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Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

Latina leaders share post-Covid recovery resources for Latina and minority small business owners and entrepreneurs during virtual event.

Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery event recap 

During our March 19th virtual event, “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends”, panelists shared various business recovery resources for Latina and minority entrepreneurs and business owners. 

The event ran from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST and consisted of two panels of Latina Leaders and entrepreneurs and chats with guest speaker Damaris Diaz and Keynotes speaker Stacie de Armas. 

Speaking about the event President and CEO of Latinas in Business, Susana G Baumann, said, “After this very challenging year, it is important to regroup and think strategically about how to recover and protect our businesses and essential workers. I am very grateful for the response of these amazing Latina leaders that will provide the knowledge and resources needed for our community not only to survive, but to excel.”

The event’s first panel, Funding and Resources for Latina Small Business Recovery, featured guest speakers Jennifer Garcia, Christina Fuentes, and Wendy Garcia, who each provided a variety of resources for Latina and minority entrepreneurs and business owners. 

Panel 1 Guest Speakers: Jennifer Garcia, Wendy Garcia, and Christina Fuentes.

Funding Resources for Latina Small Business Recovery  

Jennifer Garcia, is the Interim CEO at Latino Business Action Network (LBAN). LBAN’s mission is to strengthen the United States by empowering Latino business owners to grow. Under her leadership, she oversaw four successful cohorts of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education (SLEI-Ed) Scaling Program empowering nearly 300 Latino and Latina entrepreneurs to complete this prestigious program. 

During the panel, Jennifer shared a variety of resources including information on the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education Scaling Program. The program helps entrepreneurs develop a growth mindset to help take their business to the next level. Through the program, participants will join a powerful network of Latino entrepreneurs and will have an experienced mentor to challenge and support them while helping them apply the curriculum to their business. Participants will also learn about funding and capital options, financial management, and go through various exercises to prepare them for a conversation with capital providers. 

The program is currently accepting applications for their next cohort which begins May 5th, so Apply Now

Latina entrepreneurs and business owners can access additional resources from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Research department. The goal of SLEI research is to understand the state of Latino entrepreneurship by analyzing data and shaping research in this field. The SLEI’s most recent report highlights the impact of Latino-owned employer businesses in the U.S. economy and compares their experiences to those of White-owned employer firms in the United States. 

The full report can be read here

You might be interested: Key Insights from the 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report 

Entrepreneurs interested in gaining additional resources and insights should also register for Latino Business Action Network’s (LBAN) upcoming FREE virtual 6-part series: Resources That Matter for Latinx Entrepreneurs During These Times of Uncertainty. The series will cover important topics such as economic market forecast, capital access, customer acquisition, resource building, and networking.

Christina Fuentes, Managing Director – Community Development within the Community Development Division at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). Christina is responsible for developing, coordinating, and managing initiatives that support community development,  such as incentives and loans along with brownfield redevelopment, historic preservation, and small business services including traditional financing, technical assistance, partnering with Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s (CDFI)  and COVID-19 recovery programs. 

Christina shared resources for NJ businesses impacted by Covid-19. For businesses looking for grants and PPE products, visit https://business.nj.gov/covid for the latest, up-to-date information. 

Additionally, NJ small business owners can visit NJEDA’s site  for resources such as low-cost financing options, lease incentives, industry specific programs, and more. 

For those looking to get assigned to a Small Business Services Liaison or with specific questions, contact smallbusinessservices@njeda.com

Wendy Garcia, is the Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of the NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. Wendy Garcia is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) and managing diversity related projects across all bureaus of the agency. She also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group comprised of national, local, corporate, and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors.

Wendy shared a plethora of resources available to entrepreneurs and business owners from the M/WBE University site. Comptroller’s M/WBE University is a series of workshops designed to increase access to the Comptroller’s Office and citywide opportunities for M/WBEs. Materials from all past classes are available for download at the site.

PDF of Resources for Small Businesses Owners & M/WBE’s Impacted by Covid-19 (click to download).

National Conversation with Latina Leaders, Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery,

Announcing speakers for must-attend National Conversation with Latina Leaders event

Announcing nationally recognized speakers for the “Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery: Resources and Trends” virtual event, to discuss what’s next for Latinas and other minority owned small businesses who have experienced extreme hardship during the Post-Covid economic crisis. 

