Carolina Huaranca, Tech-Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist & Principal of Kapor Capital

Latinos in tech have a long way to go (grow) less than 1 percent of venture-backed start-ups has a Latino founder, according to CB Insights. The good news is Carolina Huaranca is ready to change the game. The Peruvian-American is one of Silicon Valley’s few Latina venture capitalists. As a Principal at Kapor Capital, she specializes in identifying and investing in early-stage tech companies that are closing gaps of access, opportunity, or outcome for low-income communities in the U.S. Carolina has also been on the other side of the table as a tech founder prior to venture. She was the CEO and co-founder of Spriggle, a marketplace that helped parents identify education products for children ages 3-9. In

Carolina Huaranca Mendoza joined Kapor Capital in 2016 and focuses on identifying early stage investments, evaluating those investments, and partnering with entrepreneurs to grow their companies. She is particularly interested in Future Work, People Operations Technology, and Education. Prior to becoming Principal, she was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Kapor Center for Social Impact (KCSI) working on a tech platform for teacher professional development.

Carolina began her career as a Mergers & Acquisitions investment banker at Citi but left to pursue opportunities in the technology and education sectors. She began her technology career in 2003 as a Sales & Marketing Manager at SchoolNet, which sold to Pearson for $230MM. In 2012, she founded Spriggle, a marketplace helping parents identify science and math inspired products for children ages 3-9.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter

Carolina is a graduate of Cornell University and was awarded the Konologie Fellowship at The Wharton School. As a woman and first-generation Peruvian-American from Long Island, Carolina is passionate about ensuring that people from all backgrounds know how to access capital. Based on her experience serving as the founding National Director of Girls Who Code Clubs, where she launched 186 Clubs serving approximately 2,000 girls, she is extremely passionate about working to close the gender gap in technology. Outside of work, Carolina mentors women entrepreneurs and low-income teens interested in pursuing careers in tech.

 

Subscribe to our e-newsletter

Policy & America’s Perception of Higher Education and Economic Mobility

Lehman President José Luis Cruz took part in an important educational panel in Washington D.C. last Thursday, discussing and debating how to translate America’s perception of higher education and economic mobility into policy.

The panel entitled “Diving into the Data: Translating America’s Perceptions Into Policy,” was organized by New America, a non-partisan think tank that recently surveyed 1,600 Americans about their opinions on the country’s higher education system. A link to the video is available here.

On the panel, Cruz conveyed his hopes and concerns facing the country’s public higher education system. He talked about Lehman’s high economic mobility rate (fourth in the nation according to a study published in The New York Times), the College’s goal to double its credentials to 90,000 by 2030, and how cuts in government funding are especially problematic for public colleges and universities.

“It is important for [policymakers] to realize that two-year and four-year public sector institutions are really the ones that are disproportionately serving students in the U.S., particularly low-income students and students of color,” said President Cruz. “For our nation to be secure and prosperous moving forward, they have to start looking at these two- and four-year institutions and providing us the resources we need.”

President Cruz’s fellow panelists were Cheryl Oldham, vice president of education policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Scott Ralls, president, Northern Virginia Community College; and Deborah Santiago, chief operating officer and vice president for policy, Excelencia in Education. The moderator was Rob Nabors, director of U.S. policy, advocacy, and communications, at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The panel was part of New America’s public release of a report entitled “Varying Degrees: How America Perceives Higher Education.” The report includes a few institutional profiles of innovative and effective higher education programs, among which Lehman’s Adult Degree Program (ADP) is highlighted. A link to the ADP profile is available

 

 

Formerly Homeless Teen Helps Family stabilize itself & Now Will Attend Harvard

A Manual Arts High School senior whose family of six was homeless for three months after his father lost his job will be attending Harvard University this fall, thanks to a USC program.

Jorge Campos, 17, currently lives with his family in Palmdale. His days are long, as he makes the approximately 140-mile round trip to his high school in South Los Angeles and back.

“Sometimes I’m getting home at midnight, and I have wake up the next morning at 5 or 4:30 ” he said.

But for Campos, the distance is nothing compared to what he’s been through.

Campos was only13 years old and set to begin high school when his father, an auto mechanic lost his job. The family was homeless for three months, living in a van, hotels and staying with relatives.

“Right now, I look back and instead of breaking down and crying , because they were very traumatic experiences, I just look at it  what I lived through and look forward,” said Campos

As difficult as his circumstances were, he didn’t let that be an excuse from succeeding academically.

