Latino Population Rising in the South

latino flags

America is becoming more Latino these days, but no area is getting more of the Latino settlers than the good ole South.


According to data released last week by the Pew Hispanic Trends Project, Alabama was at the very top of the list out of a listing of 10 States with the fastest growing Hispanic Populations from 2000 to 2011.


Also, the gathered data showed that not one state amongst the list or research showed a significant decline of their Latino population. However, the data is not up-to-date regarding the time in-between 2011 and to the present.


While Alabama may be at the top having the most Latinos living in the state, the state just passed one of its strictest laws some are calling Draconian (Harsh). Aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, the law follows in the footsteps of Arizona’s SB 1070 bill which permitted law enforcement to “question” any “suspected” illegal citizens.


According to the New York Times, the introduction of the law caused an exodus of Latinos residing in the state which may require a re-research on the findings.


Despite the immigration laws being passed that is upsetting the livelihood of Latinos, there is a booming growth in the south. The U.S. southwest remains the leading region of Latinos residing with states like New Mexico holding the highest population of 46.7% Latinos. Following after New Mexico is Texas, California, and Arizona.


While the data may not include 2012 and 2013, the surveys regarding the Latino population rising in the country since the result of the 2012 election showed Latinos being the powerhouse for votes is steadily coming true.


9 Power Questions that Will Help You Build Better Business Relationships


Just a few years ago, globalization was in full swing, and the world seemed to be bursting with an infinite supply of business. All this bounty lulled us into taking our customers for granted, maintains Andrew Sobel—until the economy tanked and shattered the illusion of endless prosperity. Suddenly, the old-fashioned “trusted relationship” started to look good again.

“In this post-Madoff era of unpredictability and suspicion, people are looking for deeper, more intimate, and more engaged relationships—the kind that reduce risk,” says Sobel, author (along with coauthor, Jerold Panas) of Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others (Wiley, February 2012, ISBN: 978-11181196-3-1, $22.95) and three other books on long-term business relationships.

“This is true of customers but also vendors, employees, and other business partners,” he adds. “The days of getting in, making money, and moving on to the next guy are over. When times are tough and the future is uncertain, people want to put down roots and partner with people they truly like and trust.”

Bottom line: In today’s markets, the most valuable commodity is the ability to connect with others and rapidly build trust. And that begins by asking the right questions.

“Asking questions and letting people come up with their own answers is far more effective than spouting facts or trying to talk someone into something,” Sobel explains. “Telling creates resistance. Asking creates relationships.”

In his book Sobel explores dozens of questions that light fires under people, challenge their assumptions, help them see problems in productive new ways, and inspire them to bare their souls (which, of course, strengthens the bonds in the relationship).

Here are nine ways questions can transform professional and personal relationships:

