What You Need to Know About WBENC Certification

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Smiling businesswoman

Not only is the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the United States, but it is also one of four organizations approved by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification, as part of the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting program.

Each year, the federal government sets a goal to award at least 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars to certified Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs), particularly in industries where WOSBs are underrepresented. Becoming a certified WOSB and joining the SBA’s contracting program ensures your business is eligible to compete for federal contracts set aside for this program.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for WOSB certification, your company must:

  • Be at least 51 percent, unconditionally and directly, owned and controlled by one or more women, who are U.S. citizens.
  • Be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with the SBA’s size standards for that industry. Use the SBA’s Size Standards Tool to check your industry.
  • Have women manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions.

What Are the Benefits?

Becoming a certified WOSB and participating in the SBA’s WOSB contracting program allows your business to compete for federal contracts within a more limited pool of other qualified WOSBs, thereby increasing your chances of winning business.

These contracts are for industries where WOSBs are underrepresented. Check out the SBA’s list of eligible industries and their NAICS codes.

How Do I Get Started?

If you are already a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), you can easily apply for WOSB certification as part of your recertification process at no additional charge.

Before starting the application process, please review the criteria for certification and ensure you meet the SBA’s size standards for your industry. When you are applying for recertification, select “Yes” to the WOSB certification question and upload the documents labeled “WOSB Applicants.”

If you are a women-owned business and not yet certified by WBENC, take a moment to read about the benefits of WBENC Certification to see if it is a fit for your business. WBENC is the nation’s largest certifier of women-owned businesses and our world-class certification standard is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands. If you choose to apply for WBENC certification, you can apply for WOSB certification at the same time.

It’s important to note that once you receive your WOSB certification, you still must complete additional steps to participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting program, including providing proof of certification information through certify.SBA.gov, and updating your business profile at SAM.gov to show contracting officers that your business is in the women’s contracting program. Check out SBA.gov for details.

Where Can I Learn More?

  • Visit wbenc.org/government for details on the WOSB certification process, documentation required, and frequently asked questions.
  • For more information about the SBA’s WOSB Federal Contracting program, visit SBA.gov.

La La Anthony: Power Through Philanthropy

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La La Anthony fstanding on stage holding a microphone

By Brady Rhoades

So, La La Anthony, how do you become a movie star, TV star, producer, best-selling author, and fashion icon?

You might be surprised things don’t come so easily to the self-described Afro Puerto-Rican, considered one of the most beautiful and glamorous women in the world and currently starring in the much-anticipated final season of Power (first episode is Aug. 25).

“Hard work! You can’t fake that,” she said, in an interview Hispanic Network Magazine.

Anthony is affable. Movie star looks and chops with a girl-next-door approachability.

She’s never forgotten where she came from.

She started working as a radio DJ at 15, when she was very green and made mistakes that she learned from. Those mistakes were forgiven by radio executives at WQHT-FM, HOT 97.5 and 102.3 in Los Angeles because they saw her star power and her toil and sweat.

Also: humility, kindness, resilience and friendships.

Anthony has forged relationships with former First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, and she’s sponge-like: she learns from those who forged paths before her.

“She embodies the type of woman I aspire to be,” she said of

Power Play Playbook by La La Anthony
La La Anothony attends the La La Anthony “The Power Playbook” book signing at Barnes & Noble. PRINCE WILLIAMS/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES

Michelle Obama. “I read her book, Becoming, in one day and it’s still one of my faves.”

“Renaissance Man” is a common term. Anthony is a 21st Century woman. She’s a realist when it comes to obstacles, but she’s not so big on putting limitations on yourself, and she wants other Hispanic women to think likewise.

“You can do anything you want,” she said. “But it doesn’t always happen overnight.”

And you don’t do it alone.

“Being kind goes a long way. People want to work with people who are nice and who they like.”

In an effort to make a difference in the lives of inner-city kids, Anthony formed La La Land, Inc. Foundation. Better schooling and greater opportunities for children are at the top of the foundation’s list of goals.

“I would love to continue to grow my philanthropy efforts to help inner-city kids through my La La Land, Inc. Foundation,” she said. “This is something dear to my heart. I would like to continue building the confidence of young inner-city kids by providing better schooling and opportunities that may not already be afforded to them. The youth are our future; anything I can do to help them achieve their hopes and dreams would bring me the most joy.”

