Saturday, November 28, 2015

Arilyn I. Martinez Cora, Filmmaker and Director, Interview by Laura Rosado

What do you need to be a leader?
To be a leader you need to listen and pay attention to the situations that need to be resolved. It is also necessary to have a good team, which you could delegate and divided the responsibilities to work as a team and as a result become successful in any project.

What inspired you in your life?
My inspiration comes from my parents, especially my mother who was oppressed in a given moment of her career and she took the oppression and converted in positivism and she decided to go back to school and she did a master and that education gave her the opportunity to reach higher positions and eliminated the oppression.

Does being Hispanic/Latina have any influence on your business?
Yes because my target are the Latino community specially the teenagers and the women.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?

When there are obstacles in the way I think a lot about the problem and I talked to my friends about it and also to myself to see how I can the problem then I write down things what I can do to fix the problem and that helps me to be back on track and continued in a positive way.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?

The biggest challenge is to find finance for my projects.

What was your childhood ambition?
As a teenager I wanted to be an actress. I try multiple times but it didn’t work and I decided to work behind scenes, which I enjoy the most.

Tell us about three leaders that you admire.
Jenifer Lopez because she started from zero until she created her own empire.
Carolina Herrera because her dedication led her to maintain her career as a great designer.
Sila Maria Calderon the first woman governor in Puerto Rico that although many people talked negative things about her; she helped the poor communities bringing art through education and that’s something that I have not seen in other governments.
Oprah because even thought she passed trough a lot of struggled she move forward on a positive way helping others and herself.

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
For business meetings I prefer breakfast because the mind is fresh and ready to process new information. But there are times that if its hard to meet because of the tight schedules I don’t mind to meet at any time if it is to improve my projects.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
I have to say be mind it and have my feet on the ground and be realistic about the money. Things that I can do and things that I cannot so my money could long last.

What is your favorite quote?
Everyday is an opportunity to succeed by me.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Here in NY no but in Puerto Rico yes. Here in NY I surround myself with people who are in the entertainment world and it is normal to see people like me and a little bit different to me but talented. The good thing is that we all accept each other as we are. I come from a small town in Guayama, Puerto Rico where people have regular schedules and normal jobs and they don’t understand much the meaning of filmmaker but I explain to them sometimes they understand other times they don’t understand much I just laugh sometimes get harder t como yo y hasta un poco diferentes a mi pero talentosos y lo bueno es que todos nos aceptamos como somos. Ahora en Puerto Rico es distinto vengo de un pueblo pequeño Guayama, PR donde las personas tienen horarios regulares y trabajos comunes y no entienden mucho lo que conlleva ser cineasta pero me la paso explicándoles y pues de manera jocosa ahí veces que entienden ahí veces que no entienden jejeje.

Biggest mistake made?
I think that the mayor mistake that I have done was not trusting my team in the past. This something that I say on the Q & A is very important to believe in the people that we have around. They shake hands every day. It is important to listen and believe in the people that are around us that is the only way to achieve success.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I think I am an innovative because with my projects I expose women from another point of view.  Exposing the reality of our lives, how we really are, how do we feel, how do we struggle and how we become stronger, and how do we succeed on our daily lives.

About the Artist:

Right now I’m a filmmaker and my director statement is to teach and persuade teenagers and women through images and films that convey a positive way to make the right decisions in their daily life. Also I’m improving my skills as writer, director and producer on my own projects but I will like to open up and work for other people in the film industry. Which I do now as a production assistance.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lin Manuel Miranda >

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Actor,Composer, Playwrite, Lyrist and Rapper. Interview by Laura Rosado of PlanetM

1) What is it that you need to be a leader?
I don’t think of myself as a leader.  I think of myself as a collaborator.  That’s the fun of creating theater. That by definition, you cannot do it alone.  I work with directors and choreographers, and other writers, and I play a very specific role - and I am very aware of the role I play.  I think that’s the most important gift that a leader can bring to any project - the ability to get everyone talking and on the same page, and the best idea in the room wins.  A leader is not afraid of where the idea comes from, but recognizes what the right idea is, and implements it. 

2) What are some of the things that have inspired you in your life?
Everything in life has truly inspired me.  And as an artist, that’s my job.  An artist’s job is to be inspired, to fall in love with that story so good, that you feel you are the only one who can tell it… that the melody or song in your head can only come to you, not to anyone else.
Our job as artists is to be open.  Sometimes that’s difficult, because sometimes you want to shut down, and you don’t want to let anything in.  But artists must let everything in.  And then, the stuff that sticks, that’s the stuff that we are meant to make. 

