Rizos Curls’ Julissa Prado Shares How Her Latino Upbringing Taught Her Essential Entrepreneurial Skills

LinkedIn

With her enviable mane of bouncy, pink-hued curls, Julissa Prado serves as a walking advertisement for the effectiveness of her products. Roughly one year ago, she officially launched Rizos Curls, an all-natural product line for curly-textured hair. In that short span of time, Prado has amassed 52k+ followers on Instagram, received up to a thousand orders per month, and quit her job to pursue her business full time. But though it might look like overnight success from the outside, her growing business is the result of many years of hard work and hard-earned lessons.

As Prado tells it, she couldn’t have reached this point without the help and support of her family and her larger Latino community, who served as the inspiration for her brand. “I always thought when I made Rizos Curls that I’d make something that would work perfectly for textures as diverse as those of my family’s. In the Latino community we have so many kinds of hair textures – wavy, curly ringlets, coily textures. I have tías that fall under all of those categories. I wanted to make something that allowed us to fall in love with our natural hair,” she explains.

For Prado, Rizos Curls has been a family affair – from consulting with her brother on her business plan, to running her fledgling company out of her parents’ and uncle’s houses, to learning key lessons about how to budget & save from watching her own father run his restaurant business.

Below, she explains how her upbringing helped her develop her entrepreneurial spirit and the skills to build a DIY business.

Your company is directly inspired by the Latino community – can you talk about how the idea came about?

I grew up in very predominantly Latino communities and neighborhoods [in Los Angeles]. I have a huge family, and when we were very young we all lived in one apartment building. Almost every unit was a different family member, so that can give you an idea of the culture and the environment that I grew up in. Growing up, I always saw how so much of my community had textured hair – they had wavy, curly, coily hair, a variety of textures. But they went to great lengths to straighten it, and not embrace it. There was a lot of self-hate around their hair. There was always this notion of ‘your hair is not done until it’s not curly.’

I remember the exact moment where I realized “Oh no, I can’t do this my whole life.” I was going to a quinceañera and my older cousins straightened my hair. Back then, in the hood, we didn’t have flat irons yet, so what they did was put my head over an ironing board and use a clothes iron. My hair was burning! I remember being over that ironing board and thinking “We’ve got to do better than this, we’ve got to figure out a way to feel good about our natural hair.”

So that’s where the idea first started. Even at a young age, I was aware that so many of my insecurities were connected to my inability to embrace my natural hair and myself in my natural state. Once I learned to love my hair it allowed me to love myself, and I wanted to create that feeling in my community. Rizos Curls is not just about the products. We’re a trifecta of the Three Cs: curls, community & culture.

What pushed you to make the leap and turn this interest into a career?

I’m very close to my [older] brother, and he’s the one who helps me a lot with Rizos. We’re very opposite. I’ve always led with my heart and emotion, and he’s ruled by logic. So when I decided I really wanted to go forward with this Rizos idea, I went to my brother with my business plan. I was still pretty young, around 15, and I presented the whole plan to him. He did all this market research – which years later, in business school, I learned is very important when you’re starting something new. Understanding your market, understanding the size of the demographic you’re targeting. He did that research on his own and was blown away. He couldn’t believe a product like Rizos Curls didn’t exist already.

Time passed, I went to college and grad school, and everything I learned, all the business acumen I acquired, all reaffirmed that I had to take this leap. Everything pointed me to, “You’re lucky no one’s jumped on this opportunity yet.” But it took me four years to figure out my product formulas, and I beat myself up a lot for taking so long. I was juggling it with getting a masters, working a full-time job, and maybe I just needed to trust the process. There were many times in that four year process of testing formulas that I didn’t get the results I wanted, and felt like giving up.

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.

This is what it’s like to be one of the few Hispanic women leading a company in 2018

LinkedIn

Latinx leaders are still relatively scarce, but those we spoke to are blazing a trail for others to follow.

As we round out National Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs from September 15 to October 15), celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, Fast Company spoke to Latinx leaders to acknowledge their contributions and recognize their opportunities and challenges.

The challenges are not insignificant with under-representation across the board. Although the Latinx workforce is one of the fastest growing–increasing from 10.7 million in 1990 to 26.8 million in 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 11 CEOs lead companies in the Fortune 500 and only 3.5% of Fortune 500 board seats were held by Latinx executives in 2016. The Alliance for Board Diversity says that represents just a .5% increase between 2010 and 2016. Hispanics have the highest rate of new entrepreneurs, but at 12% they have the lowest rate of business loans from financial institutions among all other firms. Hispanic women-owned businesses represent nearly half of all Hispanic firms. However, access to capital, a major facilitator of business growth, isn’t available to them as readily, according to a report from Stanford. And Hispanic women’s equal pay day–the additional number of days in the year they have to work to equal a white man’s pay–isn’t until November 2.