Latinas in Business Inc. announces an extraordinary group of speakers from around the country for their second virtual National Conversation with Latina Leaders event titled “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends”. 

National Conversation with Latina Leaders, Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery,

Join us for our second virtual National Conversation with Latina Leaders event,“Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends.”

The event takes place Friday, March 19 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST – 9:00 am to 11:00 am PST on Zoom and live-streamed on Facebook. For free registration to this event visit https://latina-small-business-recovery.eventbrite.com. The event is open to all entrepreneurs regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. 

The President and CEO of Latinas in Business Inc, Susana G Bauman states, “After this very challenging year, it is important to regroup and think strategically about how to recover and take charge of our businesses. I am very grateful for the response of these amazing Latina business leaders that will provide the knowledge and resources needed for businesses not only to survive, but to excel.”

Panel 1. Funding and Resources for Latina Small Business Recovery

Guest speaker: Jennifer Garcia

From CA, Jennifer Garcia, Interim CEO at Latino Business Action (LBAN). LBAN’s mission is to strengthen the United States by empowering Latino business owners to grow. Under her leadership, she oversaw four successful cohorts of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education (SLEI-Ed) Scaling Program empowering nearly 300 Latino and Latina entrepreneurs to complete this prestigious program. 

Guest speaker: Wendy Garcia

From NY, Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of the NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, is another confirmed panelist. Wendy Garcia is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and managing diversity related projects across all bureaus of the agency. 

Guest speaker: Christina Fuentes

From NJ, Christina Fuentes, Managing Director – Community Development within the Community Development Division at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). Christina is responsible for developing, coordinating, and managing initiatives that support community development,  such as incentives and loans along with brownfield redevelopment, historic preservation, and small business services including traditional financing, technical assistance, partnering with Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s (CDFI)  and COVID-19 recovery programs.

Panel 2.  Trends Impacting Growth in Post-COVID “New Normal”

Guest speaker: Rosario B Casas

From Bogota-Colombia, Rosario B Casas, a Colombian born serial entrepreneur and award-winning women-in-tech advocate has been confirmed as one of the panelists for the event. She is the Co-founder of XR Americas, a NYC headquartered software company, using spatial computing for workforce skills development, as well as the Co-Founder of Business Creative Partners (BCPartnersTech) leading digital adoption and transformation for Hispanic owned businesses. Additionally, she is self-admittedly obsessed with finding more women and Hispanics using technology to solve key global challenges.

Guest speaker: Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon

From NY, Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, the Managing Partner of Avante Capital, is currently responsible for identifying, executing, and managing investment opportunities. Ivelisse is a longtime advocate and champion for women, minorities, and the underserved and underrepresented. She holds leadership roles in several local and national non-profit organizations and even launched a philanthropic organization called We Will with her two sisters, to support and empower underserved women and minorities in the areas of healthcare, education, and financial literacy. 

Guest speaker: Lucy Pinto

From NY, Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google Program Manager, works to level the playing field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to resources needed to grow. She manages the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. The program has trained over 60,000 businesses on digital tools. work on initiatives that invest in communities that are underrepresented online to untap their potential, help them succeed, and drive bottom line impact. 

“Although it is evident that throughout the United States, Latino entrepreneurs have encountered extreme difficulty, it is important to note that they have been extremely resilient and have adapted their businesses to navigate these ever-changing conditions,” Baumann continued. 

Join us and all our supporting organizations in bringing solutions to America’s backbone, small businesses, and especially minority women and Latina-owned businesses, their talent, innovation and their constant sense of purpose to support their communities. 

Click HERE for registration. You won’t want to miss this event! 

12 latina leaders

12 Latina leaders honored in 2020

This past year has been challenging like no other but among the turbulent times, powerful Latinas rose up as inspirational leaders. As we look back on this year here at Latinas In Business, let us take a moment to honor and celebrate our Latina Leaders of 2020 and reflect on their inspirational journeys and the wisdom they have shared with us. 

Our 2020 Latina Leaders

Latina Leader of January: Judy Justin 

professional photography

Judy Justin, founder at Judy Justin Photography

In January,  U.S. Navy veteran, mother, and a professional photographer, Judy Justin taught us all about the power of confidence and the importance of our images in personal branding. What began as a hobby for Judy soon became her flourishing business, Judy Justin Photography. Judy shared how she was drawn to portrait photography especially, because it allows her to connect with her clients on a more personal level. Through that personal connection, her clients become more relaxed and confident during their sessions, and that confidence is key to creating the perfect image. 