  1. • Questions turn one-dimensional, arms-length business relationships into personal relationships that endure for years. “When a relationship is all business and there is no real personal connection, it lacks heart and soul,” says Sobel. “And therefore you are a commodity—a kind of fungible expert-for-hire. A client—or your boss—can trade you out for a new model with no remorse or emotion. But when you’ve connected personally, the situation is transformed because clients stick with people they like. Bosses hold on to team members they feel passionately about. Your expertise and competence get you in the door, but it’s the personal connection that then builds deep loyalty.”Sobel tells the story of a senior partner in a top consulting firm who had to meet with the CEO of a major client. Other consultants were nipping at their heels to get more business from this company. This powerful, confident CEO, who was in his 60s and near retirement, had seen hundreds of consulting reports. At the end of a routine briefing, the senior partner paused and asked the CEO, “Before we break up, can I ask you a question?” The CEO nodded. The partner said, “You’ve had an extraordinary career. You have accomplished so much, starting at the very first rung of the ladder, on the manufacturing floor. As you look ahead—is there something else you’d like to accomplish? Is there a dream you’ve yet to fulfill?”The CEO was nearly stunned. He thought for a moment and replied, “No one has ever asked me that question. No one.” And then he began talking about a deeply held dream he had for his retirement. That question was the turning point in building a long-term, deeply personal relationship with an influential business leader.
  2. • They make the conversation about the other person—not about them. Most of us don’t care what other people think—we want to know first if they care about us. The need to be heard is one of the most powerful motivating forces in human nature. That’s why one of Sobel’s power questions is, What do you think? Another is, Can you tell me more? “There’s an anecdote I love about a woman who has dinner, in the same month, with two great rival British statesmen of the 19th century, Gladstone and Disraeli,” says Sobel. “When asked to compare the two men she says, ‘After my dinner with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in the world.’ And then she adds, ‘After my dinner with Mr. Disraeli, I felt as though I were the cleverest woman in all of England!’ “When you make the conversation all about you, others may think you are clever,” he adds. “But you will not build their trust. You will not learn about them. You will squander the opportunity to build the foundations for a rich, long-term relationship.”
  3. • They cut through the “blah, blah, blah” and create more authentic conversations. No doubt you can relate to this scenario. A person says, “I want to bounce something off you.” Then, he proceeds to spend ten minutes telling you every detail of a very convoluted situation he is enmeshed in. You do yourself and the other person a favor by getting him to focus on the true kernel of his issue. Simply ask: What is your question? “This is a tough-love question,” admits Sobel. “People will resist it—often strenuously. But you must ask it. It forces them to take the first step toward clarifying what the issue is and what advice they really need from you. You’ll reduce the amount of posturing people do and will move faster toward an authentic conversation.”
  4. • They help people clarify their thinking and “get out of the cave.” The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said that we perceive reality as if we are chained inside a dark cave. In that cave, we see only the blurred shadows of life outside the cave as they are projected on a dark wall at the back. Our understanding of reality is filtered and distorted. By asking a series of questions, Socrates would engage his students’ minds in the learning process. In this way he uncovered assumptions and slowly but surely got to the heart of the issue. The “Socratic Method” is still used at Harvard Business School—and it can enable you to help others see the true reality instead of shadowy representations of it. Instead of saying, “We need to improve our customer service!” Sobel suggests asking: “How would you assess our customer service levels today?” Or, “How is our service impacting our customer retention?” If someone at work says, “We need more innovation,” ask, “Can you describe what innovation means to you? How would we know if we had more of it?” Or if there is a call for more teamwork, ask, “What do you mean when you say ‘teamwork’?”
  5. • They help you zero in on what matters most to the other person. The next time you’re talking to someone and realize you’ve “lost” her—she’s fidgeting, she’s stopped asking questions, maybe she’s sneaking glances at the clock—ask this question: What is the most important thing we should be discussing today? You will instantly connect with what really matters to her—and the conversation that ensues will help her see you as relevant and valuable. “Even if your agenda doesn’t get met, hers will,” asserts Sobel. “And then she will want to enthusiastically reciprocate. In business it’s critical to be seen as advancing the other person’s agenda of essential priorities and goals. When time is spent together on issues that are truly important to both parties, the relationship deepens and grows.”
  6. • They help others tap into their essential passion for their work. One of the highest-impact power questions you can ask is, Why do you do what you do? It grabs people by the heart and motivates them. When they seriously consider and answer this question, the room will light up with passion. Dull meetings will transform into sessions that pop with energy and generate ideas that vault over bureaucratic hurdles and create real impact. “We do things for many reasons,” writes Sobel. “But when you put ‘should’ in front of those reasons, you can be certain all the pleasure and excitement will soon be drained away. No one gets excited about should. In contrast, when you unveil the true why of someone’s work and actions—when you get them to start sentences with ‘I love to’ or ‘I get excited when’—you will find passion, energy, and motivation.”
  7. • They inspire people to work at a higher level. The late Steve Jobs was notorious for pushing employees. He asked people constantly, Is this the best you can do? It’s a question that infused Apple’s corporate culture from the beginning. It’s one that helped revolutionize the desktop computing, music, and cellular phone industries. And it’s one that you can use too—sparingly and carefully—when you need someone to stretch their limits and do their very best work. “Often, we settle for mediocrity when we need to do our best,” reflects Sobel. “Mediocrity is the enemy of greatness. Asking, Is this the best you can do? helps others achieve things they did not believe possible.”
  8. • They can save you from making a fool of yourself. Before responding to a request or answering someone’s question to you, it’s often wise to get more information about what the other person really wants. When a potential employer says, “Tell me about yourself,” you can bore them to tears by rambling on and on about your life—or you could respond by asking, “What would you like to know about me?” When a prospect asks, “Can you tell me about your firm?” the same dynamic applies. Most people go on and on about their company, but the client is usually interested in one particular aspect of your business, not how many offices you have in Europe. Ever seen someone answer the wrong question? It’s painful to watch. Asking a clarifying question can save you huge embarrassment. “A potential client asked me for the names of three references to call,” Sobel tells us. “Instead of running around and drumming up the names, I pushed back, and asked, ‘What particular information are you seeking? Any references I give you are only going to rave about me!’ It turned out the prospect had no interest in actual references. And in fact, had she called my past clients under that pretense, it could have been potentially embarrassing to me for them to make such a big deal about a small speaking engagement. What she really wanted to understand was how other clients of mine had tackled the organizational resistance she was expecting. This question—and the subsequent conversation—turned a small lead for a keynote speech into a major, year-long project.”
  9. • They can salvage a disastrous conversation. Sobel’s coauthor, Jerry Panas, recalls the time he asked a man named Allan for a million-dollar donation to his alma mater’s College of Engineering. Though he knew better, the author failed to gain rapport and explore Allan’s true motivations before jumping in with the big request. When Allan rebuked him for his presumptuousness, Panas realized he had made a serious error. He apologized, left the room, and twenty seconds later knocked on the door and asked the power question, Do you mind if we start over? Start over they did, and Panas ultimately discovered that Allan might indeed be interested in making a gift—but to the University’s theater program, not its engineering program!

