How 1 Woman Strategically Used Her Talents to Go From ‘Top Model’ to Top Entrepreneur


Talk about a career change: Dominique Reighard-Brooks started on “America’s Next Top Model.” Today, she co-owns E.E. Ward, the oldest black-owned business in America.

Dominique Reighard-Brooks is a mover, in every sense of the word.

She is presently the co-owner of award-winning moving company E.E. Ward, which is also America’s oldest black-owned business. But her career began with a lengthy run on the popular reality show competition “America’s Next Top Model,” and soared when she graced the pages of publications like Ebony and Seventeen. Then, she signed on at E.E. Ward in 2014, working alongside her husband, Brian.

To the outside observer, it may appear as though Reighard-Brooks performed a professional 180. “It’s not the sexiest business,” she freely admits. But she finds plenty of crossover between modeling and moving.

“Being a self-starter, whether in the entertainment world or working in the logistics industry, means you’ve got to be willing to take action,” she explains. When you’re a model, singer and actress, you need to learn about marketing, self-promotion and persistence — all of which comes in handy when you’re running a company.

And in Reighard-Brooks’ case, when you’re trying to “enhance and re-energize the family business,” as she puts it, knowing a few secrets from the entertainment industry is helpful. After all, even a 138-year-old company needs to cultivate a fresh appearance on social media. Under her direction, E.E. Ward maintains an active — some might even say surprisingly glamorous, for a moving company — presence on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

In the years since Reighard-Brooks made her career change and joined E.E. Ward, the company has racked up a number of new awards for quality service, and she recently oversaw its first expansion outside of its home state of Ohio.

From Top Model to Top Entrepreneur

Reighard-Brooks was born and raised in the Columbus area by a family full of entrepreneurs, from her mother to her grandparents. At age 24, she found fame as a contestant on the 2008 cycle of “America’s Next Top Model.” Though she did not win the season — she placed fourth overall — her participation was a springboard into a busy modeling and performing career. In addition to appearing in popular magazines, she modeled for fragrance J’Adore and served as the face of Brooklyn beauty brand Carol’s Daughter.

[Related: Growing Carol’s Daughter in a Brooklyn Kitchen]

She relished those opportunities, but they frequently took her abroad, and she missed her husband and children while on shoots. So she contemplated a career change that would keep her closer to home. “I wanted to explore, evolve, and use other gifts and talents that were lying dormant,” she says. So, “I made a list of everything — every skill set, every relationship I’d developed over the years in entertainment, all of that.”

That personal assessment led her to team up with her husband, who had owned E.E. Ward since 2001 after buying it from his godfather, a member of the Ward family. Not everyone, of course, gets to choose such a relatively easy path into entrepreneurship. But Reighard-Brooks believed her experience would be an asset to the family business. “In my life, I’ve been a model, a singer, a writer, a video producer, a photo editor, a writer.” she says. “And I use all of those experiences in running the business.”

Reighard-Brooks helms a bustling operation. She manages a 50-person team — 70 strong when they hire part-time work during their busiest times — spread between its Columbus, Ohio headquarters and its Grove City, Ohio hub. Under her leadership, the company expanded outside Ohio to Charlotte, North Carolina. She declined to disclose revenue figures, but says the company handles several thousand moves and deliveries each year, for both residential and commercial clients.

In addition, Reighard-Brooks is responsible for all of the content E.E. Ward produces — from social media posts and marketing campaigns to the development of its video content. A striking figure with long brunette hair, she frequently appears on E.E.Ward’s Instagram feed as the face of the company.

And in yet another unusual move for a moving company, she has also tapped into her fashion experience to launch a clothing division called 1881 Apparel. Launched last year as an offshoot of E.E. Ward, the venture “pays homage to the Ward family legacy.” The company, which sells tees and sweaters, is in its earliest stages, but Reighard-Brooks believes it has the potential to elevate the E.E. Ward brand.

Creating a Ripple Effect

When she joined E.E. Ward, Reighard-Brooks says she was wanted to cultivate the company’s unique position in history as the longest-lasting black business. She has directed the company’s ongoing involvement in philanthropic endeavors, such as its Laps for Learning fundraiser at the local YMCA. It emphasizes pool safety and has provided 393 lessons for low-income children to date.