That year, Campos — a USC TRIO Upward Bound Scholar — enrolled in college level courses at Los Angeles Community College. He needs to complete just three classes to earn his associates degree in Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Homelessness was a motivating factor in shaping his education, as it prompted Campos to learn about finances, according to a news release from USC.

He even learned how his family could transition from a “high loan risk” to homeowners, which helped them purchase their home in Palmdale two years ago.

“I took on the budget. I took on the finances. All the bills that are paid at home run through me,” Campos told said

The son of Mexican parents, Campos grew up in South L.A. a few blocks away from the University of Southern California campus. He was invited to join the USC TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science program at his high school during his freshman year.

The program is geared toward helping high school students who are first-generation college bound, low-income students fulfill their potential and go to university. It provides students like Campos educational tools and resources at USC.

About 2,500 students are currently in the program, which is in its 40th year, the release stated.

Campos credits this program with helping achieve his success

Entrepreneurs Over 50 are the Fastest Growing in America

⇑50 is the New 30⇓

A growing number of workers age 50-plus are turning interests, hobbies or skills into a small business.  Whether you are interested in starting a small business right away or are intending to wait until after retirement, now is the time to explore the possibilities.

But why do people in that age range — many of whom may have already had lengthy careers working for established organizations — want to start businesses? When Gallup studied nearly 2,000 U.S. baby boomers, including entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs, we found that an overwhelming majority — 83% — say their main reason for launching a venture was a lifestyle choice or to increase their income.

The Kauffman Foundation says 26% of new entrepreneurs in 2015 were 55 to 64 compared with 15% in 1997.

Many baby boomers are looking for what the Small Business Administration describes as an “encore” career. These boomer entrepreneurs are primarily choosing to start businesses because it allows them to be independent (32%), pursue their interests and passions (27%) or increase their income (24%), rather than committing to the grueling task of starting and managing a high-intensity, high-growth venture. Very few (10%) are pursuing an idea for a new product or service that solves a problem or meets an unfulfilled need in the market — the type of business that would typically have immense growth potential.

Whether your target market is global or just your neighborhood, the SBA and its Resource Partners can help at every stage of turning your entrepreneurial dream into a thriving business.

Summer of Encore Mentoring- Small Business Administration
It’s official – June 1 begins the Summer of Encore Mentoring. Encore entrepreneurs over the age of 50 are one of the fastest growing groups of business owners.  If you are an individual age 50+, then entrepreneurship can offer an opportunity for you to use your knowledge, passion, life and professional experience toward creating a small business. You can learn more about becoming an encore entrepreneur at a local event near you by.

SBA Offers Free Online Courses, check here: http://bit.ly/1tBT2h8

 Starting a Business – Are You Ready?
Do you have what it takes to start your own company?

Take a quick biz quiz from AARP:  http://bit.ly/29rOzyr

Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim’s Investments Revealed

Carlos Slim Helú, one of the wealthiest people in the world, was born on January 28, 1940, in Mexico City to a family of Lebanese Christian immigrants. He became a billionaire after the economic crash of 1982 when he purchased investments at low prices that would later be extremely valuable. In 2000, he founded the Foundation for the Historic Centre of Mexico City to restore and save significant buildings.

From 2010 to 2014, Carlos Slim Helu was the wealthiest man in the world, and most people did not even know who he was. “Slim,” as he is commonly known, is often called “the Monopolist,” and many people in Mexico refer to their country as Slimlandia, as it is difficult to spend money in a day without adding revenue to one of the over 200 companies associated with him. He appears on the Forbes’ billionaires list, as of April 2016, at fourth-richest in the world with $58.3 billion in wealth.
Main Investments
Slim was wealthy by the time he orchestrated the purchase of a 20% stake in Telmex (Telefonos de Mexico), the state-owned telephone company that was privatized in the 1990s by his own conglomerate Grupo Carso SAB . America Movil, a Grupo Carso company completely owned by Slim, eventually took over and privatized Telmex. The two companies at their peak accounted for 70% and 80%, respectively, of all land and cellphone communications in the country. With anti-monopolist pressures mounting, rumors state that the Helu family plans to divest itself of the controlling interest of the two companies for a possible $8 billion payout.

Slim founded Grupo Carso, a conglomerate holding company, early in his career from proceeds gained by working 14-hour days as a stockbroker in Mexico. This company still forms Slim’s main holdings, including three major revenue divisions: industrial, retail, and infrastructure and construction. The conglomerate operates a number of subsidiary companies that include Sanborns retail chain; Sears’ Mexican subsidiary; Cigatam, the second-largest cigarette maker in the country; and many more.

