Following Christina’s keynote address, she will be joined for a fireside chat by Santander’s Cultivate Small Business program alums Haydee Gomez, Founder-CEO of BOSCO Frozen Desserts, and Darlene Jones, Chef and Owner of Star Fusion Brand.
Christina DeLay is a proud member of Santander’s Small Business Banking & Corporate Social Responsibility team, and began her career as an attorney, practicing at the law firm of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf for 8.5 years, and then in-house at JPMorgan Chase for 3.5 years. Christina joined Santander in February 2020 as Deputy General Counsel just weeks before the global pandemic struck. Christina quickly got to know her colleagues and clients virtually through her work on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) serving as their legal partner and trusted advisor. Christina is incredibly proud of the PPP team and the amazing work they did to deliver $1.8 billion in funds to nearly 20,000 businesses in need. While she will always be a lawyer at heart, Christina is now a proud member of the Small Business Banking team. Christina earned her undergraduate degree in Business from Loyola University and her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law. Christina lives in New York City, where she was born and raised. She loves traveling with her husband and exploring new cities and restaurants all over the world.
Ingrid Hoffmann is a professional eater, author, and host of Top Chef Estrellas (Telemundo), Simply Delicioso (Cooking Channel), and Delicioso (Univision). A recipient of the 2018 Hispanic Heritage Award for Culinary Arts, Ingrid is passionate about food policy, cooking & entertaining, and sharing her knowledge of food with her avid followers. Via her cookbooks, “chica tips,” and social media platforms, Ingrid spreads the word about “better for you” ingredients, implementing cooking habits, and thinking of food as medicine. With this in mind, Ingrid launched her very own food brand, Cocina by Ingrid Hoffmann, which focuses on easy, delicious, and healthy meal solutions for the family. She also partnered with the American Diabetes Association to publish her latest cookbook, Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy, giving the home cook new tools to still enjoy their Latin favorites while keeping their health in mind.
Ingrid’s loyal fan base, in both the English and Spanish-speaking communities, has inspired her to publish her cookbooks in both languages. Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy is a fully bilingual edition, with the recipes featured in both languages. Ingrid’s previously health-centric cookbook, LATIN D’LITE: Delicious Latin Recipes with a Healthy Twist (Celebra/Penguin) and LATIN D’LITE (Spanish edition): Deliciosas Recetas Latinas con un Toque Saludable (Celebra Trade Paperback Original), revealed her easy and delicious go-to approach to healthy eating by using ingredients that turn bold and hearty Latin dishes into good-for-you meals with a side of splurge! Her first best-selling cookbook SIMPLY DELICIOSO: A Collection of Everyday Recipes (Clarkson Potter/Random House) positioned Ingrid to be voted Flavors of Passion Chef of 2011 for her contribution to bringing awareness to the flavors of Latin America.
Ingrid’s fascination with food, cooking and style began as a little girl. She started cooking with her mother, a Cordon Bleu chef, at such a young age that she needed a stool to reach the stove. She discovered not only a love of cooking, but a flair for entertaining, and in no time developed her own distinctive style.
Raised in Colombia and the Netherlands, Ingrid moved to Miami where she once owned a high fashion luxury boutique as well as the restaurant Rocca. Appearing regularly on local TV, Ingrid was noticed by Hearst Entertainment who signed her for her first cooking show, Delicioso with Ingrid Hoffmann, which initially launched in Latin America. In 2006, the show moved to the Spanish language network, Galavision. Ingrid’s English show, Simply Delicioso, premiered on the Food Network in 2007 and moved to the Cooking Channel in summer 2010. Ingrid has also been a columnist for Delta Sky Magazine, AARP en Español and People en Español and is a frequent guest of shows like Un Nuevo Día, The Talk, Oprah, Martha Stewart, The View, The Today Show, The Early Show, and Wendy Williams Show.
Ingrid’s success has afforded her the opportunity to give back to the community as a board member of Miami’s Amigos for Kids, CARE’s Global Advisory Council and CARE’s Chef Table as a Chef Advocate for food policy. She is also an active supporter of the James Beard Foundation, The Humans Who Feed Us Initiative, Justice for Migrant Workers, and has launched personal initiatives to obtain aid for hurricane relief for Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane María and Hurricane Dorian.
Alberto Perlman is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Zumba Fitness, LLC, the largest branded fitness program in the world, counting 15 million weekly participants in 200,000 locations across 185 countries.
Since its inception in 2001, the Zumba® program has grown from a single class taught in a Miami gym into a global movement and expansive lifestyle brand. Under Perlman’s leadership, the company experienced sustained growth and expanded into multiple categories. The Zumba business model includes an education platform—the Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN™); specialty workouts and e-learning programs; an extensive Zumba apparel and footwear line; video games (14+ million sold) and live Fitness-Concert™ events.