Continue onto The Story Exchange to read the complete article.


Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO Of Women’s World Banking, On The Future Of Impact Investing


As President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, Mary Ellen Iskenderianis passionate about bringing impactful financial services offerings to women across the globe. Throughout her early career in investment banking and financial services, Iskenderian says that questions like, “How many women are you serving?” and “Are women getting loans at the same size as men?” were never really asked – something that, through her work with WWB, she’s working to change.

Iskenderian started her career at Lehman Brothers, but soon realized that the role she was playing there didn’t allow her to make the kind of positive impact that she wanted to be able to through her finance career. Iskenderian was later accepted into the World Bank’s Young Professionals Program, where, during her time there, world events changed the path of her career forever. The Berlin Wall fell, and the World Bank was tasked with helping to rebuild public and private financial institutions. Iskenderian spent the next eight years working on stock exchanges, securities regulators, reclaiming financial systems, and largely serving as an advisor to Eastern Europeans companies in need of direction at that time. She also worked on the first IPO that was done on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (housed in the former KGB headquarters in Warsaw), which she calls “an extraordinary opportunity and an amazing moment in history.”

Iskenderian was later tapped as Director of South Asia for the International Finance Corporation – the private sector arm of the World Bank – where she was responsible for India and Pakistan. Four days into the job, 9/11 took place. She spent the next year in Pakistan, where she was responsible for building the first microfinance bank. It was there that she saw “the tremendous potential that an institution that was really willing to work at the base of the pyramid could have on changing people’s lives.”

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Athleta CEO Nancy Green On Building A Leading B Corp


A lot of companies self-identify as purpose-driven, especially these days in their quest to engage and retain millennials, women, and all the other humans who are evolutionarily driven to do work that contributes to positive change. But as critics have started pointing out (read this one in Fast Company or watch this summary of Winners Take All author Anand Giridharadas’s critique), a lot of these corporate purpose statements come from marketing or branding firms that are charged with creating a rallying cry for their clients and their employees.

As CEO Nancy Green is first to admit, Athleta has more to do in building truly sustainable and equitable supply chains, much less media portrayal of women or positive body image. But they’ve done a lot, and in the meantime, they’re “being real on what’s working, what’s not, and where we’re being challenged.”

Green grew up in an active family, surrounded by Olympic level athletes in a small New England town, where her own activity was not of global caliber, just a part of life. She skied from 2 years old, started hiking with her dad from the age of 7, then learned to sail, and played on her high school field hockey team. Now, she has raised her four kids to be very active too, and continues to ski and hike. And yes, she practices yoga too, which she recognizes is a great balance to the other outdoor things she does. Green says that these activities keep her grounded: “I need it in my life! I feel better in my body and in my head.”

Since Green came on as President in 2013 to grow Athleta, a niche brand that Gap Inc had acquired, she and her team have been thrilled at the positive feedback to their inclusive marketing images. They “deliberately went out and found people of all shapes and ages. We told their stories and shot them in their elements,” and consumers have responded fabulously. The big ‘purpose opportunity’ came to Green and her team when consumers started talking about their daughters. “Mothers referred to our catalog as a ‘magazine,’ and said it’s the only one they want to show to their daughters, because they wanted them to know that’s what health looks like,” Green recalled.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

These companies are making sure more women get promoted to management


Women tend to drop off the leadership track about 7-10 years into their careers. These companies are making sure they stay.

Patricia Clarke was looking at data come to life when she took stock of her workforce–and it wasn’t good. As chief talent officer for Havas Group, Clarke observed that among its 20,000 workers, female representation was dwindling higher up the corporate ladder.

“We had a lot of women in our business progressing from entry level to mid-level manager,” Clarke explains, “But we saw a slowdown [from] senior director promoted up to the first rank of executives.”

The most recent report from and McKinsey bore this out on a larger scale. It revealed that women are less likely to be hired into manager-level jobs, and even less likely to be promoted into them. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 79 women receive those promotions. This is why men end up holding 62% of manager positions, while women hold only 38%.  Further findings in the report indicate that if promotions and hires continue at this rate, the number of women in management will increase by just 1% over the next decade.