 

Real Estate
Not an area that Slim focused on in his early years, real estate has become a major part of his portfolio in the last two decades. Part of this was a natural undertaking as part of the expanding conglomerate, such as the 20 shopping centers throughout Mexico, 10 of those in Mexico City. However in 2006, Slim purchased the Duke Semans mansion for $44 million, considered one of the last great private residences on Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 2015, it was put up for sale for $88 million in his traditional strategy of buying items in a depressed market and reaping the benefits in up markets by selling them.

13417Carlos_Slim_prensa

Slim also purchased two commercial buildings in the United States in 2015, including the PepsiCo Inc. Americas Beverages’ headquarters just north of New York City and the Marquette Building in Detroit. Grupo Carso’s main complex headquarters in Mexico City, named Plaza Carso, includes the Museo Soumaya, Museo Jumex, the Plaza Carso Shopping center, three residential towers and three commercial office buildings completed at an estimated cost of $1.4 billion.

slim

Carlos Slim as a teenager

 

Other Investments
A discussion on Slim’s portfolio holdings is not complete without mentioning his stake in the New York Times Company. American bastion of free speech. In 2009, he loaned $250 million to the ailing newspaper at 14% interest with the rights for warrants to exercise further buying of shares. He exercised these in 2015, upping his stake to 16.8%, making him the largest single shareholder.

His late wife was an avid art collector, and Slim built the Museo Soumaya in her honor. It houses almost 70,000 works of art, including the largest collection of Rodin art outside of France as well as a host of masterpieces, including Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet and Dali, just to name a few.

Slim’s portfolio is one of the largest on the planet. It reaches far and wide geographically and into almost every major industry, even though the bulk of it is tied to the $80 billion market capitalization of Telmex and America Movil and the $12 billion market capitalization of Groupo Carso.

Interseting Facts About Mr. Slim

  • He began investing at a rather young age.
    Carlos Slim and his siblings began learning about business as children from their enterprising father. When he was only 12 years old, Slim bought shares in a Mexican bank. Clearly, the phrase “it’s never too early” was an important family philosophy.
  • He loves baseball.
    Slim has a passion for history, nature and art (he is considered the world’s foremost collector of Rodin statues), but his greatest love is baseball. Slim has written several articles about the sport and is said to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the game. He’s also been known to attend Major League Baseball games to root for the league’s richest team: the Yankees.
  • He has influence in the United States.
    In 2008, Slim made headlines when he bought a 6.4% stake in the New York Times Company and recently bought more, upping his stake to 7.5%. However, he also loaned the New York Times $250 million in 2009 when they were in difficult financial times. This wasn’t the first time he invested in the United States. Before their liquidation in late 2007, Slim indirectly controlled the now defunct computer retailer CompUSA. Additionally, Slim bought a 1% stake in Citigroup  in 2008 and has a 16% stake in Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • His philanthropy has its limits.
    Slim has been criticized for accumulating so much wealth in a nation where about half the people are living in poverty. He did join President Bill Clinton and Canadian mining figure Frank Giustra to launch an anti-poverty campaign in Latin America.  But he told USA Today(link is external) education and jobs can fight poverty better than charity. Still, he was on Forbes’ list of the World’s Biggest Givers in May 2011 for donating $4 billion to his anti-poverty foundation.
  • He’s frugal.
    What is it with billionaires being so frugal? Slim maintains a relatively low-key existence. He has lived in the same six-bedroom house for the past 30 years and even drives himself to work. Rather than living a luxurious life around the world, he likes to enjoy his home country. He wears clothes from his own modest store, doesn’t travel very much and doesn’t own a single home outside of Mexico.

 

 

We support United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz

United Airlines has been all over the news  lately, fueled by video below that went viral on social media. Video was taken by a passenger of another passenger, a Chinese American doctor savagely pulled from his seat, dragged out the plane and bloodied by the police. This unfortunate situation happened because the airline oversold the flight, then needed four seats back to fly crew members. The doctor, refused to leave, and we all know what happened. This man was a paying customer and he did not deserve this. He will most likely sue and he should. United loss over $1 Billion dollars in stock value the very next day, due to negative publicity. Ergo the power of video on a cell phone, AKA; citizen media, coined by Clemencia Rodriguez, US-based media and communication scholar of Colombian decent.

