By Tania G. Davila.
Photos by Criss Ford.

LATINA Style, Inc., in partnership with Nationwide, presented the 19th Annual LATINA Style Business Series Tour in Charlotte, NC, on July 22, 2017, at the Hilt­on Charlotte Center City. The award-winning program for Latina entrepreneurs in the nation marked its 127th stop. The program commenced with official welcome remarks from the honorable Jennifer Roberts, City Mayor of Charlotte, and sponsor remarks from Amanda Reeves, Consultant, Diversity & Inclusion, Nationwide.

Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina

The business series workshops focus on solving the most critical business challenges faced by Latina entrepreneurs as they start their business or plan for expansion. Moderating the Accessing Capital: Building Strong Businesses panel discussion was Laviña Chaves, President of ALPFA Charlotte. Speakers included Luis Guadalupe, Associate Agent, William D. Laurie Agency, Nationwide; John M. Misner, Ph.D., Ambassador, Certified Mentor, SCORE, and Evette Davis, Stakeholder Liaison Field, Internal Revenue Service.
The Successful Marketing Strategies: Promote Your Business and Yourself panel was moderated by Iris Ramirez Reese, President & CEO, Fusion Multicultural Marketing & Communication, and Total Fitness Studio. Speakers included Neyra Toledo, Director, North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals and, Natalia Flores, APR Director, AC&M Group.

“Another great event…it’s always a blessing to have the opportunity to share knowledge,” shared Ramírez Reese. “After all, knowledge is power and as women we need to continue to empower each other and network. However, remember, it’s not only about what you know or who you know… but most important, who knows you. Make yourself known.”

The following session titled Marketing Your Business for Success was conducted by Kimberly Profit, AVP, Supplier Facing Services. The Entrepreneur Spotlight: Learning Strategies for Success, was moderated by Rocio Gonzalez, Executive Director, Latin American Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Panelists included Katherine Mejia Alexander, Owner, Mejia Interior Design, and Johanna Suarez, Co-Founder & Owner, Reliable Restorations LLC.

Welcome remarks by the Honorable Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

Robert E. Bard, president & CEO, LATINA Style, with Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

Mistress of ceremonies, Dulce Robles, Radio Personality, Latina 102.3 FM, Norsan Media introduced Fran Perez-Wilhite, MBA, SGE, U.S. Small Business Administration Appointee, Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs, and Business Development of North Carolina Military Business Center as he delivered the keynote message during the entrepreneur awards luncheon.

Johanna Suarez was honored with the LATINA Style “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. Suarez is the owner and co-founder of Reliable Solutions Construction, LLC, a fully Integrated Fire, Water, Smoke, Remediation and Restoration Company, established in 2009 in Charlotte, NC.

(L-R) Laviña Chavez, John Misner, Ph.D., Evette Davis, and Luis Guadalupe.

(L-R) Jennifer Martinez, Johanna Suarez, Rocio Gonzalez, and Lu Yarbrough, Nationwide.

In addition, Rocio Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Charlotte Latin American Chamber of Commerce was recognized with the “Advocate of the Year” award. Gonzalez has been chosen because of her lifetime achievements, and her distinguishability as a role model. This coveted award is presented to individuals who are champions of leadership and community service.

“It was great for the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte to be part of the LATINA StyleBusiness Series and to have the opportunity to provide access to our members to experience this wonderful, informational and inspiring convention,” said Gonzalez. “Personally, I was very humbled and thankful to be the recipient of the “Advocate of The Year” which clearly recognizes my hard work and my passion of helping the Latino Business Community. Thank you LATINA Style!”

(L-R) Iris Reese Ramirez, Neyra Toledo, and Natalia Flores.

(L-R) Rocio Gonzalez, Johanna Suarez, and Katherine Mejia.

Title Sponsor: Nationwide.
National Sponsor: Parents Step Ahead.
Media Sponsor: Norsan Media, and Latina 102.3 FM, and CapitalWirePR. Community Partners: Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte, ALPFA, NAWBO, WPO, SCORE, IRS, WBENC, Latin American Coalition, and Accion NC.

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