Alex Rodriguez: From Baseball Star to Business Supernova
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MLB player Alex Rodriguez attends the 2017 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on December 4, 2016 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

By Brady Rhoades

Did you know that Hispanics contribute $1 trillion to the economy every year?

Two years into his second career as a business executive and baseball analyst, Alex Rodriguez—always a student, always a numbers cruncher—knows all too well.

And he’s looking ahead.

“I think… we should be having really smart conversations on how to double that number,” he said.

Rodriguez was one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, finishing his career with 696 dingers and winning a World Series with the fabled New York Yankees, but this is A-Rod 2.0.

Owner and CEO of A-Rod Corp. Investor. The first Hispanic to swim with the big fish on Shark Tank.

Rodriguez has gone from baseball star to business supernova.

“When people think about my career, they think about the championships, the RBIs, the home runs, but what they don’t realize is that I’m fifth all-time in striking out, so that means I have a PhD in failing,” Rodriguez, 43, said. “But I also have a master’s in getting back up and that’s what America is all about: getting back up, not getting defined by your mistakes. That’s what I try to push and encourage.”

Rodriguez, the father of two daughters, started A-Rod Corp, a private holding company with multiple businesses in the United States and Latin America, when he was 26. His motivation? “Fear.” He’d already seen too many players go broke.

His first investment was in a type of infrastructure he knew all about from his modest childhood: rental properties.

New York Yankees vs New York Mets -
New York Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out at Shea Stadium, Saturday, May 19, 2006, in Flushing, New York. The Yankees lost 7-6. (Photo by Jim Rogash/WireImage)

“We find ’em, we vet ’em, we underwrite ’em, we close ’em, we manage ’em, and then we rehab ’em,” he said. “We buy in secondary markets where job growth is growing. Millennials don’t want to own a house. They want to own an app. The last five or six years have been very healthy in the multifamily apartment sector.”

Today, A-Rod Corp owns or manages about 20,000 properties in 12 states and has branched out to fitness centers and automotive dealerships. The man who made hundreds of millions in his playing days also invests in Google, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others.

He espoused his investing strategy on his first appearance as a guest judge on Shark Tank.

“I always invest in jockeys, not horses, because business—like sports—is just about people and I always tell people that I want entrepreneurs and partners with a PhD, not from Harvard or Yale, which is nice, too, but I mean poor, hungry and driven. I want entrepreneurs that are scrappy, that are gritty, and that can think outside the box, and that are winning players.”

Rodriguez retired from Major League Baseball after the 2016 season, and after Sports Illustrated named him one of the 30 most influential Hispanics in sports. The shortstop/third baseman won three MVP awards, was named to 14 all-star teams, and knocked out 3,115 hits in a 22-year career.

He was known for putting up staggering numbers; he was also revered as a student of the game.

He had been in business for years while he played for Seattle, Texas, and New York. He even took marketing classes at the University of Miami and value investing at Columbia University.

Now, it was time to do a deep dive into business. Rodriguez did what he’d done in sports: stepped into circles of greatness.

He asked questions. He listened.

His mentors include Lennar CEO Stuart Miller, JPMorgan Asset Management CEO Mary Erdoes, billionaire Warren Buffett, and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who once said Rodriguez’ most impressive quality was “incessant curiosity.”

Rodriguez has never forgotten—and always applied—a simple lesson about business he received from Buffett: Never personally guarantee any debt and never hold too much cash, but rather put your money in great businesses.

Buffett also taught him that you can be a great businessman and a great guy.

“Always be a gentleman,” Buffett told him.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ, BARBARA CORCORAN, MARK CUBAN
SHARK TANK -“Episode 901” – Sharks include; Alex Rodriguez, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban. Photo: ABC/EDDY CHEN

“That was simple, but it was genius,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez first appeared on Shark Tank in 2017 and is returning as a guest judge for its tenth season.

As usual, he looked like a natural, as if he’d been swimming in those waters all his life. Truth be told, his success is a result of hard work and preparation.

He says starring on the show with the likes of Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner is a thrill.

“Of course, being the first Hispanic on Shark Tank is something to be really proud of,” he said.

In one of his investment victories, Rodriguez teamed up with Cuban to invest $150,000—for a 15 percent stake—in an Ice Shaker business, which sells insulated bottles that are an upscale version of plastic cups used to mix up protein shakes.

Chris Gronkowski—brother of famous New England Patriot Rob—said Ice Shaker sold about $80,000 worth of shakers in the first few months after he, Rob, and his three other brothers appeared on Shark Tank.

Rodriguez has stayed involved in baseball, honing his skills as a broadcaster for FOX before ESPN named him their lead analyst in early 2018. During his playing days, Rodriguez was versatile enough to switch from shortstop to third base when he joined the Yankees. As a broadcaster, he seamlessly goes from color commentator during games to studio analyst.

“It’s an exciting time in baseball and now I get that front row seat to tell that the story,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has proved to be studied, insightful, and articulate in his off-the-field role. Listen to him for ten minutes and you’re bound to learn something about the national pastime. Recently, in a studio appearance on the morning sports show Get Up!, Rodriguez named the five greatest hitters he’d ever seen.

His take went viral. Many agreed. Many disagreed. Nobody questioned his baseball acumen, or his reasoned arguments, however.

For Rodriguez, life is never business as usual. There’s parenting, and there’s giving back to the community.

