How three Latina women let go from 9NEWS are helping change the journalism industry
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Former 9NEWS journalists (from left) Lori Lizarraga, Sonia Gutierrez and Kristen Aguirre.

By , Denver Post

When model student Sonia Gutierrez was informed by her high school counselor in 2009 that college was out of the question because the young Colorado Latina lacked documentation, Gutierrez allowed herself an afternoon to sob, mourning the future she and her parents had worked toward their whole lives.

Then she got to work.

Gutierrez testified before the Colorado legislature in support of the ASSET bill, which passed in 2013 and allows qualifying students without legal status to pay in-state tuition rates. She shared her story with local journalists and was consistently disappointed in the coverage.

“I just remember thinking, ‘Well, of course. They don’t know what it’s like,’” said Gutierrez, now 30 and with permanent U.S. residency. “I have these white guys interviewing me about what it’s like to be here undocumented… I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see. I wanted to see stories told by my community — stories more fairly and truthfully representing what is happening. That was never going to happen unless people like us are doing that job.”

Gutierrez’s persistence paid off, landing her a 2012 internship at Denver’s 9NEWS, where she worked her way up to a full-time job, eventually meeting fellow Latina coworkers Lori Lizarraga and Kristen Aguirre.

However, the driving force behind Gutierrez’s journalistic pursuits — her family’s decision to come to America from Mexico when she was a baby and her struggle to obtain legal documentation — was thrown back in her face by 9NEWS, she alleged, when management told her she could only cover immigration-related stories if she disclosed her residency status in her reporting.

An article Lizarraga wrote for Westword last month laid out a story the three Latina reporters who were all let go by 9NEWS in the past year never imagined telling: allegations of discrimination in an industry that prides itself on holding others accountable and their dogged pursuit to tell their increasingly diverse community’s stories in spite of the obstacles in their way.

At a time when re-invigorated national conversations around racial justice are infiltrating industries across the country, Lizarraga’s disclosure rallied local Latina politicians, who called for meetings with the news organization; brought to light a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing from a major shareholder of 9NEWS parent company TEGNA alleging racial bias among top brass; and spurred TEGNA-wide change to the language the company’s journalists use when reporting on immigration.

“I look at these three women as my heroes,” said Rebecca Aguilar, president-elect of the Society of Professional Journalists and chair of SPJ’s diversity and inclusion committee. “We should be very proud of Lori for coming forward because she has told us the reality of what’s going on in that station and the realities of the news business. I believe in our SPJ Code of Ethics. We are not supposed to do people harm. What these managers have done to these three women is harm.”

9NEWS management declined a phone interview with The Denver Post and would not comment on the exits of Lizarraga, Aguirre and Gutierrez — the station didn’t renew their contracts — nor their allegations of discrimination, calling them personnel matters.

In a two-page statement, 9NEWS Director of Content Tim Ryan said the newsroom is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Recent efforts include a DEI committee, listening sessions with journalists of color, training on inclusive journalism practices and an upcoming diversity audit by a third-party researcher, Ryan said.

“While we are making progress, we know we have much more work to do,” Ryan wrote. “As with many things, some changes and improvements will happen quickly, and others will occur over time. Ultimately, we are committed to working with our employees and the greater Denver community on a holistic strategy and tangible actions that effectively enhance our culture and serve and represent our community.”

Click here to read the full article on Denver Post.

The new Latino landscape
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The swift growth of U.S. Latinos is reshaping big states and small towns. Meet the faces of a new era.

By Suzanne Gamboa and Nicole Acevedo, NBC News

In New Hampshire, a Roman Catholic church where Irish and French Canadian immigrants used to worship now has the state’s largest Latino congregation. In the Deep South, a county in Georgia is one of the nation’s top 10 in diversity.

Hispanics accounted for over half of the nation’s population growth in the last decade. This is not just reflected in larger cities, but in mountain towns, Southern neighborhoods and Midwestern prairies.

“The Latino population has been dispersing across the United States for years — a reflection of where the nation’s population is moving and where opportunities are located,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of race and ethnicity research at the Pew Research Center.