Anthony, born in Brooklyn, New York, came to prominence as an MTV VJ on Total Request Live in the early 2000s. She was the host of the VH1 reality television reunion shows Flavor of Love, I Love New York, For the Love of Ray J, and Real Chance of Love, and was a dean on Charm School with Ricki Lake.

Anthony, 36, ventured into acting, landing roles in Two Can Play That Game, You Got Served, Think Like a Man, Think Like a Man Too, November Rule and Destined.

In 2011, she made her stage debut in the off-Broadway production of Love Loss and What I Wore. Anthony also starred in and executive produced five seasons of La La’s Full Court Wedding, one of VH1’s highest-rated shows, which chronicled the time leading up to her wedding to NBA star Carmelo Anthony.

In 2012, she launched MOTIVES by La La, at the Market America World Conference held at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Her cosmetic line—for women of color—consists of mineral-based products for face, cheeks, eyes, lips and nails.

La La Anthony speaking on stage onstage about her clothing line
La La Anthony attends her Denim Collection Launch at Ashley Stewart. CASSIDY SPARROW/GETTY IMAGES

In 2013, she created a clothing line, 5th & Mercer. No, you don’t have to look like her to wear her clothes. And you don’t have to be a billionaire.

In 2014, she released her debut book, The Love Playbook, in which she shares how she found love and success on her own terms. The book hit No. 1 on the Barnes & Noble Best Seller list and The New York Times Best Seller list. Anthony’s second book, The Power Playbook, was released in May 2015.

This year, she is wrapping up the sixth and final season of the critically acclaimed, StarzTV show, Power.

Any secrets about the final season of the crime drama series and what’s in store for Anthony’s character, Keisha Grant?

She laughs.

“Anything and everything’s going to happen,” she said. “It’s really going to be crazy.”

Power is a megahit; fans will surely be in mourning following the final season.

The show centers on James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all, catering to the city’s elite and dreaming big. He lives a double life as a drug kingpin.

Initially, Anthony’s character, Keisha, did not have a starring role.

That changed.

Anthony has turned her character into a fan favorite. She gets involved with drug-dealing Tommy. She’s in over her head. We find ourselves rooting for her. We know in season six the bills are coming due.

Anthony, who is married to NBA star Carmelo Anthony and has a son, stresses that she is not Keisha, and Keisha is not her.

La La and Power cast at a party
Rotimi Akinosho, La La Anthony,Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Lela Loren attend STARZ “Power” Season 4 L.A. Screening And Party at The London West Hollywood.

Keisha has plenty going for her—including a legion of adoring fans—but she has not lived the life Anthony has. She’s not as street-smart or as accomplished. She’s not in a position to “pay it forward.”

Anthony is.

So take heed, inner-city kids.

Here are three of Anthony’s secrets to success, emphasized through her foundation.

—Forget “fake it until you make it.” Work until you stake it, Anthony says;

—Be kind. Hollywood is big-time, yet it’s a small town, all in all. Besides, being kind helps you live your best life;

—Never give up.

Anthony never did, despite challenges that an Afro Puerto-Rican from Brooklyn would inevitably face.

“I believe in myself,” she said. “Who else will? I never believed the haters.

The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) National Convention is Coming to Albuquerque in September

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USHCC National Convention logo

The USHCC National Convention coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 29th – October 1st, is the largest networking venue for Hispanic businesses in America.

For over a generation, the USHCC has served as the nation’s leading Hispanic Business organization, working to bring more than 4.37 million Hispanic owned businesses to the forefront of the national economic agenda.

The National Convention brings together Hispanic business owners, corporate executives and members of more than 200 local Hispanic chambers of commerce from across the country.

It offers the opportunity to establish strategic long-lasting business partnerships, through dialogue, networking, workshops, and more.

Business Matchmaking:
Matchmaking sessions are designed to provide a platform for Hispanic Business Enterprises (HBEs) to meet and engage in new business opportunities by introducing their companies and services to participating corporations. Tailored to help HBEs from across the country to meet with top corporations awarding contracts, the USHCC Business Matchmaking facilitates one-on-one meetings for Hispanic-owned businesses with procurement officials from industries ranging from energy, telecom, financial services and more.