Rodriguez has spearheaded the Alex Rodriguez All-Stars in Education Scholars, offering hundreds

Alex Rodriguez on the phone doing business
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 11: Baseball player Alex Rodriguez attends the annual Charity Day. (Photo by Mike McGregor/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)

of thousands in scholarship money to those determined to be the first in their families to earn a college degree.

He also premiered a TV show called Back in the Game earlier this year, designed to help athletes who are down on their luck, financially speaking. His co-star? Former NFL great and current TV superstar Michael Strahan.

“Michael and I, something we’re really passionate about is taking athletes who have run into some bad luck … [and] lend a helping hand and hopefully they can get back on their feet,” Rodriguez said. “If you look at the data, they suggest that a lot of our players are going bankrupt way too soon. You make 90 percent of your money between age 20 to 30. Less than 5 percent of our guys in the major leagues have a college degree. What happens from age 30 to 80?”

Alex Rodriguez seems to have packed several lifetimes into his 43 years. And he’s come a long way from his early life as a child of Dominican immigrants who was raised by a single mother and had to move every 18 months “because the landlord would raise the rent.”

He was born in New York City and spent time in the Dominican Republic and Miami, Florida. He has never forgotten his Hispanic roots.

In 2005, amid confusion about his ethnicity, Rodriguez stated: “I want to say it out loud. I am Dominican.”

He has gone the extra mile to help Dominican baseball players thrive in “The Show.”

When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, he and Jennifer Lopez visited the country and raised more than $30 million to help victims and rebuild infrastructure.

His mission is to improve financial literacy among Hispanics and athletes in general.

What comes next for A-Rod?

If past is prologue, as Shakespeare said, he’ll surprise us with yet more accomplishments.

If humility is wisdom, as Proverbs says, he’ll continue to grow wiser, because he’s got two secret weapons named Ella and Natasha.

“My girls are great at making fun of dad,” he laughed. “They’re never impressed with anything I do. I love that.”

 

Spectrum Reach Lends a Helping Hand to Small Business Owners
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group of four hold up oversize check in an office setting

When the pandemic hit, small businesses faced an uncertain future, with many business owners scrambling for ways to stay afloat, financially, creatively and strategically. In response, Spectrum Reach doubled down on its commitment to be a champion of local businesses, providing the support and resources to help them thrive.

How Spectrum Reach Helped Businesses Adapt

To help businesses rebound and grow, Spectrum Reach developed a fully integrated suite of tools including free creative and advertising schedules, educational content, and unrivaled support and resources. Spectrum Reach took a multipronged approach:

  • Pay It Forward: Spectrum Reach committed $15 million in advertising and support for multicultural-owned businesses through a “Pay it Forward” program. As part of the “Pay it Forward” program, Spectrum Reach, in partnership with local chambers and multicultural associations, provided more than 1,000 multiculturally-owned businesses in 40+ markets across Spectrum Reach’s footprint the full power of its advertising expertise, services and products, including access to and insights from celebrity entrepreneurs.

The program offered a combination of advertising services including a free three-month optimized TV schedule, dedicated support from a local sales representative, access to a complimentary customized Waymark commercial, and planning services through Spectrum Reach’s self-service platform, Ad Portal.

  • Right Message Guarantee: Spectrum Reach created their Right Message Guarantee, which allowed businesses to update existing advertising creative when worst-case scenarios interrupted regular business activity. Spectrum Reach also shared specialized insights and guidance on the best ways to message during adverse times. “In times of dramatic change, be it for a town or an industry, businesses need to be able to communicate timely, relevant information to their communities,” said Michelle Diedrick, Vice President, Field Marketing, Spectrum Reach Central Division. “The Right Message Guarantee is our way of helping businesses impacted by events out of their control reach customers quickly and without expensive production costs.”
  • Free Creative: Spectrum Reach, in partnership with Waymark, offered a free customizable video to any business or entrepreneur in the country. In the past 18 months, over 7,000 businesses of all sizes have created personalized 30-second commercials to use on digital, social media platforms, and TV.

Crystal Cholewa, owner of Xtreme Core Fitness in El Paso, Texas, utilized the tools and expert advice offered through the Pay it Forward program to reach and target new clients, and inspire more people to improve their lives through fitness.

“Thanks to the support from Spectrum Reach and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, I am more connected to my community and my business has grown,” said Cholewa. “The Pay it Forward grant opened the door of opportunity for me to easily share information about the services I offer to help my community get healthy and happy.”

No matter what the future holds, Spectrum Reach will be there to invest in communities and support local businesses across the country. By connecting communities, we will continue to rebuild and grow together.

Spectrum Reach provides data-infused marketing and advertising solutions for businesses of all sizes. We help businesses find new customers and reach anyone, anywhere, on any screen. Spectrum Reach is your trusted neighbor and one-stop shop. Grow your business with the best insights, content, products, and people. Learn more at Spectrumreach.com

Latina historian Monica Muñoz Martinez among MacArthur ‘genius grant’ recipients
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Latina Historian Monica Muñoz Martinez, seen here in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 16, 2021, is among this year's recipients of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants.

By Associated Press

CHICAGO — A Latina historian devoted to keeping alive the stories of long-dead victims of racial violence along the Texas-Mexico border is among this year’s MacArthur fellows and recipients of “genius grants.”