Lopez, whose Mexican American family has been in California for over a century, has seen dispersion in his own family, with relatives moving to Washington state, Nevada, North Carolina and New Jersey as they followed job, educational and military opportunities, mirroring some of the data he and his team have recorded over the years.

Though a majority of Latinos — almost 70 percent — are U.S. born, Lopez noted that as “you see Hispanics pursuing opportunity around the country, oftentimes immigrants are leading the way” in terms of moving to places with new economic opportunities.

Amid Western mountains, new possibilities

For Lissy Samantha Suazo, 18, the open space of Big Sky, Montana — a small town near Yellowstone National Park — has been a beginning to wider, bigger possibilities.

“When I arrived here in Big Sky, I was the second person of color and Spanish-speaking person in the school and the first one who didn’t know how to speak English,” said Suazo, who was 12 when her family came from Honduras.

Waded Cruzado’s journey through Montana started a few years earlier than Suazo’s. She was hired in 2010 as president of Montana State University in Bozeman.

“I remember saying, ‘You know, I have never been to Montana. … Do you know what I look like? I don’t look like and sound like anyone in Montana,’” said Cruzado, 61, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. “But I was wrong.”

Hispanics have been in Montana since the early 1800s as fur traders, ranchers, rail workers and laborers in beet fields, according to Bridget Kevane, professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at Montana State University.

But in the last two decades, Montana has been among the states with the fastest growing Latino populations in the country. Though the 45,199 Latinos who live in Montana are minuscule compared to the 15.6 million Hispanics who live in California, the state’s 58.2 percent jump in Latino residents since 2010 leads all U.S. western states over the last decade.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Jennifer Lopez Steps Out in Hometown of the Bronx to Support Latina-Owned Small Businesses
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Jennifer Lopez posing in Bronx bookstore smiling

By Rachel DeSantis, People

Jennifer Lopez is still giving back to the block that raised her.

The star made an appearance in New York City to support Latina small business owners in her hometown of the Bronx of Sunday, which comes as the first part of a new philanthropy push for Lopez.

The Hustlers actress, 52, stopped by indie bookstore The Lit. Bar alongside Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and Isabella Guzman, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and announced a new partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses meant to help elevate and support Latina entrepreneurs.

While there, the trio spoke with the store’s founder Noelle Santos and other Latina business owners about growing their businesses and how they’ve navigated the pandemic, just in time for National Hispanic Heritage Month, which kicks off this week.

Lopez’s new partnership with Goldman Sachs will work to recruit more Latina entrepreneurs to 10,000 Small Businesses, a program that offers support and opportunities to help owners grow their companies and create new jobs.

It’s the first initiative for the “On the Floor” singer under an upcoming philanthropy push called Limitless Labs.

Photos and video published by TMZ show that Lopez — who made a surprise appearance at the MTV VMAs hours later as a presenter — was accompanied to the event by boyfriend Ben Affleck, with whom she recently rekindled her romance nearly 18 years after they called off their engagement.

Click here to read the full article on People.

The Naked Truth About Virtual Conferences
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finger pressing on Virtual Event key on keyboard

By Mona Lisa Faris

Over the last year, we’ve found many new and creative ways to network in every sphere. Office meetings are often held through conference lines and Zoom calls, and you’ve probably never sent more emails in your life than you have during the stay-at-home order.

But, one of the biggest changes that came to the professional world was how we would conduct our yearly conferences. Organizations have had to learn how to bring together hundreds upon thousands of people in one space in a way that is accessible for all without too many technical difficulties. While there have been many amazing features to moving conferences to an online platform, the way in which they are conducted are far from perfect.

Here at DiversityComm, we’ve had the opportunity to attend many of last year’s virtual conferences. Here are some pros of what we’ve learned that works – and the cons of what doesn’t.

