HGTV Star Izzy Battres’ Journey from Day Laborer to Entrepreneur

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Izzy Battres poses with HGTV stars

Israel “Izzy” Battres owns multi-million-dollar construction company Battres Construction in the heart of Orange County, California. But it did not come easily for him—he learned how to work hard at a young age, and it paid off.

Eight years ago, his reputation and impeccable work ethic opened doors for him to star on the HGTV reality show Flip or Flop. He has worked alongside Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead for eight seasons and is ramping up for more. Battres is set to appear on the network’s new show, Christina on the Coast, premiering this month.

HISPANIC Network Magazine caught up with Izzy to talk about his journey from day laborer to HGTV star, as well as his secret to success.

HISPANIC Network Magazine (HNM): You run a very successful construction company. Where did you get your work ethic?

Izzy Battres (IB): As children, we were taught to be contributors to our household. My dad would take us to work and assign us two small tasks. When I was 9, I was a paper boy for the Orange County Register. I would wake up Sunday mornings at 4 am to deliver to my customers. I was even entrusted to pick up monthly subscription fees—it taught me sales and what I know now is accounts payable. I realized quickly that I was only getting a portion of the fees so it gave me the idea to make my own money, I started a second job that was more of a side hustle.

HNM: At the age of 9, you were working two jobs! Tell us more about that.

IB: My grandmother used to pick lemons from her tree and have me sell them for 25 cents; she would then give me a small cut. After I was done working for her, I would go pick my own lemons off the same tree. But instead of selling them for a quarter, I decided to make lemonade and sell it for 50 cents a cup. I would sell it to people playing soccer at the park by my house.

HNM: So, you were an entrepreneur from a very young age. Let’s fast-forward to the start of your business. How did it come to be?

IB: I have two brothers, and we all followed my dad into the construction trades. If my current boss had no work for me, I would stand in front of Home Depot looking for day labor. We never had a problem with working hard, but sometimes there wasn’t enough work to go around. I decided to start a business so I would be more in control of the workflow. Instead of working on someone else’s construction site, I decided to bid for my own jobs.

HNM: Ten years later, you are now on television and own three companies. How would you say you became so successful?

IB: I believe we as Latinos have a natural instinct to survive. It develops at a very young age when we begin to understand that nothing will be handed to us. I learned very young that whatever I earned was to be used to help my family and community. Today, I employ 43 local families—I have a responsibility to make a difference for others.

HNM: Can you expand on what you call an “instinct to survive?”

IB: Latinos are very hard workers; they are innovative and passionate about what they do and have a stellar work ethic. But even then, they have to stay on the cutting edge. Eight out of ten workers are going to stay average, but I look for the 20 percent who are fighting to survive and have the “eye of the tiger,” as I call it. I employ anybody who has that motivation. Whether they are purple or polka dot, race does not matter to me, but that survival instinct does.

HNM: How does your ability to speak English and Spanish help you as a business owner?

IB: In my geographical area, 80 percent of the construction workforce is Spanish speaking. It can be a barrier, so I try and help them by speaking Spanish on the job sites. I will also make it a point to speak Spanish to my work crew when we are filming the TV show. I always want to put out a positive image and help keep Latinos on the map.

HNM: What advice would you give a young Latino entrepreneur who is starting his own business?

IB: I would tell them to never let the environment dictate your success. People will read into your mentality about life, and that creates a culture in your business. So, you need to stay away from toxic people and conduct business with gentleness and humility. Don’t be arrogant or prideful, because people will read into that.

Author: Mitzi Magos

How popular radio personality Geena the Latina realized her voice was powerful and necessary
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Greena the Latina or Geena Aguilar, known to radio listeners as Geena The Latina of the “The Geena the Latina and Frankie V Morning Show” on Channel 933, is the founder of the Girls Empowerment Conference. (Jarrod Valliere/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

LISA DEADERICK, The San Diego Tribune

It may come as a surprise that radio personality Geena the Latina — formally Geena Aguilar — never pictured herself on the air. If it wasn’t for a morning show audition 15 years ago that brought her to the city she considered a second home, San Diego might have missed out on one of the market’s more popular radio hosts.

While her path began as an intern at a Los Angeles radio station in college, she was working as a sales associate for a television station after college, when her two brothers were shot and killed within five months of each other.

“After that, I stopped working altogether for a year because I was so depressed. My old boss from the radio station called me after that year and told me to come back to the station. He said I could work as little or as much as I wanted. He just wanted to get me out of the house,” she says. “I am forever thankful to him for that.”

Aguilar threw herself into her work, befriending colleagues, working late hours and pitching in to help out and learn any aspect of the job that needed an extra pair of hands. Although she was initially resistant to the spotlight that came with the job, it’s helped her realize that her voice matters, and she’s used it to help others.

One of those ways is through her Girls Empowerment Conference with the Positive Movement Foundation. The foundation is a San Diego nonprofit that works with schools and other organizations to provide educational tools, empowerment events, and other resources to vulnerable children. They’re hosting their “Cocktails for a Cause” fundraiser 6 to 10 p.m. today at 1899 McKee St., San Diego. The Girls Empowerment Conference is one of the beneficiaries of the event.