There is no additional cost to attend the Matchmaking, a separate registration is required.

Business Matchmaking will take place on Tuesday, October 1st from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM.

New this year is the added Supplier-Ready program component to prepare all Business Matchmaking participants with educational webinars from supplier diversity professionals and helpful tips to maximize their business matchmaking experience.

View highlights from last year’s convention below:

Continue on to ushcc.com to read more.

Growing Your Minority-Owned Business

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Hispanic entrepreneurs going over a spreadsheet

By Angelique Solorio Alvarez, Chief Diversity Relations Officer, ATR

Minority-owned businesses face a lot of pressure. They are often in the spotlight as representatives of an entire community. It takes hard work, as one mistake can be a blemish on other MBEs, which make up 29 percent of businesses in the United States. As you focus on growing your minority-owned business, keep the following points in mind to ensure success.

Monitor Your Growth Rate

Receiving tremendous interest from clients or customers can be exhilarating, but taking on too much business (or too many skilled employees) too quickly can result in uncontrolled growth. That means a company can lose shape and direction, veering away from an effective growth strategy. At the same time, growing too slowly means missing out on great opportunities and sending potential clients or candidates into the arms of competitors.

The key is to find your organization’s ideal controllable growth rate. This is extra important for MBEs, which make up only 4 percent of business revenue in America. Statistically, minority-owned businesses are smaller and may find growth difficult to control, but it’s something that must be done for longevity.

Diversify Your Clientele

It’s great to specialize in a certain industry, product, or service, but it’s necessary to diversify and find adjacent opportunities in other areas. As you look to diversify in your minority business enterprise, take Sir Richard Branson’s advice and always move into areas you are passionate about when diversifying.

Focus on Your Brand

MBEs have to work harder to grow, but they also have to work harder to get noticed. In fact, minority-owned businesses are underrepresented in search engines. When we do get the opportunity to put ourselves in front of someone, we have to make it count. That’s where your brand takes on added significance.

Seek to improve your brand, what it stands for, and how you communicate it to others. Any business should sponsor events with different councils and participate in signature events to get its brand out to people.

Connect with Other MBEs

For me, the single most impactful way to grow a minority-owned business is to connect with other MBEs. If you’re an MBE startup, seek out anyone and everyone in the space. Pick their brain and soak up any tips you can. If you’re a seasoned MBE leader, it’s time to give back to the community by attending events and lifting up smaller MBEs. The NMSDC is the premier organization to connect with, boasting a huge network and many events throughout the year. No matter your location, the NMSDC can digitally connect you with the powerful MBE community.

Growing Your Minority-Owned Business

As you grow your MBE, you’ll encounter difficult days but also tremendous opportunities. Consider that some of the most successful companies in America, such as Apple, AT&T, Ford, Microsoft, Verizon, IBM, and Comcast Universal, have each spent at least $1 billion with minority- and woman-owned businesses because they’ve found the MBE work ethic and fresh perspective to be assets. Keep on growing at a healthy rate while connecting with other MBEs, and you, too, will count your company among America’s great minority-owned businesses.

Source: blog.atrinternational.com

10 Reasons to Work for the Federal Government

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three professionally dressed Latina women

Are you thinking of working for the federal government? If so, opportunities and benefits lie ahead. Check out these ten reasons to pursue a career in the field.

