A couple days ago; the Atlanta Business Chronicle published an article about YoSoyM, the social venture I co-founded with journalist Judith Martinez. The article highlighted several stories of women that were positively impacted by our growing community and events. Among those women, an entrepreneur working with artisans in Mexico and a former owner of a school and now a life coach and therapist. The common thread was the number of connections, and opportunities to grow, improve and expand their businesses and their circle of support.
While “empowerment” is pretty much a “buzz word” these days; it has a very specific meaning to us, and that is to literally “give power” to women so that they can make the best decisions they can.
How do we do it? By creating a platform of connection that is focused on promoting growth and development through mentorship, community building and key information. Our strategic vision is one that sees a stronger and healthier community by having Latinas support each other, know about each other and by having access to relevant information.
YoSoyM offers not only great networking at events & a vibrant Facebook community; YoSoyM is a catalyst for change for both organizations and women in general.
We launched YoSoyM because we saw a gap in the market that translation services and advertising can not fullfill. That gap involves a deep connection and trust between all players. Below the needs that we recognized:
- Corporations & Businesses : Data collection and face to face interactions with Latinos in GA.
- Entrepreneurs: Access to corporations & non-profits for B2B opportunities and education, affordable & culturally relevant opportunities for commercial dealings.
- Non-Profit: Collaboration, data collection, needs assessment, outreach
- Latinas at-large: Learning about resources, services and products that allow them to better navigate the system and learn of growth opportunities.
We bridge the gap by implementing the following strategies:
- We make information available to women by reducing access barriers:
- Online: Our Facebook community and website offer not only resources, tips, recommendations, referrals, employment opportunities and community events. They are also platforms that allows women to stay and feel connected 24 hours a day.
- We Speak your Language: We are fully bilingual & cultural competent. Our Facebook community, websites and events are in Spanish, a language most Hispanic families feel comfortable with. It also allows to create a deeper cultural connection. Our team is 100% Latino.
- We Make Childcare a Priority: In ExpoMujer, our massive resource fair. Families can come together and learn about the offerings available.
- We Create Opportunities for Meaningful and Actionable Interaction: Between organizations and the community, through ExpoMujer, the first massive resource fair in Georgia for Latinos, Bazar Latino, an open marketplace for micro-entrepreneurs and LatinoForum, a roundtable and forum for Latino serving organizations to network and explore collaborations.
- We Lead a Positive Narrative & Representation campaign: From the best venues we can afford to our campaign highlighting our strenghts and potential. We don’t go for pity and a feel sorry narrative of unpriveleged. We focus on who we are and what we can do.
- We Put our Community First:
- By Investing in relevant venues: We take events where the community is and where is most convenient.
- We advocate: On behalf of our community when we hear there are service limitations or issues. Yes, we have been called “trouble makers” but that is OK.
While we acknowledge and “empowerment” is very much a decision a woman needs to make for herself, by recognizing their (our!) capacities, skills and abilities and facilitating opportunities for “others” to see them and support what is important for Latinas: Families, Education, Entrepreneurship, Health; we start a conversation that ultimately benefits all players, not only women: Businesses learn directly from the source what offerings are relevant & non-profits are able to assess and re-asses programs and needs.