How My Hispanic Heritage Has Impacted My Journey as an Entrepreneur and Business Leader
Every year from September 15 to October 15, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and honor the American citizens whose ancestors originated from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. This holiday was originally selected as a homage to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile’s independence days, all of which fall within those 30 days.
To commemorate this month, we spoke with nine women from the Dreamers & Doers collective to learn more about their experiences as business leaders and the triumphs and struggles that accompany being of Latina descent. Their candid insights are an important reminder that being a trailblazing woman of color can be met with unique obstacles.
Despite those challenges, though, the sense of “Latinidad” pride is apparent throughout each of these women’s journeys. As Sandra Camacho put it, “My lived experiences as a Latina immigrant in the U.S. and France have truly strengthened my ability to drive greater business and social impact. They've helped me sharpen my creativity, navigate hardship with resilience, and build bridges across cultures.”
Our hope is that each of these stories offer insights from perspectives that may be different from your own and hope for what we can achieve when we accept and celebrate our whole selves.
Public Speaker, DEI Consultant, and Content Creator at Blindish Latina, working with companies and organizations to advance workplace disability awareness, inclusion, and accessibility.
My story: As a disabled Latine woman, I'm acutely aware of intersectionality and the role it's played in my leadership journey. I've unfortunately been viewed as aggressive or too passionate in many cases. My Latinidad has brought many gifts to my life: I understand the value of diversity because I appreciate my culture and roots; I used Spanish in many of my roles and worked with the Latine community; and I recognized the need for more representation of Latinidad within disability.
My advice: You are worthy and valuable just as you are. Connect with the community and other WOC to tap into our collective strength and power, because you will be tested and you will find yourself in toxic spaces filled with -isms.
Founder and Speaker at FEMX Quarters and FEMX Community App, an award-winning community offering a mobile app, events, and masterminds for diverse female entrepreneurs.
My story: One of the biggest things my heritage and culture taught me is to make room at the table for others. Latinx moms and families always figure out a way to fit people even in a small house and somehow feed a crowd no matter how little they have in their fridge. It's something I just grew up seeing—we always made room for one more and we always pulled another chair into the table. In my journey as an impact business owner, I want to make sure our platform makes room for others and that people feel included and know that they belong.
My advice: WOC tend to have limiting beliefs about money and often grow up hearing negative messages about wealth. As we then become leaders, it's easy to want to do things for free or at a discount because we want to be accessible in pricing. I've learned to give myself a quota with a limit on how much to give because I want to build wealth and create a profitable business. Just remember, being a role model and showing WOC that you can be wealthy without the negative labels is also empowering them. You're giving them permission to break through their own limiting beliefs by embodying financial freedom and liberation.
Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda
Business Development Consultant at Your Business Hada Madrina, helping startups and creative entrepreneurs build strong communities, launch new businesses, and grow.
My story: Being Latina has directly influenced the way that I run my consulting business. I grew up going to Mexico every year and always loved that my family was warm and welcoming. Whenever they would meet someone, it was like they were reuniting with family. They invited them over to their house for lunch. That sense of hospitality and community is what I will always implement in my business. For me, my clients and industry colleagues are my family from day one.
My advice: Know what you bring to the table. So many of us grow up thinking that our differences make us weak, when in reality those are our greatest strengths.
General Partner at Ganas Ventures, investing in pre-seed and seed Web2 and Web3 community-driven startups in the U.S. and Latin America.
My story: My Latinidad inspires me! I want to back founders from our community, leverage the huge business opportunity we represent, and create generational wealth among my peers.
My advice: I can’t speak for all Latinas and women of color, but I can tell you that I see a lot of ganas in us. We are determined, ride or die, and ready to make it big at our companies and in our community. This is our time and we can do it! Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.
Founder and Principal at Marte & Co., a consulting agency specializing in business marketing and branding for personal and lifestyle brands.
My story: Coming from a small island like the Dominican Republic, I grew up with the example of a hard-working family where integrity, honesty, and being responsible were the core of our values. Seeing the sacrifice behind what work looks like for the different levels of social status allowed me to understand that no one starts at the top from a young age. After moving to New York at 18, I was able to experience and put into practice the values and culture that were planted in my heart, which pushed me through my corporate career. Now that I own a business, those same values, heritage, and culture shaped me into the resilient and persevering woman I am today.
My advice: As a brown Hispanic woman, I have had to overcome different challenges in my career. However, having an accent means that I speak more than one language. When it comes to leadership in entrepreneurship or high-level business, know that what you bring to the table adds value. By default you will see the world from a global perspective.
Founder of Sandra By Design, empowering impact-driven teams to build thriving work cultures and socially impactful solutions with the power of inclusive design.
My story: My Colombian heritage is one of the reasons that I decided to create a social enterprise that's intentionally rooted in the values of diversity, inclusion, and cultural humility. Experiencing bias and discrimination first hand—and seeing this affect others around me—drove me to educate myself on systems of oppression and to orient my career toward combatting social inequities. My lived experiences as a Latina immigrant in the U.S. and France have truly strengthened my ability to drive greater business and social impact. They've helped me sharpen my creativity, navigate hardship with resilience, and build bridges across cultures.
My advice: Lean into the gifts that your unique life experiences and identities have imbued in you. Showing up authentically helps you build deeper relationships with others, opening doors to new opportunities.
Founder of Digital Orchards, helping ambitious and innovative professionals pivot successfully into tech careers, without needing to learn how to code.
My story: Mi abuelo Paco was the consummate entrepreneur, juggling three diverse businesses at once. He was a beloved minister, crafted dental implants in his workshop, and ran a successful print/copy shop in Puerto Rico. Mi madre Miriam continues to show me the power of really getting to know individuals in service of developing strong relationships. I am inspired to walk my own path because they modeled how to be ambitious, try out new ideas, build good relationships, and serve my clients and my communities.
My advice: Recognize your unique strengths and infuse your leadership style with perspectives and skills that only you can bring.
Rosario B Casas
Co-Founder and CEO of XR Americas, leveraging the power of spatial computing systems to sharpen organizations' competitive edge, performance, and long-term sustainability.
My Story: My Latinidad made me visible, and I decided to be unapologetically Latina, sure that any of my accomplishments could reduce the gap in perception about Latin talent. I decided to be myself and use it to open doors for the ones coming behind. Even more, as a woman working in technology, I was one of the few at many tables. I love to see that there are many more now, but there is still a huge space that can be filled with more talented Latinas. I work every day to ensure that the next generation of Latinas entering the tech space will feel welcomed.
My Advice: In many cases, it is uncomfortable to be the minority. But in the end it will give you more opportunities and will allow you not just to create a path for many more to follow, but will serve as an opportunity for you to be a role model for younger generations. As Marian Wright Edelman said, “You can't be what you can't see.”
CEO of MySyde, a social media app connecting gig workers and the local community to one another.
My story: As a Hispanic woman, there are not a lot of people in the higher ranks of business who look like me. So at times I would never allow myself to go there. It was really when I looked at my kids and the sense of confidence we have instilled in them to go for it, that I finally saw that I too needed to go for it if that's what I expected them to do.
My advice: Time will pass no matter what, so just do it!
All individuals featured in this article are members of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community and diverse ecosystem amplifying extraordinary entrepreneurial women through PR opportunities, authentic connection, and high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to its monthly The Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.