“Things like this happen all the time in business—and at home,” reflects Sobel. “Interactions get off on the wrong foot, and someone gets angry or offended or just shuts down. But people are forgiving. They want to have a great conversation with you. Asking, Do you mind if we start over? will disarm the other person and make him smile. That smile will ease the way to a new beginning.”

One of the greatest benefits of becoming a master questioner is that it takes a lot of pressure off us, notes Sobel. It’s a huge relief to know that you don’t have to be quick, clever, or witty—that you don’t have to have all the answers.

“All business interactions are human interactions,” he says. “And part of being human is acknowledging that you don’t know everything about everything—and that you certainly don’t know everything about the other person and her needs. Questions help you understand these things more deeply.

“The right questions unleash a cascade of innermost feelings and vibrant conversations,” he adds. “They help you bypass what’s irrelevant and get straight to what’s truly meaningful. They make people like you, trust you, and want to work with you—and once you’ve achieved that, the battle is already won.”

Hispanic Leader Geisha Williams Named New CEO and President of PG&E Corporation


Image: bizjournal.com

As part of a leadership succession plan, the Board of Directors of PG&E Corporation today elected Geisha Williams, 55, as Chief Executive Officer and President of PG&E Corporation. Williams is currently President, Electric of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, PG&E Corporation’s utility subsidiary.

Tony Earley, Jr., 67, currently Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation, was elected to serve as Executive Chair of the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors. In addition, Nickolas (“Nick”) Stavropoulos, 58, currently President, Gas of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, was elected to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

The new roles are effective March 1, 2017. The currently separate roles of president for the gas and electric businesses are being consolidated into the single utility president role that will be held by Stavropoulos.

Tony Earley has been a strong hand at the helm over the past five years and his deep industry experience has been invaluable to us as he guided PG&E to the goal of becoming a top industry performer. Under his leadership, PG&E implemented an integrated, risk-based planning process that provided a road map for making PG&E a safer, stronger energy company through a robust capital investment program, widespread process improvements and by instilling a strong safety culture. Tony also invested in PG&E’s human capital, attracting strong leaders to join and stay with PG&E and mentoring Geisha Williams and Nick Stavropoulos. Geisha and Nick are both exceptionally talented executives and we are pleased that they will carry on the work that Tony advanced so successfully,” said Barry Lawson Williams, independent lead director of the PG&E Corporation Board.

Earley said, “I am very pleased with the decisions of the Boards of Directors to move forward with this planned succession. Geisha has demonstrated the performance and strategic vision to lead this organization into the future. She has a long track record of success with PG&E and in the industry. Under her leadership, PG&E has driven record-setting improvements in electric reliability year-over-year by transforming our electric grid with smart technology and by implementing an industry leading emergency response capability. As a result of these investments, Geisha’s team restored power with record speed when an earthquake hit Napa in 2014. Geisha also understands the enormous changes that will be affecting our industry in the years ahead and has a vision for navigating these changes successfully. Nick, who will serve as President and COO of the utility, has successfully led a multi-billion-dollar investment in the safety of our gas system and strengthened PG&E’s safety culture, the success of which has earned the utility international recognition. Geisha and Nick both have the vision, operational focus, and commitment to collaboration that will serve our customers, communities, employees and shareholders well. Above all, they have a shared and unequivocal commitment to the safety of the public and our employees and contractors.

Ms. Williams said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the extraordinary 23,000 employees of PG&E and to support their efforts to safely serve 16 million Californians. We are in a period of tremendous and accelerating change in our industry, driven by technology, competitive forces and public policy objectives around clean energy. We are well positioned for these changes and well positioned for growth with substantial infrastructure investments focused on continuing to enhance the safety and reliability of our system while enabling California’s clean energy economy.

Stavropoulos said, “We set out five years ago to become the safest and most reliable energy company in America and we have made incredible progress toward that goal. When it comes to safety, the job is never done. I am absolutely committed to continuing this journey and to supporting the efforts of PG&E’s team members while achieving new levels of operational excellence and efficiency across the organization in order to provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy to our customers.