Aguilar is an on-air personality at Channel 933, co-host of “The Geena the Latina and Frankie V Morning Show,” and lives in the East Village section of downtown San Diego. She took some time to talk about her radio career, the Girls Empowerment Conference, and finding her voice.

Q: Most of us who listen to the radio know you as Geena the Latina on Channel 93.3. What led you to choose a career in radio?

A: When I started out as an intern at 102.7 KIIS FM in Los Angeles during college, I was eventually hired in the promotions department, and continued working there throughout college. I never wanted to be on the air; I worked there because it was fun and all of my friends worked there. I always wanted to work in the entertainment industry, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I thought of myself as more of a behind-the-scenes person.

[After the deaths of her brothers] I started working at the radio station again and completely threw myself into everything I could do there, probably just to keep myself busy. I’d stay at the station all day long, talking to people, helping whoever needed help, or sitting in on show meetings. I became the street reporter for the station and worked red carpet events, which eventually led to morning shows asking me to audition. I didn’t want to audition because I still didn’t think that being on the air could be a career, but one of those auditions was for a morning show in San Diego and I just loved San Diego. I grew up visiting the city, all of my friends had attended college here, and I’d already felt like San Diego was a second home. I got the job 15 years ago and I’ve been here ever since!

After being on Channel 933 for a year, I wanted to quit because I couldn’t handle all of the negative comments, messages, and emails. I hated the spotlight (and still don’t love it), but one morning, I shared the story about what happened to my brothers, and the response was overwhelmingly supportive. People were saying how much my story touched them, helped them, or how they related to me because of it. I finally realized that maybe I was supposed to be on the radio. If people listened to me when I had something serious to say, then I could put up with all of that other stuff. I realized that it was important to have a voice about things that mattered, and there was no bigger platform than on one of the biggest radio stations in San Diego, talking to a million people a week.

Q: Can you tell us about how you came to be known on air as “Geena the Latina,” and what it means to you to represent this part of your identity and culture?

A: When I first started, they were trying to think of a catchy name for me. At the time, there weren’t many Latinos on the radio, if any. They wanted a name that captured who I was, but also communicated that I was Latin. One day, one of the on-air DJs started calling me “Geena the Latina” and it stuck. I like the name, I think it defines who I am, and I am good with that. I am American first, of Latin descent, and my family is Mexican, but I was raised here in the U.S. We speak both English and Spanish, we grew up eating Mexican food and going to low-rider car shows, and my Spanish could be a lot better, but that’s also a product of us growing up with everything American. We grew up heavily immersed in the Mexican American culture, but also grew up very American. We’re an interesting mix of Latino that I feel represents a lot of people who were raised the same way, here in the U.S. We are proud of our Latin/Mexican roots and heritage, but are also proud to be American. I’m part of a generation that grew up with both cultures that shaped us to become who we are, and I’m proud of that.

What I love about downtown San Diego …
I love that it’s right in the middle of downtown San Diego and Little Italy. It’s a five-minute ride either way. Depending on what I feel like doing, everything is pretty accessible. I also love that I’m so close to North Park, as I frequent that neighborhood almost daily. I love having visitors and them being able to be so close to so much to do! Downtown, the harbor, Little Italy, Barrio Logan—I’m close to everything.

Q: Tell us about your Girls Empowerment Conference.

A: I’d been a keynote speaker at conferences for girls at both Mount Miguel High School and at the University of San Diego. After speaking at both conferences, I thought about combining them in order to maximize resources and to provide a massive conference for teen girls from all over San Diego. I spoke to the organizers of both conferences, and we started our Girls Empowerment Conference in 2017. The girls are provided with food throughout the day, along with empowering activities, speakers, performances, and interactive workshops.

During the smaller breakout sessions with a moderator, girls are able to comfortably talk about the issues affecting their lives, like body image, confidence, or life at home. Empowerment groups from different high schools perform spoken word and put together empowering videos that are played during the day. The girls from these high school empowerment groups are highly involved with everything from the topics of the conference to the themes, speakers, and more. We really try to hear them out and listen to what they say they want and need, as we plan the conference. It’s a fully interactive, immersive day, specifically geared to teen girls from ninth through 12th grades, and the costs of admission and transportation are covered at no cost to the girls.

Q: Why was this conference something you wanted to create?

A: We wanted to provide resources and outlets for teen girls who probably wouldn’t be able to have access to them otherwise. We wanted to uplift girls and give them examples of what they can become if they work hard and stay motivated. We wanted to provide a safe place for them to learn, grow, and have fun, and we ultimately wanted to inspire these girls to be the best that they can be. We wanted to allow them to see examples of others who were in their position once, and to see how far those women have come.

Q: What does the idea of “empowerment” mean to you, personally?

