It’s no secret that being a Latin American in the United States is hard. In the late 1980s, when the Immigration Reform and Control Act was signed into place, Latin Americans experienced discrimination in the workforce from employers who refused to hire individuals that appeared foreign. This discrimination is still alive today, making it all the more difficult for Latin women to become leaders in their industries. Like many outdated cultures, Latino culture enforces the idea that men should be the breadwinners of the family and women should be delegated to running households. While some women respectably choose to embrace that role, other women long to break gender barriers. So, here are 4 Latina entrepreneurs inspiring women on Hispanic Heritage Month.

Jump to:
Ramona Ortega
Agustina Sartori
Catalina Gaete-Bentz
Rebecca Alvarez Story

Ramona Ortega

Founder/ CEO of My Money My Future

“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to highlight our contributions and culture in all aspects of American life and to showcase our rich heritage.”

Ramona Ortega is the founder and CEO of Mi Dinero Mi Futuro aka My Money My Future. Known as the “Dinero Diva”, Ramona launched her digital platform to provide personalized financial advice for millennials of color. Ramona grew up in Napa, California as a third generation Mexican American. Due to the poverty her family experienced, she has made it her lifelong goal to close the racial wealth gap in the U.S.

How are you making a difference in your industry?

We are making sure that communities of color are represented in financial services, in particular FinTech. We are the first and only company aiming to close the racial wealth gap by leveraging technology to bring financial guidance and tools to those that have been overlooked and underserved.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

As a Latinx woman, I bring my culture and my community into everything I do. It is a part of me and that is particularly important in the context of tech, where you don’t see many Latinas. Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to highlight our contributions and culture in all aspects of American life and to showcase our rich heritage.

What are you looking forward to most as 2020 comes to an end?

2020 was full of unprecedented events and monumental change and I am excited to see how these events reshape our society for good. I think 2021 will be an opportunity to innovate a new norm, be the difference in the world we are looking for, and My Money My Future is here for it.

Agustina Sartori

Director AR Innovation at Ulta Beauty, Former Founder/ CEO of GlamST

“When I reflect on my path, I am proud of how I fought, failed, learned, and grew. Today, I can say I am a new person who understands the significance of being a role model for other Latinos in the U.S. pursuing their dreams.”

Agustina Sartori is the Director of AR Innovation at Ulta Beauty. After receiving her degree in Telematics Engineering, Agustina cofounded AdviseMeTech to help beauty brands discover correct complexion products. In 2013, she founded GlamST, which used augmented reality to allow users to try on makeup virtually in store or through their app. She joined Ulta Beauty after the company’s 2018 acquisition of GlamST to help develop AR experiences that combine augmented reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies such as GLAMLab.

How are you making a difference in your industry?

As an entrepreneur, engineer, Uruguayan living in San Francisco, I started GlamST and worked with world-class brands, one of which was Ulta Beauty. I quickly noticed that GlamST and Ulta Beauty shared values and similar visions – and the Ulta Beauty leadership team was special, too. My team and I decided to join Ulta Beauty after the 2018 GlamST acquisition to help develop AR experiences that combine augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies. I founded my company in 2011; the opportunity to help lead within the beauty space allows us to generate technology and impact on a massive scale. Ulta Beauty believed in our diverse, international, high-skilled team, and what we could create together – such as GLAMlab – that give us the opportunity to take our imagination to the next level. We are shaping the future together, and that’s very exciting.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Leaving my family and friends in Uruguay to pursue my dream, vision, and passion in 2015 was challenging. When I landed in San Francisco, I realized there were a lot of people like me trying to get their companies off the ground, fighting for a dream. But while there were similarities, I also felt different given I didn’t receive formal U.S. education, local work experience, or a network to turn to. Rather, I learned by trial and error. Building trust and relationships was new and brought me the greatest joy. When I reflect on my path, I am proud of how I fought, failed, learned, and grew. Today, I can say I am a new person who understands the significance of being a role model for other Latinos in the U.S. pursuing their dreams. I believe my story is proof for every Latino in this country who is trying to make it. I hope I can inspire others and I feel a responsibility to show the world what Hispanics can achieve.

What are you looking forward to most as 2020 comes to an end?

This year presented many hurdles that none of us could have anticipated. It was a year of challenges and change, resilience and collaboration. It was also a time for opportunity, at Ulta Beauty, it opened doors for technology our team develops such as GLAMlab to be adopted by our guests and associates at a much larger scale. I’m looking forward to reflecting on the silver linings for our society and how technology has accelerated our many needs. I hope to see the long-term impact of fundamental changes in how we live. I also hope we all can be more thoughtful and centered on what makes us who we are and makes us happy.

Catalina Gaete-Bentz

Founder/ CEO of Catan Pisco

“What’s empowering about the Latin community is how open we are. Sharing our stories is a big part of what encourages others to face challenges head-on and start their own business journey.”

