Meet Betty, Founder & Executive Director of Latinas & Líderes
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your organization?
I am Dominican born, but raised in New York City's East Harlem aka El Barrio. I am a former NYC Principal and a leader working fearlessly to eliminate opportunity and achievement gaps for Black and Latino students throughout the country and the Dominican Republic. I am currently an educational administrator working for the NYC Department of Education's Division of Teaching and Learning supporting districts and schools with instruction. I am also a mother of two young adults and the proud founder and executive director of Latinas & Líderes, a nonprofit that seeks to empower and inspire girls from under-resourced communities to become leaders.
- What is the mission of your organization?
Latinas & Líderes seeks to empower and inspire girls from under-resourced communities in the Dominican Republic, allowing them to obtain the tools for becoming leaders of their own lives, in their families and communities. Our leadership and empowerment camp along with other educational opportunities aim to transform girls into the leaders of tomorrow.
- What is the inspiration behind your organization and doing what you love?
I have been an educator for more than 25 years. My lifelong purpose has been to support children, families, and communities through education, the work with Latinas & Líderes allows me to continue to build on that purpose in the country of birth and with a vulnerable population-girls from under-resourced communities in the Dominican Republic.
- How has your culture and heritage influenced your journey as a Jefa Entrepreneur?
I was raised by a very powerful Dominican MUJER-una Jefa-my mother. I learned about leadership from her as she raised seven children on her own in NYC. Mami always taught her seven children to help each other out of not only a necessity to survive but to thrive in this country. As an adult, I have dedicated my career to helping others like Mami taught us. In my case students and their families. I worked for 20 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in the East Harlem neighborhood where I grew up. I am very proud of the work I am currently doing with my daughter-a Mini-Jefa in Dominican Republic.
- What's one lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur which you believe is essential to all of us?
One lesson that I have learned as leader in education and the non-profit field is that great leaders are mission and purpose-driven. It's important to stay grounded in your purpose and keep the mission of your organization front and center and focus on building a team to help carry out that mission.
- How do you nurture your creative spirit and mind when you're facing creative blocks?
I nurture my creative spirit by listening to music- a variety of genres from merengue to disco to bossa nova to dembow. I also nurture my creative spirit by talking walks on the beach
- What is one goal with Latinas & Líderes that you hope to accomplish in the next year?
In the next year Latinas & Líderes aims to bring girls (including our 30 girls) in two neighborhoods in Santo Domingo access to the sport of softball. Girls, especially girls from under-resourced communities, in Dominican Republic have very little access to organized team sports. We are aiming to change that and begin a movement in women's sports in Dominican Republic.
- How can we best support you and the organization?
The best way the general public can help our organization is spreading the word about our work including sharing our social media (Instagram) and website content. Another important way to help is by donating to one of our three initiatives (Leadership, Empowerment, Self-love and Wellness; Education; Sports-Girl's Softball).