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2016 Winner

NATASHA PONGONIS

Columbus, OH

OYE! Business Intelligence

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Natasha Pongonis is the Co-Owner of Nativa, a multicultural communications agency; and is the CEO of OYE! Business Intelligence, a technology startup that provides data analytics on the Hispanic demographic. Natasha is a business communications expert with extensive marketing experience. She has developed key digital strategies for many organizations and Governmental agencies engaging the diverse Hispanic audiences through her understanding of communication between cultures, traditions, and regional variations of Spanish. Being fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian enables Natasha to reach out and connect with a diverse digital audience across the globe.

“Understanding how the Hispanic demographic evolves and how these dynamic changes affect digital conversations and the use of the many different platforms are key factors to ensure our success and that of our clients.”- Natasha Pongonis, Founder & CEO, OYE! Business Intelligence 

 


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2016 Winner

PATRICIA FUNEGERA

Arlington, VA

La Cocina VA

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Patricia Fuegera is the founder and CEO of La Cocina VA, a workforce and small business development social enterprise, that provides vocational job training for the food service and hospitality industries, English language training and job placement for the unemployed. Through La Cocina VA Patricia has been able to help many immigrants and low-income Virginians get the necessary skills to pull themselves out of poverty. The future expansion of La Cocina VA through a Social Food Incubator will support entrepreneurs to start food-related small businesses by providing infrastructure for local food production, as well as business development training. 

“I started the organization because the sum of all parts didn’t exist under one roof at that particular time. I wanted to solve the challenges that our community faces to achieve success, to find employment and to create financial independence. I wanted to transform their current realities into stories of success, into new ventures that inspire, equip and mobilize our people to drive positive.”- Patrcia Funegera, Founder and CEO, La Cocina VA  

 


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2016 Winner

PAULA CELESTINO

Miami, FL

Crea7ive

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Paula Celestino is the Co-founder and Chief of Business Development at Crea7ive. At Crea7ive, Paula works with clients to provide consulting on branding and creative vision. She has worked directly with many of the agency’s high-profile clients including Wendy’s and Pizza Hut, Armani Casa and coaches team members to successfully plan and execute creative development. Paula is the founder of Kloset Karma, a fashion exchange app, winner of the 2014 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge and 2014 TECH Cocktail's Hottest Startup in Miami. Her startup journey inspired her to create the women in tech panel series called "A Conversation with Innovative Women" with the purpose to empower women to become entrepreneurs and to create an environment to foster mentorship and collaboration. She's also a Startup Weekend organizer, facilitator and community leader for Techstars in Miami. Paula holds a Bachelor’s Degree in PR Communications and Marketing from Florida International University.

 


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2016 Winner

DYAN MEDINA GIBBENS

Houston, TX

Trumbull Unmanned LLC

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Dyan Media Gibbens is the Founder and CEO of Trumbull Unmanned, a Forbes Top 25 Veteran Founded Company. Trumbull Unmanned provides critical data to the energy sector and flies drones in challenging and austere environments to collect and analyze data. Each Trumbull team member is a veteran, pilot, engineer, UAV operator, and transfer their strong aviation safety culture from Air Force pilots and Naval aviators. Dyan’s experience at the Air Force Academy, serving in the military, earning an MBA, and PhD coursework, complemented by a decade of aerospace work experience provide a unique skill set, better allowing her to meet the needs of Trumbull’s clients. 

“For advice to young women, I would assert if you are working for the right reasons smart, hard work pays off. For takeaways: * Anything worth doing is challenging * Don’t let anyone hold you back, including yourself  * And it’s okay to be the only woman in the room” - Dyan Media Gibbens, Founder & CEO, Trumbull Unmanned 

 


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2015 Social Business Winner

PATRICIA MARTINEZ

Chicago, IL
Financial Services

MSwift

@DoTheSwift | @TriciaTita

 

Patricia Martiniez is the Founder and CEO of MSwift. Swift's mission is to develop a system that introduces 2 billion unbanked individuals into the formal banking sector. Nearly one third of our global population has no access to formal banking, savings, credit, or insurance products, which research shows is a big contributor to social mobility and escaping poverty. Swift is a for-profit impact company providing financial support to the unbanked in emerging markets through a mobile banking solution. As a financial management tool, Swift enables users to save for their monthly expenses while tracking their daily spending habits.  

“The most important advice I can give to any woman entrepreneur, especially a Latina entrepreneur, is to persevere and ALWAYS have your game face on. We have to work 10 times harder than male entrepreneurs from fundraising, to partnerships, to team building, anything. Often times people don't give us the credit we deserve until we finally make it happen. I have learned to rise above the doubt because it gives me more strength to push harder and make this a success.”- Patrica Martinez, Founder & CEO, MSwift 

 


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2015 Technology Winner

ANA JULIA BERMUDEZ

San Diego, CA
Science & Technology

Get TAGit Inc.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | @AnaBermudez06

 

Ana Burmudez is the founder and CEO of Get TAGit Inc. A business leader with over 9 years of experience, including executive management, Ana is a creative innovator and an award-winning, dynamic public speaker with exceptional communication and problem-solving skills. TAGit is a free iOS mobile application that allows TV viewers to buy items from their favorite TV shows. With a complete integration to social media, TAGit allows TV viewers to instantly purchase the items they desire, and share their items with their social media friends. 

“The advice that I often share with female entrepreneurs is to not allow their circumstances, trials, and tribulations define them. Women are just as intelligent, strong, and capable of accomplishing their entrepreneurial goals.”- Ana Burmudez, Founder and CEO, Get TAGit Inc.