NEW YORK, NY -- More women are making strides in their careers, but a group of influential Latina women want to help others get to that next level through connections, mentoring and inspiration.
The Latinas Think Big Innovation Summit held its 5th meeting on Nov. 13th, in an event that drew a wide range of accomplished women in diverse fields who lent their knowledge and expertise to help extend the pipeline of Hispanic women moving up the ladder.
"What I hope that women who come to Latinas Think Big take from this event is that we really have tremendous potential; this is our time to create opportunities, businesses, successful careers, because this country needs it," said Latinas Think Big CEO and founder Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin. Her panel of dynamic women discussed topics from how to focus one's startup in the non-profit and for profit realms to finding a mentor who inspires and motivates throughout one's entrepreneurial journey.
The event was filled with sit- down interviews and an extended panel that included successful women in business, technology, finance and government, among other fields.
The Summit focused on the role of community and having an entrepreneurial mindset and having an influential network in order to gear the next generation of empowered Latinas successful careers and enterprises.
The evening included two well-known keynote speakers. Nina G. Vaca is the ceo of Pinnacle Group, a workforce placement company as well as chairman emeritus of the U.S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a presidential ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. With a humble and charismatic personality Vaca discussed her experiences as a first-generation Latina who came from a long line of entrepreneurs.
Vaca shared with NBC Latino her advice for women seeking to go further in their careers and goals.
"If there's anyone that needs to believe in yourself it's you, be courageous be bold and believe in yourself. The second is prepare yourself; spend time preparing yourself. It's not enough to want something in life you actually have to prepare yourself to receive it," she said. Vaca also encourages women to surround themselves with people who want to see them succeed, and her final piece of advice she first said in Spanish.
"Ocupa tu lugar," take your place," said Vaca, urging women to take their place in the "tsunami of growth" in the Hispanic community.
Frances Colon, the Deputy Science & Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State said there is a reason she keeps coming to the summit.
"This is one of those rare places where you can find people that look like you, want to do business with you want to invest together with you and we're here to find those connections that will propel all forward," said Colon, a scientist whose current job includes encouraging women around the world to be more involved in technology and science.
"Latinas Think Big has recently launched its virtual accelerator, think of it as a LinkedIn for Latinas" said Dr. Perez-Litwin, "the online Accelerator is a digital hub that brings together Latinas through a robust interactive directory of professional and entrepreneurial women". She explained this allows participants to upload their professional bios and business information in order to connect with potential career opportunities and influential networks. She added that this tool is Latinas Think Big's next step in offering valuable educational and mentoring opportunities to boost the next generation's careers.
"What I hope the women who come to Latinas Think Big take from this event is that we really have tremendous potential, this is our time to create opportunities, business, successful careers because this country needs it, this is the time for us to shine and become the great leaders that this country needs," said Perez-Litwin.
To find out more about Latinas Think Big you can visit their website at latinasthinkbig.com.