Creating Bosses in the Communidad
Jefes started as an idea spurred by the 2016 election. I was in business school at the time, contemplating the world I was about to graduate into. Not a day went by without something disparaging being said in the news regarding the Latinx community. Where were the positive stories and the truth about how incredibly diverse, innovative, creative and amazing Latino Americans are? At the same time, the leaders in technology, finance, politics and media I was studying in my classes did not reflect an America with 60 million Latinos.
Flash forward to 2020. Of funded startup founders, those that are Latinx still hovers around 2%. Latinas in particular are extremely underrepresented with only .4% of all VC money between 2009 and 2017. Similar trends follow in academia, business, finance and media. This isn't good for business and it isn't good for the world.
Changes are happening, though, through the power and genius of members of the community using their talents and gifts to elevate others. Remarkable groups have launched accelerators, community groups and incubators to give diverse founders the chances they deserve. Businesses are waking up to the benefits of creating a workforce with diversity of background and thought. We now have our first Latina senator with Sen. Cortez-Matos. Media giants are finally creating movies and content that reflect broader experiences and running articles that highlight the positive. Every day I meet Latinx innovators producing great new products, apps or works of art that do everything from fashion, to therapy to storytelling that center the many facets of the Latinx experience.
After many starts, changes and iterations, I decided to launch Jefes in this format with the intention of gathering the leaders and learners, senior professionals and students, investors and founders, creators and scientists in one place so that we can all leverage our experiences and talents to further our causes. There is power in numbers and power in community. I look forward to watching this community grow and evolve and can't wait to meet all of you.
-Alexandra Esparza, Founder