Despite these significant challenges, Latinx leaders continue to blaze a trail for others to follow. Here’s what they told us about the opportunities they’re leveraging to make a difference.

“MY CULTURE RELEASED ME FROM THE FALSE PRESUMPTION THAT THERE WAS ONE RIGHT PATH.”

The biggest challenge is the invisibility of our community in all of the narratives of leadership. We are rarely present. The Latinx folks who have traveled the path are so few, far, in between, and hidden. You rarely get the benefit of learning from the pathbreakers.

For chunks of my upbringing, I resented having one foot in the world of my cultural heritage and one foot in the American experiment but my career helped me deeply appreciate it. Straddling both worlds gave me such a unique lens on what it means to carry different perspectives as a result of different life experiences. It helped me see and grow people for what they could be instead of molding them into a bootleg version of myself. My culture released me from the false presumption that there was one right path.

–Karla Monterroso, CEO, Code2040

“I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE A NATIONAL CONVERSATION.”

As a Latina business executive at a high-growth tech company with a strong consumer brand, I have the opportunity to influence a national conversation. Our country is grappling with so many issues that affect the Latino community: immigration reform, refugee rights, political representation, and voting engagement, and the reality is that those making, executing, and influencing policy are likely to listen to strong members of the business community. Every time I have an opportunity to speak or write something that will be publicly shared, I ensure I am speaking to these issues in some capacity.

It’s no surprise that there is not equal representation of Latinx leaders in the tech industry. This means we are working extra hard to show up everywhere our community needs us. I wear a lot of hats at Lyft–from a VP on the Lyft Business team, to the executive sponsor of our Latinx ERG group, to the company’s representative at events or meetings where the insights from a Latinx executive might be helpful. I also advise a VC fund that is focused on supporting Latinx entrepreneurs–it’s the only VC fund I know of that is focused specifically on this–and while my participation is extremely rewarding, it requires a lot of time and dedication. I feel responsibility for this work, because every voice matters.

–Veronica Juarez, Area VP of Social Enterprise at Lyft

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

5 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs

LinkedIn
Hispanic Woman Business Owner

1  Transparency.
Operating with transparency used to be a luxury versus a necessity but, now, it’s quite mandatory. Millennials, in particular, who wield a tremendous amount of influence and purchasing power, make buying decisions based largely on the provenance, manufacturing processes and overall business practices of a particular company.

Because millennials are now the largest population in the United States, to say that transparency will drive how businesses are perceived is an understatement, at best. However, the good news is that establishing and maintaining transparency doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply communicating regularly with honesty and unequivocally holding yourself, your staff and your company accountable will go a long way toward fostering goodwill with not only consumers and prospects but also with vendors, strategic partners and your industry at large.

2  Loyalty.
It used to be that only airlines had “loyalty” programs. Now, everybody from giant corporations like Pepsi Co. to mom-and-pop corner coffee shops have some sort of loyalty program. And rightfully so. Every industry faces new competition on a daily basis and customers are understandably price sensitive, often buying from whoever has the best sale or perks. However, what loyalty programs really come down to is creating that coveted repeat customer. For instance, airlines offering free first-class upgrades or hotels upgrading size of the room for elite travelers often creates an allegiance that trumps price point. This principle can be applied in every business. If you’re a service company and a client is at the end of his or her agreement, offer a specific service at a discount or another deliverable with a high perceived value. Those who do business online can easily build an awards program that fosters a faithful following.

3  Crowdfunding.
The ugly truth is if you need a loan, chances are extremely high you won’t be able to get one. In fact, the recent small business study also revealed that the majority—a full 61 percent—of those who tried to get a favorable loan were unable to do so. Venture capital and private equity funding is equally, if not more, difficult to come by. While some types of capital are actually easier to procure, the interest rates are usually more aggressive, often prohibitively so. Instead, focus on crowdfunding and non-traditional lenders, such as Bond Street, Kabbage and Deal Struck. According to Massolution’s 2015CF–Crowdfunding Industry Report, global crowdfunding was anticipated to be more than $34 billion. A revenue source of that size is simply too big to ignore and not tap into.