Earley joined PG&E Corporation in September 2011 after 17 years with DTE Energy. When he left DTE, he was serving as Executive Chairman. He had previously served as Chairman, CEO and President of DTE. Prior to joining DTE Energy, Earley served in various capacities at Long Island Lighting Company, including President and Chief Operating Officer. Previously, he was a partner at the Hunton & Williams law firm. In Earley’s new capacity as Executive Chair of the Board of PG&E Corporation, he will continue as an employee of the company, providing counsel to senior management and supporting the leadership transition in addition to continuing to serve on the Board.

Ms. Williams joined Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 2007 and was named Executive Vice President, Electric Operations in 2011. She was named President, Electric and a member of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Board in 2015. In addition to her previous responsibilities for all non-nuclear electric operations, Williams took on additional responsibility for the enterprise-wide Customer Care organization and the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant when she was named President, Electric.

Before joining Pacific Gas and Electric Company, she held officer-level positions leading electric distribution, as well as a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in customer service, marketing, external affairs and electric operations at Florida Power and Light Company, the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving more than 4.8 million customer accounts or more than 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida.

Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in business administration from Nova Southeastern University. A trustee of the California Academy of Sciences, Williams also serves as the board chair for the Center for Energy and Workforce Development, and as a director at the Edison Electric Institute, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies. In addition, she is active in Executive Women in Energy and the University of Miami President’s Council.

Stavropoulos joined Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 2011 as Executive Vice President, Gas Operations. He was named President, Gas and a member of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Board in 2015, at which time, in addition to his previous responsibility for gas operations, he took on responsibility for enterprise-wide Information Technology, physical and cyber-security, safety, health and environmental, supply chain, and the transportation and real estate organizations. Before joining Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Stavropoulos was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of U.S. Gas Distribution for National Grid, an electricity and natural gas delivery company serving nearly 7 million customers in the northeast United States. Earlier, Stavropoulos was President of KeySpan Energy Delivery and held a number of other leadership roles with KeySpan’s predecessor companies, Colonial Gas and Boston Gas.

Stavropoulos holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Bentley College and an MBA from Babson College. He serves on the board of Bentley University and has served on numerous public and not-for-profit boards.

About PG&E Corporation

PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) is a Fortune 200 energy-based holding company headquartered in San Francisco. It is the parent company of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, California’s largest investor-owned utility. PG&E serves nearly 16 million Californians across a 70,000-square-mile service area in Northern and Central California.




Gerardo Gabriel Santana, mejor conocido por sus millones de fans como El Poeta Callejero es un joven al que podríamos definir como tímido y comedido. Mucho más allá de la súper estrella de música urbana nos encontramos conversando con un joven agradable, quien piensa detenidamente sus respuestas y quien lleva como bandera y mensaje, la justicia social.

Este deseo de igualdad y justicia social incentivado en gran parte por sus orígenes humildes y la pobreza que vivió en la niñez se ve claramente reflejado en las letras de sus canciones.

A pesar de los rumores sobre su fanatismo religioso, incoherencias o largos silencios en recientes entrevistas, el poeta callejero se define como “un tigre decente”, decidido a hacer lo correcto y a luchar por ser una mejor persona con el único arma que conoce, su arte, sus letras, su poesía que nace y se alimenta en el lugar que lo vio nacer y crecer: La Calle.



El título del álbum es “Tigre Decente” y en eso es lo que me es convertido, en una persona hábil para desenvolverse en el lugar donde me tocó vivir y decente porque soy correcto.

Dentro del álbum hay una canción que le dedico a mi hija y se titula mi bendición. Se ha hecho una serie especial y diferente que se usó con los temas del CD., un video de 40 minutos donde se desarrolla una historia con la música del álbum y que cuenta lo que es un tigre decente y porque.


Es realmente difícil.


Yo crecí en la calle, nací en la calle en la entrada de una iglesia. Así fueron mis inicios y toda mi vida involucrado en la calle y poeta porque yo amo la poesía y la gente me empezó a llamar poeta pero qué tipo de poeta , bueno uno callejero.


Me importa mucho lo que sucede a mí alrededor, soy una conciencia viviente que analiza lo que me rodea. Mi objetivo principal es ser un mensajero de lo que me rodea y exponerlo en mi arte.


La desigualdad, la pobreza y que los que están en posición de ayudar por sus conocimientos o influencia no lo hacen. Porque beneficiarse solo unos pocos no entendiendo que todos somos iguales.


Yo solamente evito las conversaciones banales y triviales.