Just as Zumba operates on a global scale, the company’s commitment to community service spans the world: Perlman has led the company to develop multi million-dollar initiatives through partnerships with Susan G. Komen, Augie’s Quest, and the Global Foodbanking Network, among others. He also created the Zumbathon® charity platform (which is Zumba’s answer to the walkathon) that has raised millions of dollars on a global level.
In 2012, Zumba landed Inc. Magazine’s coveted “Company of the Year” title including the December cover; Perlman was subsequently named one of the “Top 5 CEOS to watch” by Inc. Magazine in 2013. He has spoken at conferences around the world and appeared on TV networks such as CNN, Bloomberg, MSNBC and CBS.
In 2013, Zumba was the recipient of IHRSA’s John McCarthy Industry Visionary Award, presented to an individual or company who has made an unprecedented or unique contribution to the advancement of the club industry as a whole.
In 2016, Perlman and his team launched STRONG Nation™, a non-dance, music-led, high-intensity training exercise class that combines bodyweight, muscle conditioning, cardio, and plyometric training moves. The routines were created first and then music was reverse-engineered to match every move perfectly, for a unique workout experience that pushes you past your perceived limits. STRONG Nation has become one of the fastest growing fitness programs in the world, already counting 750,000 weekly students in over 100 countries.
In 2019, Perlman oversaw another brand expansion, this time into the world of music through the creation of the “Zumba Music Lab.” In the Lab, Zumba organizes studio sessions that produce original songs that have gone on to become major collaborations with music labels such as SONY Latin, Warner and Universal, and with artists such as Steve Aoki, Natti Natasha, Zion y Lennox and more.
Perlman earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Babson College, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Perlman now resides with his family in North Miami, Fla.
Over the course of his 30-year career, TJ Douglas has worked on all sides of the hospitality industry – including restaurant management, distribution, and beverage retail. TJ uses his decades of experience to lead several groundbreaking wine industry businesses, all of which are dedicated to creating community through beverage.
Along with his wife, Hadley, TJ is the founder of The Urban Grape, a ground-breaking wine store in the South End neighborhood of Boston, in 2010. The store concept is simple, but revolutionary – Drink Progressively. The store’s proprietary Progressive Scale system organizes wine by its body, instead of by varietal or region. The Urban Grape has become one of the most successful independently-owned wine stores in the country as a result, and was named the United States Small Business of the Year in 2021. The Urban Grape is also a 4-time Top 100 Wine Retail Store in America winner, a 2-time Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Nominee, a 4-time ICIC Inner City 100 winner, and a 6-time Best of Boston winner. The store has been nationally profiled in Food & Wine, The New York Times, NPR, Wine Spectator, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. TJ and Hadley were named EY Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2021. In 2023, TJ was a Wine Enthusiast Future 40 winner.
In 2022, TJ and Hadley founded Progressive Wine Company, a new wine brand dedicated to creating access to the wine industry for BIPOC consumers, as well as others who have previously felt like the wine industry was intimidating and not approachable. In 2023, TJ founded the Drink Progressively Group, a Boston-based management company that oversees the work of the Douglas’ business ventures. TJ is also a founder of The Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color, and the co-author of Drink Progressively: A Bold New Way to Pair Wine and Food.
TJ is a frequent panelist and keynote speaker at wine industry conferences and other industry events. He is a nationally recognized wine educator who travels around the country to lead wine tastings for corporations and other organizations. His specialized wine tasting, “My Life Through the Lens of a Wine Glass,” has been heralded as an impactful way for corporations tolearn about the importance of DEI work. TJ is an active member of his community, serving on the Steering Committee for the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, the Board of Trustees of The Fessenden School and Summer Search Boston, the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Metropolitan College at Boston University, and VP and Founding
Member of the Boston Black Golf Association.
Lynda M. Applegate is the Baker Foundation Professor at HBS and also serves as the Chair of the Advisory Committee for Harvard University’s Masters’ of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies degrees in finance and management. She also plays a leading role in developing and delivering HBS Executive Education Programs for entrepreneurs and business owners. In addition to serving as the head of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit and chair of the HBS Owner Managed Executive Education Programs, Lynda has held a variety of leadership positions at HBS, including serving as Co-Chair of the MBA program, Chair of Field Based Learning and as a founding member of the HBS Technology Board. She has also held a number of Harvard University leadership positions, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Harvard Policy Group on Networked Government Services and on the Harvard University Provost’s Technology Advisory Board. Prior to joining the HBS faculty, Lynda was on the faculty of the University of Michigan, University of Washington and University of Arizona. In addition to her academic positions, Lynda also held a variety of leadership positions in the health care industry.