Yet making the business case for diversity has never been simpler. Many studies have pointed to the economic benefits of having more women advance to leadership. Most recently, a global study from DDI, the Conference Board, and EY found that companies with greater gender diversity are twice as likely to have their leaders work together to create new solutions and opportunities, 1.5 times more likely to work across an organization’s silos and exhibit a growth culture, and 1.7 times more likely to have strong leadership. Overall, the study revealed, gender diversity contributed to these companies being 1.4 times more likely to have sustained profitable growth.

At Havas, Clarke says, the awareness of the benefits of diversity was a major factor in taking a closer look at why women were dropping off the leadership track. Internal research and external data suggested that big changes were going on for women about seven to nine years into their careers. “A lot of women might see having a change in family life,” Clarke explains, or “they would be pleased with their role but not be aspirational.” Clarke says, “They were hard on themselves,” which made for a self-confidence gap along with the ambition gap. Sometimes though, she admits that outright bias was also in play.

The solution would need to be as complex as the many reasons that played into women being held back. “We wanted to tackle it in a way that was holistic,” she maintains. And it had to go beyond just some basic training seminars or workshops.

After extensive research and development, they launched Femmes Forward to advance women’s roles within the Havas and Vivendi networks in January 2018. It is a comprehensive learning program mix of skills-based training modules, professional leadership assessments, inspiration from internal and external thought leaders, group coaching, and networking with senior level sponsors that spans months with a “commitment circle” at the end to wrap things up and give the participants a solid goal to take with them.

Clarke says there are between 20 to 25 participants per cohort and they are chosen from among those at that crucial seven- to eight-year experience level where many drop off. They are high performers who are responsible for a team and are open to learning and development opportunities, both educational and inspirational, she says.

Each participant is assessed with Lumina Spark which is a psychometric profile tool before they move on to cover such topics as negotiation skills, having difficult conversations, conflict resolution, and leading with conviction and resilience, among others.


Support from within the company (from both male and female employees) is crucial to making these programs work. A survey by FTI Consulting and Mine The Gap that polled 4,764 professional women and 1,030 professional men in the industries of technology, finance, legal, energy, and health care found a critical enthusiasm gap for initiatives like provide executive and leadership coaching to senior‐level women and establishing and funding formal career progression plans including sponsorship programs for women to keep them engaged. On the programs, 74% of women and 64% of men thought they were important, but when it came to ranking the importance of funding training, etc., 74% of women and 59% of men found it important.

That gap in support can make or break a program’s success. However, other factors can play into whether these efforts to develop female leaders have a sustainable impact. Fast Company spoke to other organizations who have put programs like this into place. LinkedIn, for instance, had the Women in Tech (WIT) Empower initiative, which was led by Kamini Dandapani back in 2014. “We organized many different kinds of events, such as external guest speakers, leadership workshops, and speed mentoring,” Dandapani wrote at the time. But she confessed that even though the support from senior leadership was there and the amount of time and resources that were poured into it, “this program, did not succeed to the level we had expected.” She said that was because the events weren’t part of a single overarching program, and ultimately didn’t have “the long-lasting and actionable impact on the participants that we wanted.”

After regrouping to get feedback and do more research, LinkedIn created WIT Invest in 2016. This is an ongoing four-month program that focuses on accelerating the growth of women in engineering, operations, and product at LinkedIn. Their applications are blind (meaning their names have been removed to eliminate any bias). As Dandapani put it, “The program focuses on providing consistent opportunities–from networking meetings, mentor check-ins, and executive coaching sessions–for participants to regularly focus on transforming themselves and their careers.

Bank of America’s (BoA) Women’s Executive Development Program underwent a similar transformation. It began as a one week, in‐person event in 2010, but was expanded in 2016 to a 10‐month experience including assessments, in‐person, and ongoing virtual development sessions, executive sponsorship and local market engagement opportunities to advance the careers of female participants. BoA’s Womens’ Next Level Leadership Program is an eight‐month virtual development experience focused on the unique challenges multicultural women face in progressing their careers, piloted in 2016, and rolled out to 170 participants in 2017.