For the fellow entrepreneurs, Judy suggested that we all especially take care of our images. Images are everything in branding. 

“A good set of professional portraits or pictures can say so much about you. It is sad when you see people in high positions -especially on social media- with pictures cropped from a wedding or social pictures, or worst yet, no picture at all! Your image is your first business card, and it speaks volumes about you and your business.” 

As we head into a new January, let us be mindful of our images and infuse them with confidence and authenticity. 

Latina Leader of February: Jacqueline Camacho 

Visionary social entrepreneur and Latina leader, Jacqueline Camacho.

In February, visionary social entrepreneur, Jacqueline Camacho taught us to be fearless and go for our dreams. Her life motto: “Taking off is optional, landing on your dreams is mandatory.” Leading by example, Jacqueline has soared for her own dreams and achieved so much in a short time. At only 36, she has founded two award-winning companies, established two nonprofit organizations, published sixteen books, created over ten products, and held dozens of events around the world. She also achieved her personal dream of becoming a sports airplane pilot! 

Jacqueline showed us all that anything is possible. Often referred to as a “dream catcher,” Jacqueline uses her strategies as a speaker, author, and entrepreneur to support thousands of women to live a life of significance. Additionally, she created the anthology book series,  Today’s Inspired Latina to share the success stories of Latinas and inspire hope and motivation “for anyone sitting on a dream and thinking it can’t come true.” 

Latina Leader of March: Sara Peña

community empowerment

Sara Pena, Director, Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development at NJ Department of State.

In March, professional and community, Sara Peña, shared with us the many lessons she has learned about community empowerment, self-empowerment, and success. As a Newark native and daughter of immigrant parents, she has strived in her career to empower Latinos, especially the youth, through advocacy, legislature, and mentorship. 

Currently she is the Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development in the NJ Department of State, as well as the founder of the Boys to Leaders Foundation. Through her work as a community leader, Sara has created opportunities for young Latinos and provided  leadership training, educational programs, and positive personal and professional development. 

Sara also shared with us her 5 best tips for self-empowerment and success: Understand Finances, Grow Personally, Build and Nurture Relationships, and Self-Care. You can read all about them and more in Sara’s feature article

Latina Leader of April:  Wendy Garcia

resources for women

Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer of the NYC Office of the Comptroller

In April, as the COVID pandemic hit, Latinas In Business hosted a Virtual Meeting: COVID-19: NY Resources for Minority and Women Small Businesses (Public and Private), to share financial assistance and other resources from federal, state, and City government, and the private sector. Here, guest speaker Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer from the Office of the New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, provided crucial information on resources for minorities, women, and all small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

As Chief Diversity Officer, Wendy Garcia is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and managing the Comptroller Office’s internal supplier diversity initiative, as well as other diversity related projects across all bureaus of the agency. Ms. Garcia also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group comprised of national, local, corporate, and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors.

Latina Leader of May: Alicia Puig 

Alicia Puig, Co-founder of PxP Contemporary.

In May, Alicia Puig introduced us to the world of digital art galleries as the COVID pandemic kept us stuck at home. Alicia co-founded  PxP Contemporary with artist Ekaterina Popova. The platform was founded as a fully digital art gallery that connects collectors with high-quality, affordable artworks. Alicia and Ekaterina created PxP as a way to challenge the traditional art gallery model and make the process of buying art a more accessible, digital-friendly experience. And it came at the perfect time too! 

As we all became confined to our homes, the PxP gallery provided an escape from our boredom. The digital gallery, even in non-COVID times, is also a great way to make art more accessible to everyone. 

“It was a deliberate choice that we embraced being fully digital from the beginning, and I’m glad we did,” Alicia said. Additionally, PxP strived for inclusivity of all identities in the artists they represent. “Being a minority and understanding what it’s like to not have certain advantages helped Kat and I identify a gap in our industry and seek to address it via our gallery.” 

Looking back, we are so glad to have had PxP brighten our lockdown with beautiful, diverse art. 