3) Does being a Hispanic have an influence in the work you do? 
Everything about me has an influence on the work I do!  I think that growing up Latino, in a Latino neighborhood, speaking Spanish and English… all of it informs my work.  I think that even when the subject matter of what I’m writing about isn’t “quote unquote” Latino, I think that there is a sensibility there, which is informed by my Latino upbringing, that is a part of who I am.

4) What is the biggest challenge that you face?
The biggest challenge that I face, is the challenge that all artists face: which is recognizing the right idea to run with.  Musicals take a long time, so you can start working on one, and three years down the road realize: “Oh, this isn’t it.”  As artists, we fall in love with our work for our living, and sometimes projects don’t work out.  But any artist’s challenge is to nurture an idea from it being just an idea, followed by the hard work of building the infrastructure, of building the thing – it’s own thing.

5) If you could change anything about what you do, what would it be?
I would make theater ticket prices cheaper!  That’s easier said than done, obviously, and that’s actually not my job as an artist.  My job is to write the shows, not produce them.  And things are expensive to produce.  But luckily, there are ways to make theater tickets afforfable.  For example, we recently announced a new initiative by the Rockefeller Foundation, that will provide tickets for “Hamilton” to 20,000 New York City students.  It would be great to see initiatives like this expand  and grow.

6 )What was a childhood ambition of yours?
I wanted to be either a Hollywood movie director, or a Hollywood stuntman.  But then I realized that I didn’t like getting hurt or going fast, so the stuntman idea went out the window.  Later, I discovered that I was always making up songs, and then at some point, I turned in that direction; and ran with it. 

7) Three leaders that you admire:
Martin Luther King:  I admire his mix of compassion, and urgency and social justice.  He was able to harness a lot of conflicting and really tough challenges, into an amazing movement.

Broadway Director Hal Prince:  He is the inventor of the “getting everybody in the room and on the same page” approach to stage directing and leadership.  His notion of “the best idea in the room wins” can be applied in all aspects of life.

Rubén Blades:  He has been a songwriter, an actor, a politician.  He just kind of does whatever he thinks he should be doing next.  And that is the mark of a true artist.  He doesn’t plan his career by what “looks good” or what’s “hot” at the moment.  It is about what’s inside him that he feels he must do.  And I hope I find that same internal compass. 

8) Business meetings preference – 
I love a good lunch meeting!  I never think of dinner meetings because I’m always doing a show!

9) Sacrifices that you have made to become successful at what you do?
The sacrifice is always time.  It takes a long time to write shows.  It takes a long time to make art.  And the only way to minimize that sacrifice, is to surround yourself with people who love you, who understand what your work is, and “get” what you are doing.  Even if that means a little bit less time for them.  I am married to a wonderful woman who is passionate about her own field practice.  If I am off writing all-night, she is off working too, and we come back, and find each other at the end of the day.

10) Favorite Quote:
“This Too Shall Pass” – It is my mother’s favorite quote.  It is true in the good times and the bad times.  It is just true.

11) Is it difficult to be unconventional? 
I don’t set out to be unconventional.  I think that leadership and success come from finding your “internal compass” – finding the things that you want to put into the world, and feel uniquely suited to do or to create.  That is very hard, but finding that story that you feel uniquely suited to tell or write is essential.

12) Description about the Company/Artist

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hispanic business leaders endorse Bill King for mayor

With about a month to go before the runoff election for Houston mayor, candidate Bill King is getting new endorsements.

Today, Hispanic leaders from Houston's business community announced their endorsement. Former City Council members James Rodriguez and Feliz Fraga also offered their support.

King says his new endorsements know a fiscal conservative is needed to address the city's finances.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Local Hispanic business leaders talk millennials, familia, road bumps and opportunity

District Taco co-owner and CEO Osiris Hoil received some good advice not long after he came to the U.S.: “You don’t need to work hard; you need to work smart.”

When Hoil couldn’t afford a formal education to learn English on his restaurant salary, working 70 hours a week, he found his own way. After his shifts, around 10 p.m., the 18-year-old would spend time in the restaurant’s bar, talking to people.

“The drunk people were teaching me the words that I’d need to know,” Hoil said lightheartedly but sincerely at the D.C. Hispanic Impact Summit on Friday, drawing laughter from the audience.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Profiles of Success recognizes Latino leaders in metro Phoenix

Valley leaders serving the Latino community took center stage Friday in the annual Profiles of Success program. The awards event is organized by Valle del Sol, a non-profit organization for the Hispanic community in the Phoenix metro area.

