De izquierda a derecha, Tiffany Tavarez,Quetcy Lozada, Jannette Diaz,Cynthia F. Figueroa, Heather Keafer, Rev. Bonnie Camarda, Varsovia Fernandez,Nilda Ruiz. Representan el liderazgo femenino en Pensilviania en diferentes sectores que van desde el servicio público, las finanzas, y las organizaciones sin fines de lucro. Evento Juntos, NY. 02 diciembre 2023

The month in which we honor women’s heritage and contribution to society and history in the United States invites us to focus on the many fields where the long battle for equity and inclusion has gradually yielded results. 

Entrepreneurship, industry, finance, and corporate development are fields that for centuries have generally been in the hands of men, mostly Caucasians. However, not even this predominance prevented courageous women from breaking into the business and corporate world as early as the 20th century. To illustrate this, it suffices to remember names like Meg Whitman, Elizabeth Arden, Alice Walton, Estée Lauder, Diane Hendricks, or Martha Stewart. 

According to a report on politics and economics by Forbes magazine, there are more than 14 million small businesses in the United States founded and managed by women, representing 40% of the country’s businesses and generating nearly $2.7 trillion in revenue, in addition to employing 12.2 million people. It also highlights that during the pandemic, women bore the brunt of the burden in households and were forced to close businesses at record rates; however, after the pandemic, they are at the forefront of the economic renaissance. 

A recent report by the Treasury Department indicates that there are about 5 million Latino-owned businesses nationwide, generating an estimated $800 billion in annual revenue; it also notes that between 2021 and 2023, about 25% of all applications to create new businesses came from Latinos. 

Similarly, minority women have climbed the corporate ladder little by little and with sacrifice. The names of black pioneers such as Madam C.J. Walker, the first American woman to become a millionaire with her own business, stand out; Oprah Winfrey, the media and television mogul; Janice Bryant, founder of ActOne Group, the largest national company managed by a black woman; or Turkish immigrant Eren Ozmen, owner of aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corp, a competitor of Elon Musk. 

The latest study on the impact of women-owned companies on the economy, published by Wells Fargo, notes that the growth of black and Latina-owned businesses is outpacing the overall average. It also indicates that during the pandemic and post-pandemic, women opened businesses at a faster rate than they closed them, and that from 2019 to 2023, new women-managed businesses outnumbered those of men by 94.3%, and by 82.0% in revenue. However, it notes that in some fields, women entrepreneurs, and especially black women, face many barriers, such as access to capital and technical assistance, and to federal advantages, such as access to government contracts and bids. 

But despite having the triple disadvantage of being women, immigrants, and Latinas – some adding a fourth, that of being black or indigenous – many Latinas have shown their talent and skills in business, corporate, and social impact organization development. Among them are Nicaraguan Marivette Navarrete, founder and manager of The Mujerista; Cristina Junqueira, founder of Nubank, the most widespread banking application in Latin America; Ecuadorian Nina Vaca, founder, and manager of the Pinnacle Group, which provides workforce; Mexican Yesi Ortiz, co-founder of LIMA Coalition, Latins in Media & Arts; and Ivelyse Andino, founder and manager of the Radical Health group. 

In addition, Latinas and Afro-Latinas also stand out in Philadelphia; names like Jenne Chizick Agüero, founder and editor of Motivos magazine, María Cristina Ríos, owner of Ríos Marketing; Jennifer Hardy, lead litigator of the Gomez Law group, which handles cases of physical injury and medical malpractice, among many others, whose stories we have been telling over the years in our Vidas de Impacto section and covered their struggles in the Women‘s section. 

In this edition, we present part of the story of Varsovia Fernández, to whom we owe much for her work focused on the prosperity of Latinos and in general of the less privileged. Her dedication over the years has impacted many families in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Varsovia, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania CDFI Network, is a true agent of change. Her commitment to promoting diversity within the local economy and empowering businesses to overcome complex challenges is commendable. We extend our congratulations and heartfelt thanks for her ongoing contributions. 


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