A los hijos de Dios, los planes del enemigo, les terminan favoreciendo. La gente puede llegar a pensar que es una estrategia, entonces yo lo tomo con una actitud positiva y agradezco a Dios.


Mira yo vengo de una casa que tenía una lona como techo, que el piso era de tierra, que las camas tenían chinches  y  quemabamos los colchones con trementina en las noches para matarlas y aun así yo era feliz. Imagínate ahora estoy en mi casa con aire acondicionado, con gente apoyándome, siempre con más deseos de superarme y motivado a dar lo mejor al público.


Estamos coordinando una gira próximamente, espero verlos pronto y síganme en instagram a @elpoetacallejero







Richard Rosario www.richardrosario.com

En aquella visita a casa de mi tía y caminando a través del pasillo que llevaba a una de las habitaciones, de repente se agolpo frente a mi toda mi historia y se llenaron mis ojos de lágrimas al ver en un pequeño cuadro colgado en la pared, el rostro de mi padre con apenas 18 años.

Mi padre, el hombre fuerte, seguro y decidido, me miraba desde esta foto con los ojos inseguros de un tímido adolescente. Décadas de historias e imagenes llegaron a mi cabeza y a mi corazón. Papi en esta imagen lucia como un muchacho pobre, mal vestido y desorientado.

Lo imagine recorriendo incasablemente las calles de la capital dominicana en busca de trabajo, lo imagine en su primera cita de amor o quizás viviendo atemorizado y asustado en medio de la dictadura de Trujillo en Rep. Dom. La Foto fue tomada en 1953, hace más de 60 años.

E inevitablemente tuve que pensar donde estarán mis fotos digitales en 60 años. No tengo un solo álbum tradicional; todas mis memorias importantes están dispersadas en Facebook, Instagram y en un hardrive que ni siquiera recuerdo donde  guarde.

Y en ese momento se apodero de mí una especie de pánico, que pasara con las memorias importantes  de los billones de personas que al igual que yo no imprimen fotos. Existirán aun todos los álbumes que tengo en Facebook en el 2076, dentro de 60 años.



Por fortuna, yo no soy la única a quien le preocupa la desaparición de la fotografía tradicional, existen organizaciones como The Print Movement , que agrupa a más de 30,000 fotógrafos en Estados Unidos. Este es un movimiento que promueva el valor y la importancia de las fotos impresas.

Hoy se toman más fotos que nunca en la historia, pero muy pocas de estas fotos llegan a imprimarse o se colocan en un lugar preferencial de nuestro hogar. 42% de las personas entre 30 y 45 años dentro de un tiempo se preguntaran que paso con las memorias de las fiestas de navidad, reuniones familiares y lamentaran no haber apreciado el increíble valor de preservar las memorias importantes.


“En medio de un desastre natural como un incendio o un huracán, las personas no tratan de salvar dinero o cosas materiales sino documentos y fotografías”,

nos dice el fotógrafo Richard Rosario, miembro del Print Movement y quien motiva a los clientes que visitan su estudio del Bronx a imprimar las fotografías.

 “las memorias se esfuman muy rápido, y yo lo pude comprobar de la manera más dura, cuando perdí a uno de mis hermanos en un accidente hace muchos años y me di cuenta que tenía muy pocas fotos de él. En el 2011 mi hermano mayor fue diagnosticado con cáncer, cuando perdimos a mi segundo hermano y pude comprobar las pocos fotos que conservaba de él, fue que nació mi amor por la fotografía y convertí en mi propósito de vida capturar imágenes de las personas en sus mejores momentos”,

nos dice Rosario

Los hermanos de el fotografo Richard Rosario cuando eran ninos

Los hermanos de el fotografo Richard Rosario cuando eran ninos

Por eso la próxima vez  que tengas esa foto que te encanta y a la cual tus amigos virtuales les dieron ciento de “likes”, asegúrate de imprimirla, porque solo el futuro podrá predecir cuál de tus nietos tratara de descubrir tu historia a través de esa imagen.



Victor Martinez en 1953

Victor Martinez (padre de la autora) en 1953



*La fotografía más antigua es una toma realizada en 1827 con una cámara oscura por el inventor francés, Joseph Niepce.





Warriors in the Cage: Dominick Cruz & Henry Cejudo

Originally published in the Jul/Aug 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

Photos courtesy of UFC/Getty Images

The Latino Faces of the UFC

Latinos have a long and storied history in the world of combat sports. In boxing, legendary figures such as Julio Cesar Chávez and Oscar De La Hoya proudly touted their Latino heritage while winning championships and glory. At the dawn of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and mixed martial arts, Royce Gracie was its first dominant superstar, more recently followed by Anderson Silva, long considered the best in the world.