Catalina Gaete-Bentz “The Pisco Girl” is a Chilean-born entrepreneur and founder of Catan Pisco. Pisco is a South American spirit made from grapes that can only be distilled in Chile and Peru. After realizing that beverage products like tequila, vodka, and whiskey benefit countries like Mexico, Russia, and Ireland, respectively, she decided to launch a “pisco with a purpose” to help her home country. Catalina’s goal is to educate the world on Chilean culture and give back to its economy through pisco.

How are you making a difference in your industry?

Not only am I a female founder in a traditionally male industry, but I am the first woman to own a pisco company in Chile. I feel so empowered by this and am hopeful it inspires other Latinas to pursue their passions. Catan is working to bring a different kind of consciousness to the American spirits industry both in educating on a new spirits category that is largely unfamiliar in the U.S. and through the philanthropic arm of our company called Catan H2O. 1% of our proceeds go directly to Catan H2O that supports different water initiatives directly in Chile where water is privatized, thus limiting the access to this basic need.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Chicago has really awesome Latin and Hispanic networking groups. When I lived in California, I never really connected to my Latino community. When I moved here and became an entrepreneur, it was whole new world. There are other women doing what I am doing and there is this entire support system in the Hispanic community that is literally here just to help one another. We have such different dynamics in Latino households and to translate that into the assimilation process that we have experienced here in the U.S. is very interesting.

For example, we have a much more traditional household upbringing. My father was very machismo and wouldn’t let me go to school for business, so I didn’t. I was not even allowed to think about owning my own brand or business until I finally got out of the house. There are other Latinas that have had similar experiences and I think what’s empowering about the Latin community is how open we are. Sharing our stories is a big part of what encourages others to face challenges head-on and start their own business journey.

What are you looking forward to most as 2020 comes to an end?

Pisco is predominantly an on-premise spirit, which means bartenders and the hospitality industry have been the ones really pushing our brand to educate consumers. It’s really unfortunate that when the pandemic hit, we lost 90% of our business. So I’m looking forward to the pandemic ending so we can get back to where we left off.

We’re also taking advantage and building a business to consumer business model by reaching out to more consumers virtually. It’s been really nice to see how much curiosity we can build around our brand via social media platforms, which we have been relying on now 100%. I’m looking forward to seeing how the relationships and strategy we’ve built as we’ve adapted during the pandemic contributes to our overall momentum as we are able to get back to connecting in person.

Rebecca Alvarez Story

Founder of Bloomi

“Being a Latinx founder to me means I am constantly pushing boundaries to challenge the norm of what a successful entrepreneur in the U.S. can look like.”

Rebecca Alvarez Story is a renowned sexologist and founder of Bloomi. Growing up, she became familiar with the “hush-hush” culture around sexuality and saw how it often led to low confidence or uninformed decisions. By normalizing conversations about sex and wellness, Rebecca hopes women, especially those of color, will feel empowered to embrace their sexuality.

How are you making a difference in your industry?

Bloomi is the first online multi-brand marketplace for intimacy that is revolutionizing the sexual wellness category. Bloomi expertly curates clean and modern products for women while also acting as an educational resource for all things sex and intimacy. Adding to this innovation, Bloomi created the first “Clean Standard” in the industry which promotes ingredient transparency. Lax regulations and cultural taboos mean the majority of intimate care products contain cheap, toxic, and often secret ingredients. This is unacceptable and is part of the reason we compiled our Banned List, which contains over a dozen toxic ingredients that should not be used in intimate areas.

My wish is for Bloomi to empower sex-positivity and offer content in a safe space where women have access to healthier and clean intimate wellness alternatives.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

I see this month as an opportunity to loudly celebrate the accomplishments of people who are often underestimated from the Latinx community. Being a Latinx founder to me means I am constantly pushing boundaries to challenge the norm of what a successful entrepreneur in the U.S. can look like. We have diverse business skills that are instilled in us by our families and culture, such as multilingualism, empathy, and tenacity.

My parents immigrated to the U.S. when they were young and, like many other children of immigrants, one of my goals in life is to honor their hard work and the risks they took for my brother and I to be in the U.S. I asked my parents to walk the stage with me when I graduated from college at UC Berkeley and I plan to have them with me the day I ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. I’m excited for the world to see what I, and other people like me, have to offer when given the opportunity.

What are you looking forward to most as 2020 comes to an end?

I am excited to finish raising the capital Bloomi needs to become the premier destination for intimate wellness. Later this year, we are opening up our investment round to the public via Republic, a crowdfunding platform. I’m excited to allow others who normally might not invest in startups the opportunity to invest in us in an accessible way. With the help of everyone, we can hit our fundraising goals to launch new Bloomi products, build a more robust marketplace, create premier sexual wellness content, and ultimately become the leader in intimacy.

Who are some other Latina entrepreneurs we should celebrate on Hispanic Heritage Month? Let us know down in the comments.

What is everyone’s GREY style?

This article originally published on GREY Journal.