Pros:

  • Availability: Without the confines of a physical space or the need to travel to a set location, a digital platform allows anyone to be in attendance without ever leaving their homes. Speakers and attendees alike who would not have been able to participate due the physical barriers of the conference space are now readily available to connect, share and grow with individuals they may have otherwise never met.
  • Special Features: Digital contact cards, company video presentations and recorded panels are just a few of the many features online platforms have made available. The annoyance of repeating your pitch, running out of business cards or having to decide between two panels at the same time has become a thing of the past. Even if you can’t attend a virtual event due to other commitments, many of the conferences allow you to watch and re-watch content for up to thirty days after the live event has ended, further increasing audience attendance. This kind of online platform also makes it easier for individuals with varying disabilities to access closed captions, audio adjustments and proper seating in a space where those services may have been more difficult to facilitate.
  • Affordability: Without the need of a physical conference space and its in-tandem travel fees, some of the biggest conferences in the business are now much more affordable than they were in-person. Businesses are able to save on the logistics of shipping cost, booth setup and travel, and send as many attendees as they would like to the conference at no additional cost.
  • Preparedness: From the interviewing process to presentations, digital platforms make it easier to be prepared for any issue that may come your way. Instead of worrying about printing enough resumes or forgetting paperwork, these files can be uploaded ahead of time for easy access, organization and viewing. Pre-recorded videos and quick computer accessibility during the conference also allows attendees and presenters alike to be more prepared to properly answer questions and have all the necessary information at their fingertips.

Cons:

  • Communication: The elimination of face-to-face interaction and an almost full dependence on written communication make it difficult to gauge how your conversations are going. Without the cues that come from body language or voice inflection, it’s harder to tell if you’re speaking to an interested recruiter or business client just based on emotionless words written in a chat box. The ability to miscommunicate is also much easier. Comments that were meant to be simple and understood can now be easily taken as rude or uninterested if misinterpreted by the listening party.
  • Overcrowding: The digital platform allows for more attendees to engage in critical information and resources, but it also means that you can be easily drowned out or forgotten. This has become such a problem that some individuals require you to have an appointment to speak with them. Having the constraints of a time slot or not having an appointment at all can prevent valuable connections from being fully explored. On the flip side, Massive virtual crowds can also mean talking to more individuals than you expected. Impromptu sales pitches to larger groups, or even the incorrect group, can leave both sides with little to gain besides missed opportunities to connect with the proper people.
  • Technical Difficulties: It may be a given, but especially with a platform that is so new and virtually unexplored, technical difficulties are common. Audio issues, visual issues, glitching, internet problems and crashing websites are just a few of the issues that were little to irrelevant in the physical conference space. Though tech support is available at many of these events to fix these bugs as soon as possible, the unavailability of resources can lead to missed opportunities, especially for individuals who depend on accessible technology to fully participate.
  • Difficult to Gauge the Takeaway: Similar to how it can be difficult to gauge the mood of a conversation online, it can be just as difficult to see if there was a takeaway from your conference. Event sponsors are not as visually prevalent in a digital space as they are in a physical setting, causing many of them to see little direct return on their services. Plus, without feedback from decision makers, you yourself can feel lost and unaccomplished in a space where you once felt the opposite.

For a second opinion on everything virtual conferences, check out what some of our partners had to say about attending these special events:

“Nothing will ever replace the bonds made interacting one-on-one at events or feeling the collective passion of a crowded conference ballroom. And yet, the unique shared experience of virtual programming throughout the pandemic has taught us how valuable technology can be to make experiences more equitable.  Since everyone, from the C-Suite to the intern, were home working in sweatpants, the virtual meeting world was far more democratized than real world events have ever been before.  But cutting out travel expenses, speaking fees, logistics planning, etc., attendees from anywhere, from the widest array of backgrounds, with any abilities (both financial and physical) could directly interact with others everywhere. I hope to see virtual attendance options remain at all future conferences and events since we’ve never made it easier for those with disabilities, those with financial restrictions, and those who may benefit more from personal space and privacy to thrive in meetings that may have previously been difficult, if not impossible, to attend before.”

  • Jonathan Lovitz, small business inclusion and policy leader / special advisor to NGLCC

“A virtual career fair, with non-person contact, is the next best thing to in-person recruitment outreach”.