Carrying the banner for Latinos in the sport are now two rising stars: Dominick Cruz and Henry Cejudo. Cruz is the reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion while Cejudo is an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler. Both are budding megastars and both are keenly aware of their status as Latino stars in a sport that gains popularity every day.


“The Dominator” Dominick Cruz

Growing up in Tucson, the man they call “The Dominator” was introduced to combat sports quite literally by accident. “I got into wrestling in the seventh grade and I got into [it] because I walked into the wrong room,” he said. “The coach said I wasn’t a soccer player, I was a wrestler. I started practicing that day and haven’t stopped since.

After an undefeated amateur career, he had a successful career in the now defunct World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) promotion, becoming its last bantamweight champion before it was absorbed by the UFC. It wasn’t long before Cruz achieved glory in the UFC, capturing the bantamweight championship twice.

I come from Tucson, Arizona, which is 70 percent Hispanic,” Cruz said. “It’s in me, that pride of being Hispanic. I feel it. In the way that the Mexicans always fought, they’re just tough and stubborn. I feel that’s in my bloodline and I’m proud of that.


“The Messenger” Henry Cejudo

The youngest of six children, the Olympian Henry Cejudo was introduced to the sport of wrestling by his older brothers. “I loved that wrestling was all about one-on-one combat,” he said. “I was always too small to play football, too short to play basketball, but when I saw that wrestling had weight classes, I knew I was home and I fell in love with it from the start.

Cejudo was an amateur superstar, winning four state wrestling championships. After winning gold at the Pan American Games in 2008, he set his sights firmly on Olympic glory, winning Gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. He retired from the sport in 2012 to compete in mixed martial arts. His pedigree and his impressive skills caught the attention of the UFC. Settling in as a flyweight, Cejudo has amassed a 10-1 record and is now one of the coaches on the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“I want to become the best in the world,” he said. “What else is there to do in sports, but to want to be the best?”

(Dominican Influencer Series) Wilton Cedeno, Engineer, Philanthropist & NY Economic Development Board Member


 By Clara Galvano Rivera


In 2011 something really exciting happened in the province of Azúa de Compostela in the Dominican Republic. About 100 people, a mix of adults and youths, showed up en masse at El Restaurante Mesón Suizo. They had heard about a new, free program that could help them with their personal development. Wilton Cedeno, who coordinated the launch of this motivational program entitled CURSO ATRÉVETE A TRIUNFAR with his sister, Sandra Céspedes, an economist and expert in human development, was elated, but stunned. He never expected so many to show up! “Invitamos a los niños, pero todo el mundo quería ver lo que estábamos ofreciendo. It was amazing.” The following day, the press received the following: “En el desarrollo del curso motivacional, la profesora Céspedes comenzó distinguiendo entre actitud y aptitud como elementos clave para lograr el éxito en la vida y la importancia de aprender a desarrollar la mentalidad de abundancia que les permita hacer los cambios de paradigmas necesarios para lograr resultados de calidad.” Whew! Did you get that? Positive changes are coming!

Cedeno knows the value of helping others and, after a pause, relates this great example: “When I was growing up in NYC, my mother’s apartment was like a hotel. Everyone she knew that was arriving stopped first at our house and stayed until they were working. Some stayed weeks, some months. Everyone was welcome. Dominicans are a tight-knit group and continue to help each other, even though conditions have changed because as a group, we have progressed and those arriving have more information that enables them to find living quarters and jobs much faster.”

Cedeno’s journey has been long and fruitful. He is currently at Consolidated Edison. His responsibilities are many and include working on state regulatory affairs, developing and implementing internal and external communication strategies and advocacy related to state energy policy, including developing company positions on state energy policy issues. A seriously busy man, he makes time to support the youth as a board member of the Brooklyn Technical High School Alumni Foundation and as a judge in the FIRST Robotics Competition in New York City Regional. He is also the founder of the Cooperative Technical High School Intern Program, which enables high school students to work at Con Edison.

“Yo nací en el campo de Santo Domingo; no había luz ni agua, pero en mi trabajo con Con Edison, tengo la responsabilidad de proveer la luz a muchos. Quiero ahora que otros tengan las mismas posibilidades. Cuando nos organizamos, podemos llegar lejos y ayudar a otros. No solo para los Dominicanos, pero todos los Latinos. Uno se tiene que superar y la gente joven son el futuro.”