Lynda’s research and publications focus on the challenges of building new ventures and leading radical business innovation in the face of significant industry, technological, capital market, and regulatory turbulence. A second stream of research examines emerging leadership and governance models to support entrepreneurial ecosystem evolution and inter-firm collaboration and innovation. During the Global Economic Crisis, she began conducting research on how entrepreneurial leaders innovate through crisis and build resilient organizations. During the past few years, this research expanded to address issues of assuring economic equality for women and for minority entrepreneurs and business owners. In partnership with the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, where she serves on the Board of Trustees, Lynda recently helped launch a Board Ready Bootcamp to prepare women and minority business leaders to serve as Board Members on for-profit and non-profit boards and she is also a member of a working group that has successfully launched a Compact for Social Justice that has been signed by over 80 of the largest technology companies located in Massachusetts. In addition to serving as Series Editor for Harvard Business Publishing’s Core Readings in Entrepreneurship, Lynda is the author of over 40 articles, books, and book chapters, and over 400 published case studies, online learning DVDs, and course materials.
Lynda is the recipient of numerous HBS awards for her research, teaching, and service to the school. She recently received the Robert F. Greenhill Award for her outstanding contributions to HBS over the course of her career. She has also received Harvard Business School’s Berol Award for Research Excellence and its Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching. Lynda has won numerous “Best Paper” awards for her academic research on 21st century business models and executive team decision-making and collaboration, and has served as a Senior Editor and on the editorial boards for leading research journals in the field of technology innovation. More recently, she also received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her decades of work with the Women Presidents Organization.
Lynda is an active international consultant and has served on the board of directors of public, private, non-profit and venture-backed companies. She is an advisor and advisory board member for entrepreneurs launching new ventures and for senior executives leading innovation in established companies. In the past, Lynda has also served as a member of the Industry Advisory Board for NASDAQ and as a member of the Executive Council for Information Technology and Management for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. She also served as a policy advisor on a Blue-Ribbon Panel to define a National Research Agenda on the development of the Network Economy and, in the late 1990s, served as a member of President Clinton’s Roundtable on Critical Infrastructure Protection.
Dobbin’s mission is to help individuals and teams achieve higher levels of performance, and to help strategically optimize their human capital capabilities toward a clear set of operational objectives. As such, he has spent the last 17 years building learning paths for managers and senior leaders striving to better themselves, their teams, and their organizational impact. Regardless of size and scope, all leaders (and teams) face the same challenge of optimizing human capital capacity matched toward achieving clear and widely understood organizational objectives. This “talent” and “culture” matching and optimization is the goal. His mantra, “Don’t manage your people, manage the backdrop against which they work.”, rings true to his approach to advising individuals and teams toward peak performance.
Experienced in both theory and practice as an entrepreneur, facilitator, and global advisor, he brings depth and insights gained from his work and proximity to best-in-class business practices. Prior to leading Harvard Business School’s Owner Managed Program (OPM) Portfolio, he served
10 years as a Director in Executive Education at the School. His industry experience includes Healthcare, Finance, Private Equity/Venture Capital, Energy, Real Estate, and Franchised QSR.
He is a proud HBCU honors graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana. He is also a graduate of both the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Business School.
Jason Brown is Founder and Managing Partner of PGP Advisory, a business brokerage and Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) advisory firm based in San Antonio, TX. He is an experienced business leader, M&A transaction professional, and entrepreneur with over 20 years of expert knowledge that he uses to help current and future business owners successfully navigate the business sale process. He works closely with clients to establish the value of their business, identify an exit strategy, and successfully close the sale transaction.
Jason held leadership positions in both business operations and merger & acquisition roles with several Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries. He’s helped small business owners implement growth strategies, execute profit improvement initiatives, and develop their leadership and organizational capabilities. Jason leverages his knowledge and experience across both the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds to create value for his clients. He is passionate about doing good deals for good people.
Jason earned his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, with a concentration in entrepreneurial finance and general management and his B.S. from Northwestern University in mechanical engineering. He is also a licensed real estate agent in the states of Texas and Georgia. He resides in San Antonio with his amazing wife and two sons, ages 10 and 8. In his free time, he serves on the board of Atlantic Impact, a Michigan based non-profit and enjoys playing basketball, tinkering with home automation, biking, and coaching his son’s running club.