  • Scot Evans, NCUA

“Like many event producers, we had to pivot our popular live Small Business Expos quickly to online Virtual Events.  Though our Virtual Events have been wildly successful, there is nothing like that feeling of meeting face-to-face with people, networking and building new business relationships in person.  At this point, over a year later, I think there is a huge pent up energy for our attendees to get back to our in-person events.  We are human, we need in-person social interaction.  With virtual events, there is a wall between you and the other person.  I think everyone is excited to break through that wall and finally meet face-to-face again!”

  • Zachary Lezberg, Founder & CEO, Small Business Expo

“The one big lesson AISES learned in executing our 2020 National Conference is to keep it simple when moving from an in-person event to a virtual setting. Our conference was successful, but we could have shortened the length of the event, reduced the number of sessions, and incorporated more breaks. Overall, the participants were happy with the cultural components that characterize AISES such as the talking circle, morning blessing, and ceremonial blessings. The 2021 AISES National Conference will be in-person and we plan to stream limited content for those who are only able to attend virtually.”

    Mona Lisa Faris headshot
    Mona Lisa Faris, Author and Publisher DiversityComm, Inc.
  • Katherine Cristiano, AISES Senior Director of Special Events
  • “By hosting the VIB Conference virtually last year we had more participation from smaller veteran-owned businesses that may have never attended due to cost or time. While attendees were still able to connect with corporations or government agencies through a virtual business matchmaking platform nothing will truly beat face-to-face meetings. As things begin to open, I think the future for events is blending the in-person with a virtual element so we can continue to cultivate the smaller veteran-owned businesses”

  • Rebecca Aguilera-Gardiner, CEO of VIB Network          

“Virtual career fairs have become the norm as a hiring strategy for many companies. As a large organization with thousands of job opportunities, virtual career fairs give us the opportunity to meet and learn more about perspective employees. These job fairs are different from the in-person experience, so come prepared and do your research in order to make a lasting impression on a recruiter or employer. Those who can adapt will have a great advantage.”

  • Kamille Morgan of Leidos

As the pandemic continues to show signs of coming to an end, it appears that conferences may be implementing more of a hybrid system where in-person and online attendance are both available. As we continue to grow in this digital space and learn from the mistakes and triumphs of this past year, hopefully we will see a positive change in this new conference world.

Meet The Founders Behind The Latina Power Shirts You’ve Been Eyeing
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Lifestyle brand JZD is an independently owned Latina e-retail brand with more than 40K followers on Instagram that include celebrities

By ANGELA BONILLA,  Refinery 9

Lifestyle brand JZD is an independently owned Latina e-retail brand with more than 40K followers on Instagram that include celebrities like Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Diane Guerrero, and Jessica Marie Garcia from Netflix’s In My Block.

You may have seen the online retailer’s vibrant designs on your friends’ sherbet-colored tumblers and T-shirts printed with slogans like “Vacunada” and “No pasa nada.” Run by spouses Veronica and Jennifer Zeano, this line has become a source of covetable goods as well as a community for its socially conscious customers, many of whom love the Latinx pride and cultura the line espouses. Ever since its launch five years ago, JZD has steadily been attracting a fan base since its launch five years ago.

“Instagram is such a huge part of the business because that’s where we can talk to customers, meet new customers, and really develop this relationship with our customers where they’re our friends,” says Jennifer. “They feel like we know each other and we can hang out and talk.”

The customer response was overwhelming. “I realized that this is what we’re supposed to be doing, and we quickly shifted into this Latina empowerment brand where every product that we were thinking of, creating, and putting out into the world was with that goal and mission,” Jennifer tells Refinery29.

After the shirt, Jennifer and Veronica decided to start their own website, in which their now-iconic Latina Power shirt has become a best-seller. The pair finds inspiration for their wares from their own lives and communities — even the models who appear on the site used are usually their friends. “We make sure the models wearing our clothes are Latina, and really just want to make sure it’s with people that believe in the same mission and have values that align with ours,” says Jennifer. They also draw inspiration from their border town of Brownsville, Texas, which is across the U.S.-Mexico border from Matamoros.

Click here to read the full article on Refinery 9.

