By Susana G. Bauman for the AmericanoNewspaper.com
Lt. Governor of New Jersey addresses economic growth topics with Latina entrepreneurs!
Photos by Oscar Alberto Quintana
Latinas in Business Inc. celebrates its fourth anniversary with the presence of Lt Governor of New Jersey at the Town Hall Latina Business Meeting that took place in the City of Perth Amboy hosted by Mayor Wilda Diaz
Lt Governor of New Jersey Sheila Oliver accepted an invitation from Latinas in Business Inc. to participate in a Town Hall Latina Business Meeting hosted in the City of Perth Amboy by Mayor Wilda Diaz and the local Business Development District.
“Only 4 years ago, when I started this initiative, to advocate for the economic empowerment of Latina entrepreneurs, little I imagined that today, in our 4th anniversary, we would be receiving the visit of one of the highest ranking members of the State of New Jersey, Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO of Latinas in Business Inc.
A large group of Latina entrepreneurs from around the state attended the event to ask questions of concern for their small businesses. Lt Governor Oliver responded with her vision as a member of the Murphy’s Administration; her knowledge as a former Speaker of the Assembly, and having served in the Labor, Higher Education, Women and Children, Commerce and Economic Development, and Transportation and Independent Authorities committees; and her own experience as a business consultant in the past.
She recalled that years ago, she was in a business partnership with two male partners. One died two years after starting the business and the other moved away. She was left alone to build the business, “And it was not easy,” she said.
Questions from Latina entrepreneurs were related to the Minority Certification process, the announced minimum wage raise in the state, businesses that belong in the “informal economy,” the exploitation of illegal workers by industries that seek their hiring, and other related issues to expanding small businesses opportunities.
Lt Governor Oliver approached each of the questions by mentioning an array of resources and information at her disposal. “Also, I have an ‘open-door’ policy so that any of you can access me and all the resources under my control,” she said. Oliver referred to her combined role as Lt Governor and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, a unique opportunity that allows her to combine an executive position with a hands-on involvement in all New Jersey municipalities.
In her introduction, Baumann emphasized the importance of Latina entrepreneurs to “see and be seen.” “We need to ‘see’ those successful role models and mentors from whom we can learn but we also we need to ‘be seen’ by decision-makers and influencers such as Lt Governor Oliver. We need them to hear our concerns so that they can create programs and policies that will help Latinas and other minority entrepreneurs and customized them to our needs,” she said.
Mayor Diaz was excited to host the event in Perth Amboy, a city with a large Business Development District. She is the only Mayor Latina of Puerto Rican descent in New Jersey re-elected for the third time. In 2008, she faced a difficult electoral process and came through with flying colors.
Diaz’s aggressive outreach and promotion of business advocacy can be seen in the development of the Perth Amboy Business Improvement District, helping businesses find new customers, assisting them with marketing products and services, connecting business owners with organizations that offer financing, and producing and presenting attractive special events and festivals.
“All these efforts could not be more aligned with the vision that Latinas in Business has for our members. Together, we can help them succeed by providing the ABC of success:
ACCESS to opportunities and clients, BRANDING and promoting their businesses and CONNECTING them to decision-makers and influencers,” Baumann said.
The event was followed by a networking event with the presence of business leaders in the community including the Executive Director of the Middlesex Regional Chamber of Commerce Lina Llona, President-Elect Alana Cueto, MSN, RN, CNL of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Elayne McClaine, Regional Director, New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers New Brunswick, and other authorities. Bert Lopez, host and producer of the TV show Latino Motion was the MC for the evening.