Dr. Candida (Candy) Brush is a Full Professor and holder of the Franklin W. Olin Chair in Entrepreneurship. For the past 5 years, she served as Vice Provost of Global Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson. She holds an honorary doctorate in Business and Economics from Jonkoping University, Sweden, and is a visiting adjunct at the Nord University Graduate School of Business in Bodo, Norway. Professor Brush is well known for her pioneering research in women’s entrepreneurship. She conducted the first and largest study of women entrepreneurs in the early 1980s, resulting in one of the earliest books on the topic. Her continued research catalyzed studies and dissertations worldwide. With four other researchers, she founded the Diana Project, a research consortium investigating women’s access to growth capital internationally. Prior to joining Babson, Professor Brush was an Associate Professor of Strategy and Policy, Founder of the Council for Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership, and Research Director for the Entrepreneurial Management Institute at Boston University. Professor Brush had early entrepreneurial experience in the airline industry and small business consulting, and co‐founded a land development company. She received her DBA from Boston University, an MBA from Boston College, and a BA from the University of Colorado.
Chris Cruzpino joined Regions in 2008 and is the South Florida Regional Executive for Regions Private Wealth Management and the Market Executive for the Miami-Dade market. Chris oversees Private Wealth operations for the West Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and International markets. As the Market Executive, she works with colleagues and community members to identify opportunities for the bank and its associates to make a meaningful difference in response to local needs. Through volunteer service, nonprofit support, delivering financial education, and more, Cruzpino reflects the company’s commitment to meeting clients’ needs while supporting the vitality of the broader Miami-Dade community. Prior to joining Regions Financial, Chris held the role of Executive Vice-President and Chief Sales Officer of Great Florida Bank. Cruzpino began her professional career in 1984 at Bank of America. She served in many roles during her 23-year tenure at Bank of America including Senior Vice President and Market Manager for the Premier Banking and Investments division, as well as National Executive of the International Premier Wealth Management division. Cruzpino has served as Miami Dade County’s March of Dimes Walk America Chairperson and is a board member of the Miami Dade College Alumni Association and Kristi House. She is an active participant in various organizations including the United Way, St. Jude Hospital, and the Alzheimer’s Association. Cruzpino has a Business Management Degree and has attended Miami Dade Community College and Florida International University. She is a graduate of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business Leadership Executive program at Georgia State University and has a Six Sigma Green Belt certification. She is a competent Toastmaster and possesses numerous FINRA and Life and Variable Annuity licenses. Cruzpino holds a Certified Wealth Strategist designation.
Abby De Molina is an Associate Director on the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Team and a 12-year Santander employee. She current manages the Supplier Diversity Program at SAN US as well as sustainable operations for our facilities. Here at SAN US, she held prior roles in deposits, payments, and strategy. With extensive project management experience, she launched the Santander Private Client program and worked on Santander’s transition from Sovereign Bank. She is a national lead with the EmpowHER women’s organization. She previously worked at Fidelity Investments and Liberty Mutual. She has her Master’s degrees in Finance from Boston College and Hispanic Language and Culture from NYU.
Donna M. Ennis, C.P.F provides leadership across all EI2 units to develop collaborative funding opportunities and provide support and services to ensure the integration of inclusion into programs and operations. She co-leads the Georgia Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing Technology Corridor (Georgia AIM) project funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Georgia AIM leverages a statewide network of partners for the equitable development and deployment of talent and innovation in AI for all manufacturing sectors. Ennis Is Georgia AIM’s director of Community Engagement ensuring that the project is inclusive throughout Georgia. Through innovation, collaboration, education, and participation, Georgia AIM is providing the tools and knowledge to empower all communities to participate fully in a diverse AI manufacturing workforce.
As the operator representative and former project director for the Georgia Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center and the SE MBDA Business Growth Hub, Ennis provides strategic direction and operational oversight for these groups and business assistance to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Under Ennis’ leadership, MBDA programs have helped companies generate over $6.4 billion in contracts, financing, and sales and creating or retaining more than 7,000 jobs.
Known for her thought leadership and passion for advocating for and developing MBEs and small businesses, Ennis has been at the forefront of helping MBEs learn and understand the role that technology plays in scaling businesses. She established the NEXTTECH initiative for MBEs to bring technology solutions to federal agencies and corporations, launched the Specialty Trades Aiming at the Right Targets (START) to Build program for construction companies, and started the national MBE Manufacturers Summit in 2016, the only Summit of its kind in the U.S. to focus on bringing opportunities and education to MBE manufacturers. Ennis has mentored hundreds of business owners and frequently presents on minority business issues, business challenges, and entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Ennis received her Master of Public Administration from Georgia State University and a B.S. in communications from Boston University. She received the 2022 Georgia Tech Diversity Champion Faculty Award and the 2022 Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President’s Partnership in the Promise Awards. She is the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2021 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Outstanding Voice awardee and one of Georgia Tech’s 2021 Faces of Inclusive Excellence. Ennis is also a graduate of the Leading Women@Tech program and has been named a tenured Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence by the Atlanta Business League. Ennis is on the Board of Directors of the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance (HSDA) and the Atlanta Business League, and the Board of Advisors of Enhanced Capital.