MSNBC’s Alicia Menendez On How Latinas Can Break Free From The Likeability Trap
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Alicia Menendez attends Build Series to discuss her book "The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed as You Are" at Build Studio on November 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Manny Carabel/Getty Images)

By Raquel Reichard, Yahoo! Finance

Once a year, America acknowledges the egregious pay gap in which Latinas earn just 67 cents for every dollar a non-Latinx white man makes. It’s time we interrogate this fact year-round. The L-Suite examines the diverse ways in which Latinx professionals have built their careers, how they’ve navigated notoriously disruptive roadblocks, and how they’re attempting to dismantle these obstacles for the rest of their communities.

This month, we’re talking with MSNBC news anchor and creator of the Latina to Latina podcast Alicia Menendez about how succumbing to the pressure to be “likable” at work can sometimes work against Latinas.

Journalism has an inclusion problem. In local and national newsrooms across the U.S., Latinas are underrepresented as reporters, editors, and producers. According to a study by the Women’s Media Center, the demographic makes up just 2.4 percent of the news media workforce — and despite efforts at improving diversity and inclusivity across the American workforce, the problem might actually be worsening in this sector. The American Society of News Editors Newsroom Employment Diversity surveys show that the tally of women journalists of color has barely budged since 2016. When it moves, it’s often in a downward direction, as the industry is losing Latina, Black, Asian, and Native women’s voices. The root of the problem is twofold: Newsrooms are less likely to hire Latinas, especially for leadership positions, while many in the workforce quit the industry due to salary disparities and minimal opportunities for career advancement.

Alicia Menendez has witnessed these losses up close. Prior to anchoring MSNBC’s weekend news program American Voices, the Cuban-American journalist worked across a gamut of mediums, including television, digital media, and podcasts, where she witnessed women of color who were talented but lacking in support leaving their roles in media, often for jobs in more stable industries. Her experience mentoring emerging Latina journalists as well as interviewing women about their professional struggles and triumphs on her podcast Latina to Latina has led to her intimate understanding of the barriers, inequities, and microaggressions that push talented women out of newsrooms. In many ways, it is precisely these stories that propel her to stay in the industry.

“The truest thing I can say is I just refuse to go away,” Menendez, 38, tells Refinery29. “At some point, there is always the question of ‘Is this the moment where I opt out?’ But as someone who feels that this is a call to service, it is hard for me to imagine an alternate path that has comparable impact.”

For Menendez, inclusive and nuanced news coverage requires diverse newsrooms. To sustain herself in the industry, she has developed creative methods that she imparts with other women of color in journalism. From breaking free of the likeability trap to creating her own media, Menendez shares her story and offers advice for Latinas passionate but disillusioned by the work.

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

Becky G on beauty, business and looking up to J.Lo
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Becky G recently launched her own makeup line, Treslúce Beauty.

By Elana Fishman, Page Six

In 2013, Becky G made history by becoming the youngest-ever CoverGirl spokesperson at the age of 15. Now, less than a decade later, she’s at the helm of her very own beauty brand, Treslúce.

“As a young Latina businesswoman, I realized I don’t just want to be the pretty Latina face of something. I want something that’s ours, something that we own, something that’s made by us and for us,” the 24-year-old “Fulanito” singer told Page Six Style.

Treslúce gets its name from a mashup of two Spanish words. There’s “tres,” the number three — a symbolic numeral representing the mind, body and soul — followed by a conjugation of “lucir,” which means “to shine.”

“It’s just such a spiritual representation of how I identify with makeup; not just being an expression of what’s on the outside, but also from within,” Becky explained of her inspiration. “Makeup, for me, has always been kind of this intimate process of transformation to a brighter version of myself.”

The Mexican-American star, who said she’d “for sure” be a makeup artist if she wasn’t a musical artist, fell in love with cosmetics as a young age, and recalls frequently borrowing from her mom’s stash of beauty products.

“I had a young, cool mom who wasn’t like, ‘No, you’re too young for makeup,’” Becky explained. “She was all about [us] learning to express ourselves.”

And there are countless ways to do just that with Treslúce Beauty’s hero product, the “I Am” eyeshadow palette ($30), which is packed with 18 vivid matte and shimmery shades formulated with Mexican blue agave.