Latina Leader of June: Albania Rosario

Albania Rosario, founder and CEO, Fashion Designers of Latin America.

In June, Albania showed us the power of innovation and adapting to our new post-COVID world. As more and more events were being canceled due to the pandemic, Albania and her team at Fashion Designers of Latin America (FDLA) were innovating and crafting new ways to bring their fashion show to New York Fashion Week. They decided to go virtual, creating a digital experience for audiences across the world. 

We were inspired by Albania’s perseverance during these tough times. Through FDLA, she helped support other struggling artists and designers, shining a spotlight on their stories and fundraising through her project “Las Caras Detrás De La Moda En Latino América.” The campaign features hundreds of video clips from designers across the globe telling their stories and testimonies about how the pandemic has affected their businesses and what they are doing to help.

“I strongly believe that every bad situation comes with a new opportunity but we must be ready to see it,” says Albania. “If we focus only on the negative, it will be impossible to find new opportunities. We have to face the obstacles that come across our path. This is what life is about.” 

Latina Leader of July: Jessica Asencio 

Jessica K Asencio

Jessica K Asencio (RIP) (Photo Courtesy of Jessica’s friends)

In July, we remembered and celebrated the life of Latina leader, Jessica Asencio.  Born in Ecuador and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, Jessica dedicated her life to supporting Latino-Hispanic causes and uplifting their voices in the workplace. Jessica became a D&I leader, and was recognized as a Diversity Champion at JPMorgan Chase.

She also served on the Global Adelante Board–JPMorgan Chase’s Latino/Hispanic Business Resource Group– and founded the Latino Networks Coalition (LNC), originally inaugurated in 2010 by JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte and Thomson Reuters. The coalition was launched with additional partners including American Express, Bank of America, Citibank, Credit Suisse and The New York Times.

Jessica was remembered by friends, family, and colleagues as an extraordinary and passionate leader who left a lasting impact on everyone she met.

“Jessica Asencio was an incredible diversity and inclusion leader and a leader in Hispanic causes, but most importantly she was an incredible friend,” said Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Bank of America HOLA NY Executive Advisory Board Emeritus Chair.

“Jessica made everyone feel we were part of something bigger than ourselves, even before knowing what we were a part of,” said friend and colleague Frank D. Sanchez. 

“She was a leader who led by example with optimism, strength, devotion, and focus,” says Alicia Garcia, friend, and Latino Networks Coalition’s Leader.

Latina Leader of September: Beth Marmolejos

In September, Beth Marmolejos was a champion for change. As a business leader, activist and advocate, Beth made her 2020 a time for collaboration. Some of her personal highlights of 2020 included community driven projects such as co-founding the FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) of Greater Wayne and advocated for the opening of the 1st Inclusion Playground in Wayne, NJ. Later in the year, Beth also co-hosted Latina In Business’  first Virtual 2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit which gathered national and international speakers for an inspirational event focused on promoting “The Power of Collaborations in a Post-COVID World.”  

“Collaborations are vital to achieve success and soar! ‘The Power of Collaboration’ created a nеw energy that I felt was ‘bіggеr than our individual efforts.’ We effесtіvеlу put together resources, energy, tаlеntѕ and gоаlѕ to раvеѕ thе wау for thе ѕuссеѕѕ that we had рlаnned tоgеthеr achieving unexpected benefits,” said Beth. 

Beth’s personal mottos for getting through this year has been #RiseUpTogether. Together, we are all more powerful and successful. 

Latina Leader of October: Maria Elena Salinas

Maria Elena Salinas

Maria Elena Salinas, award-winning journalist and speaker.

In October, Latinas In Business hosted the Regain Our Latino Power event and we were honored to have award-winning journalist Maria Elena Salinas as keynote speaker. The event brought together influential Latino leaders to discuss important topics such as Latinxs essential workers, Latinxs and the economy, Immigration Reform, Deportations and Incarceration of Latino Children.

In a career that spans nearly four decades, Salinas has interviewed world leaders and covered virtually every major national and international news event of our time. Her work has earned the top awards presented in broadcasting, including multiple Emmys, a Peabody, Gracie Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.

While at CBS News, Salinas has contributed to the network’s coverage of the 2020 election including primetime coverage of Super Tuesday and the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Salinas also anchored the poignant CBS News documentary “Pandemia: Latinos In Crisis,” an hour-long, sweeping look at the Latinx community, along with other communities of color, who continues to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic while fulfilling essential roles across the country.

