I got home on Monday afternoon after spending three days with my fellow members of Cohort 7 of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative-Scaling Program. My feelings went from being excited about being accepted, worried about the workload (reading, assignments 4-6 hours per week), to extreme gratitude and pride. I got chills from remembering the classroom and how when I looked around the room and saw passion, courage, resilience. Although our industries were as diverse as our heritage, we were united in dreaming of a bigger, better and lasting impact for our businesses and our communities .
To have been in the same room as other 76 business owners with combined revenues of $249 Million, representing 19 U.S. states and Puerto Rico was just beyond my wildest dreams. Our people came from as far as New Jersey, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan and as close as Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Some have headquarters or offices in Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and beyond. Some are Ph.Ds, Yale educated attorneys, scientists, builders, electrical engineers, chefs, chemical engineers, venture capitalists, philanthropists, non-profit leaders, accountants, marketing experts, janitorial and maintenance service providers, barbers, real estate agents, marine technology experts and on and on! And here I am. A licensed and insured commercial and household goods mover, from the South San Francisco zip code and the Town of Colma business region! Literally rubbing elbows with people that are respected in their communities, that have a desire to grow their businesses and that have shown resilience and expertise in their fields and in life.
I’ll be honest and tell you that I had wanted to apply to the program since I saw the first or second cohort on LBAN’s facebook page, but having your own business and raising a family, plus being very active in my industry’s trade association (California Moving & Storage Association) and working on another business project (discounted designer dresses with Preciosa Diva) I had some reservations. I met Mark Madrid at the Golden Gate Business Association’s Power Lunch in February 2019 and his passion for this program and his encouraging that I should give the application a try, convinced me that I should. And I am so glad that I did.
As I embark on this seven week program, I want to send a special shout out to Elian Savodivker, a gentle and loud giant that is really living up to his title at LBAN as “Director of Engagement”. You made us feel engaged and excited, and so lucky to be there and your passion for our Latino community and commitment to help us grow our businesses is palpable and so real!
To Jennifer Garcia, Director of Programs and Communications, for working so hard to make mentor-mentee matches. I love my mentor already, after only spending an hour on the phone, I knew I have a lot to learn and Ben Weeda (my mentor) will be a great resource to help me see our path to grow more clearly.
Lastly, Mark Madrid, your heart and your passion for this program is contagious. I want to go to my community and tell everyone about SLEI and LBAN. You are truly an inspiration and I feel honored to have met you and to be part of this growing network of Latino leaders.
I am dropping one of my favorite artists here, if you attended the “Kick Off” weekend, you will enjoy the scaling bit of wisdom that was shared!
The Latino Business Action Network, a 501(c)(3) not for profit is working together with Stanford Graduate School of Business in collecting data in Latino owned businesses, and thru the Scaling Program. The program is a six week education course where business owners are provided with education, skills, access to mentors and access to capital .