

La pandemia mostró cómo algunas personas prefieren priorizar un sentido ilusorio de “libertad” sobre la vida de más de 5 millones de seres humanos. (Photo credit: unsplash.com)

La estupidez flagrante coronó la cabeza de aquellos que se negaron a cuidarse a sí mismos y a los demás, mostrando el mayor desdén por un sentido de civilidad o solidaridad en pos de un sesgo político. Las vacunas o máscaras son demasiada restricción para estas personas que priorizan un sentido egoísta e ilusorio de “libertad” o creencias de auto-preservación a la contaminación de una vacuna que salva vidas –por sobre la vida de más de 5 millones de seres humanos, muchos de los cuales murieron innecesariamente. Y cito el número global de muertes porque la estupidez flagrante no es una cualidad “estadounidense” exclusivamente. 

(Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

Pero luego, algunos pudieron concentrarse en sí mismos y en sus familias y pensar en sus vidas. Muchos se dieron cuenta de que querían algo más que una mera existencia, lo que no necesariamente significaba más cosas materiales. Otros entendieron que sus condiciones de trabajo habían sido inaceptables porque hay opciones a tener que viajar distancias miserables y trabajar horarios inhumanos en una oficina lejos de las personas y actividades que más aman.

Un gran grupo de personas aprovechó la oportunidad para mejorar su vida gastando menos, ahorrando más y eligiendo seguir su pasión, tal vez dejando una cultura inaceptable en el lugar de trabajo para tomar mejores decisiones o para abrir sus negocios. Otros decidieron mudarse, en busca de una experiencia de vida con la cual se identificaban mejor fuera de su estado, de sus ciudades o de sus guetos.

La pandemia hizo que muchos cambiaran su carrera, eligieron seguir su pasión y dejaron entornos laborales inaceptables para tomar mejores decisions. (Photo credit: unsplash.com)

La pandemia también afectó las relaciones de vida y de negocios. Muchos rompieron con socios tóxicos o terminaron de arrastrar relaciones desgastadas. El aislamiento fue un desafío cuando tuvimos que enfrentarnos a nosotros mismos y a los demás que forman parte de nuestras vidas sin las distracciones habituales. La pandemia demandó el ingenio de muchos para encontrar un nuevo amor; para otros, significó innovación empresarial para responder a nuevos desafíos.

Si Internet cambió la forma en que hemos vivido, trabajado y amado desde los años noventa, la pandemia nos obligó a mirar qué ha sido de nosotros con esos cambios. ¿Hemos mejorado nuestra humanidad, nuestro sentido del yo y la comunidad, o estamos arrastrando el resentimiento y la oscuridad al abismo del aislamiento?

A pesar del rápido desarrollo de las vacunas en todo el mundo y de las sencillas precauciones para controlar la enfermedad, se siguen perdiendo vidas y la gente se sigue enfermando. La pandemia ha entrado en una fase de “fases”, una montaña rusa en la que las estaciones, las celebraciones, y los viajes juegan un papel importante en un mundo hiper-conectado.

Continúan las “fases” de la pandemia, con nuevas variantes que suponen una amenaza. (Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

El objetivo para poner fin a esta pesadilla que ha cambiado nuestras vidas parece ser lograr la inmunidad colectiva, cuando una gran parte de la comunidad mundial se vuelva inmune a la enfermedad a través de la infección o la vacunación. El contagio disminuye, se vuelve poco probable. Así, toda la comunidad queda protegida.

Al igual que en la inmunidad colectiva, la humanidad tendrá que seguir eligiendo entre “infectarse” o “vacunarse” para alcanzar un punto de equilibrio. La locura total y la estupidez flagrante probablemente se extenderán aún más antes de que el sufrimiento personal sea insoportable.

vacuna

Las vacunas y la inmunidad colectiva serán cruciales para encontrar el equilibrio y eliminar la amenaza del virus COVID-19. (Photo credit: unsplash.com)

Con suerte, la iluminación aguda se extenderá a más personas que se elevarán con sabiduría y mayor comprensión del mundo en el que queremos convertirnos, no en el que nos hemos convertido.

No sé si 2022 será el año en el que logremos la inmunidad colectiva, ya que la amenaza de Omicron se cierne sobre nosotros. Por el contrario, definitivamente será el año de aquellos que han cruzado las turbulentas aguas del cambio y están listos para continuar mejorándose a sí mismos, sus vidas y sus elecciones laborales.