4  Pay-for-Play Social Media.
Facebook was among the first to implement the “pay-for-play” model by removing organic reach and focusing on paid advertisement. Since being acquired by Facebook, Instagram is destined to follow. Pinterest and Twitter are also both currently growing into their pay-for-play systems and will likely make it difficult for pure organic reach as well. Unfortunately, this means entrepreneurs will need to increase their social media budget. However, Facebook’s paid ads have been shown to reach a significantly greater percentage of users than organic posts, making paid ads well worth the investment. However, social media shouldn’t only be leveraged as a form of advertising. Rather, social media is an ideal way to handle customer service in a way that not only improves marketplace loyalty but also your company’s transparency endeavor.

5  Instant Gratification.
Simply put, if you don’t offer some form of instant gratification, your prospective customer will likely go somewhere that does. This truth is particularly problematic for businesses that require information from customers, such as insurance or financial services. Having prospects fill out contact request forms to be contacted later on for products or services is becoming less and less effective in the “Age of Impatience.” To be competitive, you need to deliver to the customer instantaneously in some way, whether that be with the information they are seeking or some other deliverable that will satisfy them in the moment and keep them interested for a longer term. Even just offering quicker and more efficient processes for dealing or transacting with your company is certainly a form of instant gratification. At every available touchpoint, strive to impress the customer—an incredibly effective way of evoking that gratified feeling. No matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you run, you can still make a profit, no matter what the current economic outlook happens to be. That begins with giving customers what they want, how they want it and in a way that’s more sensitive to marketplace vs. company needs.

Source: americanbusinessmag.com

About the Author
Brian Greenberg is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who has founded and currently
spearheads an assortment of successful online businesses. He currently co-owns
and operates multiple entrepreneurial companies with his father, Elliott
Greenberg, which have each flourished for over 10 years, including Wholesale-JanitorialSupply.com, TouchFreeConcepts.com and TrueBlueLifeInsurance.com.

Latino Baseball Players Build Their Brand Through La Vida Baseball

LinkedIn

In Latino countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, baseball is king.  Kids grow up playing it, and the chosen ones who live out a dream to play in the Major Leagues, become icons.

In America, those players play in a foreign country.  They face challenges such as language barriers and the hardship of playing far away from home.

Throughout history, Latino players have become iconic stars.  In the 1960’s it was Roberto Clemente. Recently, David “Big Papi” Ortiz has been an icon both in the U.S. and in their home countries.

La Vida Baseball is here to raise the profile of these Latin players, and grow their brand in the social media age.

“Baseball throughout the Caribbean region, throughout Venezuela, northern parts of Colombia, is something that connects Latinos across nations, even as we take great pride in the work of those players from our own homelands and countries,” said Adrian Burgos, editor in chief of La Vida Baseball. “There are these moments of transcendence. For example, seeing a Francisco Lindor, who leaves Puerto Rico as a teenager for Florida and when he returns and hits that Home Run, the roar of the crowd is a roar that was so much about connection across a generation. It is similar to those Cubans who see the success of the Gurriel brothers and of Puig and Cespedes. Whether they’re on the island or they’re in the U.S., they take pride, ‘That’s one of us.’”

La Vida Baseball is a website that runs features on Latin stars. The site also profiles future stars. They also do not shy away from issues of prejudice and any other stories that would pertain to a Latin player or be of interest to fans of said players.

“The goal of La Vida baseball is to serve what we believe is an underserved market and create a sense of community for the Latino baseball fan by celebrating baseball,” said Jay Sharman, creator, and CEO of La Vida Baseball. “Creating that nexus of baseball culture and identity. We just saw that there was just an unmet need there and it seemed logical to all of us that it wasn’t being served and that we could engage a critical mass of fans around subject matter that they cared deeply about. If you can do that, there’s usually business that follows.”

The website does run ads and is a business.  The question though, is how does La Vida Baseball properly measure success? If people love Jose Altuve of the Astros, does that mean the mission statement is working?

For us, we look at engagement,” said Sharman. “If you step back and look at the digital media publishing landscape right now, there’s still a lot of lip service given to the size of audience or size of followers and things like that. We are really about people engaging with the content consistently on a daily basis. Whether it’s Javier Baez or Jose Altuve, what we want to do is find an angle on what’s going on in the baseball world that isn’t being covered by the major sports media companies. That tends to be the human interest stories, at that intersection of culture and Latino baseball.”

La Vida Baseball is in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Storytelling is what the Hall does best, and they can help with the production of content.

“There are multiple ways that we measure our success,” said Burgos. “We do look at our social media follows on Facebook and on Twitter and on Instagram and how our audience is growing that way. But another measure of success is, we look to see how the players themselves are engaging our content. Are teams sharing our content? We will always produce quality work, but do the players find it compelling?”