  1. Make a difference
    The work of government employees impacts the lives of every American and the lives of people around the world. Federal employees can play a vital role in addressing pressing issues, from homelessness to homeland security. Students interested in working in government can engage in high-impact work, such as helping disrupt the laundering of billions of dollars derived from illicit U.S. drug deals.
  2. Great benefits/competitive pay
    Average government salaries are competitive with the private and nonprofit sectors. Recent graduates can expect a starting salary from $32,415 to $42,631 a year. Pay can also increase fairly quickly for top candidates with experience and a strong education. Federal benefits, including health insurance, retirement and vacation, are extremely competitive with, if not superior to, other sectors.
  3. The government is hiring
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an employment increase of ten percent through 2018 in federal employment.
  4. Location, location, location
    Federal opportunities are not only found in the D.C area. Eighty-four percent of federal government jobs are outside of Washington, D.C. If students are interested in international job opportunities, more than 50,000 federal employees work abroad.
  5. Jobs for every major
    Working in the federal government is not just for political science majors. In fact, 28.4 percent of federal employees work in STEM fields. There are federal jobs for every interest and skill, from art history to zoology.
  6. Opportunities for advancement and professional development
    Federal employees have many opportunities for career advancement in government. An internal Merit Promotion Program helps ensure that new employees succeeding in their job have easy access to information about job openings within government. The government also offers excellent training and development opportunities and has human resources personnel to help connect current employees with these opportunities.
  7. Interesting and challenging work
    Today’s government workers are leading and innovating on issues, such as developing vaccines for deadly diseases, fighting sexual and racial discrimination, and keeping our massive systems of transportation safe.
  8. Work-life balance
    Flexible work schedules, including telework, are a major plus for those with busy schedules or long commute. Competitive benefits also include generous vacation time combined with federal holidays and sick leave. All of these packaged together make government an attractive employer for students looking to successfully balance their work and personal lives.
  9. Job security
    Government work is steady and secure, an attractive selling point, especially during difficult economic times.
  10. The federal government can help pay for school loans
    Some federal agencies can help pay back up to $10,000 per year in student loans, up to a total of $60,000.

Source: ourpublicservice.org

The Top 25 Highest Paid Federal Jobs

Did you know that the 25 highest paying government jobs all pay over $50,000 per year?

Below is a list of 25 of the most sought after federal jobs, ranked by the Office of Personnel Management as the highest paid jobs currently offered by the U.S. Government.

1) Astronomer – $116,072

2) Attorney – $114,240

3) Financial Manager – $101,022

4) General Engineer – $100,051

5) Economist – $94,098

6) Computer Scientist – $90,929

7) Chemist – $89,954

8) Criminal Investigator – $88,174

9) Microbiologist – $87,206

10) Architect – $85,690

11) Statistician – $81,524

12) Librarian – $78,665

13) Accountant – $78,030

14) Chaplain – $76,511

15) Ecologist – $76,511

16) Human Resources Manager – $76,503

17) Health and Safety Specialist – $73,003

18) Air Traffic Controller – $72,049

19) Budget Analyst – $71,267

20) Correctional Officer – $67,140

21) Nurse – $65,345

22) Technical Engineer – $63,951

23) Border Patrol Agent – $63,550

24) Medical Technician- $59,840

25) Customs Inspector – $59,248

Source: Office of Personnel Management

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

It All Started in a Garage

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Lorena Cantarovici poses in her apron at the restaurant

By Tyrone Townsend

Lorena Cantarovici took a chance and moved from Argentina to Denver for better opportunities, not knowing that empanadas were the secrets to her success. Now, Lorena owns Maria Empanada—with five locations in Denver—the nation’s leading artisanal empanada restaurant serving Argentine empanadas, tartas, and specialty desserts. More than 50 employees make 80,000 tasty empanadas a month.

Before Lorena started her leading empanada restaurant, she began baking small orders of empanadas for parties. Before she knew it, a caterer approached her for a large order, leading her to shift her operation from a kitchen to a garage. Lorena’s unexpected catering orders blossomed into a business, and Maria Empanada was born.

Empanadas are more than a delicious cuisine from Lorena’s home country, Argentina. The empanadas represent memories of home. She and her mother, Maria—hence the name Maria Empanada—would prepare empanadas for numerous family gatherings, which brought laughter, joy, and unity. Lorena wanted to replicate those feelings for people in the United States and share those memories with everyone. But a lot had to be done before her empanada business originated in her garage.

Lorena was an accountant without any knowledge of owning a restaurant, and she did not speak English. The resources to proceed with her dream were nonexistent. There was no special dough for the empanadas, no customers, and no money.

It seemed as if the dream would stay stuck in the realm of fantasy. Lorena returned back to Argentina to learn how to cook empanadas. She took notes from her mother and the few shops scattered around the country. She returned back with recipes, techniques, and special secrets. Lorena’s dream then turned into a reality, and she is setting an example for Hispanic women.