A: Empowerment is a state of being. It’s a state of feeling completely comfortable with who you are and what you believe in; of feeling confident that you can do whatever it is you want to do; of being confident in who you are and what you bring to the table; of knowing that your contribution to this world is important; and it’s a state of knowing that anything is achievable when you put your mind to it and dedicate yourself to making it happen. Empowerment gives you the feeling that nothing is unattainable.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: Don’t take things personally. So many times, we won’t pursue our goals or dreams because someone told us we couldn’t, or because we got turned down or rejected. I think never taking things personally — whether it be a rejection or something said about us — allows us to not be hindered by things we can’t control. All you can do is be you, be a good person, work hard, and everything will happen as it’s supposed to happen.

Click here to read the full article on the San Diego Tribune.

A Latina-owned business offers healthier food options on Chicago’s West Side
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A Latina owned business, MCM Protein Bar, will be opening its doors to the public this weekend. Healthier food options

By Yukare Nakayama, ABC

CHICAGO, Ill. — A Latina family-owned business, MCM Protein Bar, will be opening its doors to the public this weekend. It offers healthier food options in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood on the West Side, all with a fun Mexican twist!

Owners Monica Aranda, Arasele Calvo, and Marlen Villordo said it took them a year to open their dream business. They all have a background in nutrition.

“I feel like were going to be able to provide something different in this community,” said owner Monica Aranda.

MCM Protein Bar offers healthy and tasty food and drinks, such as their take on the michelada. Instead of alcohol, the michelada is made up of energizing vitamins and seltzer water.

The owners said all their meals are high in protein, offering over five different flavors of protein powder.

Aranda said once they start making profits, they’d like to give back to the community by creating a scholarship program for DACA students.

MCM Protein Bar will open its doors this weekend July 17!

Click here to read the full article on ABC.

6 Things Interviewers Want Us to Know About Remote Interviews
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Concept of remote video with multiple images of business in a shared screen

by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

In some ways, a remote job interview can seem like a welcome relief from the traditional format. You don’t have to worry about directions or getting stuck in traffic; plus, you only have to agonize over half an outfit.

But a remote meeting doesn’t earn you full access to the body language and social cues that your interviewers exhibit.

The social awareness and mores around remote interviews are still emerging for those on both sides of the interaction.

As you prepare for your next remote job interview, consider this inside scoop from several interviewers-their insights about what matters and what may be less important.

Small talk helps.

Chit chat breaks the ice and can help make a remote conversation feel comfortable. Come prepared with a couple of easy talking points to kick things off (a funny story, a sports reference, etc.).

Jonas Bordo, CEO, and co-founder of Dwellsy, explains: “I need to get to know you via zoom, which is hard. In the old days, we would have made small talk while we walked to the interview room, but we don’t get to do that anymore. All of that preliminary small talk is important – it’s in those conversations that you get to learn about me and me about you. Invest in that time, and don’t rush into interview questions.” Researching the company and your interviewer can help you generate material.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remote interactions have their own unique brand of uncomfortable moments-glitches, freezes, etc. Please do your due diligence when it comes to tech and interview prep so that you’re prepared and practiced for your meeting. Know, however, that even when you’re well-prepared, meeting technology can be unreliable, which can leave you navigating some complexities off the cuff. “I know that remote interviews are awkward and a poor substitute for in-person interviews, but it’s best just to accept the awkwardness,” explains Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs. “If you worry about an awkward pause or an accidental moment where you spoke over the interviewer due to a connection delay, it’s easy to get frazzled and have your actual interview responses become negatively impacted.”

Cook recommends, “Stay mission-focused, and make light of remote awkwardness whenever possible. Acing remote interviews requires more focus than acing in-person interviews, in my opinion, because there are so many external factors like connectivity that affect the dialogue.”

Adopt remote-friendly mores.

Another dimension that makes a remote interview challenging is that the social mores around these interactions don’t feel totally natural. Kevin Lee, CEO of JourneyPure, recommends:

“If there’s an awkward silence during the interview, don’t panic. It’s natural to have silences because you can’t rely on visual body language cues like you can in an in-person interview. If you’re done speaking, pause and let the interviewer pick up the conversation. Rushing to fill the silence may lead you to say something that you might not normally say or fill it up with chatter, which would let the interviewer know you are nervous about the interview. You may want to practice with a friend to learn how to manage awkward silences and find appropriate times for small talk during an online interview.”

Recognize it during other remote meetings when you’re involved, when you notice participants handling pauses well. Then mirror their approach. It’s a good way to stay controlled and calm during your interview.

Be authentic.

There’s often a feeling of obligation to overprepare when it comes to job interviews, leaving interviewees flustered if anything unexpected happens. When it comes to remote interviews, though, the unexpected happens often, even when prepared. Being anxious and rigid makes it more painful to weather these inevitable occurrences.

Erik Rivera, CEO of ThriveTalk, explains: “The best advice I can give anyone going into an online interview is to make the interview as candid and relaxed as possible. If you have a child who is likely to interrupt, tell your interviewer this at the beginning of the meeting! Similarly, if you’re expecting someone to come by, full disclosure is best.”