The media and the community at large have been hyper critical of United Airlines and rightly so, many are even calling for the resignation of its Mexican American CEO, Oscar Munoz… Why should he resign? It was the police that dragged this man out, with total disregard for his humanity, not Mr. Munoz. After this ordeal happened, Munoz quickly gave face, apologized and has taken action to make sure this does not happen again, he deserves credit for stepping up to the plate. United and all other airlines need to implement a plan to make sure that this never happens again. In this case, it’s the officers involved that need to be reprimanded, not the CEO. A CEO’s job is to run an effective and profitable business, by making sure that they provide proper service to its consumers and deliver profit to its shareholders, and Mr. Munoz has been doing both fabulously.

Another important factor to note and reason to support him, is that Oscar Munoz is one of only ten CEO’s in fortune 500 companies, that’s only 2% compared to the 17% of the U.S. population, however its better than none, which was the case 20 years ago. Numbers are trending in the right direction. We hope you support Mr. Munoz as the head honcho of a major American corporation, because U.S. Hispanics as a community and as individuals have come a long way, and he is one of them. A person of influence and achievement that kids can look up to and be inspired by. Its not just about song & dance for us, although believe it or not some people may think that’s what we’re about, education is key. However, so is wealth creation and to have a position, such as CEO of a global conglomerate is pretty impressive and that very position, helps position the community forward in both perception and reality from within and outside of it. We need more men and women like Oscar Munoz.

Since taking on CEO duties in September 2015, Munoz has transformed the fortunes of the beleaguered airline, galvanized staff, and set the business on a smoother course – all in the context of a tremendously difficult time personally. Only two months and change after having undergone a heart transplant, Munoz returned to his United CEO role full time in March 2016 following the health crisis that struck just six weeks after he took on the airline’s top job.

1017-Oscar-Munoz

Munoz has shown himself to be a smart, dedicated, and excellent leader who understands the value of communications. His ability to connect and share with employees his vision for the airline, and get them to rally behind it, is a key reason PRWeek named him 2017 Communicator of the Year. Historically, United lagged behind its main rivals, American and Delta. But in 2016 the Chicago-based company’s stock price gained an impressive 27% over the year prior. In addition, the airline also had its “best full-year on-time performance” in history.

Critical to its success has been United’s ability, led by Munoz, to sign new contracts with all union groups, most well ahead of deadlines, helping to curtail customer service problems caused by disgruntled staff that had long plagued the airline. Munoz won praise from union bosses for his easy rapport with shop-floor workers, a rarity in any industry. Undertaking an extensive meet-and-greet tour across the United network, Munoz rebuilt employee confidence in the airline brand.

Employee distrust and discontent was at a high for United when Munoz landed in the top job in September 2015. Its last CEO, Jeff Smisek, abruptly resigned in connection to a federal investigation that he made quid pro quo exchanges with public officials. Media noted it was another failure for the company following its merger with Continental five years earlier that had still not bedded down.

Born in Mexico and raised in Southern California, Munoz climbed the corporate ranks in finance at PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and AT&T before being named president of railroad operator CSX and then United.

He connected well with the airline’s pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and other workers partly because of his blue-collar roots – his father was a union meat cutter – and he hasn’t been shy opening up to employees or media about his heart problems. He invited Fortune to follow him on the job, which resulted in a highly positive feature. Under Munoz’s vision for the brand, the airline hired Jim Olson away from Starbucks in February 2016 as SVP of corporate communications.

The company launched United Airtime, a platform for dialogue between Munoz, staff, and customers and held an internal leadership conference for more than 700 employees – the company’s intranet, Flying Together, enjoyed a 20% year-over-year lift in views.

Oscar Munoz, the charismatic CEO of United Airlines, will receive  PRWeek U.S.’s Communicator of the Year for 2017 – he is the fifth recipient of this title. Munoz will be present next Thursday at the PRWeek Awards 2017 gala ceremony to accept his honor – he follows in the footsteps of previous PRWeek Communicators of the Year Clementa Pinckney, Pete Frates, Edie Windsor, and Malala Yousafzai.

6 Ways to Find Your Special Talent & Purpose

 

6 Ways to Find Your Special Talent & Purpose

According to the dictionary, a talent is a natural endowment of a person. It is an ability or natural capacity that we have, which may range

Ask 10 people what their talents are and you are bound to get a variety of responses, many of which will include that they simply don’t know. How can that be, you ask? Because people are often too close to what is going on for them to notice their natural abilities. So these gems go unnoticed and untapped, for years!

Finding your talent is actually much easier than you may realize. Here are 5 simple ways to find your hidden talents:

Listen to others:

Those around you usually know what your talents are, even when you don’t. If you think about it, people have likely been telling you that you are good at something for a long time. You just weren’t listening. Now is the time to listen.

