When I saw her cross the threshold of the restaurant I said to myself, “She is so tall.” At that moment, I realized that I had never seen her in person, only through zoom and cell phone calls… “these virtual modern times”, I thought to myself.
Yurani Sandoval, CEO and founder of Women Palante, sat on the other side of the table with a frank smile that characterizes her and a personality that makes you feel so comfortable… “as if you came home” or as if you’re meeting your sister in a coffee shop.
We had been interacting via Zoom for a year through workshops and networking. When she told me about her Women Palante foundation, the project immediately won me over, as it provides tools for Latina moms to empower themselves, develop skills and start a business.
The approach is interesting, as Women Palante takes a holistic view of the mompreneurs. “Empowerment is a duty” says her slogan, and Yurani tells me that this is her motto: “In each area of our lives we must empower and leave our comfort zone to be able to grow and adapt. If we continue doing the same, we will obtain the same results… women today, we are engines of change, we have a great capacity for reinvention. We are creative, easily adaptable, our ideas flow… we have a lot of material to cut.”
Yurani explained to me that as a mother she wanted to start a business years ago and despite her training and experience in project management for public health and business administration, she did not know how. When she started looking for tools, she realized that the material was in English and that it was not accessible to the majority of Latina moms (especially single parents and those in a vulnerable state).
As she investigated further, the reality turned out to be even harsher than she imagined, as she realized that Latina women continue to be underrepresented as entrepreneurs, as evidenced by their 5.3% vs. 8.3% business share of the population.
That is how Women Palante was born, in the heart of Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. Yurani’s idea is to encourage Latin women to be leaders not only in their businesses but in their lives, in parallel, through entrepreneurship programs that include a business incubator, wellness and personal development.
The name is a mixture of English and Spanish: women: Mujeres ‘palante, that is to say forward! Women moving forward….
The first Women Palante programs focused on leadership and business aspects. Although effective, during these workshops it became clear that there was a need to address personal development issues such as self-esteem, time management, goals and objectives.
Yurani adds: “Furthermore, mothers (moms) entering the business world must divide their time between their two babies: their children and their business. For women, business is deeply personal: there is no balance between work and personal life. Prejudice and emotional challenges not only have a direct impact on the success of women entrepreneurs, but are also detrimental to their mental health.”
It is for this reason that Yurani began to add the emotional component to her programs. Alongside this, she also implemented support from professionals such as psychologists and coaches to complement the programs.
Entrepreneurial success depends not only on access to entrepreneurial education, but also on access to quality 365-degree wellness education. Both are urgent imperatives for economic and social justice, especially for Hispanic women.
Yurani Sandoval has stature not only physically, but also morally. Her foundation, Women Palante, proposes a clear call to action for movement, for women to seek synergy and put limiting beliefs aside and walk towards our future: forward. Women Palante programs are virtual and face-to-face. Sign up here to receive our newsletter and learn more about the programs.
Written by: Selene Sopelana – Marketing & Comunications @ Women Palante