50 Most Powerful Latinas

50 Most powerful Latinas a day of insights and celebration was invited to cover the 2018 50 Most Powerful Latinas Summit, hosted once again in New York City by ALPFA (the Association of Latino Professionals for America) with media partner Fortune, educational partner Columbia University, People en Español and Latino Leaders Magazine.


How to become an influencer and advance your business

I was recently asked by an acquaintance to provide the “secret” to becoming an influencer within a community. I responded that while I consider myself a big fish in a very small pond, the process that I follow can scale and provide big fish in a big pond results.

Pope-Francis-Catholic-Church-of-England-and-Wales-CC influencer

Pope Frances, one of the greatest influencers of our times.

The following are the six steps that I have found to be effective in creating influence within a community. I believe that anyone can follow these steps to begin their journey towards becoming an influencer:

1. Determine the industry/segment in which you wish to become an influencer:

There’s a difference between being famous and being an influencer. O.J. Simpson was and continues to be famous. Better yet, infamous. John Wooden was an influencer. In the sports industry today who do you think is more successful in influencing the community – even posthumously? Wooden, of course. Influencers must choose a community upon which they will focus and serve. They must respect that community and the community must have no reason to disrespect them. While future influencers need not be experts in community matters, they must eventually evolve into subject matter experts before they earn influencer status.

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2. Create content that demonstrates your thought leadership and expertise:

Influencers within any community/industry generally have expert knowledge of matters within their domain. The masses listen and act on the advice of influencers specifically because they are experts. Whether their expertise relates to accounting, art or lipstick, influencers are perceived as being subject matter experts. Individuals seeking influencer status must demonstrate their mastery to the community/industry. In today’s content driven world this means that expertise should be evidenced in one or more content formats, including but not limited to, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts or any other form of content that is preferred by the community. Expertise and thought leadership must come through clearly in order for the community to adopt the individual as an influencer.

3. Develop public relations to put a face to the name:

Something I continually tell attendees at my workshops is that people do business with people. And people are influenced by people. While the Internet, social media and its many forms of content are essential, at the very core we want human interaction. Individuals seeking tocreatetheirplaceintheinfluencer Hall of Fame must ensure that they walk away from their computer screens and actually meet the community they are looking to serve. Through speaking engagements, networking functions and other face-to-face interactions influencers-in-process can help generate needed buzz from those individuals that read the book or saw the video or heard the podcast and have now put a face with a name. Big time influencers will tell you that it is not possible to meet the entire community or respond to every email, tweet or message. But they will also tell you that they invest time interacting as much as possible.


Photo credits (Top L to Bottom R) Susana G Baumann at Univision 41 Studios; Susana with Yvonne Garcia, ALPFA National Chair; Susana with Nina Vacca, CEO Pinnacle Group and Pres Emeritus US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Susana with the NAA American Latina Leadership Caucus and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

4. Build your list:

One of the most valuable investments an influencer can make is to sign up for an account with Mailchimp, Constant Contact or some other email program. Consideration should be given to capturing contact information with the release of every piece of content. Show me a successful influencer and I will show you an effective contact database. In today’s social media world it is also important to develop followings in-platform. This means growing connections, likes, followers, etc. Both email lists and social media platforms are essential to the distribution of content that reinforces influencer status as well as grows influence through sharing.

5. Create collaborations/partnerships:

The biggest mistake an influencer-in-training can make is assume that he/she must do it all alone. In today’s democratized world where a dishwasher has as much of a chance of being an influencer as a billionaire, there are many opportunities for collaboration. Something that my Two Men In Your Business co-host Aaron M. Sanchez and I do frequently with our workshops is to bring in others with an expertise that fits our program. We promote those individuals to our following and they do the same with theirs resulting in greater reach and broader influence. The concept of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours is an effective tool for developing influence.

Elianne Ramos, one of the most influential Latina in politics, with Susana G Baumann, at Hispanicize 2015.

Elianne Ramos, one of the most influential Latinas in politics, with Susana G Baumann, at Hispanicize 2015.

6. Remain active and innovative: 

The first five steps above represent the tactics necessary to establish oneself as an influencer. However, in order to remain successful the tactics must be consistently applied and revised based on feedback. An influencer is not a state – it is a way of life. Successful influencers are consistently seeking new ways to grow their community, new approaches to deliver content, new presentations of old content and the development of new content and ideas.

