By Tania G. Davila.
Photos by Jeff Mays.

The LATINA Style Business Series is an award-winning program for Latina entrepreneurs attracting Latina professionals to an interactive business development program where Latina business owners, key corporations, and government agencies provide services to entrepreneurs. Over 35,000 Latina entrepreneurs in over 130 cities have participated in the Series since its inception in 1998. The series is also an opportunity for corporations to recruit potential suppliers.

Marking its 132nd stop of the Business Series tour, the series was held in Phoenix, AZ, on October 4, 2018, at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix hotel. Maria Fabiola Portillo, Reporter and Producer of Arizona PBS welcomed attendees during breakfast and proceeded with introducing Robert E. Bard, president & CEO, LATINA Style, Inc. to the stage.

“A lot continues to happen since our last LATINA Style Business Series conference hosted here in Phoenix a few years ago,” stated Bard. “How are the changes impacting your business? Your life? We have brought together out, avoid the pitfalls and be ready to respond and take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented to you. We can only imagine all the challenges we will be facing moving forward, but that’s nothing new. We are confident that as a powerful and resourceful Latina you will find a way to make it all work. Latinas continue to be the fastest growing segment of the small business community, they are excelling all over the country.”

Attendees were also welcomed with remarks by Vanessa Hyden, Quality Assurance Manager at Nationwide. “Nationwide is extremely honored to be here today to support Latina entrepreneurs in the Phoenix community,” she stated.

The first workshop, The Essentials of a Successful Business was moderated by Delia Gomez, Economic Development Specialist, WBC—District Office Technical Representative, Small Business Administration. Panelists included Nick Delgado, President, Dana Rebecca Designs, and Maria Boykin, Program Manager, Women Business Enterprise Council-West.

“When seeking for capital I would suggest you put yourself in the capital provider’s shoes… imagine if you were the investor; if you were the borrower. That is an important perspective,” said Delgado.

The second panel, Successful Marketing Strategies: Promote Your Business and Yourself was moderated by Lydia A. Aranda, M.A, Founder, DiVeritas Group, Interim President of Tucson Hispanic Chamber & Southern Arizona Affiliates. Speakers included Jessica Badowski, Owner, Too busy gals, Maria Luna, CEO and Co-Founder, BRAVO, and Diana Prieto-Bernal, Principal, Owner, Ideaz Media Co.

“My favorite part of attending this conference is feeling and seeing how we among women support each other, grow together by providing helpful advice,” said Prieto-Bernal.

Nick Delgado, President, Dana Rebecca Designs presented Power, Love & Resiliency: The New Leadership Imperative session sponsored by Nationwide. Delgado is a growth enthusiast and passionate promoter of people.

The Essentials of a Successful Business session (L-R): Nick Delgado, President, Dana Rebecca Designs; Maria Boykin, Program Manager, Women Business Enterprise Council-West, and Delia Gomez, Economic Development Specialist, WBC—District Office Technical Representative, SBA, as moderator.

The flagship panel, Entrepreneurs Spotlight: Learning Strategies for Success, included moderator Maria Powell, Associate Broker, Help-U-Sell Galleria Realty, Executive Producer and Host, Maria Powell TV show. Panelists included Mary Rabago, President & CEO, Mary Rabago Productions; Maria Lipp, President & Founder, Spotlight Media Services; and Maria D Parra Cano, Owner & Mami-preneur, Sana Sana, Indigena and Ironwood Metal Works.

“The most valuable thing we possess is time, be persistent, be disciplined, and don’t ever give up on your dreams,” advised Powell. “You will succeed if you really want it, you will see the results in you and the others.”

Heidi Renpenning, Emmy-award winning, news anchor and reporter for Univision Arizona, served as the mistress of ceremonies for the awards luncheon. Lory Burgos, Senior Consultant Diversity Marketing, Nationwide, and Constanza Ponce de Leon, Business Development Manager, Hispanic NAB, PepsiCo, provided remarks.

“Levaraging one’s network, working hand-in-hand with women, and driving values of inclusion are all critical for success in business,” said Ponce de Leon. “It was great seeing all of those principles come to life during the Phoenix LATINA Style Business Series!”

During the luncheon, LATINA Style honored Mary Rábago with the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award for Phoenix. With a career spanning over 25 years in various media companies nationally and internationally, multi-award-winning journalist, Rábago, has become a well-known and respected public figure. Today, Rabago is the president & CEO of Mary Rabago Productions, a multimedia company that has garnered national attention for their creative solutions. She has been recognized by Cox Communications as Entrepreneur of the Year and Outstanding Women in Business by the Phoenix Business Journal.

In addition, LATINA Style recognized Erica Cardenas, Founder of InspireHer, and Co-owner of Cardenas Marketing with the “Advocate of the Year” award. “The LATINA Style Business Series brings together dynamic, talented and passionate Latinas from all backgrounds and industries for a powerful day of networking, learning and inspiration,” shared Cardenas, “This event is a true representation of what it looks like to encourage, support and celebrate one another. It was an honor and privilege to participate in the LATINA Style Business Series and I look forward to the next event!”

Thank you sponsors and partners!
Title sponsor: Nationwide. Platinum Sponsor: PepsiCo. Supporting Sponsors:Parents Step Ahead and CapitalWirePR. Community Partners: Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Prospanica Phoenix, Women Business Enterprise Council-West, ALPFA Phoenix, SHPE Phoenix, SBA Phoenix, and IRS.

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