The United States has nearly 29 million small businesses, which truly are the engines of our nation’s economy. And according to the latest research from theEmpanadas National Women’s Business Council, nearly 1.5 million of them are owned by Hispanic women. Research also shows Latinas are especially successful as entrepreneurs. According to the last report published by the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, women own 36 percent of all businesses. Among Hispanic-owned businesses, that share rises to 44 percent. On average, Latina-owned businesses that employ workers create an average of seven jobs and have $766,000 in annual sales.

Lorena is an excellent example of Latina entrepreneurship and also a symbol of the many ways the SBA supports entrepreneurs as they are starting and growing their businesses. Lorena attended a workshop run by an SBA Denver Small Business Development Center that assisted her in developing her business plan.

She received counseling from knowledgeable volunteer mentors on accounting, marketing, legal issues, and risk management. As Maria Empanada’s volume continued to soar, she utilized an SBA microloan lender Colorado Enterprise Fund and obtained a $63,000 microloan and moved Maria Empanada to a larger location in an enterprise zone in the South Broadway area of Denver.

For Lorena, it all began in a makeshift kitchen in a garage. Now, the entrepreneur and her beloved Maria Empanada have won numerous local, national, and international accolades. Lorena’s desire for growth spreads to business, leading it in only one direction—up.

Jazz Jennings came out as trans at age 5. Now she’s helping The Trevor Project support other kids.

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Jazz Jennings posing for camera smiling

Jazz Jennings knows the spotlight better than most. Having come out as transgender at age 5, she quickly became an equality champion as a teenager when she began speaking forcefully about the rights and needs of transgender kids just like her.

Shows like 20/20 came calling, and she became the subject of her own TLC docu-series, I Am Jazz. A subsequent reality show followed, and Jazz soon became a spokesmodel for Clean & Clear dermatology products.

Now 18, and starting at Harvard University in the fall, Jazz took time to chat with LGBTQNation about her latest initiative: a partnership with Macy’s and The Trevor Project to help end LGBTQ teen suicide. Through June 30, 2019, Macy’s will donate $4 of the purchase price of these t-shirts and $2 of the purchase price of these socks to The Trevor Project. And if you round up your in-store purchases through June 17, the extra change will go to Trevor to expand its life-saving crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs to serve more LGBTQ young people.

How does it feel now when you look back on your coming out? 

My coming out was very different than it is for most other transgender people. In fact, my entire trans experience is very unique in that I expressed I was a girl from as soon as I could verbalize the words. It’s crazy looking back and knowing that I had the awareness and conviction to express my truth as early as age 2 and 3.

What was your first exposure to The Trevor Project, and why were you drawn to its mission?

When I was 11 years old, I received a youth courage award from the Collin Higgins Foundation and spoke at a Trevor Project gala. That was the first time I was exposed to Trevor, and I was just so proud and in awe to see an organization that was so active in working to provide a resource for LGBTQIA+ people who feel like they have nowhere to turn.

Even though we have achieved a measure of equality in America, there is more need for The Trevor Project than ever. What do you think explains this seeming contradiction?

At the same time that LGBTQIA+ are stepping out of the shadows more than ever, there is a proportional increase in the backlash directed toward our community. In the current political climate, people feel more empowered than ever to express their views, even if their opinions rest on trying to dictate the lifestyle and identities of those they don’t understand and aren’t directly affected by. It saddens me to know that The Trevor Project is more needed than ever, but I’m grateful that we have an organization doing what they do and I have hope that progress will be made.

That’s also why Macy’s support is so important, because their round-up campaign will raise awareness of LGBTQ youth suicide prevention nationwide, and their contribution will help Trevor support even more young people in crisis.

Continue on to LGBTQ Nation to read the complete article.

ALPFA’s Damian Rivera: The Power of Your Origin Story

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headshot of Damian Rivera, CEO of ALPHA

The journey from Spanish Harlem to the boardroom has been magical. I have the benefit of being able to look back at my 20+ years as a consultant for Accenture, along with my life growing up, to identify all of the “hard times” as a kid, which have made me successful in the boardroom.

As a Latino managing director in a global Fortune 500 company, I have always given back to my community, from serving on the board of non-profits to leading up Accenture’s Hispanic American ERG for six years. With all the experience I have gained, it is my mission to help others achieve their dreams.

