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Recap of 3rd Annual LatinActivista 2024: Empoderando Latinas and Building Community

LatinActivista 2024 was a vibrant celebration of Latina empowerment and community, held on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at the Fairview Community Health and Wellness Hub. This community seminar is a collaboration and partnership between Mujeres Latinas Unidas MN and LatinoLEAD, this event brought together a dynamic group of Latinas eager to explore topics of professional development, wealth management, and personal branding.

   




The impact of our speakers resonated deeply with attendees, with discussions led by a Wealth Management Coach: Lizbeth Sinaí Rodríguez, highlighting the importance of generational wealth and professional development tailored to the unique experiences of Latinas. According to HipLatina, Latinas lose $1.2 million over the course of a 40-year career due to unequal pay. The lack of financial literacy and generational wealth are cited as two of the biggest barriers Latinas face in achieving financial independence ("Financial Independence Guide for Latinas"). Beyond the issue of unequal pay, the lack of financial literacy and generational wealth further exacerbate the challenges faced by Latinas in achieving financial independence. 


“Without access to resources and knowledge about managing finances effectively, Latinas are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to building wealth and securing their futures,” says Rodríguez. 

Addressing these barriers is crucial in empowering Latinas to overcome financial challenges and achieve economic stability. Providing opportunities for financial education, promoting equal pay policies, and advocating for policies that support wealth-building initiatives are essential steps toward creating a more equitable society.


As a LatinoLEAD community, it's important to recognize and address these issues head-on, advocating for change and supporting initiatives that promote financial empowerment for Latinas. By working together to dismantle barriers and create opportunities for economic advancement, we can strive towards a future where all Latinas have the resources and support they need to thrive financially.


Our speaker Brenda Iris Rodriguez-Mendlik, Personal Image Stylist from Mindful Styling, shared invaluable insights on style, color, and techniques to elevate executive presence, empowering attendees to present their best selves in their professional endeavors; while maintaining our cultura at the center. 


As highlighted by Rodriguez-Mendlik, our culture is rich with vibrant colors and styles that reflect its essence. However, it's unfortunate that many Latina leaders feel compelled to suppress their authenticity in the workplace, leading to a sense of disconnect between their true selves and their professional personas. According to research cited by Harvard Business Review, a significant majority of Latines (76%) feel the need to conceal aspects of their identity while at work. This includes modifying their appearance, body language, and community style, all of which are integral components of executive presence and leadership potential.


Unfortunately, the truth is that Latines who opt to alter their identities and adjust various aspects of their personalities are indeed seeing tangible outcomes. Those who invest considerable effort into suppressing their true selves are also more inclined to report rapid career advancement. However, this poses a significant dilemma—rewarding individuals for self-repression is ultimately detrimental to effective talent management strategies. At LatinoLEAD, we believe that organizations must prioritize creating inclusive environments where individuals feel empowered to embrace their authentic selves, fostering both personal fulfillment and organizational success. 


Rodriguez-Mendlik reminds us, “Do not compromise your style to fit a mold that was not made for you. As Latinas, we are dynamic individuals that deserve to outwardly express our personalities through our clothes and making lasting first impressions in rooms where we may not have envisioned ourselves within.” That is to say, our clothes speak for us and make up 80% of our unspoken language. The question becomes: what do we, as Latinas, want to communicate in the workplace (and to the rest of the world) with how we dress? 




LatinActivista 2024 was not just an event; it was a testament to the strength, resilience, and ambition of Latina leaders. As we commemorate International Women’s Month, we invite you to join us in celebrating the achievements and aspirations of Latinas everywhere. 


This was a packed-house event, so sign up to our monthly Nuestra Fuerza newsletter and subscribe to our social media channels today to secure your spot at our next event!





Let us know what you think about LatinActivista, what it offers you and what you want to see at the next one. Submit this form to share your thoughts with us!


Lastly, we want to extend our deepest appreciation to our remarkable partners, vendors, and volunteers. A heartfelt thank you goes out to our dedicated Network Engagement and Event Planning (NEEP) Committee members, Monica Romero, Marina Aguirre-Anthony, and Dr. Daisy Valentín, for their invaluable contributions to shaping this event. Among the standout moments of the day was the delightful brunch expertly prepared by Denise Zarate of the women-owned and operated Colibri Collective. Attendees savored a diverse selection of flavors while forging connections with fellow Latinas. Our gratitude also extends to Gustavo Rosso of Patagonia Visual Solutions for his exceptional photography capturing our headshots with finesse. We are equally thankful to our partners at Uptown Balloons for their elegant display, which added a touch of sophistication to the event space. Additionally, we are indebted to the St. Paul Fairview Community Hub, represented by Andrea Martinez & Maria Rebollar Vallejo, for graciously hosting LatinActivista 2024 and providing a warm and inviting atmosphere for our gathering. Last but certainly not least, we extend our appreciation to our dedicated LatinoLEAD interns, Belginy Lopez and Dayana Sinchi Sanchez, for their invaluable assistance on the day of the event.

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