Monica Muñoz Martinez, a historian at the University of Texas, Austin, was recognized, in part because of her book “The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas,” about a period a century ago when hundreds Mexicans and Mexican Americans were slaughtered by vigilantes as well as the Texas Rangers.

“This award is so timely for me, personally … to remain committed to make sure the public has access to the truth, true history, even when it is troubling (and) especially when that history can help us build a better future,” Martinez said, pointing to efforts in some states to limit how teachers discuss racism.

The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Tuesday announced the 25 recipients, who will each receive $625,000.

The historian was part of an eclectic group that includes scientists, economists, poets, and filmmakers. As in previous years, the work of several recipients involves topics that have been dominating the news — from voting rights to how history is taught in schools.

Race figures prominently in the work of about half of them, including that of Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to be an Antiracist” and “Stamped from the Beginning,” which was a National Book Award winner for nonfiction.

There is a generation of older and younger writers, thinkers and creators who are able to recognize the “complexity of racism” and “clarify it for everyday people to see it and grasp it and be outraged by it,” Kendi said.

“These generations have been hugely inspired by previous generations,” added Kendi, who will contribute an essay to the forthcoming book “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” that’s based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” that centers U.S. history around slavery. “I think we built this movement to a point in which it is indeed a juggernaut with no way of stopping.”

The selection process for the MacArthur grants is shrouded in secrecy. Instead of applications, anonymous groups make nominations and recommendations to the foundation’s board of directors.

Kendi, 39, said he had no knowledge he had been nominated.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

This first-generation Mexican-American became one of fashion’s top CEOs — while raising three kids as a single mom. Here’s how
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This first-generation Mexican-American became one of fashion’s top CEOs — while raising three kids as a single mom.

By Jade Scipioni, CNBC

For nearly three decades, Sandra Campos has helped build global brands like Diane von Furstenberg, Juicy Couture and Ralph Lauren — but the question she gets most frequently has nothing to do with fashion.

That’s because she’s also spent the last 16 years as a single mom, raising three children while rising up the career ladder. As Campos tells CNBC Make It, women often ask her: “How did you do it?”

Her answer: “I didn’t have a choice.”

In 2018, Campos became Diane von Furstenberg’s first-ever Latina CEO, a position she held until the company reorganized last year due the pandemic — a mutual decision, Campos says. Now, she’s the CEO of retail tech start-up Project Verte and the founder of Fashion Launchpad, an online education platform she launched shortly before leaving Diane von Furstenberg.

Campos, a first-generation Mexican-American, didn’t come from money — but from an early age, she dreamed of becoming a fashion company CEO. Her only regret, she says, is not publicly embracing her heritage as she climbed.

Instead, she was consumed by the competition of rising to the top, she says — and being a woman competing against men for top executive jobs was already enough of a challenge. ”[I] thought that it was going to be another part [of my identity] that was not going to help me,” Campos says.

But internally, her heritage has always motivated her. When she focuses on her “why,” she says, she remembers the sacrifices her parents and grandparents made coming to the U.S. so she and her siblings could have a better life.

“I’ve never taken that for granted,” she says.

Here, Campos talks about working at her family’s tortilla factory, why she didn’t publicly embrace her heritage sooner and the ups and downs of being a single working mother at the top of her field.

On growing up working in a tortilla factory: ‘My family was always about hard work’
My parents both immigrated from Mexico. My father was 14 years old, and didn’t get a middle school or high school education. He went straight to work. My mother immigrated when she was 18 years old. She didn’t have a college education [either]. They had six kids.

I was born in California. My father went to El Paso, Texas, to learn the tortilla factory business from one of his uncles — so we moved in with his uncle, who already had a family of 10 kids.

After that, we moved to a suburb of Dallas. My family was always about hard work: After school or on the weekends, I’d work at our tortilla factory, in the back packing boxes or on the assembly line.

They were entrepreneurs. I was like, “I don’t want to do this.”

On finding her dream industry: ‘I knew I wanted to be in fashion, but I didn’t know what fashion was’
I knew I wanted to be in fashion, but I didn’t know what fashion was. When I was growing up, I didn’t have magazines around.

My mother would take me to the fabric store and I would pick out fabrics to re-decorate our sofa. I made slipcovers, drapes, pillows and cushions. When I went to college, I made clothes for myself, my siblings and my friends. I thought I wanted to be a designer.

Then, I had a pattern-making internship and realized that [being a designer] was far too technical. I wanted a role with more movement and upward mobility, so I focused on marketing and business instead.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

From ‘Batgirl’ to ‘Blue Beetle,’ these 2022 superhero films will feature Latinx leads
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Batgirl superhero, Grace is Afro-Latina and is best known for her role in In The Heights.

By Katie Mather, Yahoo! Life

Behind the scenes, Latinx artists and writers have helped create some of the most iconic comic book characters. But there is still a lack of on-screen representation when it comes to the Latinx community and the “big two,” aka Marvel and DC.

“Combined, there are possibly close to 30,000 characters, heroes and villains at both Marvel and DC,” Edgardo Miranda-Rodrigeuz, creator of the graphic novel La Borinqueña, told Teen Vogue in 2019. “Of that, there probably are about 3% that are Latinx.”

The first Latinx superhero, White Tiger, was introduced by Marvel in 1975 — almost 40 years after the first superhero, The Phantom, was ever created.