“I wanted to infuse little things that meant so much to me. And the blue agave is actually from Jalisco, Mexico, where my grandparents are from,” Becky shared of the unconventional ingredient. “I love tequila, so that’s probably where it came from too!”

In further nods to her roots, the palette’s packaging features a third eye design by Mexican artist Monica Loya, while the shade names — a mix of adjectives in both English and Spanish, including “divina,” “fuerte” and “unstoppable” — are meant to serve as affirmations.

And considering that her debut single was titled “Becky From the Block,” it shouldn’t be too surprising that the Latin Grammy nominee looks up to Jennifer Lopez as her personal beauty (and business) hero as she continues to build her own brand.

Click here to read the full article on Page Six.

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Forms Hispanic Streaming Division, Promoting Romina Rosado To Lead It
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Kate del Castillo in Season 2 of Telemundo's "La Reina del Sur," which streams on Peacock.

By Dade Hayes Deadline

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises has formed a new Hispanic Streaming business division, which will look to spur growth of Latinos on Peacock and across other Telemundo and NBCU platforms.

The new division will be responsible for developing a content slate with more than 50 projects, the first of which will arrive in 2022. Telemundo’s Romina Rosado has been promoted to EVP and GM of Hispanic streaming and will lead the new business unit. She will report to Beau Ferrari, chairman of NBCU Telemundo Enterprises.

Longtime linear rival Univision has been making moves in streaming, bulking up free, ad-supported service PrendeTV and laying groundwork for a subscription tier. Telemundo, by contrast, has not pursued a stand-alone service but instead emerged as a key supplier to Peacock, delivering thousands of hours of programming. Last month, NBCU parent Comcast said Peacock had reached 54 million sign-ups and 20 million monthly active users. It has both a free, basic tier and a $5-a-month Premium level.

“The NBCUniversal Telemundo Hispanic Streaming division immediately unifies and amplifies our unmatched resources and reach to our audience across the company, accelerating our presence on Peacock and the entire NBCU streaming portfolio,” Ferrari said in the official announcement. “Romina is an experienced media executive with a clear vision and knowledge for developing relevant content for the Latino and general market that will serve our company-wide approach to programming for the Hispanic streaming audience.”

In her new role, Rosado will lead cross-company efforts and collaborate with Peacock’s leadership in the development of the service’s Latino content. She will also collaborate with the recently created Telemundo Streaming Studios to develop and produce original content based on Peacock’s content strategy for Hispanics. Like NBCU overall, Telemundo is supplementing its roster of linear hits, like La Reina del Sur, with originals. It has high hopes for the fall of 2022, when it has exclusive Spanish-language rights to the World Cup.

One in four Americans under 35 is Hispanic, Rosado pointed out, “and they are voracious content consumers across languages and across platforms.” Using a company coinage, she described the target audience as “200-percenters” — viewers who are 100% Hispanic but also 100% American. “I look forward to partnering with Peacock and creators across the industry to tell stories that connect and represent this dynamic and vibrant community,” she said.

Click here to read the full article on Deadline.

U.S. markets regulator approves Nasdaq proposal to require corporate board diversity
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Diverse Equality Gender Innovation Management Concept

By Jessica Dinapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved a proposal from stock exchange operator Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) that requires its listed companies to have diverse boards, or explain why they do not.

The proposal requires that companies have two diverse directors, including one who identifies as female and another as an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ+, or explain why they do not. Companies also have to publicly disclose the diversity of their boards.

“These rules will allow investors to gain a better understanding of Nasdaq-listed companies’ approach to board diversity,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler in a prepared statement.

Nasdaq said it is looking “forward to working with our companies to implement this new listing rule and set a new standard for corporate governance.”Women and minorities have been underrepresented in the top ranks of companies, leading to a recent reckoning on racial and gender diversity in Corporate America. According to data from Equilar, boards in the Russell 3000 are halfway to gender parity. In the Russell 1000, 18.4% of directors are under-represented minorities.

Investor efforts to scrutinize diversity on boards have also been stymied by a lack of disclosure, with many companies not detailing the gender and race or ethnicity of directors.