The group honored 12 individuals and businesses for their work serving the Latino community. During the ceremony, they also honored former Gov. Raul Castro, the first and only Latino to hold the state’s top office, who died in April.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jhoni the Voice >

Jhoni the Voice, Singer

What do you need to be a leader?
You need to have a vision. A point - where you see yourself leading and visualize yourself as that person. 

What inspired you in your life? 
GOD and the people around me, my environment inspires me.

Does being Hispanic/Latino have any influence on your business? 
Absolutely, my roots trace to the Dominican Republic and it’s something that I take everywhere with me.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead? 
I try to not think about it, I have faith in myself and my team, I don’t think about the problem I think about the solution.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
It’s trying to get the public to listen to something brand new. Something that’s different to what’s on the radio, so it has to be done right. New music, it doesn’t happen over night but it can be done.

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
I wouldn’t really change anything, but I’d do more for sure.

What was your childhood ambition? 
To be one of the greatest singers.

Tell us about three leaders that you admire.
Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln – they truly changed the world for many and definitely, Da Vinci, he was completely out of his mind and out of this world.

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? 

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
Selling my life to people. A lot of artists don’t realize that your main product is your life and it’s truly a sensitive matter– but it’s real and it has to be done if you want to succeed as an artist.

What is your favorite quote? 
“It’s progress not perfection.”

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
No, definitely not for me.

Biggest mistake made?
Falling in love too young.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes, because I don’t like the norm,  and since that’s one of the main qualities in an innovator, I know that it’s about stepping outside of the box to redefine something and I’m comfortable with that.

About the Artist:
See Jhoni biography here

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ruben Diaz Jr. >

Ruben Diaz, Jr Bronx Borough President. 

1) What do you need to be leader?

Leading by example is key. Sometimes you have to show your constituents that you are willing to make the same sacrifices that you are asking of them in order to achieve overall success. A good example is our "#Not62" campaign, where we are emphasizing to the residents of The Bronx to live healthier lifestyles. It would not make sense for me to ask this of Bronxites, preach about the importance of healthy eating and exercise, and then I do the exact opposite. Nothing wrong with indulging with a cupcake here or there but a key component of "#Not62" is showing off the different ways to be healthy via social media.

2) Being Hispanic...Does it have any influence on your business?
Considering that 54.6% of The Bronx's population is Hispanic and considering that 37.6% of businesses owned in the borough are owned by Hispanics, absolutely, it does have an influence on how I go about business. Being bilingual, as well as being born and raised in The Bronx, I can make a connection with Bronx residents. Growing up in the burning Bronx of the 1970's and the 1980's, I have gone through similar experiences as a large portion of my constituents, helping me in understanding the needs of the community.

3) In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I don't believe in quitting, I believe in finding solutions. Because I have a lot of people depending on the decisions that I make, I cannot afford to cower to adversity. All you can do is keep going, pushing for results.

4) If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
If I could change one thing, I would have it so that whenever we go through the ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Process], the public review process, that the borough presidents have veto power. The ULURP is whenever you have a project that is going to be developed on public property, and it has gone through the Request For Proposal process (RFP), or you need re-zoning – whether up-zone or down-zone an area – you have to go through the community board, the borough president and then the City Council. Currently, if the borough president is against a project, he or she can be overruled by the Council or the planning board. So I would have it where the borough presidents would have veto power.

I would also change that our budget be autonomous, being that we get elected by the people of our borough.

5) What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be an NBA basketball player. I was going to be a New York Knick in my mind.

6) Tell us about three people that you admire?
The three people I admire the most are my son, Ruben Diaz III – my son is just the best person on the planet. I admire U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and I admire NBA legend Magic Johnson.

7) For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I prefer lunch meetings. I'm more of an introvert in the morning and when I have meeting at night, sometimes they can go on longer than you expect. At lunch, you're just sharper and you have more pep in your step.

8) What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I sacrificed being around my wife when we were a young married couple. I got first elected into public office at the age of 23. I ran for office for the very first time at the age of 22. I sacrificed being around my sons. I was up in Albany, during my time on the State Assembly, three or four days a week, six to seven months out of the year for 13 years. That's a lot of sacrifices on your family time.

9) What is your favorite quote?
I have a lot of favorite quotes. Most recently, I used a quote in my "State of the Borough" address from former New York Governor the late Mario Cuomo's 1984 National Democratic Convention speech: "We believe in a government strong enough to use words like 'love' and 'compassion' and smart enough to convert our noblest aspirations into practical realities."