Rivera emphasizes the importance of the human touch. He explains: “Finally, treat your interviewer like a PERSON, as they are also in this COVID nightmare. Discuss what has been hard, what has been good, how crazy everything is. Humanity needs humanity now more than ever.”

Soft skills are a selling point.

Flexibility, adaptability, emotional intelligence, innovation, problem-solving, work ethic, and other soft skills are valuable. It’s not just that the process for interviewing has changed; the reality of work has changed post-COVID. Soft skills can help finesse a changing workplace. Showcase them.
Bordo, for example, emphasizes the importance of flexibility: “I interviewed a candidate recently who was working hard to keep a pacifier in a baby’s mouth, and it was awesome. I’ve seen kids, husbands, wives, and roommates walk through backgrounds. . . I even interviewed someone with a parrot on her shoulder for the entire interview. All of that is wonderful. But, if you can’t create an environment with enough peace that you can have an interview conversation, then I worry you can’t create that kind of environment for your work.”

A culture that fits your life.

Just as you would with a face-to-face interview, do your interview prep before your meeting. Learn about the organization and the professional culture as you think about presenting yourself for your interview.

Good luck!

Click here to read the original article posted on Glassdoor.

Supporting an inclusive economy: small businesses, Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, and their intersection
LinkedIn
woman's hand pictured holding pen and calculator

For many of us, connections to small businesses are deeply personal—your local barber shop or family dentist, the spot for the best pizza in town, the small contractor you call to fix your leak.

Businesses like these make up the fabric of our communities—but many don’t realize what a big role they play, collectively, in the U.S. economy.

However, they face unique challenges even in the strongest of times and now, amidst the covid-19 pandemic, many small businesses are struggling to survive.

The situation at hand

JPMorgan Chase Institute research found that prior to the covid-19 pandemic, typical small businesses had only enough cash on hand to keep the lights on for two to three weeks. This was even more pronounced for small businesses in majority-Black and Latinx communities, where the typical business had only one to two weeks of reserves.

Interestingly, researchers found that in the Fall of 2020, many small businesses actually had cash reserves at higher levels than normal. This seems like great news—but when you look under the hood, the situation is more precarious. [3]

There are two factors to explain the elevated reserves: 1) an injection of cash from federal and local policy shored up many of the businesses likely to face a shortfall, and 2) a decision many businesses made to delay or dial back payments on things like upkeep of key assets, limiting wages or employee benefits, or other choices that may not be financially healthy in the months or years ahead.[4]

So, while cash balances are larger than usual, they may not be enough for small businesses to continue to survive in these tumultuous times. Expenses have already begun to outpace revenue. This trend could have a disproportionate impact on Black- and Latinx-owned companies, that tend to experience lower revenues and profit margins compared to white-owned counterparts.[5]

Help in many forms

Many small businesses face similar challenges: lack of access to capital and resources to grow. However, businesses owned by people of color and other underserved groups face these challenges more acutely. For example, according to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, Black, Latinx and women-owned small businesses are underrepresented among firms with substantial external financing. While there are no simple solutions, business, government and nonprofit leaders should work together to support, sustain and grow these critical enterprises.

For example, December’s $900 billion stimulus package included a second infusion of PPP funds, with $12 billion set aside for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).

While the terms might be unfamiliar, you likely already know your local CDFI or MDI. Some local banks or credit unions might fall into this category.

An MDI is a bank whose ownership or leadership is made up of a majority of people of color. CDFIs are community lenders, which primarily finance in low- and moderate-income communities and focus on small businesses, as well as affordable housing and nonprofits. Both MDIs and CDFIs earn these designations from the federal government, due to the vital financial services they provide in communities that are often underserved. CDFIs in particular are designed to meet these needs by offering capital and guidance to help ensure the success of vulnerable businesses. We think that’s a winning combination.

But MDIs and CDFIs need banks to provide additional capital to fund this critical work in communities. Here’s where JPMorgan Chase comes in.

Part of the solution

We believe that business has a role to play in addressing societal issues, along with business and community leaders. JPMorgan Chase is committed to building a more inclusive economy and our support for small business, especially in Black and Latinx communities, is a critical element of this work.

That’s why, in February, the firm announced new initiatives focused on providing MDIs and diverse-led CDFIs with additional access to capital, connections to institutional investors, specialty support for Black-led commercial projects, and mentorship and training opportunities. Initial investments and commitments to minority-owned and Black-led MDIs included Liberty Bank and Trust, M&F Bank, Carver Federal Savings Bank and Broadway Federal Bank. The firm also committed $42.5 million to expand the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund to reach new U.S. cities in 2021, providing loans and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses in collaboration with LISC and a network of CDFIs. Since its inception in Detroit in 2015, the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund has deployed more than $32 million to Black, Latinx and other underserved entrepreneurs, including Jimmie Williams from Chicago, who received a small business loan to scale his landscaping company. In addition, we continue our direct support for small business, including through PPP.

This work is part of the $30 billion commitment over five years we announced in October 2020 to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities to help close the racial wealth divide. The firm is continuing to put this commitment into practice by combining our business, policy, data and philanthropic expertise.