Republican lawmakers and some companies criticized Nasdaq’s proposal and urged the SEC to reject it, saying it would interfere with boards’ responsibilities to shareholders and could impose new costs on companies.

Advocates for people with disabilities had pushed both Nasdaq and the SEC to include disability in the proposal, but were “rebuffed,” said Ted Kennedy Jr, chairman of the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD), in an interview with Reuters.

Nasdaq said in a comment letter that companies could consider and disclose additional diverse attributes such as disability or veteran status. But those attributes would not meet the requirements for a female or person who identifies as an under-represented minority or LGBTQ+.

Read the original article posted on Reuters.

Mexican-born entrepreneur launches software platform to help small restaurants increase online order and delivery services
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Daniel Hernandez, entrepreneur and founder of The Apptopus. Photo Courtesy of Daniel Hernandez.

By Jensen Toussaint, Al Dia

Entrepreneurship was a path that Daniel Hernandez saw for himself starting at a very young age. As a middle school student, he used to sell candy to his classmates for $0.25, embarking on a venture that would plant the seeds to his career destination today.

Whether it was selling candy, having a paper route or later working at a restaurant, Hernandez envisioned ways he could both make money and also help his community along the way.

“Ever since I was in middle school, I always knew that I was going to be starting a business,” Hernandez said in an interview with AL DÍA.

Fast forward just over a decade later, and Hernandez is a successful entrepreneur who operates with the targeted goal of helping small business owners.

Most recently, he launched The Apptopus, a startup virtual management platform that brings online orders, delivery services and prepaid phone order processes in a simple and efficient manner to help small business owners and restaurateurs maintain services and increase revenue.

The endeavor was heavily influenced by Hernandez’s personal experiences and journey.

From Mexico to Santa Cruz
Hernandez was born and raised in Mexico, before being brought to the United States when he was seven years old, settling in Santa Cruz, California.

His family held previous ties to the Bay and nearby areas, as his grandfather was one of the contracted braceros from Mexico, who worked in agricultural labor all over California during the 1940s and 1950s.

Both of Hernandez’s parents are small business owners. His mother started a house cleaning service, which at one point expanded to 40 residences and offices. Hernandez, along with his father and younger brother, would often help out.

However, while the housing cleaning business brought about success, her passion was in another area.

“My mom has always had a gift for making food,” said Hernandez, especially praising her Oaxacan dishes.

“She always had a dream about opening a restaurant and being able to get a lot of people into her restaurant and feed them, so that they can enjoy her food,” he added.

Oftentimes, Hernandez would accompany his mother to events where she’d set up booths and make food for people to buy. Experiencing that made Hernandez also fall in love with cooking, later opening the door to his entry into the restaurant business.

Eventually, Hernandez’s mother decided to sell her house cleaning business to follow her dream of opening a restaurant.

Pandemic Problems
Hernandez’s mother officially opened the doors to her own restaurant in early 2020, with her son’s help.

However, just weeks after her grand opening, the COVID-19 pandemic started making waves across the globe.

“That really kind of almost took her out because she couldn’t even get any people into the restaurant. She was struggling … [and] it was a brand new location, too,” said Hernandez.

With takeout and delivery as the only options during the onset of the pandemic, Hernandez’s mother had to adjust.

Initially, Hernandez advised her to utilize third-party delivery companies, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats or GrubHub to help increase revenue. However, it proved challenging.

Hernandez noted how these companies would often upload the wrong menu, not include the restaurant’s contact number and provide very little instruction in how to set everything up properly.

“It wasn’t a very good process,” said Hernandez.

So, he decided to step in and help out.

“I learned that she was not the only one facing these problems,” he said. “A lot of restaurants out there are also facing the same issues.”

While the third-party delivery companies were generating a lot of orders, restaurants were losing revenue as a result of commission fees, erroneous charges and other deductions.

He recalled one time his mother was charged $250 in erroneous fees alone, while only making about $1,000 in total for the week.

While working to help his mother work through those challenges, Hernandez started getting requests from other Latino restaurant owners in the community.

“All of a sudden, I kept getting calls and I think in a matter of like 30 days, I ended up getting 20 restaurants that needed this help,” said Hernandez.