Using these six tactics will allow anyone to develop into an influencer. I credit my big fish in a small pond success to these tactics. Perhaps it’s time to move to a bigger pond!


Jesse Torres has been named to the list of the Top 20 Most Influential Community Bankers in Social Media. The title was bestowed by the Independent Community Bankers of America.


female leadership men in board room

ALPFA Yvonne Garcia what is missing in female leadership?

Yvonne Garcia female leadership

Yvonne Garcia, SVP of Global Head of Client Solutions and PMO at State Street Corporation, and National Chairwoman, Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) (Courtesy of Yvonne Garcia)

Do women have particular talents that might help them develop female leadership skills –more compassionate, innovative, team and community building oriented? In a very harsh business environment where companies are only interested in financial results, female leadership has been a struggle for women in general and Latinas in particular. So what are women missing in order to achieve positions of leadership?

About this significant topic, we interviewed once again Yvonne Garcia, SVP of Global Head of Client Solutions and PMO at State Street Corporation, and National Chairwoman, Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), to share some of her viewpoints in preparation for the Most Powerful Latinas Summit, co-sponsored by Fortune Magazine and ALPFA to take place in New York City.

Yvonne has risen to the higher ranks of leadership as both a global corporate leader and a national civic leader.

At State Street Corporation, she guides a high performing global team that provides end-to-end services for Fortune 100 companies in the financial sector by delivering superior service to clients and deploying cutting-edge technology and operational processes.

As the National Chairwoman of ALPFA, Yvonne has led the organization to increase ALPFA’s membership to a record high of almost 80,000 members since the first time we interviewed her in 2014.

Are women better leaders?

“To answer this question, I think in terms of talents women have that help them become better adept at leading,” she told “For instance, women often perform with great creativity and inclusiveness because they tend to solicit broader opinions. These abilities are known to build more cohesive teams,” she stated.

Although generalizations are not always precise, Yvonne sustains that women excel at empowering staff because they encourage openness, and usually make themselves available to the people they manage.

Experience shows that in a world where results are largely defined by motivated and cohesive teams rather than by products or brands, female leaders are very well equipped to encourage people to go the extra mile for achieving excellence,” she said. “Being open and accessible, and leveraging and celebrating differences –which defines strong skills at hiring and managing diverse teams–, and usually unafraid to ask for input, female leadership is gaining real momentum and presence,” she shared.

woman leading meeting female leadership

Still a controversial issue, studies tend to agree that these abilities, talents or skills seem to be largely the result of different neural connections in the male and female anatomy of the brain.

“These differences make women hardwired to be multi-taskers, something any mother or teacher could have told you. Most women excel in social skills and emotional intelligence, which I believe allows us to be creative and innovative; abilities all industries value because they are becoming more and more critical in achieving results,” she said.

Other conditions favoring female leadership

In addition to their talents, natural abilities and skills, other conditions are beginning to support female leadership development. With more women in the workforce and slowly gaining access to middle management roles, it seems that society is definitely moving in the female direction.

“Women now earn more college and graduate degrees, and we make up more than half the workforce,” she added. “Although ‘in theory’ we are closing the gap in middle management –a pipeline to the C-suite –, the pay gap and the lack of a support system still continue to exist in large scale according to research,” she said.

college graduates female leadership

Women accounted for 47 percent of the labor force and 38 percent of all managerial positions in 2011 (BLS, 2011), and have made slow but steady progress in some levels of corporate leadership, with 16 percent of board seats of Fortune 500 companies being held by women –a 40 percent increase over 2000 (Catalyst, 2005, 2012), studies show.

“Companies that employ women in large numbers are showing greater increase in performance and profitability than their competitors on every measure,” Garcia affirmed.

Similarly, company boards with women are more profitable but the argument does not seem to support increase of female leadership. “This is ironic,” Garcia said, “because according to the Anita Borg Institute, ‘Fortune 500 companies that include the sustained representation of at least three women board directors significantly outperform those with no female directors,’” she shared.

So what is missing in female leadership?

Women currently hold only 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and the same percentage of Fortune 1000 CEO positions. So what do we need to do to break these glass ceilings?