We are committing $350 million over five years to help grow Black, Latinx, woman-owned and other underserved small businesses. This includes:

Philanthropy, low-cost loans and direct equity investments: Supporting the signature Ascend Program, helping build the capacity of diverse-led nonprofits across the globe to more effectively support entrepreneurs, and investing in early-stage businesses to help companies drive economic opportunity, including in Black and Latinx communities. Last month we made our initial direct equity investment in Bitwise Industries.
Policy: Releasing new data-driven policy solutions such as increasing resources for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan program, which provides loans of up to $50,000 to help small businesses. The firm will support advancing these policy reforms to help address the immediate and long-term challenges small business owners face.
Supplier diversity: Spending an additional $750 million with Black and Latinx suppliers, and co-investing up to $200 million in middle market businesses that are or will be minority owned via a new initiative with Ariel Alternatives.
Wrap-around support: Launching a nationwide Minority Entrepreneurs program to help entrepreneurs in historically underserved areas access 1:1 coaching, technical assistance and capital.

Together, these commitments will help reduce barriers to capital access and support the growth of thousands of additional underserved businesses.

Read the full article on the Washington Post.

10 Essential Sites for Hispanic Business Owners
LinkedIn
young Hispanic businessperson scrolling through phone and smiling

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

Hispanic small business owners are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the US.

The number of Hispanic business owners grew 34% over the past 10 years as compared to 1% for all U.S. business owners, according to a recent study from Stanford University.

The following are 10 resources that advance, promote, support, and help Hispanic businesses to grow and thrive.

 

  1. United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

The mission of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is “To foster Hispanic economic development and to create sustainable prosperity for the benefit of American society.” The USHCC promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of Hispanic-owned businesses. It also advocates on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serves as the umbrella organization for more than 250 local chambers and business associations nationwide. Twitter: @USHCC

  1. The Hispanic Retail Chamber of Commerce (HRCOC)

The Hispanic Retail Chamber of Commerce represents U.S. Hispanic retail businesses and their interests and priorities to the government and in the media. With Accredited Alliances in every state, the HRCOC serves members of every size and in many retail sectors, such as supermarkets and food & beverage distributors. Various membership plans are available. Twitter: @RetailChamber

  1. Hispanic Association of Small Businesses (H.A.S.B.)

The Hispanic Association of Small Business provides minority business owners, and aspiring business owners, with educational materials, business workshops, and English workshops to improve the success of the community. By advocating on behalf of individuals, small businesses, and entrepreneurs, the H.A.S.B. works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against socially disadvantaged or underprivileged small businesses. Facebook: @hasb.org

  1. Hispanic Small Business Center from Hello Alice

The Hispanic Small Business Center is a microsite of Hello Alice, a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. Cofounded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, Hello Alice encompasses a community of more than 200,000 business owners in all 50 states and across the globe. The Hispanic Small Business Center partners with enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions to help grow small and medium-sized businesses. The website provides resources, how-to guides, and research. Twitter: @HelloAlice

  1. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Minority Business Development Agency promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses and helps Hispanic business owners access and connect with capital, contracts, and markets. The MBDA also advocates and promotes minority-owned business with elected officials, policymakers, and business leaders. Twitter: @USMBDA

  1. National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

The National Minority Supplier Development Council advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members to encourage supplier diversity. You apply for NMSDC certification through one of its regional councils. The organization connects more than 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses to a network of corporate members who wish to purchase their products, services, and solutions. The NMSDC corporate membership includes many public and privately-owned companies, as well as healthcare companies, colleges, and universities. Twitter: @NMSDCHQ

  1. Grants.gov

Grants.gov is an e-government initiative operating under the Office of Management and Budget. The system contains information on more than 1,000 federal grant programs and vets grant applications for federal agencies. By registering with the website, Hispanic and other business owners can apply for any grants available, as long as the company meets the requirements of the grant. To apply you will need a DUNS Number, which is a unique nine-character identification number provided by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Twitter: @grantsdotgov

  1. Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)

The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s mission is to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in corporate America at a level proportionate with Hispanic economic contributions in the areas of employment, procurement, philanthropy, and governance. With helpful programs, research, and virtual seminars, the HACR is committed to making a difference in the way Hispanics are treated and perceived in Corporate America. Twitter: @HACRORG

  1. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is a Congressional Member organization, governed by the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC addresses national and international issues and crafts policies that impact the Hispanic community. The Caucus is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Twitter: @HispanicCaucus

  1. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

Founded in 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the U.S. LULAC strives to improve the economic condition, education, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs. With more than 1,000 councils nationwide, the organization’s advisory board consists of Fortune 500 companies, which fosters stronger partnerships between corporate America and the Hispanic community. Twitter: @LULAC

Source: score.org

5 Current Keys to Success When Searching for a Job
LinkedIn
Job Search Laptop

By Debra Wheatman  

I have probably received more questions on the topic of conducting a job search in the current climate than I have on anything else in 2020. When the restrictions were first enacted, many people decided to go into a self-imposed holding pattern and shelve their job searches.