10)  Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I believe in this line of work, you have to be innovative, always thinking outside the box. There are always pitfalls along the way, especially dealing with different personalities, various groups and various entities with their own set of goals that require innovative thinking in order to find solutions everyone can live with. You have to be quick on your feet, navigating past those obstacles in order to do what's best for your constituents.

11)  A brief description of the Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City, with a population of 1.4 million people, and is home to the largest Hispanic population in the city. Since I was elected as Bronx Borough President, in 2009, we've seen unprecedented, transformative growth having built nearly 16,000 new units of housing, and created more than 15,000 new jobs, with unemployment down nearly five percent and investments record highs. We have seen a lot of success and growth during my tenure office and we will continue to build on these successes in the coming years.

See Mr. Mr. Ruben Diaz Jr. Biography

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Election 2016: No Republican Candidates Addressing Hispanic Advocacy Conference

WASHINGTON -- If the GOP thinks they’re going to win more Hispanic voters in 2016, they appear to have decided that speaking at large gatherings of Latino leaders isn’t the way to go. None of the 2016 candidates will address the annual convention of the National Council of La Raza -- the largest Latino advocacy group -- being held next week in Kansas City, Missouri, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Republicans have long contended that winning Hispanics is key to winning the White House, as Latinos are the fastest growing constituency in the country. And President Barack Obama was able to secure his victory thanks to winning the Hispanic vote by a more than 36 point margin in 2008 and 44 point margin in 2012.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

The Advantages of a Diverse Board

There’s little question that the executive suites and boardrooms of America’s top companies have diversified over the past two decades. Plenty of research shows the increasing differences in gender, ethnicity, social class, and cultural background of directors and corporate officers at large firms. Proponents of diversity in business argue that minority leaders can provide unique insights and broaden their firms’ knowledge networks, bringing their varied perspectives to bear on the complex decision-making process that occurs at the board level.

However, most of these studies have focused on how diversity at the apex of a company can show up in relatively broad measures of corporate performance, such as stock returns in the wake of a minority executive’s appointment or the perceived ability to employ a more multicultural workforce. As a result of this wide-angle view, the findings have been fairly ambiguous and inconsistent.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Raul Gonzalez >

Raul Gonzalez, Sr. Business Development Manager, Microsoft Corporation

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Having a different background makes it easier to have a different point of view, different sensitivities. This is especially valuable when analyzing potential new opportunities and when interacting with other cultures.
I do not consider this a uniquely Hispanic advantage, but rather available to anybody who willing to open him/herself up and truly immerse into a culture other than his/hers.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Challenges should not come unexpected. You need to devise a plan and have a course of action before you reach the point you need it. Granted, some situations cannot be predicted, but even then you need to have a broad idea of what to do in such cases; only then you’ll be able to make the right, and sometimes hard, non-emotional- decisions needed in moments of distress.
When things don’t go as expected, I stop and breathe, review what assumption(s) was/were incorrect, and make the best decision that I can at the moment; aware that my decision is only as good as the clarity of my goals and the quality and quantity of information that I have access to at that moment. Once the crisis has been adverted, I review and learn from it.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Breaking out from the comfort of a “stable” professional life. There was one point in my career, when I was doing Software Engineering work, where my basic professional needs –income, life-balance, career trajectory, etc.- were covered; however something was not right. After some soul searching I realized I was very interested in the marketing and the strategic business aspects of the company and decided to pursue my MBA and do a complete overhaul of my career. 

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I would have taken bigger risks and paid more attention to my intuition. 

What was your childhood ambition?
Be an astronaut.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
Sir Richard Brandson
Bill Gates
Pope Francis

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Time with family and friends.

What is your favorite quote?
“Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little” – John Muir

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
It is not if you truly trust yourself; however it is impossibly hard if you hesitate and try to comply with the status quo.

Biggest mistake made?
Solely doing what I thought was right as opposed to what it felt right.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?.
I have an Engineering background, and by definition engineers are innovators, they see the world and constantly find ways to improve it. For me in particular discovering new opportunities, devising new strategies or creating new products and offerings are activities that bring me a tremendous satisfaction in my life.

About the Company
Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics and personal computers and services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, Microsoft Office office suite, and Internet Explorer web browser. Its flagship hardware products are Xbox game console and the Microsoft Surface series of tablets. It is the world's largest software maker measured by revenues. It is also one of the world's most valuable companies.
Source: Wikipedia 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

National Latino convention coming to Utah July 7-11

SALT LAKE CITY — Next month, tens of thousands of Latino activists and business leaders from around the country will descend on the Beehive State for a week of seminars and community building.

To make the week run smoothly, organizers seek volunteers for the League of United Latin American Citizens 2015 National Convention and Exposition at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City from July 7-11.

