Latinas in Business Leadership

Alyssia Flores, Reporter

WHAM (Women’s History and More) and WHAM’s faculty coordinator, Olivia Garcia, Professor of History and Chairwomen of the KCHCC (Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) held a webinar on March 22 to discuss how Latinas are engaging in local business and leadership roles.

The themes of this discussion were how Latinas are achieving success, how they are overcoming challenges, how they are embracing empowerment, and how to find secrets to business collaboration and partnerships.

The panelists that were on this discussion were Adriana Coleman, a Marketing and Physicians Relations Manager of Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center and serves the Kern County Hispanic Chamber, Ariana Joven, a government affairs manager for the Wonderful Company and serves the Kern County Hispanic Chamber, and Marilyn Maldonado, a business development community relations specialist and is a vice chair of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation.

One question that was asked towards the panelists by Professor Olivia was, “What has been an example of a challenge that you had to face as a Latina and how have you found ways to overcome that.” Coleman responded, “being the third parent for my family.” She continues to say that it was a lot of responsibility, but that it has made her learn to turn that responsibility as an asset to her professional life.

Joven responded by saying, “there has been many challenges specifically in the industry that I am currently working in. I have always worked in a very male dominated industry occupation.” She continues to say that she felt like her voice was really discounted in meetings, while she was at the table with these people or just having a conversation. She continued to talk about how when she was at meetings there were men around her age and that they seemed confident and so she questioned herself why she did not feel as confident as the young men there.

Maldonado responded by saying, “when I was at meetings with the executive team or other managers, I initially would get so nervous because or to try to give my opinion and I would wait until the end and maybe send an email.” She ended by saying that if she said something wrong then she said something wrong and that is okay because her first language is not English.

A person who attended the discussion panel asked the panelist, “how do we as Latina women juggle having children, taking care of the home, and work life?” Coleman responded by saying that you should focus on what makes you happy. Joven responded that you need to prioritize your mental health and not to burn yourself out. Maldonado responded by saying how important is this event you are going to and what is the cause of this event and do you support this cause.