However, ongoing restrictions and contraction in the job market render this a nonviable option. So how do you search for a job amid the pandemic? Here are five strategies that can help you succeed.

Network. Networking remains the best way to find employment opportunities. The only difference is that networking has become almost entirely virtual. The good news is that you have more access to diverse networks than ever. Get on LinkedIn or Meetup and find people with common interests. Join groups that appeal to your goals, and interact with people and share your knowledge. Remember, don’t go into networking with the message, “I need a job. What can you do for me?” It’s a two-way street. Don’t just take; give as well.

Up your technology game. Have you been on a videoconference where someone’s Wi-Fi keeps cutting out? How about someone with poor lighting, making it look like they live in a basement, hiding from the feds? Yeah, no. Not a good look. Upgrade your internet, invest in a good webcam if your computer is sub-par, and consider a light ring to provide balanced lighting and show you in, well, the best light.

Look the part. We know you’re working from home. That doesn’t mean that you should show up for your virtual interview, looking as if you just rolled out of bed or came in from working in the garden. Dress the same as you would for an in-person interview.

Be specific about your goals. This is good advice outside of the pandemic as well. But it will be even more important than ever that you have an articulated and defined vision not only of what you’re looking for in your next role but what you can do for a potential employer. Why? Because everyone is on edge. And providing clarity will put people at ease and engender trust.

Manage your expectations. I’m hearing that the entire job search process is taking even longer than it was before restrictions when people were still doing in-person interviews. I think this is probably due to the heightened focus on proceeding with caution. A client recently had a first video screen with a new company and was told that the process would entail a one-on-one with the hiring manager, a series of four to five additional meetings with other team members, a presentation to the team, another one-on-one with the hiring manager, and finally, a meeting with the CEO.

Most importantly, be confident and proactive. Remember my number one piece of advice—job searching is not about YOU; it’s about how you can help an employer solve a pressing business problem. Approach your job search with that in mind, and tailor your tactics to reflect the current reality. Finally, the shining light at the end of the tunnel: it’s not a question of if you get a new role—only when.

Source: Careersdoneright.com

3 Ways to Successfully Brand Your Business
LinkedIn
woman tying on computer with the word brand and other business symbols surrounding the image

By Kat Castagnoli

While starting a minority-owned business has its share of challenges, the opportunities to grow are enormous. Statistics show that by 2044, more than half of all Americans are projected to belong to a minority group.

Founders of color and/or minority founders bring a unique perspective to their ventures that sets them apart – helping them to not only create a strong brand identity, but a highly successful and thriving business.

Below are 3 tips to help you brand your business when you’re just starting out:

A Brand is More Than Your Name

Your company’s brand is defined by its business name, logo or symbol, design, brand voice and literally everything visual about the company.

These visual elements are what form your brand identity — what you, customers and prospects can see.

But a brand is more than its brand identity.

A brand also includes your company’s reputation, values, the way your products and services are advertised, as well as the experiences your customers, social media followers and prospects have with your company.

In fact, every decision your company makes, and every action that it takes, affects the brand.

Leaving your brand identity to chance will hurt you and your business. You must be proactive in creating a memorable brand and brand identity.

The goal of branding is to tell a company’s story in a way that creates loyalty, awareness and excitement. Those who created brands like Harpo, FUBU and Zumba Fitness understood the importance of building a strong brand when they started their ventures. You can do the same.

Create Your Own Brand Strategy

On a blank sheet of paper, fully define your company’s vision, mission and values. Once you’ve done that, articulate your brand positioning, which explains how your company is different in this marketplace and from your competitors.

Brand positioning will be crucial when you write a business plan. Lenders and investors will want to understand how you will differentiate and why those differences will help you succeed.

It’s not unusual for minority business owners and founders of color to observe different problems or to offer different solutions than business owners from other groups. This is what allows you to bring innovative products and services designed for everyone or pick a segment of your target market and create products or services specifically for them.

Once you understand brand positioning, you must articulate your unique selling proposition, or USP – essentially what your business stands for. For minority founders and founders of color, the USP can focus on a smaller group’s specific needs within a larger market or on the unique innovations your products bring to the broader market.

Once you have defined this, it’s now time to create your core brand identity assets. You’ll need to work with an expert to create a good business name for your new business, a unique logo design, a business website and other visual elements that will reflect your brand.

Execute your brand strategy

After you’ve developed your core identity, you need to find the right way to communicate your brand through marketing.

Execution is crucial – and here, too, is where founders of color and minority entrepreneurs can face numerous obstacles and a scaling gap.

For example, only 19 percent of Black-owned businesses and 20 percent of Hispanic-owned businesses grow to 10 or more employees, compared to 25 percent of companies owned by founders from other groups.

A good example of brand strategy execution is Rihanna’s Fenty brand, which offered substantially more shades of foundation and other products that include all skin tones, targeting women of all ethnicities and body types.

Before Fenty, most beauty brands focused on only a segment of the beauty market. Few brands, for example, offered shades of foundation for all skin tones. But after Fenty’s successful launch (in 17 countries on the same day), other beauty brands had to quickly reflect on the lack of diversity in their products and marketing.