Burgos added, “ A few weeks back, we posted a graphic of Yadier Molina with the Puerto Rican flag as a backdrop. And Yadier re-posted that on his Instagram. All these other players were commenting on how beautiful it was. It’s like, one person is like, “Who did that?” And it’s like, it’s La Vida (Baseball). Part of how we measure our success is both by the audience and also knowing, that the players make time to share our work, to sit with us, to talk with us and help them tell their stories.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Want to Grow Your Minority Business Enterprise? Look Abroad!

LinkedIn

When it comes to exporting, many minority businesses are reaping the rewards of selling internationally, while other firms have yet to explore sales.

In the below question and answer, members of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Access to Market Business Development Team, George Mui and Gabriela Morales discuss exporting and how these businesses can take advantage of U.S. government export resources to successfully navigate their first or new export markets.

Why should minority-owned firms consider exporting or expanding into new foreign markets?

Ninety-five percent of the world’s potential consumers live outside of the United States, so minority-owned firms that want to grow in size, employees, and revenue should absolutely consider exporting to at least one country. Many minority business enterprises (MBEs) are part of a diaspora community and have a distinct advantage in conducting business in their home countries. Those MBEs can leverage their understanding of the language and business culture to export and expand into their native countries and the surrounding markets.

What do you see as the potential to increase minority-owned business exports?

Only a small share of U.S. businesses export, which includes minority-owned firms. But studies have shown that minority businesses are twice as likely to export as non-minority-owned firms. In addition, among all U.S. export firms, 59 percent sell to only one foreign market. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, minorities compose 37 percent of the U.S. population and are projected to grow to 57 percent of the population by 2060. This means a growing potential for more MBE startups and exporters.

In 2016, MBDA created four export centers to provide technical assistance and business development services to generate increased financing, contract opportunities, and greater access to new and global markets for MBEs. The MBDA Export Centers, located in Chicago, Miami, Sacramento, and San Antonio, are also designed to help identify, screen, promote, and refer MBEs to export resources.

What would you say to MBEs who may view exporting as too burdensome, so why bother?

That’s a common belief that prevents many companies, particularly MBEs, from exporting. Exporting doesn’t have to be burdensome. With improved logistics options, global connectivity, e-commerce, and the availability of federal government export assistance, exporting is more viable than ever. There are a plethora of resources available to help, including U.S. Export Assistance Centers. If you have a track record of selling in the United States—one of the world’s most open and competitive markets—that’s a good indicator that you can become a successful exporter. We encourage MBEs to partner with other MBEs to conduct business globally. For example, a partnership between two Chinese American firms can leverage language, business, and cultural understanding to export to China.

Do minority-owned firms have certain attributes that would make them successful exporters?

According to the Census Bureau, minority-owned firms are six times more likely to conduct business in a language other than English and three times more likely to generate 100 percent of their revenues from exporting compared to non-minority-owned firms, regardless of size. Overall, MBEs are uniquely positioned to expand their business operations through exports.2

Are you seeing any trends in terms of regions or markets for minority-owned exporters?

How about types of products or services? MBEs are taking advantage of the increased bilateral trade opportunities between the United States and China, in addition to other countries in Africa and South America for U.S. agricultural products and “Made in America” manufactured products. We’ve also seen a trend toward online business and e-commerce platforms, which have a diversified line of products and services that can be delivered to international markets. These platforms create expanded opportunities for minority-owned firms to export, particularly in the business consulting and educational arenas.

From your experience, what are some challenges minority firms face in getting started in exporting?

The challenges we see most frequently are typical of many new businesses: Where do we start? How do we get paid? How will we finance exporting? Who should we reach out to for help? There are a number of federal and state agencies that offer access to technical assistance. When deciding whether your company is ready to export, there are a number of things to consider: internal resources and capabilities, top management commitment to exporting, and a clear export strategy. To overcome these and other challenges, it is important for companies to conduct their due diligence and utilize the resources offered by the federal government entities, such as the MBDA Export Centers.

In the past, the ability of MBEs to access working capital financing programs has been a major challenge. Have you seen this trend changing in recent years?

MBDA is working closely with EXIM Bank to provide its clients the access to trade financing they need for global transactions. The MBDA network of business centers and export centers are also exploring alternative financing solutions, including venture capital, equity investment, and foreign direct investment.

The U.S. government offers a wide range of export resources. Could you describe MBDA’s partnership with the International Trade Administration (ITA)?