David Feldman, Supplier Diversity Advisor in P/SCM is a long-time Chevron employee with current responsibility for managing Chevron’s Supplier Diversity program which advocates for the utilization and development of local, small, and diverse suppliers to support the company’s international and domestic operations. Feldman assumed this role in 2014 where he promotes an inclusive work environment and a supply chain reflective of the communities where Chevron operates. Dave represents Chevron with the local, small, and diverse supplier community and national and local nonprofit advocacy organizations.
Dave previously held positions with Chevron Policy, Government and Public Affairs where he managed Chevron community engagement and social investment initiatives at the company’s headquarter locations in the San Francisco Bay area and in Houston. Dave also previously held responsible positions with Chevron’s Energy Technology Company.
David is a native Houstonian, attended public schools in Houston, and graduated from the
University of Texas in Austin.
Haydee Gomez is the Founder and CEO of Bosco Frozen Desserts, a small business that brings smiles to customers through award-winning gelato. Haydee started working for a famous gelato store in Toronto, Canada. After a few years working with this company and realizing that she had a passion for gelato and the joy of serving scores of customers, she decided to move forward with her dream of owning and operating her gelateria. So, it was back to school for Haydee; she enrolled in the Gelato University and other pastry and frozen dessert courses to learn the art of making and handling frozen sweets. Bosco is a family enterprise; Haydee’s brother Ezequiel acts as the company’s Gelato Master Chef while Haydee manages the business’s operations.
Pilar Guzman Zavala is the CEO of Half Moon Empanadas, a fast-casual food concept in Miami, offering artisanal empanadas since 2008. Under Pilar’s leadership, Half Moon Empanadas has expanded to 18 locations nationwide with the mission to create a new food category in America, the empanada. Pilar’s dream is to make Half Moon Empanadas a household name. Today, Half Moon Empanadas is the #1 best seller per sqft. at Miami International Airport and the best performing stand-alone kiosk at Denver International Airport. Under Pilar’s leadership, Half Moon Empanadas was awarded the highest recognition at Miami International Airport as the “Best Concession of the Year” and “Best Customer Service, the OYA award”. Since opening, Half Moon Empanadas has over tripled its revenue, and currently sells over two million empanadas a year. Pilar was born and raised in Mexico. As an immigrant woman she faced endless challenges and hurdles when building and growing her business from scratch. However, she has done so with grace and by staying true to her values. It shows through her team, which is composed of mostly women and immigrants. Before joining Half Moon Empanadas, Guzman worked at The John S. and James L Knight Foundation, the Office of International Affairs for the state of Veracruz, Mexico; The World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and TIYM Publishing Company.
Steve Hall joined LISC in 2017 and has over 20 years of industry experience. Steve currently serves as The Vice President of Small Business and Economic Development Lending where he leads and expands all corporate relations, small business engagement, and Economic Development Lending strategies for LISC. For the past decade he has been specifically focused on small business lending, banking and social impact.
Prior to joining LISC, Steve served as an Executive at Charter One Bank in the Business Banking division and as a Social Impact Leader at Accion Chicago.
Steve brings years of executive experience in evaluating, researching, and engaging small businesses on growth strategies, social impact, and labor inclusion. His background includes a vast network of corporate peers and philanthropic investment partners across the nation.
Civically, he is a constant voice of support for African American and Minority businesses causes–particularly those affecting low-to moderate-income communities. Steve holds a BBA from Florida A&M University (FAMU) and completed an Executive Education Program for Financial Inclusion –Social Enterprise Initiative at Harvard Business School.
Darlene Jones is the chef and owner of the Star Fusion Brand, a series of West Philadelphia-based restaurants that fuse American, Caribbean and Thai cuisines. Star Fusion Express opened in 2015 and is known for its variety of chicken wings, spring rolls and bowls. In addition to her fast-growing catering business, Jones is now preparing to open her next restaurant – Star Fusion 2.0 – a fast-casual restaurant with sit-down dining and takeout. Growing up in West Philadelphia, Darlene has always wanted to improve her own neighborhood. She has used her own success to inspire others and has leveraged the business as a driver of positive change in her community through a commitment to hire local residents and returning citizens.