The convention will be the organization’s 86th national event, expected to bring around 20,000 people to Utah.

The convention addresses issues of the Latino community, as well as subgroups such as women, veterans and youth.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

25 Most Influential Hispanics in America

From music to politics to business, Hispanics are remaking America. TIME presents 25 titans leading the Latino charge into the 21st century

Read full article

Monday, May 11, 2015

Latinos play a growing role in America's future

(CNN)In a country with 53 million Latinos, or 17% of the population and growing, only 34 of the 435 seats in Congress and four of the 100 seats in the Senate are occupied by Latinos. On corporate boards of directors, 4% of all seats are held by Latinos and less than 3% of C-suite level positions in Fortune 500 companies are represented by Hispanic individuals. In my home state of California, in Silicon Valley, the mecca of innovation and prosperity, the major technology companies report only 3.8% of their workforce are Hispanic.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Jasmine Villegas >

Image result for jasmine villegas picturesJasmine Villegas, R&B Singer
What do you need to be a  leader?This is a question that touches me deeply. To be a leader is more than anything else, to be responsible. A leader has to be humble, respectful and thankful to the fans, set the example. My greatest attribute as a leader is to touch, through my music, the lives of those abused and hopeless. To turn tears into smiles...

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
It definitely does. Being Hispanic/Latina, we're so empowering and strong in overcoming obstacles and being successful. It's definitely carried over into my music and career

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
It definitely does. Being Hispanic/Latina, we're so empowering and strong in overcoming obstacles and being successful. It's definitely carried over into my music and career.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
It's the knowledge of knowing that not everyone is going to like you, nothing is going to be easy, but it's about how bad you want it and how hard you're willing to work for your dreams and goals.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
The biggest challenge for me would have to be trying to find myself as a music artist and as a young woman. I've been faced with many challenges that force me to live separate lives, but it's definitely been more of a learning experience on how to handle life as an artist and as a person.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about my life, it would be to find my sound faster. I feel like my fans have been waiting forever for music and it took me forever to find the perfect sound to give them, lol.

What was your childhood ambition?
It's a funny story. I actually wanted to be a vet. I love animals, I had so many animals growing up and I loved singing to them then one day my grandma puts me in a pageant and singing became bigger than I could imagine and opened so many doors.

Tell us about three people that you admire? It'll definitely have to be Alicia Keys because I loved how she was so beautiful and sexy, but never had to try - that was just who she was. Another is definitely my mother and my grandmother because they've taught me so much on how to be a strong young woman and to overcome so much.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Haha. I'm not a morning person at all so dinner is always the way to go!

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Well, I never got to go to regular school and have a personal life so it was definitely the sacrifice of giving up my childhood as well as not seeing my family all the time. We were separated majority of the time and it wasn't easy especially because family is everything to me. 

What is your favorite quote?
I have so many, but it'll have to be the quote I've loved since I was a little girl and that is "nothing's come to sleepers, but a dream."

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I mean, in a sense. Most people don't ever support a path like I've chosen, but when it comes to what makes a person happy, that's all that matters.

Biggest mistake made?
The biggest mistake I've ever made was when I was going through a domestic violence relationship and not reaching out for help from my friends and family because I was scared.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I'd like to think so. I always try to do things for my fans and be the voice for them. I want to be their big sister, their best friend, and have them feel like they're reading their diary when they hear my songs.

About Jasmine
Jasmine Marie Villegas (born December 7, 1993), better known as Jasmine V, is an American pop and R&B singer. After many years of pursuing a career in music, she was signed to Sony Music at the age of 16.

At the age of 9, Villegas accepted her first acting job, acting in a commercial for the hit animated feature The Land Before Time IX. Her first professional singing gig was at age 11, when she performed the national anthem for the Los Angeles Clippers. Later that year, she signed with Damon Dash and worked extensively on a debut that was slated to feature collaborations from label-mate and former Missy Elliott protégée, Nicole Wray.

At the age of 16, she was then signed to Sony Music. She made an appearance in Justin Bieber's music video for his hit single "Baby," and Bieber and Villegas were in a relationship which she revealed in an interview in April 2012. She also joined Bieber on the second leg of his My World Tour and on the Kids' Choice Awards with him. She also appeared in the Sean Kingston and Bieber music video for Eenie Meenie. Villegas has also written with musician Nick Jonas.

As of 2013, Jasmine V has signed to Interscope Records. Villegas appeared alongside American rapper Becky G, on the cover of Latina magazine's February 2014 issue. 