After getting overwhelmed with having to do all the various tasks on his own, Hernandez began to form a team of individuals with strengths in different areas who could help him provide the necessary help to the restaurant owners.

“I managed to get a couple other people to help me build a software so that we could … manage everything from a consolidated dashboard,” he said.

“That made it a lot easier to be able to onboard restaurants onto our software and then pull and send data over these platforms, so that we can manage their restaurants and configure them in a way that would make them not lose money,” Hernandez added.

Click here to read the full article on Al Dia.

‘Spoiled Latina Day’ stresses the importance of empowerment, self care
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Raquel Cordova speaks during the sixth annual "Spoiled Latina Day" on Saturday, July 31, 2021, at Madera Estates in Conroe. Spoiled Latina, a digital platform that describes itself as "celebrating what it means

By , Houston Chronicle

Yvonne Guidry remembers the first time someone called her a “spoiled Latina.” She was working as the creative director on a music video that wasn’t living up to her standards, and after voicing her dissatisfaction, another crew member derisively said, “You’re a spoiled Latina, aren’t you?”

“Someone called me that because I was demanding perfection,” Guidry said. Rather than let a man use the label as an insult, Guidry, who has lived in Houston for over 20 years, embraced the moniker and turned it into a business empire, launching the “Spoiled Latina” blog in 2008 and expanding it into a lifestyle brand in just a matter of years.

Guidry hosted her 6th annual “Spoiled Latina Day,” on Saturday with panel discussions featuring speakers across a range of industries. Reggaeton superstar Becky G, who headlined the Houston Rodeo in 2020, flew in from Los Angeles to give the keynote address.

“What’s so amazing about what Yvonne does is it’s focused on community, and I think that creating safe places for women, for us to share experiences and knowledge and get inspired is just beautiful, and that’s really just what called out to me,” Becky G said.

A couple hundred people, mostly millennial Latinas, came out to the Madera Estates in Conroe for the event, mingling in the courtyard outside the main hall to trade business cards, sip cocktails and sample food from a variety of eateries. Local vendors were also on hand selling clothes and artisanal Latin goods.

In the parking lot, attendees lined up to take rides in a hot pink Polaris Slingshot with a decal reading “The Glow Up Es Real,” the theme of Saturday’s event. Others took pictures in front of the main stage, which was decked out in pink flowers and balloons with a sign that read “Spoiled Latina Day.”

Yubia Martinez, 37, is an administrative assistant at Roar Over Texas, a pyrotechnic company, and came at the invitation of her boss’s wife.

“We have a lot of people knocking us down, you see all this bad stuff in the news and this is just something uplifting, we’re supporting each other and our brains and our heritage. Whatever it is, we can overcome it to do anything,” Martinez said.

Guidry started Spoiled Latina to empower women and encourage them to put themselves and their needs first, she said.

“Growing up, I saw my mom hardly taking care of herself or taking me-time so that she could go out and serve others. She always put herself last, so I wanted women to remind themselves that it’s OK to spoil yourself, it’s OK to take care of yourselves before you go out and take care of others,” Guidry said.

After an initial networking hour, the audience listened to three panels touching on brand-building, content creation and goal-setting. Alekza Latte, senior brand manager for Foot Locker Women, was excited to appear on the “Content Queens” panel with Patty Artiga, a lifestyle blogger, and Estefania Saavedra, a TikTok personality who has garnered over 1.7 million followers on the video platform.

“There’s lots to be learned here, and this is a great place to, one, meet new mentors, and two, find new people to collaborate with. Whether you’re looking for a partner in business or its someone who you look up to, they might be here and you can learn from them,” Latte said.

Saturday’s theme, “The Glow Up Es Real,” is meant to celebrate the way that women push through challenges to thrive in an unforgiving environment, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Guidry.

“Looking back at all we’ve accomplished during and after, and even before [the pandemic], sometimes we get kind of caught up in ‘Oh, I’m not moving fast enough’, or ‘Oh, I’m not there yet,’ but when you really look back on it, it’s like ‘Girl, you’ve done a lot, and you should pat yourself on the back for that,’” Guidry said.

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