  1. Get comfortable with risk:

“First and probably most important,” Garcia said, “is to get comfortable with risk. Women are taught from birth to be risk-averse, as I discussed at ALPFA’s National Convention two years ago in the Atlantic’s article on the confidence gap, ‘they approach work with a different mindset’ — one which values exactness, tight deadlines, and perfection of finish over experimentation and rough prototyping,” she shared with

“Women shouldn’t be fighting for a place at work; they should be inventing, designing, prototyping, and coding a new idea of work—something not based on an out-dated belief about gender roles in society.”[1]

  1. Gain confidence:

“Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence, as authors Kay and Shipman sustain. We need to have no doubt that we are more than good enough to lead; that we deserve the promotion and that we are as capable as our male counter parts,” Garcia affirmed. “We need to have no doubts about ourselves and make it a part of our being and that of our daughters and our staff and our networks,” she said.

“As managers, we need to emphasize this to our junior staff and help them gain the confidence to grow without penalty, as men have done for many years to their protégées who were not born with greater leadership abilities,” the ALPFA leader sustained.

“We should be encouraging men to also build a safe supportive environment and cultivate opportunities to develop confidence, the ability to fail without major consequences, as well as the mentoring that creates the habits of success,” she continued.

female leadership men in board room

3. Gender roles at home:

“Women are going to need to create a similar support system for themselves as they have provided for men. Men have generally been afforded the largely unencumbered ability to focus on work and experiment at the cutting edge of innovation. This includes school, work and creation of critical networks,” Garcia explained.

However, she warns women that this decision can come with a price – a new normal. Taking the lead at work and accepting the assignments may require long hours, travel or relocation; financially, women choose more of a breadwinner role and perhaps accept being less of a caretaker or child bearer.

“We need to build and better define our own version of gender roles. As partners we need not to make it an ‘either or’ situation, but this balance does require a new paradigm – a new normal, “she sustained. “It also requires a candid conversation with your family, including children if you are a parent – an understanding of the value this brings to the lives of all involved.”

4. Reeducate women:

Women need to be sponsors for each other!

“I always say there is enough room at the top for all of us! Let’s help each other rise together! Too often, you see women behave as if they are in competition with each other. Bring your team with you. Open doors for others. Incorporate into your individual success the success of other Latinas and women, and lead with a social perspective in your sphere of influence. We are certainly stronger together!” Garcia affirmed.

5. Educate men and help them be part of the cause:

“Men can champion side by side with women to dismantle the cultural and institutional barriers to female success,” Garcia said. “Many men are in the position to open the door for women, and can help us create a new paradigm that will benefit everyone. I believe this will bridge the real confidence gap,” Garcia said. “I personally have benefited from many great male mentors and champions and am a stronger professional and leader as a result.”

What is in Latinas’ future then?

“The great news for Latinas is that many of these researchers took into account how strong-willed, hardworking and purpose-driven women are,” Garcia shared. “Especially Latinas; we manage crisis and change very well, and are turnaround experts,” she sustained.

“To become more confident, women need to stop over analyzing things so much and just act. As a parent, there was never that ‘perfect’ time to have a child. I see many things in life the same way. We will always find an excuse as to why we can’t or shouldn’t take that next step. If we channel our talent for hard work and leverage our innate drive, we can wire our brains differently. What neuroscientists call plasticity, we call HOPE!” the global leader concluded.





[1] Mrs. Smith, Partner at Changeist. Oct 27, 2016 ‘Why We Shouldn’t Teach Girls to Code’

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Most Powerful Latinas

ALPFA Yvonne Garcia, the impact of Latino leadership on global markets


Yvonne Garcia, National Chairwoman of ALPFA

Yvonne Garcia, National Chairwoman of ALPFA

I first contacted Yvonne Garcia to write her profile in 2007 as the Experto de Hispanos for, . She impressed me with her assertiveness and dedication to her career, which has grown and blossomed into national exposure. Yvonne is the National Chairwoman for the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), a 48,000-member organization that thrives to empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation in every sector of the global economy.

This year, over 3000 ALPFA members gathered in the Big Apple to advance the role of Latinos not only in the national stage but also in the world markets. “We had a record-breaking convention this year in New York,” she shared with LIBizus. “Not only has it been the largest convention ever but the one with the most memorable highlights,” she affirmed.