Our national network of 40 MBDA Business Centers coordinate and collaborate with ITA to leverage the resources that we each offer to the clients we serve. When coordinating trade missions, MBDA partners with ITA to provide certification of trade missions. We also collaborate with ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service and its worldwide network of commercial service officers domestically and internationally. The U.S. Commercial Service supports export counseling, business matchmaking, market intelligence, trade show support, and more. MBDA Business Centers and Export Centers coordinate with the national network of more than 100 U.S. Export Assistance Centers, where the ITA U.S. Commercial Service, Export-Import Bank, and SBA International financing staff often collaborate to provide a one-stop shop for MBEs to start or grow their global footprint through exporting.

Source: mbda.gov

Orphan to Leader

LinkedIn
Dan Esterly

Being both young and Hispanic can feel daunting in America. Adversity can create obstacles and discourage young Hispanics from dreaming large. However, some young Hispanic-Americans are shattering the status quo. One of those people is Dan Esterly.

If you’re from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you may be familiar with Esterly’s work. At the age of 28, he is a business owner, Ph.D. student, radio host, and is heavily involved in Pittsburgh’s non-profit community. Esterly wasn’t always a success story. He was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and was given a two-day life expectancy from malnourishment at the orphanage. Despite the pessimistic health outlook, he was adopted and was raised in Pittsburgh. Esterly also battled depression and alcoholism in his young adult life.

After much adversity, Esterly was able to rise above the initial cards he was dealt. He entered the workforce at the age of 13, started college at the age of 16, and began graduate school at the age of 21. In 2008, Esterly saw an opportunity to start actively buying stocks. He was able to outperform most financial professionals and was sought after to advise financial professionals. Esterly stated, “My first experiences in consulting were accidental. A fund manager from Boston called me for input, simply from word-of-mouth from the Pittsburgh business community. I was truly flattered and stunned, because of how young I was.”

Esterly went on to earn an M.S. in Professional Counseling and an MBA in Healthcare Management. He attributes his education to building the foundation for his business in consulting. “I needed to master both fields to thrive. Business has various human elements, and counseling has a lot to teach us about organizations. The same principles that apply to group behavior also enhance an organization’s well-being.”

Esterly then went on to work as a lobbyist in biotechnology. One of his projects raised more than $34 million from the federal government to fund drug research. Regardless of his occupation, Esterly has always focused on increasing financial value for companies.

In 2016, Esterly decided to diversify his business. He founded Public Waves, LLC, which eventually became a successful consulting venture. “I have had clients from Texas to Pennsylvania. It’s truly been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my entire life.” Currently, Public Waves, LLC serves clientele including the Energy Innovation Center Institute, Community Liver Alliance, Water4Life Mozambique, and CSD Engineers, LLC. He provides consulting services ranging from workforce development & economic research to other organizational services.

Esterly also is a full-time doctoral student at Point Park University’s Ph.D. program in Community Engagement. “It’s somewhat of a leadership degree with a research focus on benefiting the community. The Pittsburgh community helped me to succeed and I am constantly looking for ways to give back.” He hosts a radio show through Point Park University, called Behavior Business, where he invites guests on the show from both the business and mental health community. Esterly also continues to self-manage his portfolio and consult on other larger investment portfolios.

In 2015, Esterly established a charitable investment fund called Esterly Fund. To date, the fund supports 17 non-profits in Pittsburgh. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Glade Run Foundation and Ten Thousand Villages Pittsburgh. “I truly don’t think my life would have turned out this way in Honduras. It’s surreal sometimes to think of my journey and how different things could have been. I am grateful for every day on this earth and hope to give back ten-fold.” Esterly is considered a young rising star in the Pittsburgh business community.

At the age of 28, Esterly insists he has only just begun. “It’s been my experience that businesses don’t care what race, nationality, age, etc. you are. If you can provide value for a company, companies will value your service. That’s the beautiful thing about America. You really can create or re-create your life here.”

 

Wilson Cruz: Advocating for LGBTQ+ Youth

LinkedIn
Wilson Cruz and fans

It hasn’t been an easy road to success for actor, activist, or self-proclaimed “actorvist” Wilson Cruz. It was scary to play Ricky Vazquez on My So-Called Life in 1994, one of the first LGBTQ+ characters on television. But Cruz, as he says, “had the benefit of the ignorance of youth” that allowed him to go for the roles where he could represent both of the communities he comes from.

“Every actor has something that they have to work against, and this just happens to be mine,” he said. A true trailblazer, he knew that what he was doing will eventually make it easier for someone else to pursue this career as well.

“There weren’t many openly gay actors of color that I could really look to at that time, and I loved the idea of being able to be that for someone else.” Knowing this helped him enter auditions with the thought that he had an army of people—who he hadn’t even met—rooting for him.