Her tremendous drive, talent, and success is truly an inspiration to us all. 

Latina Leader of November: Maria Piastre

In November Maria Piastre reminded us that success is possible, even in traditionally male-dominated industries such as the metal industry. President of  Metallix Refining Inc. Maria said, “The only limits are the ones you set yourself.” 

When Maria first joined Metallix in 2006, she never thought she would one day be President. However, through perseverance and hard-work, she climbed the ladder and found herself in that very position today. Her story reminds us all that nothing is impossible. 

Throughout her early career, Maria’s tenacity for success and recognition became her armor against the many inequalities she would encounter. Later these inequalities would form the foundation for future campaigns and ultimately help her achieve her goals and dreams.

She shared with Latinas In Business, “As an immigrant to the US, I know only too well the challenges we all will encounter, especially for minority groups. The road will not always be smooth, and regardless of your cultural background, you should believe in yourself, your self-worth, your ability to succeed and that your qualities will always shine through to achieve rewards.” 

Latina Leader of December: Mariela Dabbah

Mariela Dabbah, TEDx and International speaker, award-winning, best-selling author and go-to corporate authority for Fortune 500 companies. 

Finally, this month, TEDx and International speaker, award-winning, best-selling author, Mariela Dabbah, showed us that the fight for gender equality in the workplace is far from over. The pandemic unfortunately has had adverse effects on working women. Mariela shared some of these insights with us, speaking on how many women and minorities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

Recent research shows women have been much more affected by the pandemic, with one in four considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce. 

“This is connected to the fact that women and particularly women with diverse backgrounds and with disabilities have less resources needed to support them at this time. Primarily, reasons include women tending to be the person in charge of childcare, but also, they generally make less than their male counterparts. When a decision needs to be made of who in the household will quit their job, it’s usually women,” said Mariela. 

Amid these statistics, Mariela and her team rose to help women struggling through this time.

“We launched the #InclusionIsNotOnPause initiative to remind everyone that we needed to keep our eyes on the gender-inclusion ball or we’d lose a lot of our hard-earned gains of the past few decades. This initiative provides a set of tactics that organizations can implement to openly show their support for inclusion of all its talent.”

As we enter the new year, let us all remember the lessons and wisdom we have learned from our Latina leaders and carry these insights into the new year. We can’t wait to see what more we will learn in 2021. Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year! 

resources for women

COVID-19 NY Resources for minority and women small businesses with Wendy Garcia

COVID-19: Resources for Minority, Women and other Small Businesses and Q&A Session hosted by Latinas in Business Inc.  Please register here: https://covid-19-ny-resources.eventbrite.com.

Latinas in Business will host a Virtual Meeting, COVID-19: NY Resources for Minority and Women Small Businesses (Public and Private), on April 22, 2020 at 1pm EST to share financial assistance and other resources from federal, state, and City government, and the private sector.

Covid-19 resources for minority

Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer of the NYC Office of the Comptroller

The guest speaker will include Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer from the Office of the New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, will provide information on resources for minority, women, and all small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The Virtual Meeting is free to attend but participants must register to receive meeting information. Attendance is limited.

Please register here: https://covid-19-ny-resources.eventbrite.com.

As Chief Diversity Officer, Wendy Garcia is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and managing the Comptroller Office’s internal supplier diversity initiative, as well as other diversity related projects across all bureaus of the agency. Ms. Garcia also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group comprised of national, local, corporate, and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors.

The Comptroller’s Office of Diversity Initiatives, led by Ms. Garcia, releases “Making the Grade: New York City Agency Report Card on Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises,” a report that examines how well City agencies meet existing supplier diversity goals while outlining additional measures that could be taken to increase the participation of MWBEs in City contracting.

Previously, Ms. Garcia served as the Deputy Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of New York City Comptroller, Director of Community Outreach and Partnerships at the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), Deputy Director of the Manhattan Borough President’s Northern Manhattan Office, and Immigrant Research Analyst for the Rockefeller Foundation through Baruch College.

Please register here: https://covid-19-ny-resources.eventbrite.com

You might be interested: Beyond COVID-19: Prepare your entrepreneur skills for the survival of the fittest