With the opportunity of stepping into the role of CEO of ALPFA, I am honored and humbled to continue the legacy built by our members, countless volunteers, leadership teams from our professional and student chapters, and corporate partners that have made ALPFA what it is today. As I think back to my childhood growing up in Wagner Projects in Spanish Harlem, New York, in the 1980s, I can’t believe that in the same way the Latinx community helped give me opportunities in life, I am now in a position to do the same for others. What makes it even more exciting is I am not alone—I have an extended family of 80,000+ members focused on the same mission.

Everyone has an origin story, but the ability to really understand how your story gives you power is critical for Latinos as we strive to elevate in the corporate world. Hearing stories helps inspire, but knowing how your story gives you strength translates inspiration to action.

So, the question I usually get next is, “How can we learn to better understand our story?” There are four components/activities that I tell people to focus on: (1) Journey Line (2) Value Tree (3) Value Mantra (4) Purpose Framework. I’ll focus on the Journey Line and Value Tree here because they are the most critical. I recommend everyone develop their journey line, which is a drawing of your life, starting at any point going to present day. Your level of happiness is on the y-axis, and time is on the x-axis. As you think back on your life, you will plot out the highs and lows, and it’s in these moments that we learn our lessons of life. The high of highs and low of lows are where we build our character and grow the most. When people take time to develop the line, they start to see all they have accomplished and all they have persevered through to achieve success. Once you have done that, you begin to see the strength you have on paper. This is your origin story; it’s no different than a Marvel comic superhero. Once you have documented your journey line, you realize just as Superman had his hero’s journey, so did you. You may not be able to fly, but you definitely have developed your own version of superpowers in finance, accounting, or blockchain. When people work through this, they often have more confidence because it removes the impostor syndrome issues they encounter. They see their story and realize: I belong in the boardroom!

The second key piece is knowing your values. My values are legacy, opportunity, diversity, justice, courage, fortitude, energy, and industriousness. When people talk about being their authentic self at work, I believe that means sticking to your values. Through a person’s journey he or she will change. Everyone should be evolving as a person, and if you stay true to your value system, then you are being authentic as a leader. Know your origin story, enjoy your hero’s journey, and remember to help others along the way.

Here’s How to Make Your Mark at a Big Company

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coworkers chatting in the hallway

Working for a big company has plenty of upsides. A large team means there’s tons of room to explore other areas and learn new things. There’s also a lot more opportunity to climb the ranks and—as an added bonus—the office has amazing facilities.

But like anything else, there are also some drawbacks to consider.

It’s tough to get to know people outside of your immediate team, you can barely figure out who does what, and you may find it challenging to develop any sort of reputation or name recognition for yourself.

It’s easy to feel like just another number in your massive organization. But the good news is there are some steps you can take to find your footing and make your mark at work.

1. Get Comfortable With Self-Promotion

We’re not always good at drawing attention to our own accomplishments because it can feel a little egocentric. However, owning your contributions and being vocal about them is a necessity when your work can easily slip by unnoticed at a large employer.

This doesn’t need to be as over-the-top as you’re likely imagining. It can be as simple as chiming in with a “thank you” when your boss points to something that was done well (that they weren’t aware that you were responsible for).

You can also incorporate some of your achievements into your introduction to new people in the company—particularly if your work is relevant to them in some way. For example, if you’re meeting someone from the sales team for the first time, you can shake their hand and say, “Great to finally meet you! I’m the one who worked on the new application for your customers.”

That statement not only highlights your work, but also pulls out a common thread between the two of you that you can use to get the conversation rolling.

2. Don’t Skip the Pleasantries

Speaking of conversations, I know how tempting it is to avoid small talk. It feels, well, small and completely inconsequential.

But here’s the thing: small talk can actually be quite memorable, particularly if you know how to do it well. So don’t be afraid to strike up pleasant conversations with people you don’t already know.

Maybe you’re waiting in line for coffee with a director from a different department. Introduce yourself and then get a conversation started—even if it means you just recommend the breakfast sandwiches.

These small interactions are a great way to expand your web of connections within your company and lay the groundwork for a continued relationship. Who knows, the next time you see that person, you might just move past small talk.

3. Raise Your Hand for Opportunities Outside of Your Team

When you’re part of an especially large organization, the bubble of your own department or team feels comforting. It’s daunting to venture out and surround yourself with strangers.