Cruz hasn’t settled with being a trailblazer only television, however. In 2012, he joined GLAAD, an organization dedicated to supporting representation and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in media. The work he did with GLAAD made him more practical and less idealistic, though no less passionate about activism. The day-to-day work the organization did was hard and took time but, in the end, a difference was being made. Though he no longer formally works for GLAAD, Cruz still has a role in many of their projects and loves to help when he is needed.

Currently, his activism goals include supporting all minorities and advocating for LGBTQ+ youth. Panel speaking at GLAADCruz feels that there needs to be more unified support across identities. The best way to protect the progress that has been made and continue to move forward is for minorities to stand in solidarity and support each other. He is also passionate about supporting queer youth and making sure they are safe and protected at school. He is on the board of directors for GLSEN, an organization dedicated to making sure K–12 students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community are safe and treated with respect.

Photo: BEVERLY HILLS, CA –  (L-R) GLAAD Director of Entertainment Research and Analysis, Megan Townsend, actors Stephanie Beatriz of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and Wilson Cruz of ’13 Reasons Why’ and ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ creator/executive producer of ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Peter Nowalk, Lena Waithe of ‘Masters of None,’ and executive producer of ”Wynonna Earp” Emily Andras . (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Cruz advises youth considering coming out to build a network of support first, to ensure that no young person faces the prospect of being homeless or forced to drop out of school. Before coming out to the people around you, it is important to have an adult you can trust for support because Cruz’s first concern is for the safety and mental health of the community. And, for those who are not aware, he also advises reaching out to the local LGBTQ+ support systems in your area. Many major cities have an LGBTQ+ community center with a youth program and can be found on LGBTCenters.org.

Cruz is also an advocate for Puerto Rico’s relief, particularly as we head into another hurricane season. For his last birthday, he utilized Facebook’s feature for donations and was able to raise $10,000 for the Hispanic Federation in support of Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief. He encourages everyone to consider supporting the efforts and cause.

As an actor, Cruz has made great strides, bringing the first openly gay character to life in the Star Trek series. Most of the time, roles are not written specifically for an LGBTQ+ Latino male, but Cruz considers it his job to convince the casting directors otherwise. He has to give them the option of choosing him and has to show them he is just as powerful, funny, and moving as the person they have in mind, and he enjoys that challenge. Cruz feels that has become the job of creative people of color “to change people’s idea of what’s powerful and what’s funny and what’s beautiful.” It’s not an easy task, but through his career, he has managed to do just that.

Photo: Premiere Of CBS’s “Star Trek: Discovery” – Red Carpet Angeles, California.  (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)

Moving forward, Cruz has many projects through which he will continue to represent the Latino and LGBTQ+ communities. The second season of 13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix, season two of Star Trek: Discovery production is underway, and he is the co-executive producer of the upcoming documentary Out of the Box, which will explore the history of LGBTQ+ in television and how they have been represented, as well as how it has evolved and impacted culture and politics. With every project, role, and movement, Cruz continues to empower minorities and pave the way for more representation and equality.

Meet PepsiCo’s Next CEO: Ramon Laguarta

LinkedIn

Spaniard joined PepsiCo in 1996 and rose through the ranks in Europe; ‘the future is not going to be easy,’ he recently told staff.

Ramon Laguarta took away an important lesson in 2015 when PepsiCoInc. PEP +1.45% ended a failed joint venture to sell yogurt in the U.S.: You need to go small before you go big.

Now the 54-year-old is set to take the helm of PepsiCo as the maker of Lay’s potato chips and Mountain Dew continues to expand its offerings in response to rapidly shifting consumer tastes.

“We need to think [carefully] about moving into a new space where we’re probably not as competent as our core categories,” Mr. Laguarta, who takes over as CEO for Indra Nooyi on Oct. 3, said in an interview.

“We’re trying to do multiple testings in countries around the world,” he said. “When we see if something is working, then we scale it up.”

Mr. Laguarta is a native of Barcelona who speaks English, Spanish, French, German, Greek and Catalan. He has an M.B.A. from Spain’s ESADE business school and worked at Chupa Chups SA, a candy company based in Spain, before joining PepsiCo in 1996.

He rose through the ranks of the European operations, becoming head of PepsiCo’s Europe and sub-Saharan Africa business. Last year he was tapped as Ms. Nooyi’s No. 2 and relocated to the U.S. from Geneva with his wife, Maria. They have three sons.

Mr. Laguarta broadened the company’s beverage portfolio in Europe, promoting a sugar-free version of Pepsi called Pepsi Max, as consumers moved away from sugary sodas. It’s now a billion-dollar brand, and his favorite cola.

Continue onto the Wall Street Journal to read the complete article.