She released her debut single "That's Me Right There" featuring Kendrick Lamar from her EP on August 5, 2014 and charted at #39 on Billboard Twitter Top Tracks chart. Her debut EP was released on November 10, 2014.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Latin American leaders hail renewed US-Cuban diplomatic relations

MONTERREY, Mexico — Latin American leaders across the political spectrum praised President Barack Obama’s decision announced on Wednesday to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, a move that could spark more investment in the Caribbean island and ease Cold War-era resentments throughout the hemisphere.

Hours after the announcement, the Colombian guerrilla group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, declared from Havana a unilateral and indefinite cease-fire as part of ongoing peace talks hosted by Cuba.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

City changers: Houston's Hispanic leaders honored in front of a packed house

As many as 1,200 guests packed the theater for the black-tie evening that honored individuals for their leadership in and impact on Hispanic business in Houston. The evening included remarks from Stephen Klineberg, recipient of the Chairman's Award, and Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president CEO Laura Murillo.

Taking bows for their honors were Hispanic Male Executive of the Year Benny Agosto Jr., Hispanic Female Executive of the Year Maria Borros, Hispanic Male Entrepreneur of the Year Maximo Tejada, Hispanic Female Entrepreneur of the Year Evelyn Fletcher and Emerging Hispanic Business of the Year Regina Garcia, owner of Events.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Keep Hispanic businesses growing with access to wireless services

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the contributions of the Latino community in the United States. The Hispanic community is a dynamic and entrepreneurial force driving growth and creating jobs, particularly through small businesses. This success has been supported in no small part by access to mobile Internet services.

However, potential government regulation of the wireless industry may slow down Internet access and increase costs, which would threaten the continued development of this business story.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Hispanic leaders demand more seats at the NYPD table

Hispanic community leaders came together Sunday to demand from Police Commissioner William Bratton more diversity and greater Latino representation in the NYPD.

Head of the National Latino Officers Association Anthony Miranda, a former NYPD lieutenant, was joined on ABC7's round-table discussion show ‘Tiempo’ by Councilman Antonio Reynoso, D-34, and Dennis Flores, a Brooklyn-based community activist.

The three discussed with host Joe Torres what they called the NYPD's "tremendous void" in Latino leadership.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

NAHREP Bringing Industry Leaders, Professionals and Stars Together for Annual Conference Celebrating Hispanic Business and Culture

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 1, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) is holding the 2014 NAHREP National Convention and Latin Music Festival just in time to close out National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15th to October 15th. NAHREP is the leading trade association among Hispanics in the housing industry and is comprised of 21,000 members in 40 chapters around the United States. 

NAHREP's Annual Convention and Latin Music Festival is being held October 12-14, 2014 at the JW Marriott L.A. Live Hotel in Los Angeles. Approximately 2,500 participants are expected to attend the conference, which is focused on education, networking, awards programs and entertainment. 

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Hispanic leaders: Too few Hispanics among area's decision-makers

Hispanics might be the fastest-growing part of Central Texas' population, but they are under-represented as decision-makers heading up companies and startups, serving on corporate, nonprofit and community boards and representing the public in elected and appointed posts.

That's the consensus from a panel of Central Texas Hispanic business leaders interviewed by the American-Statesman.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Hispanic-owned businesses growing more than twice as fast as national average

Hispanic owned businesses across the United States are growing more than twice the national average since 2007, according to a new report.

The Hispanics in Business 2014 study, by Geoscape, says Hispanic owned businesses will grow to 3.22 million by the end of 2014 and exceed $486 billion in annual revenue. The number of Hispanic businesses has increased 43 percent since 2007, the rate of all U.S. businesses increased 18 percent during the same period, and revenue that year was $358 billion.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hispanic leaders to be honored

The CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County, Dora E. Zuñiga, and retired Miller and MillerCoors official, Jose Ruano, have been named Hispanic Woman and Man of the Year by UMOS.

The two, along with others in the Latino community, will be honored at the 34th Annual Hispanic Awards Banquet, Saturday, October 11 at a dinner and reception at the Italian Conference Center, 631 E. Chicago.

Pedro Martinez, for 25 years the director of the office of Hispanic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, his wife, Joan, and their three grown children, will be recognized as the Hispanic Family of the Year.

And Caroline Maria Dannecker, 19, will receive the Hispanic Youth of the Year award.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Business leaders hope online university can boost Hispanic education

While more jobs in Texas require college degrees, the state's fastest-growing population group has struggled more than any other to make it to graduation.

The situation creates a growing skills gap that has business leaders looking to boost the number of Hispanic college graduates.