Heidi Joseph is the Small Business Region Executive for South Florida from Palm Beach, Treasure Coast to Miami. She is responsible for developing and executing local Small Business Strategy that drive client experience, client relationships and operational excellence at the Region, Market & associate level as well as in the community.
A 25+ year Bank Executive, Heidi previously held many roles within the Consumer and Small Business space helping clients and at the leadership level in both South Florida and Washington DC in our Nation’s Capital and Top 7 Growth Market. She has worked in Florida, Washington DC and Long Island, New York where she gained significant experience for leading teams as large as 10 billion + in assets and known for never losing her personal connection with clients and associates.
After marrying her husband Winston, she returned to the South Florida area where she led the Small Business team in Miami, then supported the regional performance before taking on her role as Regional Executive for Small Business. In March of 2023 Heidi and Winston welcomed home a baby girl who is their bundle of joy.
Born and raised in Trinidad, she attended college at the University of South Florida where she earned her degree in Finance. Heidi is Green Belt certified and an active member of several employee networks to include Lead for Women, LGBTQ+, BELC & HOLA. She is Executive Sponsor for HOLA Broward and previous co-chair of BPG.
Robert Korpak is Vice President, Director of Merchant Services with Santander Bank. He has over 20 years’ experience working in the Financial Services Industry, including time at Webster Bank, M&T and Santander with expertise in Payments, Small Business & Consumer Lending, Corporate Strategy and Contracts. In his current role, he is responsible for providing Payments’ technology and solutions that allow Small Businesses to grow and prosper, with a specific focus on enabling smart, secure and faster payment options. Robert currently works in the Boston area, and resides in Connecticut with his family.
Stacey Krasnow is a Regional Sales Director at Fiserv. She is well versed in various aspects of the payments industry and has a proven track record in both sales and leadership. Stacey holds herself and her team to an incredibly high standard of excellence and responsibility. She values the importance of relationship building within her team as well as with her bank partners. Stacey lives in New Jersey with her husband Ross and their two kids, Aiden and Jordyn.
Flavio Litterio is a Partner and COO at Kovi, an urban and social mobility startup in Latin America making car ownership more human and efficient through business innovation and technology. Flavio is also an Endeavor mentor, investor and board advisor in early-stage startups and at Fabrica Ventures, a late-stage startup fund. Prior to Kovi, Flavio was a Partner at McKinsey & Co for 10 years, where he led practices in Consumer Finance, Payments and Collections. Before joining McKinsey, he held management positions at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Dell Inc, Kellogg and Procter & Gamble. He graduated in Industrial Engineering at POLI USP and holds a MBA from IMD Lausanne.
Esperanza Lopez-Virtue is the Vice President of Human Resources for the FedEx Express Latin America and Caribbean Division. Based in Miami, Esperanza is responsible for all areas of Human Resources, including Employee Engagement, Talent Acquisition, Total Rewards, Employee Benefits, Safety, Leadership Development, Talent Management and Skill Training.
Esperanza joined FedEx Express in 2002 as Manager of Compensation and Benefits for the Latin America and Caribbean Division and in April 2011, she was promoted to Managing Director of Human Resources. During her tenure as MD, she successfully managed all HR aspects for three major acquisitions in the region, the successful implementation of Workday, and supported excellent SFA results and Great Place to Work (GPTW) rankings. In 2021, she was promoted to her current role as Vice President of Human Resources for FedEx Express LAC.
Esperanza has been recognized three times with the prestigious FedEx Five-Star Award, the highest recognition bestowed on employees who demonstrate leadership, superior performance, and distinguished efforts in support of FedEx customers.
A native of Venezuela, Esperanza holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. She also earned a Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Minnesota State University. Prior to joining FedEx, she worked as a Consultant for seven years, including her tenure of three years with Willis Towers Watson where she developed and managed compensation plans for over 200 clients in Latin America.
Beatrice Louissaint immigrated to Miami from Haiti at age 5, equipped with six words of English and a strong family heritage that has made her a pioneer in the evolution of South Florida’s vibrant Haitian community. In many respects, her father’s passion shaped her career. In 1970, he founded Miami’s first Haitian church, which put a young Beatrice at the nexus of the Haitian Diaspora’s development – political, economic and cultural. Since then, she has become a powerhouse in her community’s advancement.
Beatrice is the President & CEO of the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council, one of 23 affiliates of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. The mission of the FSMSDC is to foster the growth of minority businesses in Florida. It acts as a liaison between Minority Business Enterprises and corporate members, including such prominent Florida companies as Florida Blue, Amazon, Florida Power & Light, The Walt Disney Company, Duke Energy, Orlando Health, ODP and AT&T. Under Beatrice’s leadership, the FSMSDC has linked minority firms to more than $11 billion in procurement sales.