How This Mompreneur Turned A Tight Budget And Doubt Into A Successful Cotton Candy Business

LinkedIn

When we no longer fear failure, we often open ourselves up to our best ideas. 

For Lucia Rios, the decision to become an entrepreneur was one of survival. Although she had never considered business ownership before, she needed something to do—a creative outlet, a place to funnel her attention as a mother with post-partum depression. So one day, she assessed her small budget like she would any family purchase and started to scheme up potential products. She ultimately decided on cotton candy. It required little overhead, had room for creativity and seemed, at the very least, an exciting change.

Now, a few years later, that side hustle has turned into Rios’ full-time gig, complete with facilities, staff and a long client list. Christened TWISTED, Rios’ business caters some of California’s largest events and partners with brands like USA Network. In this interview, Rios explores the growth of TWISTED, why she’s on a mission to increase Latina visibility in business ownership and the influences of motherhood on her new identity as an entrepreneur.

Jane Claire Hervey: How would you describe who you are and what do you do?

Lucia Rios: I am Lucia Rios-Hernandez, the sweet creator of TWISTED, a gourmet cotton candy company that caters events with live, on-the-spot-twisting, as well as pre-packaged, ready-to-eat treats. I am a mom of two kiddos, a wife, a daughter, a mom-prenuer, a feminist, a person of color and, somedays, Mary Poppins.

Hervey: TWISTED has significantly grown since its launch date. What have been some of your most exciting projects and/or clients over the last few years?

Rios: As corny as it sounds, each and every project and client has been amazing, and I don’t take any order or job for granted. I started this as a way to heal from my post-partum depression, as a way to be a better mother to my daughter and son, so each person that supports this business supports me through this journey. However, I will always—always—cheer on the network called WE ALL GROW LATINA. It was one of my first big events and it changed my life in more ways than one. I was able to get an understanding of what networking meant. I met many amazing women and mothers who have since become my  friends. I was able to get my first corporate client and many others since.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Walmart Supports Future Leaders Through $2 Million in Funding to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

LinkedIn
Latinos at office meeting

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – July 24, 2018 – Today, Walmart announced $2 million in grants to organizations working to expand internship opportunities for diverse youth populations, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI).

The grants build on previous Walmart funding to the two nonprofits, bringing the company’s total investment to more than $6 million over the last several years. The funding will help provide career pathways on Capitol Hill for students and young professionals through education and hands-on experience in the nation’s capital.

At Walmart, our commitment to diversity and inclusion spreads beyond our stores and out into the communities where our associates and customers live. Through relationships with organizations like CHCI and CBCF that reflect the diversity of American society, we can open the door to help more young people build a career in public service and expand the pipeline of talent on Capitol Hill and beyond by providing our future leaders with the tools needed for success.

– Julie Gehrki, vice president of programs at Walmart

At a time when people of color currently make up less than 20 percent of U.S. lawmakers (Pew Research Center), these grants come at a critical moment. Although diverse populations represent approximately 36 percent of the population, only 7.1 percent are senior staffers in the Senate, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The CBCF will receive a three-year, $1 million grant to help prepare college students and young professionals for careers in public policy and advocacy. The funding will provide exposure to the development and implementation of national policies – from Capitol Hill to federal field offices – as well as support intern housing, monthly stipends, professional development and leadership training.

A three-year, $1 million grant to the CHCI will provide Latino undergraduates with paid summer or spring Congressional internships. Through Walmart’s support, students will gain valuable work experience, benefit from a strong leadership development curriculum, participate in a community service project and interact with professionals and industry leaders in Washington, D.C.

“The CBCF is committed to increasing diversity on Capitol Hill and in the public sector by creating a new generation of informed and engaged citizens and leaders,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chair, CBCF Board of Directors. “Internships are a critical component toward building a career in public policy. Through Walmart’s continued support and dedicated partnership, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation has successfully increased the number of scholars who have access to the intern-to-staffer pipeline.”

“Walmart has led the way as the Founding Partner for CHCI’s Congressional Internship Program by significantly investing in our nation’s future leaders,” said Rep. Joaquín Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. “We value Walmart’s support of CHCI’s mission to address underrepresentation of Latinos on Capitol Hill by providing transformative experiences and the critical skills needed to embark on careers in public service.”

Walmart has a long history supporting diversity and inclusion to create equal access to opportunity. Recently, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation granted nearly $4 million to organizations helping to promote access, equity and inclusion among diverse populations. The funding was part of the Foundation’s Diversity & Inclusion competitive grant competition, which provides support to initiatives with measurable impact on and demonstrated reach into diverse communities including African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, women and girls, the LGBTQ community and individuals with disabilities.