While Latinx readers have seen themselves in independent graphic novels and comics, it’s about time for Latinx leads to star in mainstream superhero films — and the lineup for 2022’s upcoming releases promises a lot more Latinx representation.

Who’s been cast in upcoming Latinx superhero roles?
Sasha Calle has been cast in the feature role of Supergirl, who will debut in DC Universe’s The Flash in November 2022. Calle is a Colombian actress and is the first Latina Supergirl ever. She beat out over 425 actresses for the role.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life.

Every month is Hispanic Heritage Month for this Google exec. Here’s how one Latina is making the tech giant more inclusive.
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Every month is Hispanic Heritage Month for this Google exec. Here's how one Latina is making the tech giant more inclusive.

By , Business Insider

During the early years of Perla Campos’ life, her mother, a Mexican immigrant and single parent, shuffled from job to job. When she wasn’t working as a custodian in the town’s elementary school, she was cleaning houses on the weekends. Campos would help her mom vacuum floors and wipe down countertops until they sparkled.

Having grown up in rural Granbury, Texas, Campos never imagined she’d work at one of the most important companies of the 21st century: Google. She thought working in corporate America would be perceived as selling out, as betraying her culture for a job. Whether it’s over leaving their families to attend college or choosing careers that fulfill them but rattle tradition, the guilt surrounding career choices that many children of immigrants encounter is a well-documented phenomenon.

“So much blood, sweat, and tears went into me having the opportunities that I have,” Campos said. “My ancestors, my community, my mom — I cannot let that be in vain. So for me it was, whatever I do, I need to help my people. I need to help my community and communities that have similar plights.”

And as the head of global marketing for Google Doodles since 2016, Campos has done right by that commitment. Google Doodles is responsible for altering the site’s homepage banner to celebrate people, places, and milestones that shaped global culture. Campos makes a point to highlight people of color, women, those with disabilities, and others who have been written out of history textbooks. In that way, she is staying true to herself and her background. This Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, her job has been even more gratifying.

“My job is to make people feel seen, feel heard, and feel valued,” she said. “It can be really powerful for someone to see the homepage of Google, which for many people is the front door of the internet, and see a part of their culture being celebrated.”
To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month this year, Google commissioned Latina guest artist Loris Lora to create a Google Doodle of influential Panamanian American nurse Ildaura Murillo-Rohde. For each doodle, Campos and her team work with relevant employee resource groups (such as the Latino ERG group) to discuss ideas with an eye toward inclusion. They also commission artists from marginalized communities and partner with dozens of cultural experts to ensure accuracy.

Click here to read the full article on Business Insider.

Latino Entrepreneurs Were Among the Hardest Hit by the Pandemic. Now They Could Spur the Economic Recovery
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Jaime’s Place, an emerging Latino-owned small business in San Antonio. Latino entrepreneur's restaurant

BY JASMINE AGUILERA/SAN ANTONIO ANDREW R. CHOW AND MARIAH ESPADA, TIME

Jaime Macias could hardly have opened his bar and restaurant, Jaime’s Place, at a worse time. In the weeks before his scheduled grand opening in October 2020, COVID-19 ran rampant through San Antonio. Restrictions had shuttered the doors of bars and restaurants, and Macias’ own Latino community was particularly hard hit, with people dying at higher rates than the overall population. Macias, 56, had poured his life savings into the restaurant on the West Side of the city, and unexpected costs brought him within $800 of going broke before the restaurant even opened.

A year later, a stream of loyal customers fill Jaime’s Place each night, drawn by publicity Macias’ 26-year-old daughter Gabriela posts on Instagram and Facebook, to watch live performances or dance under a tin canopy decorated with Mexican papel picado. Regulars ranging from agricultural workers to officials from the San Antonio mayor’s office gather at tables in the bar’s open lot. Although the Delta variant of the virus remains a threat to the community and its businesses, Macias has a renewed sense of optimism about the bar. “Gentrification has a way of eradicating what once was, kind of whitewashing everything,” he says in his Chicano accent, seated at a wooden table outside, as Selena’s “Fotos y Recuerdos” plays in the background. “I wanted to make sure that Jaime’s Place planted the flag … We’re here por vida [for life].”

Jaime’s Place may prove to be one of the thousands of Latino-run businesses to help guide San Antonio—and the U.S. at large—out of its devastating pandemic-induced economic slump. Over the past 10 years, Latino entrepreneurs have started small businesses at a higher rate than any other demographic, all while facing higher hurdles than their white counterparts. Before the pandemic, the roughly 400,000 Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. with at least one employee generated nearly $500 billion in revenues a year and employed 3.4 million people, according to a 2020 Stanford Graduate School of Business report citing 2018 Census Bureau figures. Now, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Latinos will make up a projected 78% of net new workers between 2020 and 2030.

In San Antonio, which is America’s seventh largest city, a fifth of businesses—or roughly 7,000—are Hispanic-owned. But although that proportion is one of the highest in the nation, it is nowhere near representative of the actual population, which is 68% Hispanic. In San Antonio, Hispanic residents are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic white residents to be living on an income of less than $25,000.

Barriers to entry, such as language and a lack of access to established infrastructure, have historically been high for Latino entrepreneurs. Those challenges were exacerbated when COVID-19 struck, shuttering many of the businesses most commonly run by Latinos, such as restaurants, cleaning services and retail shops, forcing owners and workers to dip into their often meager savings.