While not everyone is a global music superstar like Rihanna, you don’t need to be one to differentiate your business.

Inclusivity, and not merely celebrity, was Fenty’s unique selling proposition.

What’s your unique selling proposition? Carefully consider to create a brand strategy that sets you apart from the rest, connects with your customers and puts your business on the path to success.

This 31-year-old quit her $150,000-a-year tech job to start an equal pay app: Here’s how she got started
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Christen Nino De Guzman, founder of Clara for CreatorsPhoto: Christen Nino De Guzman

By Christen Nino De Guzman, CNBC

I’ve always enjoyed working with content creators. At 31, I’ve helped launch creator programs at some of the biggest tech companies, including Instagram and Pinterest.

But it was frustrating to see the pay inequality that content creators constantly faced. So earlier this year, I decided to quit my $150,000-per-year job at TikTok to start a “Glassdoor-like” app called Clara for Creators.

Since launching, it has helped more than 7,000 influencers and content creators share and compare pay rates and review their experiences working with brands.

The pay gap in influencer marketing

Nowadays, there are very few barriers to becoming a content creator. With the popularity of TikTok, for example, you don’t need to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment; anyone can try to build an audience and monetize their platform with videos they shoot on a smartphone.

As a result, more and more creators have entered the business. The problem? They have little knowledge about how much money they could — or should — be making.

Content creator deals are tricky. How much you’re paid depends on the type of content you’re offering a brand and on what platform — an Instagram post versus a YouTube video, for example. Other factors include the size of your following, engagement metrics and success rates with previous partnerships.

To make matters even more complicated, brands often ask an influencer for their rate instead of offering everyone a base pay with room to negotiate.

Many creators end up selling themselves short, especially women and people of color. I once saw a man get paid 10 times what a woman creator was paid for the same campaign — just because he asked for more. I’ve also seen Latinx creators with triple the following of white creators be paid half as much.

How I started my mission-based business

I knew a major problem that creators faced was that they couldn’t Google how much money they could charge for marketing a product or service on their platform. That lightbulb moment — and how much I cared about the creators I worked with — inspired me to build Clara.

I wanted creators to be able to share reviews of brands they had worked with, along with how much they were paid for different types of content based on their number of followers.

In March 2021, I sent a bunch of cold messages to potential investors on LinkedIn. In July, after weeks of non-stop outreach that turned into more than 10 pitch meetings, I received a small investment from an individual investor. I used that money to contract a team of developers, who I worked alongside to build and test the app.

Clara finally launched for iOS in January this year. Within a month, without spending any money on advertisements, more than 7,000 creators signed up to share their rates on Clara, including top TikTok creators like Devon Rodriguez and Nancy Bullard, who each have 24.4 million and 2.9 million social media followers, respectively.

On January 14, I quit my job at TikTok as a creator program manager to work on Clara full-time. While I am taking a massive pay cut by leaving my 9-to-5, I’m living off money I make as a content creator and my savings.

Right now, I’m focused on raising capital to grow the platform. I’m also spreading the word about equal pay and how important resources like Clara are. l post career advice and other resources on my TikTok account, where I currently have 348,000 followers.

Get paid fairly: Know your rights and do your research

There are many things you can do to work towards greater pay equity for yourself and others in your industry.

When discussing pay with your coworkers, it’s important to know your rights. Some corporations may try to scare you from it by saying that salary talk is against company policy. But under the National Labor Relations Act, many employees have the right to talk about their wages with their coworkers.

I’ve had six full-time jobs, and fear used to keep me from talking about money. But the first time I openly discussed my salary with a colleague, I found out I was being underpaid. I then used that knowledge to look for new roles where I’d be paid more fairly.

These conversations don’t have to be awkward, especially if you’ve established a safe and comfortable relationship. Rather than flat-out asking “How much are you making?,” approach the discussion in a “let’s help each other” way. You might be surprised by the number of people who are willing to talk about it.

Keep in mind that while you have the right to communicate about your wages, your employer may have lawful policies against using their equipment — like work laptops — to have the discussion. Protect yourself by understanding your company’s policy before sending a rallying Slack message.

And always do your research before accepting a contract. Sites like Glassdoor, Levels and Clara offer this data for free.

You can also search sites like TikTok and YouTube to get deep insights about pay. There are many creators who, like me, are open about what they’ve been paid at previous companies — down to stock offerings and sign-on bonuses, and who share information about company cultures overall.

I also created a spreadsheet for people to share their titles and salaries alongside important demographic information I’ve seen left out on other databases, like gender, age and diverse identity fields. So far, it has over 62,000 entries.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

11 Gorgeous Afro-Latinx-Owned Online Shops To Support During National Black Business Month
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Afro-Latinx Owned products

By Andrea Reindl, Mitu

August is National Black Business Month and this year, there’s no better time to support Black businesses. After the racial reckoning of 2020, many of us are still educating ourselves on structural racism and the impact it’s had on Black business owners and generational wealth. And part of that education includes shopping at Black-owned businesses.

