Within the framework of the event La Mujer, of the Mexican American Cultural Center, Emma S. Barrientos, we had a panel in Spanish with three businesswomen and servants of our community in which we discussed the obstacles faced by businesswomen of color in Central Texas and on strategies to overcome them. The panel was held on May 14th, 2022.

Our fabulous panelists:

Christina Collazo’s experience growing up in poverty in the Rio Grande Valley has given her an appreciation of the importance of strong education and support systems for women and children. A graduate of St. Edward’s University, Christina studied International Relations with a focus in Latin American Studies. She founded Todos Juntos in 2009 and has worked together with her team to establish an innovative and collaborative Dual-Generation Family Learning Center focused on community, education, and trust.

Marcela de Stefano is from Monclova, México and she holds a degree in public accounting. She has been a business owner in several capacities throughout the years, but more recently, Marcela launched an online group, Mexicanas en Austin, an association that aims to unite Spanish speaking women in Central Texas, empowering to create networks and perform civic duties as a community. She is also a co-founder of the start-up, Enlaces Academy, an online platform with educational resources for the Spanish speaking community who live outside of their country of origin. Additionally, she launched the artisan market in Round Rock, Texas, Latin American Market since the year 2021.

Victoria Ortega is originally from a bicultural region on the border of South Texas. Her cultural-diversity-themed work in photography, sculpture, and environmental art is as eclectic as her educational background; she studied Design, Education, Studio Art, & Psychology. For more than 20 years she has been integrating the Arts in the creation and facilitation of Personal and Professional development courses for non-profits, businesses, museums, cultural centers, and school districts. Her main interest is to be able to help the Hispanic community, especially women, enhance their self-efficacy and avoid self-doubt that can be paralyzing when it comes to learning new skills. You can read more about her journey at victoriaortega.com and her creative methodology at open2art.com

Panel moderator: Larissa Davila (Latino Arts, Culture and Education)