Ramiro Cavazos, president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, says that Latino business owners typically have less access to funding than their white counterparts and that only half of them have a banking relationship. That meant many of these owners had difficulties accessing the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans last summer, aimed at keeping workers on the payroll during the pandemic, because they were distributed primarily through banks. “The businesses that were able to apply for and receive those forgivable loans first were larger, more successful nonminority businesses,” Cavazos says.

But now a pandemic that threatened to decimate the community might usher in the next era of small-business growth. Economic leaders like U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen believe Latinos will be essential to driving the economic recovery, just as they were after the Great Recession. From 2007 to 2012, the number of Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. grew by 3.3%, compared with a decline of 3.6% among other businesses during that period. “If history is any guide, Hispanic-owned businesses will drive a large portion of the recovery,” Yellen said during a press conference in March. A 2020 report by consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. found that the long-term recovery of the U.S. economy is “inextricable from the recovery of Hispanic and Latino families, communities, and businesses.”

Members of the Latino small-business community in San Antonio say the pandemic has accelerated several positive developments. They have become more connected with their communities, and many have adopted digital strategies to reach more customers. Some have also benefited from easier access to capital.

“COVID has opened our eyes to the fact that nobody is successful working in silos,” says Mariangela Zavala, the executive director of the Maestro Entrepreneur Center, a small-business incubator in west San Antonio. “We’re vulnerable by ourselves, and we really need community in order to grow.”

Many local entrepreneurs—mom-and-pop businesses that once relied on proximity to a local, loyal customer base—embraced social media to reach new customers as foot traffic stalled. Lazaro Santos, 32, set up his coffee-truck business, Me Latte, in August 2020, offering signature flavors from his hometown of Piedras Negras, Mexico.

Business started out slow, but immediately spiked after a popular local food influencer, S.A. Foodie, posted a video raving about Santos’ horchata iced latte. Before long, Me Latte’s Instagram account was inundated with new followers (now more than 4,800). Santos posts new photos every few days, featuring oat-milk-latte art and grinning customers. He and his wife Melissa, who helps him run the accounts, spend at least 10 hours a week on digital marketing on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Santos says the social engagement across all platforms has led directly to a 60% increase in sales, and he is now looking to experiment with different forms of marketing.

At his teal-colored Me Latte trailer, parked just off the 1604 highway, Santos receives a notification on his phone. Melissa Santos just shared a photo of Lazaro pouring cream into a latte on Me Latte’s Instagram account. He hopes it will remind his customers to visit. “It’s just about being there, you know—presencia.”

Small businesses are also strengthening community bonds as a business strategy. Maestro Entrepreneur Center, based in an abandoned elementary-school building in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the West Side of San Antonio, was founded by Julissa Carielo five years ago, funded by a mixture of public and private capital. Currently, 42 businesses share the space, chasing their dreams in catering, cosmetology or accountancy. Maestro puts on classes, provides digital support and connects cooks with veteran chefs to develop recipes.

Teresa Garcia, whose company Food Safety Direct provides training and certification for food handlers, has been with the Maestro center since 2019. When the pandemic struck and people stopped attending classes, Maestro gave Garcia a one-month reprieve on her rent and helped her to apply for grants. Experts there also helped her pivot her business to a hybrid model, offering food handlers training and certifications through virtual and in-person classes, she says.

A year and a half later, Garcia’s business has “100% returned” to its pre-pandemic levels. The support she received encouraged her to pay it forward in her community, running weekend job fairs in local malls to match up unemployed people with restaurants needing staff. For Garcia, it’s a virtuous circle. “If the restaurants are doing well, then I’m doing well—even if it means I have to do some food-handler classes for free,” she says.

Other local organizations such as the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside and the San Antonio Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association have pooled education and resources, making sure the most vulnerable businesses aren’t left behind. The Chamber of Commerce has been hosting webinars on financial literacy and social media for beginners. Sandi Wolff, head of strategic relations at the Chamber of Commerce, says the organization waived its membership dues to foster connection, keeping all its members last year. She says “people are realizing they can absolutely use us to promote themselves and connect with other businesses.”

Click here to read the full article on Time.

6 Latina Queens Who Are Killing It As CEOs
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6 Latina Queens Who Are Killing It As CEOs

ANDREA REINDL, Mitu

It is currently Latinx Heritage Month, and that means we’re celebrating the achievements and contributions that Latinos have made to U.S. culture. It’s no secret that Latinas are strong and resilient, and we take every chance we can here at mitú to recognize that. Now, more than ever, Latinas have been stepping into the entrepreneurial space as business founders, owners, and CEOs.

Latinas may face unparalleled hurdles, challenges, and feelings of imposter syndrome, but that doesn’t keep them from accomplishing the impossible. As Zoe Saldaña once put it so beautifully: “People think of Latina women as being fiery and fierce, which is usually true. But I think the quality that so many Latinas possess is strength.” Here are a list of 6 strong Latina CEOs queens who are crushing it.

1.Yasmin Maya: Founder of Birdy Lashes

Latinas CEO

Yasmin Maya is a beauty entrepreneur and lifestyle creator. Born and raised in the State of México, from a pueblo called Amatepec, Yasmin came to the U.S. as a young teen. Being the only girl in the family, Yasmin taught herself how to do her makeup and loved glamming her mom and tías.