For more information on Walmart’s commitment to diversity and education, please visit corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/opportunity/diversity-and-inclusion.

About Walmart

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 270 million customers and members visit our more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart  and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart.

8 In-Demand Skills That Will Complement Any Resume

LinkedIn
Hispanic Businesswoman

By Megan Ruesink

You know it’s time for a change—a pay bump and a position where you feel more like an actual professional—but you’re not quite ready to commit to pursuing one career over another. That’s okay.

There are still some things you can be doing to invest in your future right now.There are plenty of skills to learn and implement into your life that may help you when you’re finally ready to apply for that new job or join that program. Take a look at what these employers, business leaders, resume professionals and more are saying about skills to learn that will help you grow and complement your future resume.

4 in-demand ‘soft’ skills

“Future professionals—no matter the field they are entering—need to focus on soft skills that are easily transferable to any position,” says Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications.

Take a look at these four “soft” skills that can help you grow as a person and bolster your resume for nearly any career.

  1. Relationship-building

“Recruiters and hiring managers consistently seek those employees who can relate well to a variety of co-workers, partner with customers, establish ongoing relationships and demonstrate exceptional communication skills,” says Rothbauer-Wanish.

No matter the career you pursue, it’s a safe bet that you’ll end up working with others. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with everyone you interact with, but the ability to understand and relate with others is an important foundational skill.

  1. Communication

Communication skills—both written and oral—are also desirable traits among potential employees. Every career requires communication. Whether it’s responding to client emails, collaborating with teammates or presenting in front of team leads, the ability to communicate clearly and concisely is an important skill to possess and refine. If you’re looking to improve your communication ability, organizations like Toastmasters are a great way to get yourself into form.

  1. Critical thinking

Critical-thinking ability is a universally useful skill—practically every job requires you to evaluate situations and make decisions that might not always have a clear right answer. The ability to weigh evidence and project potential outcomes will play a key role in your ability to perform well in nearly any role—whether it’s as a nurse or financial advisor. While this ability isn’t something that can be honed with the snap of your fingers, there are strategies you can employ to refine your critical-thinking skills over time.

  1. Adaptability

Adaptability is important to both small and large companies, says James Kemper, president of W.H. Meanor & Associates.

“Due in part to greatly improved communication and data collection capabilities, events that would take months or even years to develop are reduced to weeks and days,” he says. “So it is important in your resume that you can demonstrate how you’ve encountered or were tasked to resolve challenging situations that may not have been in your scope of understanding, and how you dealt with them.”

4 in-demand ‘hard’ skills

Obviously, when it comes to your future resume, you’ll need industry-specific skills to jump out at those reading it. But in the for now, as you figure out what you really want to do, why not work on some “hard skills” that will look good on a nearly every resume and likely play some part in your future career.

  1. Coding

“In a technology-driven world, having technological skills are highly sought after. The basics of Microsoft Office are a necessity,” says Ajay Prasad, founder and president of GMR Web Team. “But other skills, such as coding, can be very attractive. Even in positions where you don’t expect to need to know coding, it can still come in handy.”

Prasad uses the example of an HTML newsletter or email in need of edits or a website that could use a little tweaking. Knowing some codes in these areas can easily be put to good use. Additionally, coding skills can be used to automate simple repetitive tasks—which can be a huge time saver.

  1. Data analysis

“A lot of today’s jobs revolve more and more around data,” says Bradley Shaw, president and CEO of SEO Consulting Inc. “And even in jobs like content marketing or customer support, you’ll be dealing with some data on a regular basis. Showing a future employer that you’ve used data to make decisions at work in another industry, or even to do something like grow your social media can go a long way.”

While not every job in the world will require a deep statistical analysis of data, being able to identify trends and interpret changes in data can help you make informed decisions.

  1. Software skills

Gaining software skills within your area of study or industry can be helpful skills for your future career and a great way to pad your resume.

“If you want to obtain a job in accounting, get training in accounting software packages; if you want to get into HR learn as many Human Resources Information System (HRIS) software packages as possible,” says Dawn Boyer, PhD, author and consultant.

  1. Budgeting

The ability to set and adhere to a budget is a versatile and valuable skill. While the benefits of being able to manage a budget are much more obvious for business-related careers, there’s still good reason to develop budgeting skills. For one, budgeting is a great skill for your personal life. But beyond that, even careers that have very little to do with business or money management have the potential for you to reach a management position that may require careful management of finances.

About Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

Source: rasmussen.edu/student-life/blogs/college-life/in-demand-skills-to-complement-any-resume/