“From our 2017 class, 100% of participants agreed that the program was a valuable use of their time and 96% indicated they would be able to apply what they learned to achieve their career goals,” says Sheri Bronstein, BoA’s global Human Resources executive. Currently, women make up more than 50% of its global workforce, more than 40% of its managers, and more than 40% of its global management team.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

This Latina Started A Studio With Her Family And Became One Of NYC’s Top Trainers In The Process


Samantha Ortiz started a business before even realizing she started a business. A couple of times a week, her sister and her sister’s best friend would find themselves in the Ortiz family living room getting ready to be led in a workout by Samantha. Thanks to social media and personal referrals,what started with just the three of them slowly grew into more structured classes — and this was the beginning of Triple Threat Bootcamp, or the Ortiz family business.

“I outgrew my parents’ living room,” explained Samantha Ortiz. “I had to start running bootcamp classes in public parks and [eventually] I rented a small studio on the 3rd floor of a building, but [even that] still didn’t feel like home to me. I had this image in my head of having a fitness studio designed with monkey bars, a slam wall, a view overlooking Brooklyn, equipment all around the room and a place where my clients could call home. A few months after renting the small studio, my family and I were driving up Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and as we stopped at a light, I looked up and saw a “for rent” sign. We called and the rest is history.”

Samantha’s mother, Aileen Ortiz, who now serves as President and CEO of TTB, never doubted the why behind her daughter’s decision because she related to it herself.

“I was motivated by the vision of seeing the three of us using our talents and skills to bring a healthy lifestyle to others,” shared Aileen. “My interest in healthy living began 26 years ago and I instilled that in my girls from a young age.”

The duo is rounded out by Christine Ortiz, Samantha’s sister and the studio’s Operation Manager and co-owner.

“We have always believed in health and wellness,” shared Christine Ortiz. “Combining fitness and nutrition was a no brainer once Samantha became a trainer. We wanted to impact more people in our community and be pioneers of female fitness entrepreneurship.”

With their mother at the helm, the studio has grown to be a staple in their Brooklyn neighborhood and has provided a platform for others to experience Samantha’s training style. This year, for a second year in a row, Classpass (the flexible fitness membership app) recognized Samantha as one of its top fitness instructors in New York City.

The recognition serves to underscore how Samantha’s mission behind TTB has simply been amplified as its grown.

“I was inspired to open Triple Threat Bootcamp because motivating others to be the best versions of themselves has always been my passion,” says Samantha Ortiz. “I felt like it was my mission to bring fitness and health to my community.”

Below Samantha shares more insight on what it has been like running a business with her mom and sister, what advice she has for other Latinas, and what she would do differently.

Vivian Nunez: What advice do you have for any Latinas who are looking to break into fitness and the business world?

Samantha Ortiz:I love to remind my fellow Latinas that anything is possible. Being Latina in the fitness industry and owning a fitness studio with your family (mom and sister) isn’t normal by any means but that’s what I love about it. You don’t have to follow the crowd, you can create your own lane. Don’t be afraid to go after what fuels your soul. Even if you don’t know everything, you will learn along the way. Life is about taking chances and learning from every experience. Last piece of advice, network. Go to events, reach out to people who are in your field of work. There’s nothing like being surrounded by like minded people.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

How This 24-Year-Old Former NYSE Equity Trader Made History


At 22 years old, Lauren Simmons shattered the glass ceiling by being the youngest and only full-time female equity trader on Wall Street for Rosenblatt Securities. Affectionately dubbed as the “Lone Woman On Wall Street”, Simmons was also the second African-American woman in history to sport the prestigious badge.

Graduating Kennesaw State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in genetics and a minor in statistics, Simmons originally aspired to go into genetic counseling. She made a decision to put that on hold. What had not changed, however, was her passion to move to New York City, where networking led her to meet Richard Rosenblatt, the CEO of Rosenblatt Securities. Beyond her many qualifications, it was ultimately Simmons’ confidence that led Rosenblatt to take her under his wing as an Equity Trader.

“Being a trader, you make decisions within microseconds,” Simmons said on meeting Rosenblatt, “So I think for him, even for me, the choice of coming onto the trading floor made sense immediately.”

The job wasn’t completely hers; she still had to pass the Series 19 exam, which is a requirement for all floor brokers to earn their badge. This test has a pass rate of 20% in a class of 10. After studying the book cover to cover for a month straight. Lauren Simmons made history. Since her story broke Lauren Simmons has been featured in various media outlets and currently, she has a movie on her journey to Wall Street starring Kiersey Clemons.