Luckily, there are Black entrepreneurs out there who are following their dreams and making money moves. Here is a list of Afro-Latinx-owned businesses you can shop at online.

Azteca Negra

Azteca Negra was founded by Jefa Marisol Catchings, who identifies as Chicana and Black. Her online store started off selling colorful hand-crafted headwraps, but since the pandemic, she has also expanded into selling face masks as well. Buy the Mami & Me Princesa Headwrap Set (pictured) for $38.00.

La Boticá Studios

Founded by Afro-Dominicana Dawn Marie West, La Boticá Studios is what she describes as a “luxury fragrance brand” that is “rooted in culture.” With scents like “Flor de Selva” and “República,” her candles are sure to transport you to the Caribbean. Candles start at $78.00.

Coffee Del Mundo

Belizean coffee connoisseur Jonathan Kinnard founded Coffee Del Mundo’s to “help people rediscover coffee the way it was meant to be enjoyed.” So unnatural additives are a no-no. You can get pods or whole beans via delivery. Buy a bag of El Salvador Whole Bean (pictured) for $13.50.

The Cozy Cup Tea

The Cozy Cup Tea was founded by a New York Dominicana who loves tea. While she throws tea party events for the tea-lovers out there, she also sells Caribbean-inspired tea on her website. Buy all teas starting at $10.00.

Breukelen Rub Spice Co.

Breukelen Rub Spice Co. is a Flatbush-located spice brand that produces hyperlocal artisanal spice blends and dry-rubs. Founded by Afro-Puerto Rican chef, Chef JD, Breukelen Rub Spice Co.’s most popular spice blend is the all-purpose, nostalgic spice blend Abuela’s Adobo. Buy for $15.00.

Reina Skincare

Inspired by her own skin troubles, Panamanian Jefa Adriana Isabel Robinson Rivera created a skincare brand fit for a queen. She sells everything from cleansers to toners to serums to oil. Browse their catalog.

Coco and Breezy Eyewear

Famous Afro-Puerto Rican twin DJs Corianna and Brianna Dotson created this luxury eyewear line as a creative experiment. Their brand has since achieved wild success. These are luxury eyewear, so the price point starts at $285.00.

Peralta Project

First-generation Dominican, M. Tony Peralta founded the Peralta Project. According to his website, his designs explore blackness in Dominican identity and pay homage to old-school hip-hop. This shirt is available for $35.00.

Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry

Valerie Madison is a fine jewelry business that describes itself as sells Black-Latina owned. The luxury retailer sells engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry. These indulgences are a once-in-a-lifetime type of splurge, so prices vary.

Pisqueya Hot Sauce

Pisqueya hot sauce was created by Maritza Abreu from a recipe handed down “through a family of Dominican cooks.” With three delicious flavors (Smoky Hot, Medium Buzz, and Spicy Sweet), you’ll find a sauce for every occasion. Sauces sell for $6.99 each.

Click here to read the full article on Mitu.

How Latinas can navigate the tech industry
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employees in the tech industry seated at a meeting table with woman pointing to whiteboard

By Eliot Olaya, Al Dia

Prospanica’s Philadelphia chapter held a panel about Latinas in tech, hosting three Latina women who have had years of experience within the industry.

The webinar hosted Edith Perez, the Senior Technical Product Manager at Comcast; Sól Vázquez, CISA and Senior IT Audit Manager at CVS Health; Shannon Morales, CEO and founder of Tribaja, a diversity focused tech recruitment agency; and was moderated by Carrie Ann Zayas Quintana, Enterprise Innovation, Manager of External Partnerships at PNC. Prospanica, an organization that hosts annual career and professional development seminars and aids Hispanics in networking, hosted the four of them to discuss their experiences, careers, and insights they could offer Latina’s entering the tech industry.

For some of these women, they didn’t start their careers in technology. For Vázquez, she began college pursuing a degree in accounting. But when she took an auditing course, she realized it suited her much better and changed her major. In a similar vein, Morales completed her degree in Finance before she moved into the tech sector.

For Morales, a background in Finance was not a barrier to overcome as she entered the tech industry. As she sought to boost other Hispanics’ networking opportunities, she sought to found her own company. With experience in business and financial matters, she was able to use her skills to create her company, Tribaja.

Click here to read the article on Al Dia.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. National College Resources Foundation Upcoming Events–Mark Your Calendar!
    September 24, 2022 - April 1, 2023
  4. HACE National Virtual Career Fair
    September 29, 2022
  5. ROMBA Conference
    October 6, 2022 - October 8, 2022
  6. HACU 36th Annual Conference
    October 8, 2022 - October 10, 2022
  7. NMSDC 50th Anniversary Conference & Exchange
    October 30, 2022 - November 2, 2022
  8. The UnidosUS Workforce Development Summit 2022
    November 2, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  9. NBIC Unity Week 2022
    November 15, 2022 - November 18, 2022
  10. UnidosUS – LatinX Health Equity Summit 2022
    December 6, 2022 - December 8, 2022