You already know what I’m going to say: If you’re eager to make your mark, you’re going to need to get over that and get used to saying “yes” to all sorts of different opportunities.

Is the product team putting together a golf outing that needs some more volunteers? Step in and help. Is there a happy hour or training program that you’d normally skip or a project that could benefit from a few extra hands? That has your name all over it.

Jump on those opportunities and you’ll meet more people, strengthen your impact, and feel more connected to your company as a whole.

4. Speak Up in Meetings

Do most of your meetings have a lot of different people packed into a crowded conference room? Do you still speak up and actively contribute—or are you too intimidated, so you choose to sit in silence and fly under the radar?

Of course, there’s no reason to chime in unnecessarily for the sake of being noticed. But if you do have something valuable to contribute, gather your courage and make it known.

It’s better to voice your thoughts and your opinions in the moment, rather than following up afterwards with an email. That way you’re giving people an opportunity to associate your face with your name.

5. Be Transparent About Your Career Goals

This tip is important whether you work at a company of two or 20,000. But, especially when you work for a big organization, you need to be upfront and vocal about your professional goals.

Your manager can’t read your mind, and you can’t expect them to advocate for you and your ambitions if you don’t make those known.

Whether you hope to eventually move into a management position yourself, want to learn more about a different department, or would like to pursue some additional training or education, have those honest conversations with your boss.

Not only does this investment in your own career and development help you stand out to your immediate supervisor, but being transparent about your goals also opens the door to other opportunities to make an impact at your company.

6. Solicit Advice From Others

Do you really want to know how to make your mark? Why not ask somebody who’s already successfully done it?

Within your organization, there’s bound to be someone who’s been there for years and successfully climbed the ladder. Reach out to see if you can take them out for coffee and find out more about their journey, as well as pick their brain for advice on how you can follow a similar path.

Even if you don’t walk away with a super-detailed action plan, you still have the benefit of forming connections and relationships with people outside your department.

When you’re one of hundreds or even thousands of employees at your company, it’s easy to feel like a small fish in a ginormous pond. Does anybody even notice all of the hard work you’re doing? Wait…does anybody even know your name?

You can’t snap your fingers and change the size of your employer, but you can change your own actions. That’s right—making your mark all starts with you.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

Rosario Dawson: Called to Action

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Rosario Dawson Summer Issue Cover

By Erica Sabino

Rosario Dawson is more than just another famous face in Hollywood. In addition to her high-profile film career, she’s a philanthropist, activist, and entrepreneur. Not to mention producer, singer and comic book writer!

First and foremost, Dawson is fiercely passionate about her philanthropy and her desire to serve her community. Her early life wasn’t easy. Her family lived in a squatter’s apartment in New York’s East Village, where she grew up seeing poverty, sickness, and suffering all around her. “Growing up here in New York, with a mom who was a teenager when she had me, I had family and friends who were either trans and/or had HIV or AIDS and/or had drug problems or housing issues or issues with access to education,” Dawson said in an interview with the lifestyle website mindbodygreen. “I saw the whole maelstrom of privilege and access.”

Growing up in a liberal-minded family, she was raised to understand the value of social change at a young age. “My mother worked for a women’s shelter when I was young,” she said. “To see strangers helping other strangers, just showing up and giving, was so inspiring to me.” It’s not hard to see how her experiences have inspired her to make a change for others. She serves as a board member of V-day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. She supports charities like the ONE Campaign, Amnesty International, Oxfam, International Rescue, and Lower East Side Girls Club, and the Environmental Media Association, among many others. She is also active in such programs as Conservation International, Doctors Without Borders, National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy and Save The Children.

In 2013, Dawson partnered with her longtime friend Abrima Erwiah to found Studio 189, a fashion and media brand based in Ghana that produces African and African-inspired clothing and lifestyle content. In an interview with Google, when asked about their decision to launch in Ghana, Dawson and Erwiah had this to say: “We were impressed by the culture of creativity, craft, and innovation and the rich history present in Ghana. We felt it was a wonderful place to develop social infrastructure, to add value to natural resources, to create opportunities for work and support capacity building. At the same time, we wanted to support the growth of a local market of consumers as well and help create a space for more people to enter conversations and be included in the growth of the global fashion industry.” For these two partners, Studio 189 is not just a business, but also a social enterprise. Through their brand, they have been able to make changes in the community through educational workshops, counseling, and employment.

Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Gina Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana and Rosario Dawson are seen prior to the Latinas Stand Up rally ALEXANDER TAMARGO/GETTY IMAGES
Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Gina Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana and Rosario Dawson are seen prior to the Latinas Stand Up rally ALEXANDER TAMARGO/GETTY IMAGES

Politically active for much of her life, Dawson says, “The American future is here, and there’s great news: the future votes.” She co-founded the pioneering civic media nonprofit organization, Voto Latino, in an effort to boost Latino participation in the political process. Established in 2004, Voto Latino’s mission is to provide culturally relevant programs that engage, educate, and empower Latinos to be agents of change. It also seeks to transform America by recognizing Latinos’ innate leadership. Whenever we do voter registration, we ask, ‘Why haven’t you voted before?’ The response is often, ‘No one’s asked us.’ It’s not about telling people what to do—it’s about sharing what they can do.

“Voting is the umbrella to everything else that I’m doing,” says Rosario. “Women’s issues, health and disease, poverty, housing—these all fall under that voting power.” In recognition for her efforts, she was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2017.

Also a health advocate, Dawson, a self-proclaimed oat enthusiast, recently partnered with Quaker Oats to create a three-part video series that encourages people to incorporate healthier practices into their everyday lives. “I’ve been eating Quaker oatmeal since I was a young child, ever since my aunt taught me how to make it from scratch, so I’m excited to team up with them to help spread the word about the benefits of oats,” Dawson said. “As an advocate for health and wellness, I never want to short-term my health—I think it’s so important to have long-term plans. And what’s great is that you don’t have to start big, because even small steps can make a difference.”

Rosario, Abrimaand guest
Designers Rosario Dawson, Abrima Erwiah and guest attend as STYLE360 THOMAS CONCORDIA/GETTY IMAGES

Dawson’s first step on her journey to fame happened by accident when she was just 15 years old. Sitting on the front porch step of her apartment building, she was spotted by photographers Larry Clark and Harmony Korine. Aspiring screenwriter Korine thought Dawson would be perfect to cast in the 1995 film, Kids, where she played Ruby, a sexually active adolescent. From there, Dawson went on to star in more films, like Rent, He Got Game, Men in Black II, Seven Pounds, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and Sin City, among many others. In the music industry, she had a speaking part in the re-release of Prince’s 1980s hit, “1999,” renamed “1999: The New Master.” She also appeared in the music video for Out of Control by The Chemical Brothers and was featured on the Outkast track, She Lives in My Lap.

Currently, Dawson is set to voice the iconic heroine Diana Prince in the DC animated original film, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, a character she’s voiced since 2015’s Justice League: The Throne of Atlantis. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress has also been cast in Sony Pictures’ next installment of the post-apocalyptic comedy, Zombieland 2. She will be working alongside original cast members including Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin, as well as newcomers Zoey Deutch and Avan Jogia. In addition to these roles, Dawson will both produce and star in the upcoming drama series Briarpatch from Sam Esmail, the creator of Mr. Robot. Based on the Ross Thomas novel, the first season of the series will be produced by Universal Cable Productions and Paramount Television. In this drama, Dawson will be playing a Washington, D.C.-based investigator who returns to her hometown in Texas to help search for her sister’s murderer.

Last year, she announced her guest collaboration on La Borinqueña, an original character and patriotic symbol presented in a classic superhero story created and written by graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. Her powers are drawn from history and mysticism found on the island of Puerto Rico. Dawson and her writing partner David Atchison joined Dawson’s uncle, comic book artist Gustavo Vazquez on the project.

Although she has a full workload, she still finds time to make an impact outside the world of Hollywood. From being a political activist to running a sustainable fashion line, Rosario Dawson is continuously showing her passion and commitment to the causes she advocates for.

Using her platform to make a difference, Dawson’s activism has allowed her to not only witness change but also effect it. “I’m really moved by everything I’ve seen achieved over the years, and there’s so much that’s being worked toward now with many more people,” Dawson says in an interview with InStyle. “I’m inspired to just do whatever I feel called to do and to be of service and to be of use… There are so many different ways that we can serve, and I want to figure out as many ways as I can to fit into this lifetime.”