I spoke to Simmons about her journey to Wall Street, favorite moments on the trading floor and what the financial service industries can do to increase diversity and inclusion.

Dominique Fluker: Share your career journey. What inspired you to become an Equity Trader on Wall Street?

Lauren Simmons: My journey was the power of networking. I moved to New York with a genetics degree knew I wanted to do something completely different and networked like crazy. I had many people tell me no or that I didn’t have any direction because I was making the switch from genetics to statistics. And although I didn’t know what that role looked like. I was serious about it involving numbers. Ultimately becoming an equity trader was something that chose me. A job was offered to me, and I said yes. And as simple as that decision was most people often don’t say yes to roles that they once did not have training or schooling in.

Fluker: At 22 years old, you became the youngest, only full-time female employee and second-ever African-American woman working as a trader at the New York Stock Exchange. Share your process on how you broke the black ceiling.

Simmons: I never looked at my gender/race/age as a factor. At 22 I became the youngest trader (the media caught on after I had turned 23) or even imagined that I would be making history. I just wanted to do well in the role that I was given. My first month I studied for series 19 for a month straight. Didn’t talk to anyone. Originally the exam was something that anyone could pass. From what I was told you went into a room and they gave you the answers, but after the exchange went public and the exam was administered through FINRA it was a real exam. Many of the advice I was given was to just skim through the headlines of the chapters, and I would be just fine. Considering the fail rate was 80% I studied the book cover to cover. And I passed. Making history I didn’t find out till months later when I signed my name into the book, and an NYSE archivist went in front of the room with the audience and my family and informed the crowd I was the second African American women. And that moment was amazing to share with my family. And also bittersweet that in 225 I was the second African American. Amazing but eerie that things like this are still being accomplished in 2017 or 2000 anything.

Fluker: What did you love most about statistics and working on the New York Stock Exchange?

Simmons: Statistics is a universal language and through my college education of genetics and even using statistics in high school when I was going through the architectural engineering program I fell in love with numbers. Being able to interpret data to relay that information to clients was an exciting process.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

AWIS Names Sandra W. Robert, New CEO


The National Governing Board of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) names Sandy W. Robert, CAE, as its new CEO. AWIS is the leading advocate for women in STEM. Robert starts at AWIS on January 22, 2019.

“We are excited to have Sandy Robert lead AWIS as we build on our legacy as well as embark on a path of new and innovative opportunities,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, PhD, president of the AWIS National Governing Board. “Her unique and extensive background in transformative strategic leadership and management will advance the mission and goals of AWIS. Most importantly, Sandy will continue to work closely with our global network of more than 100,000 STEM leaders, members, allies and partners to achieve equity and parity across all disciplines and employment sectors.”

Robert has more than 25 years of experience, having held senior executive leadership positions at high profile national scientific societies and educational institutions. Robert was the first executive director at the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE), the premier society of engineering and scientific association leaders in the U.S. She also served in senior level management roles at the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and Eastern Michigan University. Her areas of expertise include revenue and financial development, environmental scanning and market analysis, strategic and operational planning, and board relations and governance. Robert earned a BA from the University of Michigan and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE).

“I am honored to serve the women who are advancing the world through their talents as STEM professionals, and to work with the outstanding Board and staff of AWIS to support their achievements” said Robert. “As we face the continued pressures of social, political, and environmental change, we need to ensure the access and equity of all talented professionals to the table, and AWIS is uniquely positioned to play a key leadership role in doing so.  I am eager, at this pivotal time in our history, to convene the AWIS community in collaboration with like-minded partners, toward impactful change for women’s success in STEM professions.”


About AWIS:
The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is a global network with 80 grassroots chapters and affiliates connecting more than 100,000 professionals in STEM with members, allies and supporters worldwide. Founded in 1971, AWIS has been the leading advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. To learn more, visit and follow us @AWISNational on Twitter and Facebook.

Under Armour hires former Harley-Davidson exec to serve as chief culture officer


In the wake of a promise to revamp its corporate culture, Under Armour said Wednesday that it has hired a Harley-Davidson Inc. veteran in an executive role as chief people and culture officer.