Just 17 percent of Hispanic adults in Texas have a four- or six-year college degree, according to the Lumina Foundation, a private organization that aims to expand access and success beyond high school. 

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Friday, September 19, 2014

What Julian Castro and Henry Cisneros share in common beyond their jobs in HUD and San Antonio

It was a déjà vu moment this week when HUD Secretary Julian Castro pledged to promote homeownership, calling it the “cornerstone of the American dream” in his first major policy speech.

Nearly two decades earlier, another former San Antonio mayor and fellow Latino – Henry Cisneros -- made the same pledge after he took over at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, casting homeownership as a pathway to the middle class.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Salt Lake City to host largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) - The largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders in the nation takes place in Salt Lake City next week as the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce holds it's annual convention at the Grand America Hotel September 21st-23rd.

On Tuesday the President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Javier Palomarez visited ABC4's studios and explained how the convention wound up here.

"Salt Lake City competed against markets like New York City, Miami, San Antonio, Houston and Los Angeles," Palomarez said. "In the end, Salt Lake City won."

It won because business is booming in the Beehive State.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Business leaders call for contract negotiations to resume

SAN ANTONIO - Leaders from two of the city’s largest chambers of commerce called for the city and the police and fire unions to return to the collective bargaining table.

Speaking at a press conference, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Ramiro Cavazos said the city must act to curtail public safety healthcare costs, which have risen by 53 percent since 2009 and currently take up 63 percent of the city’s general fund.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Houston most Hispanic part of country without Hispanic in Congress

Houston Hispanics had a reason to celebrate. They had won.

After decades of rapid growth in the local Latino population, Texas legislators had set up a new congressional district to elect someone from their community to Congress. The 29th congressional district, local Hispanic leaders said in August 1991, would send new breeds of Americans to Congress.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Google Bets Big On Hispanics And Women

So far, I have gotten three urgent notes from friends this week, and they all sound something like this:  “Are you going to the event at Google?”  Said friends are all Latino, and all are in the tech ecosystem.  I was anticipating that the event — a coming out party for San Jose-based Manos Accelerator– would get some buzz.  But I underestimated just howmuch buzz.  It now feels like a coming-out party for theentire Latino tech community.  It’s the first must-go Latino tech event of the season.  It’s gonna be good.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

IRI Guides CPG Leaders on Marketing Effectively to Growing Hispanic Population

By 2015, the U.S. Hispanic market's purchasing power will total $1.3 trillion. To help CPG marketers connect with this diverse, rapidly expanding customer group, IRI has released a new “Point of View: Winning with the Hispanic Consumer Today." Leveraging IRI's deep insights and data, the Point of View will deepen marketers' understanding of the key disciplines required to succeed with Hispanic consumers, including creating a cultural connection, effectively engaging and activating shoppers throughout the path to purchase and gauging success through accurate metrics.

Today, Hispanics account for one in six Americans, or 53 million people. Hispanic families consume more media and are more responsive to media than the general population. Additionally, 70 percent of Hispanics are under age 40, making investment in this group a wise long-term proposition. 

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why Utah? Hispanic Business on the Rise

In 1847, Salt Lake City's founder - Brigham Young - saw the city and was immediately stricken by its natural beauty; the fortress of high mountains, the bright white snow, green hills, clear rapid waters, and a cool breeze that carried the majesty of all creation. Brigham Young saw that valley, and famously declared, "this is the place."

Brigham Young was right. And today, 167 years later, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) will make history again: Utah is the place for our 2014 National Convention.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

3 of World's Top 7 Billionaires are Latinos

The Forbes World's Billionaires.
It is the definitive list of the world's wealthiest people, profiling and ranking billionaires from 58 countries by their estimated net worths.
* net worth was calculated on March 2012
* source: Forbes

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Latino Community Bringing Business to Columbia

Columbia, SC (WLTX)- Main Street in Columbia will be filled with thousands of people trying out food and listening to music at the 11th annual Latin festival Saturday.

The annual festival brings together a community of people that is growing each and every year. One Columbia business owner says there is a need for more events and support for the Hispanic and Latino community.

"People came to me and asked if I could translate for them and talk with their insurance agents," said Raysa Sanchez.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Growing Entrepreneurship in Latin America

Creating an entrepreneurial society from nothing is not an easy task. Of course the idea of ‘an entrepreneurial society’ as separate from general business is slightly misleading. Everywhere in the world ambitious people strike out on their own by opening shops, starting businesses or becoming sole traders.