Determine what is easy:

Are there things that you find really easy or obvious to do, while others may struggle or muddle their way through? If you have things that you find super easy, you believe that they should be just as easy, or obvious, for others, but that’s not how it plays out. In this scenario, they struggle while you stand there feeling like it was a cake walk!

What you enjoy most:

Your talents may be demonstrating itself in other ways. Are there magazine topics that you just can’t get enough of? Are there shows you love? Think about what it is that you love to do most when you have free time. If you are drawn toward it, it is a natural talent.

Shut up already:

Is there a specific subject that you love to talk about, often to the point that your friends want to shoot you? Consider the subject, perhaps it may be one of your hidden talents or is connected to one.

Just ask:

Ask everyone you know that will give you an honest assessment about what they think your talents are. Ask them to ignore your bad habits and have them share the one or two things that they think you are hands down most talented at. Ask a lot of people who know you, but always ask them one-on-one. Compile the results and there is your hidden talent.

Key Components:

When you know what your talents are, you feel more in tune with your life. You can also use those talents to excel in the business world. Whether you leverage those talents in your product or service, or you use them to network and make quality connections, they are important to know. When you capitalize on your talents, it no longer feels like work, it just feels like living. And anything that makes business and life more enjoyable is bound to be a good thing.

What You Can Learn from the Super Rich

Almost everyone wants to be rich. Many want to own their own business. Both require hard work, smart work and a constant and never ending learning process. The moment, you think you know it all, is usually the beginning of the end. Below are a collection of insights from multiple sources of successful entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals on what to do and what not to do…and take a look at the video below.

It Ain’t Just for the Money
One thing you’ll discover if you observe rich folks is that while they may have expensive things, oftentimes, their focus is on experiences rather than on things If you’re contemplating purchasing a frivolous item — like a luxury car or a Rolex — consider instead what it could mean to your family to take a trip of a lifetime.  When we’re older, we’re unlikely to wish we’d had more stuff.  Instead, we’re likely to wish we’d spent more time living it up with the people who matter to us.

 Limit you’re Debt
Debt is a set of shackles.  You have to work harder to pay money back than you would have to earn it in the first place.  The ultra-rich understand that sometimes it’s best to defer a purchase until you can pay for it in cash.  You’re far better off learning to accomplish your goals with creativity, determination and hard work than you are if you ask others to shoulder your risk for you.  Find ways to cut costs, create a new way to make money…do everything you can to avoid falling into too much debt, which can enslave you.

Love What You Do (but you have to make money from it) One question entrepreneurs who are looking to refine their niche, ask is “What would you be doing if it weren’t about the money?”  Now the answer can’t simply be “Drinking Coronas under a coconut tree.”  The point is that if you can find a way to incorporate your passion into your work, then you’re learning one of the secrets of the super-rich.  They don’t derive pleasure simply from amassing wealth.  They feel motivated because they love what they do.  You can do that too!  Ask yourself what matters to you apart from money … and then find a way to make money from it!

Luck goes both ways
Luck is always involved in entrepreneurship. No matter how hard you work, there will be some (good and bad) luck in it. Yes, luck favors the prepared and it is not all about luck. But when it comes along, recognize it and take advantage of it. And when you have bad luck, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Embrace it and get back out there. There will be setbacks. The only question is: how will you respond? Will you get down on yourself and think “why me?” or will you bounce back and find a way to persevere? And remember, luck goes both ways. So if something happens in your favor, be thankful and embrace it. And don’t pat your back too hard, but learn from the ups and the downs, they are both important…many times the downs are actually more insightful and important than the highs.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint
The goal is to increase your chances of success. Being an entrepreneur is hard. It takes sacrifice. There are no overnight successes (well, maybe one or two), but for most successes out there, the real backstory is much more tumultuous. Success is almost never linear. Sometimes there are ups and downs, rights and lefts, forwards and backwards. The goal is to take one or two steps forward every day, with the understanding that there will be setbacks. My favorite analogy is comparing entrepreneurship to mountain climbing in Antarctica. Successful climbers don’t dwell on the peak; they focus on the next 20 feet, and then the next, and then the next. Building a business takes time. You need to be able to weather the storms and take advantage of serendipity.