A member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, he is a past president of the organization. “Yo quería progresar en la rama de energía, so I joined the AABE thinking I would learn more about the industry. What I found was inspiration, a brotherhood that welcomed me with open arms and wonderful friendships. I was a little surprised when I was voted in as President. When I joined, I think I was the only Latino there. I served for two years and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Another great experience has to be when he was appointed to the New York Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. On June 24, 2015, the de Blasio administration announced the appointment of ten new members and Cedeno was the only Latino in the group.

This is an important board. As the primary economic development vehicle, NYCEDC leverages the City’s assets to create good jobs and drive growth, ensuring equitable and sustainable development across all five boroughs. “Fue un gran honor. La junta está haciendo un gran trabajo. They want to ensure that 30-40 years down the road, everyone has enough energy. There is work to do there.” Simple words from an amazing man who is highly valued not only in business, but for creating Tú Puedes! Atrévete a Triunfar, which is helping his fellow Dominicans back on the island succeed.


LT: Are you connected to the Island and if so, how do you maintain that connection?

WC: “The plan is to develop the program [Curso Atrévete a Triunfar] in different areas of the Dominican Republic. Right now, we are focusing on success principles, because they are desperately needed, but we will be looking to start providing skills such as speed coding and more in future training seminars.”


LT: Do you think Dominicans are united as a group?

WC: “Absolutely. You see it everywhere. Dominicans help each other with housing, jobs, education, language. We are a tight-knit group. We have to be.”


LT: What would you point to as notable progress among Dominicans in the U.S.?

WC: “Education. We are making education a goal and that is what will allow us to progress further and further.”


→See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.

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(Dominican Influencer Series) “ ATAX Founder Rafael Alvarez 20 Bucks & a Vision!


By Clara Galvano Rivera

(Dominican Influencer Series) “   ATAX Founder Rafael Alvarez 20 Bucks & a Vision!

You think you’re busy? By 2003 Rafael Álvarez was preparing 7,000 personal income tax returns and 150 business tax returns! He then had two locations, and by 2005 was preparing more than 10,000 personal income tax returns and 450 business tax returns. By 2007, Álvarez hired a professional to research the possibility of making ATAX a franchise. The analysis revealed the lack of a nationwide tax preparation franchises owned, managed by or targeting the Hispanic or Latin community, which would give him a potential advantage over the competition.

ATAX founder Rafael Alvarez started ATAX with 20 bucks that his mother gave him!

By the end of 2007, ATAX Accounting and Financial Services was officially established as a franchise offering. Since 2007, ATAX has become one of the fastest-growing franchise companies in the nation. ATAX now has 40 locations across the U.S. The majority of ATAX’s locations are owned by Dominicans, mostly women! Out of 10,000 tax returns now being filed yearly at ATAX, however, only 40% are for Hispanic clients, 30% filed by Dominicans. Last year, Álvarez received the prestigious International Franchise Association Ronald Harrison Award for accomplishments in diversity and inclusion. The IFA award recognizes organizations and/or individuals who have made significant contributions to minorities in franchising either within their franchise organization or within the franchise community. Álvarez has made his mark on both!

With his busy schedule, does he have time to connect with people back home? “Yes, I just got back from D.R. I was in Punta Cana. I try to get back every two years because I have lots of family still there. Also, I have been approached by Dominicans who are U.S. citizens living and working there about establishing ATAX there. I have some ideas and eventually I would like to have some business there as well. Taxes are for the U.S., but I am looking into another exciting program that can work there and globally as well. I have partnered with a great company, XERO.  I am on their Partner Advisory Council and I am their #1 partner in the U.S.  XERO is a New Zealand-based software company that develops cloud-based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses and we are going to do good things together.

A word that pops up in Álvarez’ conversation often is “drive.” “Drive is an invisible force. Some people have it and some don’t. Even if you are well educated you could be missing that chispa. In D.R. they have the drive. They don’t take things for granted. They know they need to earn it. Nothing is given to you. I have wealthy friends who don’t have it because they didn’t have to work for it. For me, it was the way I was raised. I had to struggle to survive, put food on the table. Drive is KEY. It’s the engine that will make you do what you need to do to get where you need to go. To achieve success.”

He also thinks New York Dominicans are different than those on the island.  “We have to be twice as good. In the Dominican Republic it’s OK to just be good. In order for us to excel we have to work harder, do more. I have my roots there, but I learned a lot from what the U.S. has to offer. Apply everything. You learn a lot at conventions, networking, etc.”

Many successful business people often find a helping hand or a mentor on their way up. It may come as a surprise to some that when asked whether he had a mentor, Álvarez said: Anthony Robbins.  “I met him many, many years ago. He’s not just teaching a program. You need someone in your corner that tells you not to give up. That kind of mentoring and teaching is what I needed. He’s an excellent person.”