Aquellos que mantengan su mente alerta y agudamente iluminada entrarán en el “valiente nuevo mundo” en el que no tenemos muchas opciones: juntos logramos una conciencia humana colectiva o nos extinguimos como especie. 

A pesar de que el tiempo sigue avanzando inexorablemente, ¡celebremos nuevos comienzos y anhelos para el 2022! 

Después de todo, es nuestra única esperanza. 

¡Gracias a nuestro Comité Ejecutivo, nuestros miembros, amigos, y patrocinadores por continuar apoyando nuestra misión!

Un abrazo,
Susana G Baumann

Feliz Año Nuevo de la directora ejecutiva y presidenta de Latinas in Business, Susana G. Baumann. (Photo courtesy: Susana G Baumann)

 

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

 

 

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)

 

Susana G Baumann

Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc., receives Red Shoe Movement Award

Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc., received the 2018 Red Shoe Movement Award in New York City.

Latinas in Business Inc is a national non-profit initiative that gathers communicators and business owners seeking only one goal: to support, enrich and empower the experience of Latinas in business and the workplace. From those running their own enterprises to those just entering the labor force or sitting in the corner office, Latinas in Business Inc is dedicated to the fastest growing business community in the nation: Latinas.

Remember: ¡La unión hace la fuerza!

Susana G Baumann

Susana G Baumann receives Red Shoe Movement Award for “2018 Leader who Walks the Walk”

Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc. Susana@latinasinbusiness.us/

Susana G. Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc. President, CEO and Editor in Chief, was formerly the owner and Director of LCSWorldwide Language and Multicultural Marketing Communications, a consulting firm located in New Jersey, USA. Since 1996, LCSWorldwide consulted with organizations in healthcare, education, and public service to develop multicultural community outreach initiatives for the Latino market in nine states.

A multicultural marketing expert, business writer and published author, Baumann advocates for Latinos in the United States. She specialized in this market early on, when Hispanic was a “bad word” and companies would disregard the economic power of a burgeoning population.

Among her clients, she has serviced Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas and California State Libraries, major pharmaceutical and healthcare corporations, and national non-profit organizations in healthcare and education. A highlight of her career was to be part of the trainers’ cohort for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Spanish Outreach Program at WebJunction.com in 2007 and 2008.

Writer, editor, and publisher, she has worn almost every hat in the media industry and has managed publishing and production crews. In 2002, Susana launched the first bilingual newspaper in New Jersey, Periódico Latino!, featuring news and stories to promote the achievements of Latinos in the Garden State.

Travelling frequently to Latin America, she has interviewed Latin American and US Hispanic-American top corporate executives and government officers to develop success stories, trends, industry updates, and company profiles for trade magazines such as US Industry Today and Latin Trade.

Her book, ¡Hola, amigos! A Plan for Latino Outreachwas published in 2010 by Connecticut publisher ABC-CLIO Inc., and acclaimed by specialized reviews.

“Whether it’s used in whole or chapter by chapter as needed, the combination of information, ideas, worksheets, and rich access to bibliographic source material creates a potent tool for beginning and enriching outreach programming to the Latino community. This is indeed the centerpiece of the publisher’s Latinos and Libraries series.”
—Booklist Online

Baumann received the LISTA Summit and the Latina Excellence Award at 2015, TECLA Award for Best Business Blogat Hispanicize 2015, and was invited to become a media member of the NAA American Latina Leadership Caucus. In 2017, Susana was named a 2017 Latina of Influenceby Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine and in 2018, received the Red Shoe Movement “Leaders Who Walk the Walk” Award.

In 2013, she was named “Journalist of the Year” by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey for her service and advocacy to Latino small businesses, where she has been a speaker several times. She has also been a speaker at Jacksonville University Media and Communications Series, the 2017 Prospanica National Conference, the LEAD Conference for Latina students at Harvard University and the P.O.W.E.R. Women’s Summit in Newark, NJ.

She has been featured in several national media outlets including Abasto Magazine, Huffington Post, Negocios Now, and has been a guest to TV and radio programs including the Joe Torres TV program Tiempo at ABC News and several times to Contigo en la Comunidad at Univision 41.