In her first video uploaded in 2012, she speaks about an incident that almost burned her face, burning all of her lashes. Since then, she’s been an avid user of falsies to define her eyes. In 2012, at the age of 21, Yasmin took a leap of faith and decided to start a beauty YouTube platform, naming it after her nickname ‘Birdy’ but with a beauty twist, Beautyybird. Eight years later, Yasmin has created a safe home for her ‘Beauties’, showcasing herself as a proud Latinx with over 3M followers.

Yasmin has become an authority in the beauty space, working with large beauty brands and breaking down barriers for Latinx consumers and talent alike. She’s used her voice to speak up and showcase that she is proud of her Mexican heritage and is seen as an inspiration to those who feel the need to hide their background to be accepted in the beauty industry. In 2020, she achieved her biggest dream yet – and that was the launch of her very own brand, BIRDY LASHES. This brand came out of Yasmin’s passion for the beauty industry, the love for her culture, and wanting to create lashes and lash tools that are not only the best quality but affordable – always keeping her ‘Beauties’ in mind. IG: @beautyybird

2. Margarita Arriagada: Founder of Valdé Beauty

Latinas CEO

The story of Valdé is a blend of the personal and professional. What began as an homage to her immigrant mother’s courage and determination, took on to become an artistic tribute to all women. Margarita Arriagada took on the lipstick business at full force and introduced us to Valdé Beauty – a luxurious refillable lip collection retailing at $200 in October of 2020.

Margarita is a first-generation Peruvian American with quite the beauty resume, which has nicknamed her “The Godmother of Beauty” by a few. As the former Chief Merchant of Sephora USA, Margarita worked in merchandising strategy, always focusing on differentiation, innovation, and elevating the client experience in this role. She is responsible for entering some of the most successful and expansive brands we see at the retailer today.

With Valdé Beauty, Margarita hopes to elevate the lipstick experience. In her vision, lipstick is more than an afterthought – it is an armor for confidence, a celebration of authenticity, and honors what it means to be unapologetically you. IG: @valdebeauty

3. Lilliana Vazquez: Founder of The LV Guide

Latinas CEO

Lilliana is known as one of the fashion blogging OGs, and has carried many titles – from blogger to style expert, TV commentator to now a television host on E!. The enterprising star has curated a career that began from her small blog (CheapChicas.com), which she launched in 2008, to being seen by millions daily on numerous platforms including NBC TODAY, “Extra” to “The Talk,” “Rachael Ray,” “The Wendy Williams Show” and “Steve Harvey.” Today, she’s at E! as a host of Daily Pop.

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, to a Puerto Rican father and Mexican mother, Lilliana is a first-generation Latinx who radiates gratitude for the dedication and sacrifices that her family made for her. Among the first in her family to attend college, she graduated from George Washington University, where she earned a double-major in international business and entrepreneurship. Lilliana has always used her platform to advocate for her community, and fight for Latinx representation in media and entertainment, as well as raise awareness on social issues.

In April of 2021, Lilliana announced she was pregnant with her first child, after battling with six years of infertility and IVF. After living this experience, Lilliana wishes to use her voice and platform to break the taboo around infertility and how it affects the Latinx community. In late July, Lilliana announced the birth of her healthy baby boy, Santiago “Santi” Merrick McGrath. Lilliana hopes to continue sharing about her journey to motherhood, the lessons, the challenges and hope with other mothers and those who hope to experience motherhood one day. IG:@lillianavazquez

4. Ona Diaz-Santin: Owner of 5 Salon & Spa

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Ona started doing hair 20+ years ago. Influenced by her great-grandmother in the Dominican Republic who cut hair for her friends and family and then by her mother, an immigrant hairdresser who owned four shops in NYC and New Jersey over a period of 20 years, Ona’s destiny was a no brainer and today she is encouraging others to embrace self-love through their hair– their natural hair that is.

As a child and young adult, she neglected her natural hair due to the taboo of it being known as “pelo malo” which translates to “bad hair”. Until she discovered her love for her natural hair and she made it her mission to educate others on self-love and learning to accept their natural curls. Ona’s ambition, coupled with hard work, paid off and in November 2017, she became the owner of 5 Salon & Spa, which is located just outside of New York City in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In 2019, 5 Salon & Spa was named by Refinery29 as one of “The Best New York City Salons for Natural Hair & Curls.

Ona uses her creative talents in all facets of the media and has worked with a mix of actors, musical artists, and corporate executives. Next to raising her family, supporting women in the salon business are Ona’s priority. She’s been featured in various publications (in both English and Spanish) including ELLEOprah Magazine, People En Español, and more. IG: @_thehairsaint_

Click here to read the full article on Mitu.

Ben Affleck Is Jennifer Lopez’s Biggest Supporter at 2021 Global Citizen Live Event
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Jennifer Lopez smiling at the camera while wearing a white collared shirt under a black knitted sweater

By CORINNE HELLER , E! News.

As it turns out, Ben Affleck created even more goodwill with Jennifer Lopez after recently attending her latest concert.

A source tells E! News that Ben “really wanted to be there” to watch J.Lo at the Global Citizen Live event in New York City on Saturday, Sept. 25, and that the Hustlers star appreciated him making it happen.

“She’s been working hard, and it meant a lot to her to have him there,” the insider shares. “She was excited to spend the weekend with him. They went to dinner after the show and had some fun.”

The insider points out that the couple has been “soaking up every last minute together” before they head to different locations for work in the coming week. Ben will soon be hunkering down in Austin, while Jen sets up shop in Vancouver.