Álvarez has many interests that involve the community. He grew up in Washington Heights when it was pretty rough. “Hey, some of my friends didn’t make it. They ended up in jail. Just a handful were able to survive, and I made it thanks to my parents. They were really serious about my education. I’m still part of the community.”  In 2007 Álvarez helped organize the national Dominican Parade in NYC. He also serves on various boards such as the Presbyterian Hospital and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, both based in Washington Heights. Álvarez is indeed the man with the “drive” who has “made it” — and the community continues to watch his rise.


LatinTRENDS: What would you point to as notable progress among Dominicans in the U.S.?

ÁLVAREZ: “Education, definitely. More Dominicans are taking advantage of all that the U.S. has to offer and having an education can improve everyone’s life.”


→See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter for your weekly updates on events, restaurants, trends & news:  http://bit.ly/1BcjOjX


Elena of Avalor: The Top 7 Things You Should Know


Photo by Disney Junior

Photo by Disney Junior

  1. The voice cast for the Disney princess animated show “Elena of Avalor,” will mostly have voice and guest actors that are of Latin/Hispanic descent and from Latin America. It stars Aimee Carrero, from the Dominican Republic, whose previously had roles in “The American”, “Baby Daddy”, and “Hannah Montana.” The other voice actors are either from Latin America or of Dominican, Mexican, Cuban, Spanish and Puerto Rican descent. They include Jorge Diaz, Ana Ortiz, Danny Trejo, Lou Diamond Philips, Hector Elizondo, Jaime Camil and Anthony Mendez.
  2.  The music is as diverse as the cast. Latin pop, salsa, banda, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton, mariachi music, and Chilean hip-hop will be the soundtrack for the show. According to Billboard.com, Latin-Grammy winning, Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno is responsible for the show’s theme song. Carrero also sings a song for the show, called “My Time,” which can be found on Youtube.
  3. The fictional kingdom of Avalor features Mexican, Caribbean and Spanish colonial architecture. The nearby kingdom, Cordoba, is inspired by Argentine designs.
  4. The culture draws from Chilean and pre-Columbian lore. The wizard-in-training, Mateo plays the tamborita while using Mayan glyphs to cast spells. Elean fights Noblins, shapeshifting ghost creatures, which are similar to those found in Chilean peuchen mythology.
  5. Her furry pets are a combination of animals found in Latin America. Jaquins, are representative of jaguars and macaws, indigenous animals found in Latin America.
  6. Elena’s ball gowns is a culmination of Incan and Peruvian fashion and is designed by former “Project Runway All Stars,” contestant, and Brazilian-born designer Layana Aguilar. Aguilar has dressed the likes of Dascha Polanco and Beyonce from her eponymous collection.
  7. The show will debut on Disney Junior and Disney Channel on July 22nd. Following its debut in the U.S., it will be available in 163 other countries.

Kriste Gonzales 2016 Latino Trendsetter Award Recipient is Promoted to President & GM of ABC Station in Austin, TX

TEGNA on Wednesday named Kristie Gonzales president and general manager of KVUE. Gonzales will replace Patti Smith, who is retiring at the end of June.

Kristie is a forward-thinking leader with experience creating strategic campaigns to grow audiences across platforms, specifically in culturally diverse markets, which will be invaluable to KVUE, the Austin community and TEGNA Media,” said TEGNA Media President Dave Lougee. “Kristie is a rising star in this industry and we are thrilled she is joining TEGNA and leading KVUE.

Gonzales previously served as the promotion and digital brand manager at WABC in New York, the most-watched local station in the country. Previous to her time at WABC, Gonzales had management positions at various television stations across the country, including creative services and local programming director at WTVD in North Carolina and creative services and public affairs director at KSFN in Fresno, California.

It’s an honor and privilege to be joining TEGNA Media’s KVUE as their new president and general manager. It’s a powerhouse of a television station, and I look forward to serving the diverse community of Austin, Texas with our award-winning local news on every available platform. –Kristie Gonzales

Gonzales is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a board member of Vision for Equality, a non-profit that advocates for people with disabilities. She was nominated in 2013 to represent ABC Owned Television Stations on a Disney ABC Television Group Hispanic Task Force. In May of this year, she was honored with the Latino Trendsetter Award.

LTA Group shot


The Latino Trendsetter Awards is one of various event-marketing opportunities presented by LatinTRENDS, LatinTRENDS is the source that helps shape, guide and tell the stories of those influencing pop culture with a Latin twist. It is the leading platform for acculturated Latinos in New York, producing content that informs, entertains and inspires the forward thinking.