Beatrice has helped shape statewide policy for minority business advancement for more than 25 years. She was hand-picked by then-Governor Jeb Bush as Vice Chair of the One Florida Accountability Commission. In 1994, she was appointed to the steering committee for the first Summit of the Americas, which convened 34 heads of state from the Western Hemisphere. That year, she was named “Advocate of the Year” by the Minority Business Development Center. In 1997, she chaired the Miami-Dade Minority Business Advisory Board during the county’s transition from a minority to a small-business construction program.
Beatrice’s many awards and recognitions for community service and leadership include induction into Miami Dade College’s Hall of Fame, being listed as one of “The 100 Most Influential Black People, Miami-Dade County’s Women’s Leadership Award and the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s Vanguard Award.
Beatrice earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Barry University. She is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, International Women’s Forum, and the Miami Biscayne Bay Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, and serves on the boards of Miami Dade College Foundation and Little Haiti Optimist Club.
Brian Pifer oversees Small Business Majority’s research initiatives, including scientific opinion polling, focus groups and economic research. This research provides policymakers, advocates and others in the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the information they need to navigate complex small business issues. Brian leads the design, execution and reporting on these multidisciplinary research projects and manages Small Business Majority’s s Insights program, which provides custom private research and subscription services for partners interested in understanding entrepreneurs’ needs, challenges and opportunities.
William Porro is the Assistant Director for the Office of Innovation & Economic Development for Mayor Daniella Levine Cave. Prior to joining the County Mayor’s Office, he spent 20 years at the City of Miami and retired as Director for the Department of Human Services. There he managed homeless & veterans services, workforce Opportunity Center, (3) childcare centers, healthcare programming, and economic initiatives.
Prior to his service in municipal government, he served in the private sector for over 30 years. William’s career in the financial services includes positions of high-level responsibility in both international and domestic financial services and marketing for such Fortune 500 Companies as American Express, Ameriprise Financial Advisors, Citibank, and CIGNA.
In 2005, he helped create and launch ACCESS Miami, the second phase of the City of Miami’s original anti-poverty plan. ACCESS Miami has received distinguished awards such as the Bright Idea in Innovative Government from Harvard University, Model Program from the US Conference of Mayors, and the National Livability Award. William strives to create linkages and collective impact through initiatives and programming for residents and small business entrepreneurs, including workforce development and the launching of key economic development initiatives such as Child Savings Accounts (Future Bound Miami).
He was chosen Public Servant of the Year and appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Economic Security and was Co-Chair for the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition. Personally, William and his wife together of over 48 years has helped countless individuals and families get their financial house in order by offering free classes and one-on-one coaching on everything from budgeting to eliminating debt. William is a graduate from the University of Texas in Finance and an MBA graduate from Western Governor’s University.
Susana Robledo is a successful entrepreneur and CEO. Identifying as BIPOC, woman, and immigrant, Susana had to work hard to establish herself in the business world. She founded Cube Care in 1999, starting with a contract to repair cubical curtains at a local Miami hospital. Since then, her business has grown into a multi-million-dollar enterprise that specializes in providing cubicle curtains and privacy solutions for the healthcare industry.
Susana is passionate about giving back to the South Florida community and has made it a priority to contribute to various charitable causes. She firmly believes in paying her success forward and has committed herself to making a positive impact on the world. Despite her many achievements, Susana remains grounded and true to her values. She is an inspiration to many and a testament to the power of hard work and determination.
Andy Rosenberg is a Senior Relationship Executive with Fiserv. A Payments Industry veteran of over 26 years, he has covered many areas of Merchant Services, working with Small Businesses of all types, as well as large corporate, and national businesses. Over his career with Fiserv, First Data, TSYS, Clover, and Bank of America, his expertise not only lies in helping business handle payments securely and efficiently, but in working with Banks to develop, run, and grow their Payments business. Andy lives in New Jersey with his wife, two college student children, and two cats.
Andre Salgado is the Santander Bank (SBNA) and Santander Securities (SSLLC) Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), providing sound security solutions to support the bank’s broader digital transformation strategy. In collaboration with business units, his role focuses on ensuring the sustainability of the Information Security Program’s current security capabilities as well as the ability to adapt and implement innovative security solutions to proactively combat new and emerging threats. Andre joined Santander from Citigroup, where his executive career spanned over two decades. Most recently, Andre served as the Citi Head of Information Security for Latin America, where he led all information security regional programs and initiatives.