 

 

Follow Susana @LIB_Inc

https://www.facebook.com/latinasinbusiness.us/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/susanabaumann

 

economic growth

Lt Governor of New Jersey addresses economic growth topics with Latina entrepreneurs

Economic growth for Latina entrepreneurs in the State of New Jersey was the topic of discussion between Lt Governor Sheila Oliver and members of Latinas in Business Inc. She was invited to participate in a Town Hall Latina Business Meeting, graciously hosted in the City of Perth Amboy by Mayor Wilda Diaz and the local Business Development District.

economic growth

Attendees with Lt. Gov Sheila Oliver, Mayor Wilda Diaz and Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc.

economic growth

Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc acknowledged the importance of Lt Gov Oliver’s presence for Latina entrepreneurs. “We need to ‘see and be seen,’ she said. (Photo courtesy Americano Newspaper)

In her introduction, Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc. recalled, “Only 4 years ago, when I started this initiative to advocate for the economic empowerment of Latina entrepreneurs, little I imagined that today, in our 4th anniversary, we would be receiving the visit of one of the highest ranking members of the State of New Jersey, Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver.”

Baumann emphasized the importance of Latina entrepreneurs to “see and be seen.” “We need to ‘see’ those successful role models and mentors from whom we can learn but we also need to ‘be seen’ by decision-makers and influencers such as Lt Governor Oliver. We need them to hear our concerns and our needs so they can address them in programs and policies customized for Latinas and other minority entrepreneurs,” she said.

economic growth

Silvia Caravella, Franchise Owner, addressing important issues related to hiring illegal immigrants (Photo courtesy Americano Newspaper) EmployBridge – Remedy Intelligent Staffing

Attendees concerned for economic growth of Latina small businesses

A large group of Latina entrepreneurs from around the state attended the event to ask questions of concern about the economic growth of their small businesses. Lt Governor Oliver responded with her vision as a member of the Murphy’s Administration; her knowledge as a former Speaker of the Assembly, having served in the Labor, Higher Education, Women and Children, Commerce and Economic Development, and Transportation and Independent Authorities committees; and her own experience as a business consultant in the past.

economic growthShe recalled that years ago, she was in a business partnership with two male partners. One died two years after starting the business and the other moved away. She was left alone to build the business, “And it was not easy,” she said.

Questions from Latina entrepreneurs were related to the Minority Certification process, the announced minimum wage raise in the state, businesses that belong in the “informal economy,” the exploitation of illegal workers by industries that seek their hiring, and other related issues to economic growth and expanding small businesses opportunities.

Lt Governor Oliver approached each of the questions by mentioning an array of resources and information at her disposal. “Also, I have an ‘open-door’ policy so that any of you can access me and all the resources under my control,” she said. Oliver referred to her combined role as Lt Governor and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, a unique opportunity that allows her to combine an executive position with a hands-on involvement in all New Jersey municipalities.

economic growth

Mayor Wilda Diaz, City of Perth Amboy (Photo courtesy Americano Newspaper)

Mayor Diaz was excited to host the event in Perth Amboy, a city with a large Business Development District. She is the only Mayor Latina of Puerto Rican descent in New Jersey re-elected for the third time. In 2008, she faced a difficult electoral process and came through with flying colors.

Diaz’s aggressive outreach and promotion of business advocacy can be seen in the development of the Perth Amboy Business Improvement District, helping businesses find new customers, assisting them with marketing products and services, connecting business owners with organizations that offer financing, and producing and presenting attractive special events and festivals.

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“All these efforts could not be more aligned with the vision that Latinas in Business has for our members. Together, we can help them succeed by providing the ABC of success: ACCESS to opportunities and clients, BRANDING and promoting their businesses and CONNECTING them to decision-makers and influencers,” Baumann said.

economic growth

Bert Lopez, MC and host, Latino Motion, with Lt. Gov Oliver (Photo courtesy Bert Lopez)

The event was followed by a networking party with the presence of business leaders in the community including the Executive Director of the Middlesex Regional Chamber of Commerce Lina Llona, President-Elect Alana Cueto, MSN, RN, CNL, of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses; and Elayne McClaine, Regional Director, New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers New Brunswick; Elisa Charters, President of Latina Surge, and other authorities.

Bert Lopez, host and producer of the TV show Latino Motion was the MC for the evening.

Baumann also thanked the support of Investors Bank and Comcast Spotlight for sponsoring the event at the beautiful Raritan Yacht Club; and to Mayor Wilda Diaz’ team -Dianne Roman, Jeanette Rios and Junel Hutchinson- for the fantastic job they did in hosting the event.