The women of Latin Biz Today are the engine that drives our success.
October is Women’s Small Business Month but recognized everyday at Latin Biz Today. That’s because Latina entrepreneurs comprise the majority of our audience and the exceptional women behind the Latin Biz Today’s enterprise. This is a perfect time to recognize our Latina executive team partners: Gabriela Alacantara-Diaz, Andrea Giraldo, and Tina Trevino. All three of these incredible women own their own diverse businesses and are great examples of entrepreneurship. Here are their stories.
Gabriela “Gaby” Alcantara-Diaz is Latin Biz Today’s Partner leading marketing and communications.
Gaby, a Uruguayan-American, is founder and president of Semilla, an advertising agency in Florida that specializes in cultivating meaningful consumer-brand relationships. Her expertise in the Latino marketplace has kept her agency thriving and growing for more than a decade.
Together with her partner, Shirley Attia, Gabriela brings her vast experience to an upper-mobile Hispanic segment. The mission of her agency is to enhance the well-being of this diverse community with self-sustaining enclaves, thriving small businesses, second generation college educated households and dual income earning families.
“Although Florida was our turf, we hadn’t yet realized just how progressive our marketing strategies were. Our Hispanic portrayal was, indeed, ahead of its time; we pioneered, in a sense, the Upscale Hispanic segment’s marketability,” Gaby says. Being awarded ‘Best Hispanic Portrayal’ for Publix Super Markets to winning a CLIO for Johnnie Walker Black Label’s brand campaign was breakthrough for its time. She counts among her clients such notable brands as Jim Beam, Boston Beer Co., Mexico Tourism, Visit Orlando Tourism, Regions Bank, BB&T bank, Amscot Financial, Mercy Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Birds Eye, Pier 33 Gourmet Seafood and Bellsouth-YP, Telecom, Wireless (now AT&T).
Hispanic marketing insights
She brings her expertise in the Hispanic market to Latin Biz Today and is guiding the enterprise to new levels of engagement with the Hispanic community.
Understanding the needs of emerging upscale Hispanic households is at the core of Semilla AD’s marketing niche from depicting career-hood challenges faced by Latinas, to understanding the affluence associated with Hispanic diversity early on and encouraging marketers to recognize Hispanic America’s entrepreneurial spirit and its generational power in the marketplace. In fact, Gaby has lent her strategy though to several studies on the Latino marketplace such as “America’s New Upscale Segment: Latinos!” and “Upscale Latinos 2.0: A Renewed Outlook for High-End Marketers.”
“The Hispanic community is not ONE community,” Gabriela says. “It consists of second generation as well as first generation immigrants from all over the world. Florida is especially diverse in the different Latino populations.”
Gaby’s customer, Chris Arkell, Executive Vice President, Managing Director at Pinnacle Advertising, is quick to point out Gaby’s strength as a strategist and storyteller.
“Gaby is a brilliant strategist who can deftly weave a compelling story from complex reams of data. She combines insights about the brand, the consumer, the industry and the competition to reach a conclusion that logically and powerfully underpins a platform. Gaby’s powerful intellectual weight, charisma and gravitas always made her strategic positioning recommendations substantial and meaningful. Any company of enterprise would benefit greatly from Gaby’s approach, vision and experience.”
Andrea Giraldo, Latin Biz Today partner, Economy and Translations, is also the President and Founder of Giraldo Farms, importing coffee for nationwide distribution.
Andrea, a native New Yorker, made her first trip to the coffee heartland of Colombia when she was eight days old. She went directly from the hospital to the airport with passport and all. Over the years, she has moved between Colombia and the United States residing for some time in the high lush mountains of the Andes.
Her childhood gave her a rich bi-lingual/bi-cultural experience. It taught her how to appreciate the economy of one region and this appreciation would evolve into the farming of coffee almost exclusively. But her childhood also taught her about immigration. After her family was harassed in Colombia, they moved to New York to restart their lives. And later, she would accompany her husband back to Colombia where he would work.
Longing for Colombia and the fond memories from her schooling, her family there and countless vacations to family coffee farms, Andrea decided that she needed to share with the world the best instant coffee that Colombia had to offer. Thus, Giraldo Farms was born. The New York brand now includes a range of items from regular, decaf, organic and, of course, the best flavored instant coffee.
Andrea’s perspectives as a Latina entrepreneur
Andrea talks about her what it takes to become a Latina entrepreneur: “There are many difficulties and challenges I have had to face, like any other small business owner, if it’s not resources needed to move ahead in the industry, it’s something else. The important thing is to stay focused and positive and you will eventually figure it out. The worst thing any entrepreneur can do is lose faith in themselves, when instead they must realize that only you will be your biggest cheerleader. Latinos are resourceful, it is in our culture to figure it out, we are smart, savvy and most importantly hard workers.”
Andrea holds a degree in Business and Economic Development from Fordham University and is considered an expert in international trade. She has been providing bilingual advice to small businesses in the New York Metro area for the last six years and relishes the opportunity she has to give back to the Hispanic community through her work with Latin Biz Today.
“I believe the US is just starting to realize how Latinos are making an impact in the economy, as Latinos are the force behind the small business growth in the US, this is ever so evident at any of the multiple County Clerks office across the country, where the traffic flow of people registering a new business is reported to be primarily of Latinos,” Andrea said.
Tina Trevino has been deeply involved in Latin Biz Today is also a partner leading Community Relations and Latinx initiatives.
She is adept at building communities, especially in her world of design. Tina has just launched her own clothing line, called Tocaya.
Tocaya is means “namesake” in Spanish or “a close friend.” That is the vision that Tina has for her brand, something that represents her and how she wants to dress for a busy lifestyle. “I also want to ensure that my closest friends who are also juggling various activities can dress comfortably for all occasions.” Tina says.
A deep sense of style
For over 18 years, Tina led a creative team at KBL Group International, the premier global supplier of sweaters in the world with offices in Hong Kong, Mexico and China. Tina directed a team providing design, technical design and graphic art. Her team worked on both branded and private label sweaters, knits, wovens, denim, dresses, lifestyle collections and loungewear creating products for missy, junior girls, contemporary fashions and men’s wear.
Tina started Tocaya this year and has had some amazing success designing her own collection of beautiful knits, her passion since she was a student at F.I.T.
With many years under her belt in the industry, Tina decided earlier this year to go it on her own. She had gained the ability to go beyond the fashion component to learn the work of sourcing, fitting, production and merchandising. She was ready to try her own brand.
“I’ve been inspired by all of the fabulous people I’ve met along the way who have been my biggest supporters and convinced me to take the plunge and do what I love to do!” said Tina recently at the Latin Biz Today Spectrum of Success event in NY where she debuted her new clothing line.
All three of these Latina entrepreneurs bring years of experience and a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed in the American marketplace. They share with Latin Biz Today readers their experiences, trials and successes through the articles, videos and events that are sponsored by the site. Sign up today for Latin Business Today Insider , post your business and follow these entrepreneurs and others as they continue to build their brands and businesses.