Rebecca Smith is the Head of Santander US Cyber Governance, Risk and Compliance. She is an experienced Cybersecurity Leader and has worked across the Financial Services sector in advisory, consulting, and leadership roles in the UK, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, India, and the US. Prior to joining Santander, Rebecca was a principal at a global consulting firm, where she spent multiple years executing transformation programs across Technology disciplines from Finance Risk Reporting to Digital Banking to Cybersecurity, Fraud and Privacy.
As the director, Paul Taylor serves on the Mayor’s cabinet and manages the strategic direction and daily operations of the Center. He also advocates for small businesses in the City of Baltimore and throughout the State of Maryland. Paul has worked to build the ecosystem to support the small business community by supporting access to capital initiatives, technical assistance support systems, programs to provide access to markets and human capital development. Paul also advises the administration on policies that support minority, women, and small business development.
In 2007 Paul was the recipient of the SBA’s Small Business Champion of the Year for 2007 and the District Director’s Unsung Hero 2009. He was also the Minority Small Business Champion of the Year awardee for 2007. Paul has also been awarded with the Greater Baltimore Committee’s bridging the Gap Achievement award. Through his leadership he has worked with the past administration to double the resources of the Small Business Resource Center and launched Baltimore Source Link (an online resource) to connect entrepreneurs to the City and State programs. Paul was also awarded the Most Dedicated Local Government Administrator for Minority Business Enterprise by Md. Washington Minority Companies Association.
Paul numerous board positions include chair of the Baltimore Community Lending’s (BCL) Advisory Board, and a board member of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) and the Neighborhood Impact Investment Board (NIIF). He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC).
Brian Van Hook is Regional Director of Florida SBDC (FSBDC) at Florida International University (FIU). The center is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) resource partner focused on helping start and grow businesses in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. FSBDC at FIU’s team of business specialists provide quality one-on-one business consulting and training to help local entrepreneurs grow and succeed. FSBDC at FIU was recently named the 2023 SBA National Small Business Development Center of the Year. Van Hook has almost 20 years of experience with local economic development, entrepreneurship and small business issues. Prior to joining FIU, Brian was Policy Director on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, where he oversaw research and legislative activities. Previously, he served as a Senate Legislative Assistant advising on issues related to Commerce, Technology, International Trade, Economic Development, and Small Business. Lastly, Van Hook also worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Office of Technology Policy. In these roles, Van Hook has worked on both creating national policies and assisting individual businesses in the areas of accessing Federal programs and agencies, disaster preparedness, access to capital, and technology. Brian received his M.S. in International Affairs from Florida State University and his B.A. from Louisiana State University.
Howard Wial is Senior Vice President and Director of Research at ICIC. A specialist in urban and regional economic development, he is responsible for designing and overseeing a research agenda to promote the revitalization of economically depressed communities.
Howard has extensive experience as an economist and economic policy advisor. He has been a fellow of the Brookings Institution, executive director of the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an advisor in the office of the Governor of Pennsylvania. Earlier in his career, he taught at Swarthmore College, Brandeis University, Carleton College, Brown University, and Pennsylvania State University, served as an economist in the U.S. Department of Labor and the Government Accountability Office, and was research director of the Working for America Institute and the Keystone Research Center.
Howard is a co-author of Coping with Adversity: Regional Economic Resilience and Public Policy and New Rules for a New Economy: Employment and Opportunity in Post-industrial America (both from Cornell University Press) and a co-editor of the Urban and Regional Policy and Its Effects series (Brookings Institution Press). He has published widely in academic and policy-oriented publications. He is a graduate of The University of Michigan and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a J.D from Yale Law School.
As a Senior Associate on the Research team, Devon Yee is a key contributor to ICIC’s foundational research on inner cities, including work on the definition of an inner city and on inner cities’ economic and social conditions. Working with Census data and GIS mapping tools, Devon applies expertise in statistics and computer programming to support research using ICIC’s State of the Inner City Economies database.
Prior to joining ICIC, Devon worked as a data analyst for the City of Walla Walla, Washington, contextualizing Census data to compile a report for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to further fair housing in Walla Walla. Additionally, they have used their quantitative analysis and creative problem solving skills in physics research and mathematical modeling. They are passionate about the intersections of mathematics, economics, education, housing, and social justice. Devon holds a B.A. in Economics-Mathematics from Whitman College. They are one of the founding members of the Whitman College Students and Alumni of Color Coalition, working with students and alumni of color to build community and facilitate connection.
ICIC drives inclusive economic prosperity in under-resourced communities through innovative research and programs to create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents.
PO Box 191297
Roxbury MA 02119
Sign up for our mailings and stay up-to-date on all research, commentary, and news related to ICIC as we continue to drive inclusive economic prosperity in America’s under-resourced communities.