Tchernavia Rocker, who worked at Harley-Davidson for 22 years, will lead human resources and direct a culture strategy. She will report to founder and CEO Kevin Plankand start next month.

Under Armour’s previous head of human resources, Kerry D. Chandler, left the brand in November to take on a similar role at Endeavor, a Beverly Hills-based talent agency focused on sports, entertainment and fashion.

“Tchernavia brings deep industry experience in building best in class HR operations while developing strong workplace culture rooted in brand, values and transparency,” Plank said in an announcement. “We truly have the best team on the planet driving our business, and our investment in their careers is a top priority.”

Rocker spent more than 18 years in leadership roles at Harley-Davidson, most recently as vice president and chief human resources officer. Before that, she worked in human resources and operations roles at Goodyear Dunlop North America Tire Inc.

The Baltimore-based sports apparel and footwear maker has said it is working to transform its culture amid scrutiny of the #MeToo movement.

Continue onto the Baltimore-Sun to read the complete article.

Visa’s CMO and CCO Lynne Biggar never, ever checks a bag


As Visa’s chief marketing officer and chief communications officer, Lynne Biggar flies around the world overseeing all of Visa’s branding, sponsorship, communications, and marketing activities. As a veteran traveler who spent years on the road with Time Inc. and American Express before joining Visa, she seems even busier when she’s off the clock–spending her free time climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, for example.

Here the executive reveals her tips and tools for getting the most out of every day.

Where do you go to relax and recharge?

I recharge not by a place per se, but by giving myself a physical challenge. I’ve climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, walked (part of) the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and this summer I hiked through the Dolomites in Italy. I recharge by getting out into nature, going somewhere remote, and ideally, somewhere I’ve never been before.

What travel tips do you swear by?

I travel nearly every week for work, so I have a well-honed regimen I go by:

  • The minute I get on the plane, I set my watch to the time where I am going and act accordingly.
  • I rarely watch the movies and instead pop in my earbuds and use the time to work.
  • I always try to pay only digitally (with Visa, of course). I find that I can travel to nearly any country in the world and, except for tips, rarely need to take out local currency. That way, I’m not left holding unused money that I won’t ever spend again.
  • I often buy flowers to make myself feel more at home in a hotel.
  • No matter how long I will be gone, I will only carry-on.

What’s a product that you are currently in love with?

My Fitbit Ionic. It’s truly an all-purpose device that keeps me honest with my fitness routine while having to maintain a very heavy travel schedule, tells me how much sleep I get (or don’t get), and perhaps most importantly, let’s me make payments without carrying my Visa card—including my morning Starbucks!

What classic product do you believe nobody’s ever improved upon?

While my daily calendar is organized digitally on my phone/computer, I like to keep a long-term view organized on an old-school, paper, month-by-month calendar. I travel with it and refer to it often when having to schedule things that are further afield, as it’s tough to see the big picture on your phone.

What’s your on switch?

The second my feet touch the ground, my mind starts running and I start naturally trying to find solutions for the unsolved problems from the days before and cycling through my to-do list. I feel fortunate that it has always been this simple for me to get going in the morning.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How Knowing Her Worth Is Helping This CEO Build A Latinx Lifestyle Brand


Patty Delgado understands Latina millennials living in America and who are trying to pursue their own version of the American dream because that is what her own hustle consists of. She navigated self-employment and working freelance in the design space after she graduated from college and eventually that transitioned into the new business she helms — Hija de tu Madre.

The Latina lifestyle brand celebrates a generation’s entrepreneurial drive while honoring the phrases and cultural realities that helped mold them. Delgado’s product line started with clothing and accessories and has now moved into the home office space.

“Back in 2016 I had a little idea for a jacket: a denim jacket embellished with a sequin design of La Virgen de Guadalupe,” shares Delgado. “With $500, just enough to make 30 jackets, I started my little ecommerce business called Hija de tu Madre. Once I started, I knew HDTM had the potential to reach a large untapped market: Latinas.”

In just two years, Delgado has gone from being entirely an online experience to having an office and showroom headquartered in Los Angeles. This year she plans to host events — panels, workshops, and networking opportunities — in the space and make it a larger cultural experience.