“They had a great time and loved spending the weekend together,” the individual continued. “They will make every effort they can to come out and support the other. Ben was very impressed with Jennifer’s show and loves watching her perform.”

According to a source, Ben also spent time with his kids—Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, 9—before flying to New York.

Ben Affleck is truly the biggest Jennifer Lopez fan.

On Saturday, Sept. 25, the actor was on hand to support his girlfriend at the Global Citizen Live event in New York City, which marked her first gig since they confirmed their rekindled romance.

The singer performed songs such as her hit “Jenny From the Block”—whose 2002 music video stars Ben, as well “I’m Real and “Ain’t It Funny” with Ja Rule and “All I Have” with LL Cool J. Offstage, Jennifer, 52, and Ben, 49, were seen embracing and holding hands.

A day later, the two were seen smiling and walking together in a park in the city.

J.Lo last performed music at the VAX Live event in Los Angeles on May 2, where Ben appeared separately onstage. After that concert, the two vacationed together in Montana, fueling rumors of a rekindled romance. The couple, who dated in the early ’00s and used to be engaged before their 2004 breakup, confirmed in July they were officially back together with a sizzling photo on J.Lo’s Instagram that was taken during a trip to the South of France.

Click here to read the full article on E! News.

How J Balvin convinced Jordan Brand he was the real deal
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After meeting the reggaeton star in Paris, Jordan texted his people ‘we’re giving J Balvin a shoe’

BY , The Undefeated

Initially, Jordan Brand sought out reggaeton artist J Balvin as a partner in a series of Hispanic Heritage Month campaigns, with photographs of him in upcoming products and key releases.

But J Balvin didn’t think the brand was thinking big enough.

After all, he was the first Latin artist to perform on the main stage of Coachella. First Latino artist to headline the Lollapalooza festival. First urban Latino artist to surpass a billion views on YouTube. Most nominated artist in a single year for his 13 nominations at the Latin Grammys in 2020. A regular in the front row at fashion week.

“Showing them the fact how global our presence is, our numbers and the reach we have,” he said in an interview with The Undefeated and ESPN Deportes for Hispanic Heritage Month. “It took a year to explain, that it was going to be a statement to have me on it.”

So finally he went straight to His Airness.

The Colombian artist was in Paris for fashion week in 2019 at the same time basketball legend Michael Jordan was in town for the brand’s annual Quai 54 streetball event. A marketing executive made the connection and the two men were able to meet, tucked away in an exclusive lounge, just as midnight struck. Jordan — cigar in hand — was joined by his wife Yvette Prieto. Of Cuban descent, she had long enjoyed J Balvin’s music and even attended his concerts.

The group talked for nearly four hours, trading stories of their upbringings, their work ethic and their drive to the top of their respective crafts. J Balvin told Jordan about landing in Oklahoma as a high school exchange student, sharpening his English and later linking with cousins in New York for his first taste of American culture. It was there, in the early 2000s, that he’d find his love for sneakers, getting his first pair of Air Force 1s just as Nelly’s instant classic celebrating the sneaker had been released, and taking in the style of New York’s streetwear scene.

And he described the influence of Latin music and the impact he could have on Jordan’s brand.

No matter what time it happened to be some 5,000 miles away in Beaverton, Oregon, Jordan texted his brand execs: “We’re giving J Balvin a shoe.”

“I was really blessed to close the deal with Michael Jordan by himself,” J Balvin says now. “It’s a real blessing.”

After a process nearly three years in the making, his official Air Jordan 1 collaboration — he likes to call ’em the “Air Balvins” — was released in December 2020, the first Latin artist to launch his own Jordan sneaker.

It was a dream come to life for the longtime sneakerhead and Jordan Brand fan. Not long after he had beaten out Drake in 2018 as the world’s most-streamed artist on Spotify, with nearly 50 million monthly listeners, he told an audience in New York what he was aiming for.

“I want to have sneakers with my name,” he said at a YouTube TV event. “I want to do something with Jordan. … Have you ever seen a Latino collaboration with Jordan or Nike? Never. So we gotta change the game, and make it global. I’m not going to do sneakers for Latinos. I want to make the J Balvin collab with Nike or Jordan, [available] to the world — because they’re ready.”

Like many of his dreams and goals, which he’s jotted down and dated in a detailed notepad over the years, he was looking to speak his aspiration into existence.

Around the same time, Jordan Brand had also taken an interest in J Balvin, whose chart-topping success was equally matched by his growing sense of style, his front-row fashion week visibility and his global influence rooted in promoting a positive, fun and vibrant expression of his native Colombia.

“We come from a beautiful country and a beautiful city, but it used to be also known for being one of the most dangerous cities on the planet,” he said. “Medellin was the most dangerous city on the planet 40 years ago. It’s like, how can we turn the darkness into light?”

His music has helped make that turn, with record-setting streaming numbers, an extensive collection of awards show trophies and sold-out live dates around the globe. Yet still, brands were reluctant to fully embrace him as a collaborative partner.

The list of musicians to receive their own Air Jordan is brief. While the brand has made friends and family special editions of its retro models for multiple artists, before J Balvin, only Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Travis Scott and Drake had released their own Jordan shoes to the public.

“I always dreamed to have my Jordan 1. I was born in ’85, that’s when they were officially released,” J Balvin said. “It’s iconic. When you think about Jordan, you think about Jordan 1, period.”

