By Tania G. Davila.
LATINA Style, Inc., hosted the 18th Annual LATINA Style Business Series tour on Thursday, October 20, 2016, in Atlanta, GA, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel located at 265 Peachtree Center Ave. Marking its 124th stop, the award-winning program for Latina entrepreneurs kicked-off with welcoming remarks by Mistress of ceremonies, entrepreneur, and Miss Georgia 2016, Thalia Contreras. She enthusiastically introduced and welcomed Maria Woods, senior consultant, personal and commercial field operations of Nationwide on stage to provide opening remarks. In addition, Angela Morris, senior vice president, diversity and inclusion, and national partnerships at Bank of America was also welcomed to the stage.
The business series workshops focus on solving some of the most critical business challenges faced by Latina entrepreneurs as they start their business or plan for expansion. Participating in the Accessing Capital: Building Strong Businesses workshop sponsored by Bank of America was Al Moreno, senior vice president, market sales manager at Bank of America. Panelists included: Dean Bird, senior vice president, small business banking manager, Bank of America; Liccette Shumake, senior stakeholder liaison, communication stakeholder outreach, IRS SB/SE; Nakia Melecio, chairman of SCORE Atlanta Chapter.
“Continue to keep re-branding, innovating, and pursuing business excellence because this will lead to sustainable and healthy business growth.” shared Melecio. As founder of NKM Consulting Group, LLC, Melecio is dedicated to organizational development, leadership, human capital and executive coaching.
“Obtaining financing to start and operate a business is an important, yet very misunderstood process,” said Terri Denison, Georgia District Director of U.S. Small Business Administration. “The Access to Capital panel was a great opportunity to educate the audience on how commercial lending really works and about the free resources available to prepare and assist borrowers.”
The Enhancing Women Empowerment through Technology & Social Media panel was moderated by Emmy award-winner, news anchor, director and social entrepreneur, Judith Martinez. Martinez is the managing partner and co-founder of YoSoyMujer and ExpoMujer. Panelists included: Andrea Rivera, CEO & founder of H3Media; Carmen Luisa Coya, president of Effective Media, and Havi Goffan, president of Target Latino.
The Protecting Your Business and Planning for the Future panel was conducted by Janyra Perez Blanco, partner, operations, Fulcro Insurance. Speakers included: Roland Wilson, retirement specialist, Nationwide; Claudia Rosales, associate agent, Gabriel Gomez Agency; and Gabe Gomez, principal, agent owner, Gabriel Gomez Agency.
The flagship panel, LATINA Style Entrepreneurs Roundtable was presented by Lisa Guadalupe Clarke, president of ALPFA Atlanta chapter. Panelists included: Mercedes Guzman, owner, expert coach of Inner Child. Guzman is an inspirational speaker, coach and published author. Janyra Perez Blanco, partner in charge of operations at Fulcro Insurance agency, and Rocio D. Woody, a licensed master social worker and a National Certified Addictions counselor. She is the founder and president of The Road to Recovery, Inc. based in Atlanta, Georgia.
During the luncheon, speaking to nearly 200 attendees, president & CEO, LATINA Style, Inc., Robert E. Bard, interviewed Alba Colon, Chevrolet racing program manager for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. As one of today’s most powerful women in sports and racing, Colon shared her business experiences and how education helped her succeed and the lessons learned along the way. Mariela Romero, director, and On-Air Talent for Univision 34 Atlanta, served as mistress of ceremonies.
LATINA Style recognized Mercedes Guzman with the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award for Atlanta.
“One of the desires of a human being is to feel appreciated,” she shared. “I believe LATINA Style, amazingly embodies the concept of helping Latinas to feel empower to keep going, inspiring our younger generation to feel & to belong. Receiving this special recognition as the Entrepreneur of the Year for Atlanta has truly transform my life.” In addition, LATINA Style honored Rocio Woody with the “Advocate of the Year” award. This coveted award is presented to individuals who are champions of leadership and community service.
“I am honored to be among such a distinguished group of people,” said Woody. “As I reflect on the meaning of this distinction, I realize this is a great opportunity to inspire and encourage Latinas, immigrant women, who like me came to United States thinking that the American dream had no gender and no race. That we could do it because we simply can, because we are women and because we are Latinas. We are not one woman. We are every woman. We are who they will follow, so we have a responsibility to them to lead the way.”
Special thanks to Atlanta Business Series sponsors and partners
Title Sponsor: Nationwide. Platinum Sponsors: Bank of America and UPS. National Partners: PSA, ALPFA, WIPP, NALEO, WBENC, WPO, NAWBO, CapitalWirePR, SHPE, Community Partners include: Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Corporate Council, ALPFA Atlanta Chapter, Atlanta Women’s Network, Prospanica Atlanta Chapter, GMSDC, WPO Atlanta, GALEO, ExpoMujer, SCORE, SBA, and IRS.
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