But the development of an entrepreneurial society focused on a start-up scene is a different variation. The creation of tech-hubs, cultural interest in entrepreneurs and government-backed initiatives for innovative new businesses are all indications of a more advanced start-up culture – something that many countries crave

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Eduardo Ragasol Joins Mercer as Head of Latin America Business to Leverage the Firm's Strengths across the Region

Eduardo Ragasol has joined Mercer as Head of Latin America business reporting to Gaurav D. Garg, Mercer's Regional President, Growth Markets. In this newly-created role for Latin America, Mr. Ragasol will leverage the firm's significant market strengths across the region and drive Mercer's growth and profitability. He will be based in Brazil.

Mr. Ragasol was previously the President and General Manager in Brazil for Nielsen, a global information and measurement company.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Johnny Castillo >

Johnny Castillo, Relationship Manager at Fora Financial

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
My Hispanic background influences my work at Fora Financial in that it allows me to connect better with Spanish-speaking people. Even though some Latino clients speak English, they feel more comfortable talking business and numbers in their native tongue. Additionally, the fact that I can communicate with more people allows our company to expand into areas that it wasn’t able to before.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
In the face of adversity, I lean on a mentality that was instilled in me to never give up on what you really want. Instead of focusing on the adversity at hand, it’s better to focus on the solutions to overcome the adversity.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? 
The biggest challenge that I have faced was when my family and I moved to the United States. We did not know the language or anyone here. My parents gave up their life to come to this country to build a better life for their children. The lessons they taught me, especially the importance of education, is the reason that I have been able to face any challenge that has come my way.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? 
If I could change one thing about my life, it would be that I would have won the student body president race when I was in college. Coming to this country with my family as immigrants, we had to pave our own way and learn the culture of a new country. Determined to write my own story and become a leader, I ran for student body president. Even though I didn’t win, I felt it was important to put myself out there and show other immigrants attending college in America that they can be leaders. I am still saddened that I did not win because I think I would have been a strong voice and leader for my fellow classmates.

What was your childhood ambition? 
My childhood ambition was to be a professional athlete. Growing up in Columbia, I worshipped soccer, like many other children. Soccer was not just a pastime for my family and friends, but it was deeply rooted in our culture. I have always had a competitive spirit, which is why when I was younger I was drawn to becoming an athlete. As an adult, that completive spirit drives my entrepreneurial ambitions.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
Abraham Lincoln- He was a great leader and fought for equality. Without him, our history books might read a much sadder story.
Juan Pablo Montoya- He was the only Latin-American driver in NASCAR. This driver has entered and succeeded in his field where few other Latin Americans have.  
Albert Einstein- He was one of the most influential scientists of all time.  

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? 
I have always had a preference for dinner meetings. They are less rushed than the other two, and it's also more acceptable to add in a cocktail to discuss business.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I only sacrificed my time in order to be successful at Fora Financial. I am an extremely motivated and driven person. My passion is working hard and finding success. I work daily with business owners that make sacrifices to keep their dream of owning a small business alive. My parents also made a sacrifice by moving to the United States so that my siblings and I would be able to pursue our dreams and find success.

What is your favorite quote?
“The most common cause of failure occurs when you sacrifice what you want most for what you want now.”

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I think it is difficult to be unconventional. However, being unconventional means that one is thinking and striving to do things in better, more efficient ways. So while it is difficult, I’ve realized that being unconventional usually leads to greater successes, and that’s why I strive to be unconventional. Fora Financial can be viewed as an unconventional place to work. We are not a bank, yet we are able to provide funding to businesses of all shapes and sizes, and at a time where banks usually cannot and will not. Being unconventional has allowed the thousands of businesses with which Fora Financial works to grow and survive. I would say being unconventional is something of which to be extremely proud.

Biggest mistake made?
The biggest mistake I’ve ever made is not taking advantage of some of the opportunities that have presented themselves to me. One example of this is when I didn’t pursue my master’s degree in finance. I have learned from this mistake, and I try to pursue all the meaningful opportunities that come my way.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I consider myself to be an innovator because I wanted to work for a company that was in its infancy, yet is growing exponentially each passing year. And this is exactly what Fora Financial is doing. The technology platforms that we currently offer are truly innovative and are constantly evolving, making it possible to help businesses around the country thrive. In a time where funding options can be limited for small businesses, Fora Financial’s mission is to grow the small business sector.  

About the Company:
Fora Financial offers flexible, working capital solutions to small businesses in need of financing to sustain or grow their enterprise. The Manhattan-based company places a high value on trust and transparency and provides businesses with quick, customized financial solutions utilizing its state-of-the-art technology platforms. Founded in June 2008, Fora Financial has provided more than $178 million to over 4,500 customers.  See more

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