From the white and red “Chicago” colorway to the black and royal blue original execution, J Balvin has been buying up original 1985 pairs in his size 9 in recent years. He’s also been spotted in every colorway of the Off-White editions by Virgil Abloh and the brand’s more recent remixes on the classic silhouette.

Click here to read the full article on The Undefeated.

These Five Latina Women Are Dominating The Design World
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With creations inspired by their Latina heritage, these designers are taking the fashion and art industry by storm and sharing their unique visions with the world.

By Ashleigh Carter, Now This Is News

These Latina designers are carving out space in the fashion and arts community by bringing their cultural backgrounds to their clothing, and accessory designs, among other creations. Their work has gained international attention, and many attribute this success to the inspiration they’ve derived from their cultural backgrounds. Here are five visionary Latina designers you should know about:

1. Patty Delgado
At 30 years old, Patty Delgado already has founder and CEO in her title after starting Hija de tu Madre, a lifestyle brand for which she also acts as a designer. Hija de tu Madre sells clothing, accessories, and stationary and is intended to celebrate the modern Latina community.

“I started the company back in 2016 during the Trump era and I really wanted to create a safe space for folks to celebrate their Latina identity and really take up space and create this new narrative of what it means to be Latina, despite all the negative stereotypes that were like really dangerous during that era,” Delgado told NowThis.

Delgado was born in Los Angeles, California, and is the daughter of two Mexican immigrants. As a self-taught designer, Delgado said she was inspired to start the line as a way to connect to her own heritage and to communicate that “being Latina isn’t a one size fits all narrative.”

“I’ve always struggled with my own identity. Like never really fitting in with my Mexican side, but also not really knowing what it means to be American,” Delgado continued. “And I think that this brand really celebrates these nuances.”

2. Johanna Ortiz
Elegant couture designed by Johanna Ortiz’s label hangs in stores across the world, including major names like Neiman Marcus andBergdorf Goodman, and online at Net-a-Porter. Jennifer Lopez was photographed wearing one of her designs recently while on vacation. But before Ortiz gained international recognition, she brought her talent and business back to her home country, Colombia. Ortiz graduated from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida before returning to her home city of Cali, Colombia to start her brand in 2001. After showcasing her designs in Colombia’s fashion scene for many years, Ortiz was given the chance in 2014 to create a collection for Moda Operandi.

Ortiz’s designs are based on her Colombian heritage and incorporate ruffles and beautiful prints. In an interview with Vogue, she said her own experience with fashion played a role in how she creates clothes: “I’m Latina, so I’m short and curvy – I’m not like the models!”

Ortiz also opened up a training program in Colombia through whichshe offers sewing and embroidery courses for people in the community.

“We have plenty of talented hands,” Ortiz told Vogue. “But they haven’t been exposed to learning.”

3. Cristina Palomo-Nelson
As a co-founder and designer for FRĒDA SALVADOR, Palomo-Nelson made sure the products for her shoe company were made in her home country of El Salvador, along with her co-founder’s country of origin, Spain. Palomo-Nelson and Megan Papay launched FRĒDA SALVADOR in 2012 with the idea to combine style with comfort in quality shoes.

“We focused on updating and modernizing classic styles like oxfords, loafers and jodhpur boots,” Palomo-Nelson told San Francisco Magazine.

Palomo-Nelson grew up in El Salvador and comes from a family of shoemakers. The design process for FRĒDA SALVADOR starts in California, where the two founders now live. The designs are then brought to life by their family factories in El Salvador and Spain.

4. Luiny Rivera
Luiny Rivera was initially studying to become a teacher when she realized designing jewelry was her true passion. The Puerto Rican native, whose creative skills have been mostly self-taught, moved to New York City after discovering her knack for upcycling jewelry and design. “It wasn’t in my plan to become a jewelry designer. lt just happened and I realized that I was good at it,” Rivera told Journal NYC. “Now I am attached forever to something that I love to do. I keep a balance on what really inspires me and what’s on trend to maintain the uniqueness of my line.”

Rivera was designing jewelry for Urban Outfitters and Free People when she decided to launch her own brand — Luiny. The designer said she likes to be in full creative control of the whole process; from conception and design to photographing the products and acting as the art director. Rivera’s brand also uses recycled metals and creates her jewelry using sustainable methods.

5. Cristina Pineda
Christina Pineda is the co-founder of Pineda Covalin, a clothing and accessories brand dedicated to bringing Mexican and Latin American-inspired designs to life. The fashion house was created in 1996 by Pineda and Ricardo Covalin in Mexico City. Now, the brand has a presence in North America, Asia, and Europe. The intricate designs and colors are rooted in Pineda’s Mexican background and were initially sold in museums and later in hotels. Pineda Covalin now sells men’s and women’s clothing, bags, scarves, ties, and more. Many of the brand’s designs draw inspiration from indigienous people, including the Mayans and Zapotecs.

Pineda has an extensive background in design, with a bachelor’s degree in textile design, along with a master’s degree in art history. Her portfolio extends even further beyond her brand: Pineda was selected to create a character called Xico the Xoloitzcuintle, a hairless dog breed believed to date back to the ancient Aztecs,as a mascot for Mexico. Pineda also works with philanthropic groups including Discovering Latin America, which promotes the culture and arts of Latina people.

Click here to read the full article on Now This Is News.

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