“We’re a $1.7 trillion dollar industry, but the business world doesn’t treat us as the superpower that we are,” shares Delgado. “Latinas are still the lowest paid labor group. How is it that we’re one of the greatest U.S. buying powers but with the greatest wage gap? With this political climate, and anti-Mexican and Central American sentiment, it’s my responsibility to create a Latinx safe space. Hija de tu Madre will continue to remind our community that our culture matters, and that we aren’t going anywhere.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

This Latina Nike VP On Why She Sets Aside Three Hours A Week To Mentor Others


Andrea Perez is a Nike MVP if you will. This year she will be walking into her 16th year with the company having grown stronger, more dedicated to the brand, and more aware of her own skillsets with every year that passed.

Now, as Nike’s Vice President and General Manager of Global Brand Jordan for women and kids, Perez wants other Latinas to step into their power and into big dreams of their own.

“My advice for Latinas when connecting with others is to be very proud of who you are and what you represent and bring that to the table when establishing relationships,” shares Perez. “Also bring people up with you — for some of us it was a difficult ride to get to where we are at now, so let’s make sure to pave the road and invite others in.”

Perez’s love of sports dates back to her time as a varsity soccer and softball player and only grew into a commitment to a brand that championed all she believed sports and advertising should be.

“As a female athlete growing up in Mexico, I never felt as respected as the male athletes,” shares Perez. “However, in 1998, one company was completely changing the game – Nike. Nike was truly speaking to girls like me, through Mia Hamm and the 99’ers, through Jackie Joyner Kersee and launching numerous campaigns that I really connected with. I was only in high school, but I knew then that I wanted to work for a place like that and began creating Nike ads in my notebooks. It truly was the only place I ever wanted to work.”

Her time at Nike has afforded her the opportunity to mentor others who may want to walk on the same path. Every week Perez sets aside three hours of her time and dedicates it to meeting with those who want her advice on any aspect of their careers.

“I advise my mentees to come to meetings with something to talk about,” states Perez. “A lot of people want to establish relationships and the first thing they ask you is ‘tell me your story.’ I find that that question can be less valuable than coming with a specific question on how to help oneself. I start my meetings asking people a little bit about their background followed by ‘how can I help you?’. The sharper they are in their answer and their ask, the better the answer and insight they can receive from me.”

Below Perez shares more advice she gives to Latinas, what she’s learned through her 3-hours a week mentorship sessions, and why a career at Nike has been as dynamic as it’s been long.

Vivian Nunez: How have you fostered such a long career at the same company? 

Andrea Perez: Two reasons: Nike’s brand values and the ability to have a diverse career within one company. Regarding Nike’s values, I truly believe that life is better with sport. Not just the health benefits, but everything it brings to people’s lives, especially young women. To be in a place where I come to work every day and I feel like I’m contributing to that belief, it’s massive for me. Second, the ability to have a very diverse career. Nike is a really big company. There are three different brands within Nike Inc.: Nike, Jordan and Converse. Nike also has a variety of different functional areas from innovation, to marketing, to our Community Impact group, to Air manufacturing, to Valiant Labs. And offices all over the world. You truly can have an amazingly diverse career.

Nunez: You worked your way up at Nike and now serve as the Global GM of Jordan Women and Kid’s — what has been your biggest lesson learned through that journey? 

Perez: When I was working in Nike Mexico, our GM – a man named Cristian Corsi, had a sign in his office that said: “the desk is the worst place from where to see the world”.  I truly think that’s the best lesson anyone gave me. To be open to what’s happening outside your desk – with your team, with the other teams, with the organization, with the industry, with the consumer, with the world- is what truly makes you expand your mind and see opportunities. Personally, I think it also makes us better humans.

Nunez: What motivated you to set aside three hours of your time every week for mentorship? 

Perez: A lot of people have helped me out in journey at Nike. I had people that took their time to teach me, to give me projects, to support me, even to read my business school applications. I truly owe those people and feel I can do that by helping others out and paying it forward. Conducting mentorship meetings at determined hours of the week helps me keep control of my caledar and be centered before meeting people so that I can focus on the person I am speaking with and not veer off from the conversation or think about my to do list.

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