Don’t Try To Do It All
All the money in the world doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have the time to enjoy it.  If you insist on doing everything yourself, then your earnings are determined (and limited) by your hourly rate and the finite number of hours in each day. If you bill $200/hour for your time and work ten hours a day, then your earnings are $2000.  But if you need more than that to keep your business and family afloat, then you’re not doing good.  But imagine that you employ ten people who earn you $15/hour.  You’re instantly pulling in $2000 for a ten-hour day, pay out $1500, a $500 a day surplus, and if you add more employees, you can continue to grow your company.  Think big!

Be Determined, but Humble
Be open to feedback. Learn, but don’t be a ping pong ball. Have humble confidence, take feedback well and realize that while you may be smart and capable, you can’t do it alone. (And that some luck plays into everything.) With that said, entrepreneurs must evoke confidence. Again, they take feedback well but don’t bounce around on ideas. They have a point of view and they own it! It’s their unique take on the world, and they are building their business around it.

 Don’t Give up
Get as many “at bats” as possible. Most entrepreneurial efforts fail. And most of your ideas will also fail. The best way to increase your chances of success is to be around as long as possible. The best way to do that is to be frugal. Benjamin Franklin talked about being frugal and industrious. So be wise with your money, but not in a way that suffocates growth. The longer you can stretch your runway, the more chances you have at bat. And hopefully one of those chances leads to a hit. “To be in business you have to be in business.”

You are Responsible
This is your company, mentors, lenders and investors are here to help, but ultimately it is your business. If you want or need something, don’t be afraid to ask your supporters for help. But remember, it’s all you.

Check out this bonus video for you on an epic interview in 2007 with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs two of the most visionary entrepreneurs of all time. Here they reveal some of the secrets to their amazing success.

 

7 Business Ideas to Jump-start Tomorrow!

Are you looking to start a business or want ideas on what you can create to earn some extra cash? If you are then this 2 1/2 minute video can at least point you in the right direction.

 

Jessica Alba-Actress-Philanthropist and 1.7 Billion Dollar Entrepreneur

Born on April 28, 1981, in Pomona, California, film actress Jessica Alba comes from a diverse background. Her father is Mexican-American and her mother has Danish and French roots.

Jessica Alba’s, the Honest Company, a four-year-old consumer-products start-up in Santa Monica, California, that wowed the tech community with a $1.7 billion valuation and over 500 employees.  “We hire a lot of people right out of college,” says Alba, whose current age, 34, makes her older than the office average.

Jessica-Alba

 

Director James Cameron, a movie industry giant, gave Alba her big break in 1998 when he cast her as the lead in the short-lived TV series Dark Angel. He isn’t shocked by Honest success: “If you went back to the day I met Jessica and told me, ‘This girl is going to build a billion-dollar company,’ I would’ve said, ‘I believe it.’ ”

Alba’s father, Mark, was in the U.S. Air Force and moved the family to Biloxi, Mississippi, and Del Rio, Texas, before settling in Southern California, where he started a real-estate company. Her mother, Cathy was a sort of jack of all trades, she was the manager of a movie theater; she went to cosmetology school; she was a bartender, waitress, and then managed Alba. Cathy began working at Honest a couple of years ago and trains retail partners as a senior brand educator.

As a child Alba suffered from asthma and allergies, that landed her in the hospital often, and instilled in her a burning desire to do something special in this world. At the age of 12, she become a devout born-again Christian. “I was seeking my purpose, in this world. This lasted until she was 17, when, she says, she was turned off by the boundaries and labels set by fellow churchgoers. That year, she attended an acting workshop in Vermont and “fell crazy in love with a cross ballet dancer who had a baby and was bisexual. I was like, ‘There’s just no way he’s going to hell!’ ” Acting opened her to a new world of creative people and a community where she belonged. “I felt like, at the end of the day, God is love and everyone is human.”

alba

Jessica is very much into philanthropy, supporting the following organizations:

Baby2Baby Cancer Research Institute, Children’s Defense Fund, Clothes Off Our Back, Communities in Schools, Declare Yourself, DonorsChoose.org, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Feeding America, Global Campaign for Education, Global Poverty Project, Habitat For Humanity, International Fund For Animal Welfare, Keep A Child Alive, Kids Wish Network, Love, Our Children USA, March Of Dimes, Melanoma Research Alliance, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, National Kidney Foundation, ONE Campaign, Padres Contra el Cancer, Project HOME, RADD, Revlon Run/Walk For Women, Soles4Souls, SOS Children’s Villages, Stand Up To Cancer, Step Up, The Art of Elysium, The Max Love Project, The Nature Conservancy, The Rescue Train, The Samburu Project, Until There’s a Cure, US Doctors for Africa and V-Day