Among the memorable programs was the Women of ALPFA Day, which featured an invitation-only breakfast with guest speakers discussing the global gender gap; panel discussions and workshops focused on soft skill development for Latina leaders; and the Women of ALPFA Luncheon where the accomplishments of Latinas were highlighted and celebrated.

“Our honoree this year for the Latina Excellence Award was Nina Vacca, Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Technical Resources, and Chair Emeritus of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,” Yvonne said. “She talked about her journey to over 2000 attendees during the Women of ALPFA Luncheon,” she said.

According to the ALPFA National Chairwoman, Latinas in corporate are making headways and preparing for landing leadership roles. Knowing the personal sacrifices Yvonne made to build her professional career, a topic of our first conversation back in 2007, I was curious to know if the path has become somewhat easier for the upcoming Hispanic women eager to climb the corporate ladder.

“If anything, I believe it is harder now,” she said. “Although we are more aware of the importance of supporting Latinas to ensure more diversity in the workplace, they are now demanded to make even more sacrifices, working longer hours not only in their day jobs but also contributing to professional organizations,” she said.

ALPFA is committed to lead the support for Latinas through a more concerted effort in finding the right mentors to help those in the pipelines. “This is the commitment we ask from top corporate management; there must be a mandate from CEOs to mentor and train our women in order to build not only technical skills but also to develop leadership strength and charisma,” she added.

At her day job, Garcia, presently the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Client Solutions and PMO of the Investment Manager Services group for State Street Corporation, has global responsibility for developing new client relationships, deploying cutting-edge technology and operational processes, and delivering complex consulting engagements for existing and potential State Street clients.

Nina Vacca, Yvonne Garcia, Josefina Bonilla at the Women of ALPFA Luncheon.

Josefina Bonilla, Nina Vacca, Yvonne Garcia at the Women of ALPFA Luncheon.

She was born in Queens, New York, from the marriage of a Lebanese mother and a Dominican father, who came from the Dominican Republic in 1961. Yvonne had diverse experiences growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood but spending the summer months at her father’s country of origin. She learned Spanish as her first language.

Since she was a child, she was interested in the concept of money. At age six she organized a book sale in front of her house. She played with stamps making believe the papers she stamped were bank transactions. Always a saver, even when her brothers asked her to borrow money she would charge them interest.

Yvonne graduated with an MBA from Boston University in finance and marketing and a BA from the Sorbonne in Paris, France, where she lived while studying its economy and culture.

Beginning at the very bottom in sales in 1995, answering calls from customers in Spanish for a small community bank, she was promoted to the department of international staff given her fluency in English and French.

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Chairwoman Closing Remarks

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Chairwoman Closing Remarks

She then moved on to Merrill Lynch as a Financial Adviser and decided to continue her studies obtaining a master’s degree in business administration from Boston University, focusing her career in Finance and Marketing. By that time, she had also started a family and had a small baby. Yvonne found a new passion in marketing that, despite being also demanding, allowed her to manage her time in a more flexible manner.

Yvonne was appointed as Vice President of strategic assistance of the Construction Bank of China in America. In this role, Yvonne and her team were responsible for the creation and implementation of sales processes and service within the bank’s capitalization centers, which included implementation of roles, responsibilities, and tools for the sales force and the management team.

In the midst of her travels to China, Yvonne also spent more than seven weeks in North Carolina, where she acquired her certifications as Six Sigma Green and Black Belts.

She recalls China as the largest professional sacrifice because she had to leave her son to travel to China for three weeks in a row, but was also her greatest professional achievement.

She was then offered a position at Liberty Mutual as the VP and Director of Marketing to consumer market segments. In this role, Yvonne was responsible for the creation and implementation of integrated marketing strategies that resulted in the penetration of selected consumption targets throughout the country.

Student of the Year Award ALPFA Convention 2015

Student of the Year Award ALPFA Convention 2015

“I found this role through my network of ALPFA, which opened the doors for this opportunity,” she recalls. ALPFA’s is committed to grow aggressively to 100,000 members within the next two years. Anybody who is seriously devoted to their professional career must consider joining this national organization,” she added.

And she concluded, “Moreover, as the ALPFA Chairwoman in this year’s convention, all the sacrifices I made were well-rewarded when I saw the happy faces of over 40 students who received scholarships in recognition and celebration of their academic achievement and demonstrated leadership skills. We witnessed the talent of Latino students from across the country; they work hard through the year to deserve such important recognition.”