ABOUT THE BOOK
We are not seeing ourselves represented in the important financial conversations. Per the Economic Policy Institute, in 2020 only 10% of Latinas are represented under management, business and finances versus 18% of white women. Discrimination and bias-based on race, ethnicity, sex, and migration status have intersected to funnel Latinas into lower-paying occupation and to deny them fair wages for their work.
Latinas in Finances is a collaboration of women that share their personal stories of success and their falls in relationship with finances. Hear from Latinas in the financial field, enthusiastic to motivate our community and generations to come. This is not just a book but a movement aiming to build generational wealth and to increase the percentage of Latinas in Finances. With Latinas in Finances, the best is yet to come!
AUTHOR & FOUNDER
Imelda Rodriguez is the Founder & CEO of Coaching Vida LLC. She created the company, to provide the necessary tools to obtain a better lifestyle through holding seminars, courses, workshops, and conferences, as well as one-on-one and group coaching sessions (Life & Financial Coaching) that she named Coaching Vida (Coaching Life).
She is also Founder of the Entre Nosotras Talk Show, a video blog that has been live for more than 10 years revolving around women’s supporting topics. Imelda is also Credit as Asset Master Trainer of the Credit Builders Alliance among many other certifications that support her work.
Back in June 2021 she received the Latina Community Spirit Award from the Latinas Voice Awards. As of May 2017, Imelda became a contributing author of Today’s Inspired Latina Vol. III. She possesses many key leadership qualities and is passionate, persistent, direct, optimistic and creative, hard-working, enthusiastic about building relationships, open to feedback, and energized towards developing people to their fullest potential. She has shown true perseverance and dedication to her work-dreams and has a true belief in people and the power of change.
Imelda exhibits a commendable and courageous willingness to self-reflect, adapt, negotiate, and try on new and different things to build her leadership capacity. She intentionally sets ambitious goals for herself and her teams and has accomplished much in the lives of the clients she serves.
Throughout her work, Imelda has remained committed to multigenerational legacy and implementing homeless prevention services to reduce emergency situations that lead to homelessness or crisis. She deeply believes that we can be the best version of ourselves and through learning we can grow and develop our greater purpose and impact. Her own growth as a leader in her community and in her businesses is the greatest testament to the deep and powerfully transformative truth of that belief.
Adriana Galvan, MBA
“I want everyone to feel the same liberation when they are able to quit a toxic job, leave their cheating partner, or feel secure when they find out they are getting laid off. Adriana Talks Dinero, LLC is changing people’s way of thinking about money, and it will change people’s lives in the process. This is the legacy I am leaving behind for future generations, and my gift to the world.”
Adriana Galvan is a Mexican-American (Dual Citizen) born and raised in Elgin, IL, she is the first born daughter of immigrant parents. Her father is from La Cienega, Zimatlan, Oaxaca, Mexico and her mother is from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Education was instilled in her life at a young age. Which helped her have a successful educational career at a young age. She graduated from Elgin Community College in 2013 with an Associates of Arts. In 2016 she graduated from Judson University with a Bachelors of Arts. Adriana finished her double Masters in Business Administration in 2019 from The Graham School of Management at Saint Xavier University.
One of Adriana’s passions is traveling, she is well known for traveling to foreign countries, even alone, without any fears. She also never forgets where she comes from, being the only grandchild from both sides of the family who makes yearly trips to Mexico to visit family. Another passion is people and she is deeply involved with a number of organizations that help her community thrive. Such as The Elgin Hispanic Network, The Literacy Connection, & Rise and Thrive Latinas.
She started her career in Human Resources and has taken the opportunity to be a Latina Business owner with her financial literacy education and money coaching business. She is the owner and founder of Adriana Talks Dinero, LLC. She wants to inspire and empower the minority and disadvantaged with the skills and knowledge to gain a conscious path to financial freedom with her small business.
Adriana Galvan, MBA
@adrianatalksdinero – FB, IG, Twitter, & TikTok
“Financial education starts at home! Teach your children about what money means to you and what you value about money.”
Michelle J. Velasquez is the founder and CEO of Virtuous Wealth Building. She is a financial coach who is passionate about educating, encouraging, and empowering, Latina moms take control of their finances and build generational wealth while partnering up with God.
Michelle is happily married to her husband Martin Arteaga and they have four beautiful children Marty (8), Izan (6), Joe (4), and Adaleah (2). She is the daughter of Joe Velasquez (late) and Ofelia Velasquez. Michelle has 4 sisters Edith, Cristina, Yajaira and Veronica. She was born and raised in Blue Island, IL and later moved to Chicago.
For the past 15 years, Michelle has served as a federal law enforcement officer with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In addition, she enjoys to help her husband renovate and flip homes for his business Green Building Partners, Inc. Michelle also helps her husband manage his Airbnb’s.
Michelle received her Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola University Chicago. In addition, she is a proud sister of Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority Incorporated.
Michelle is a member of New Life Midway church. During a business conference, Michelle felt called to coach. She believes God created her to be a woman of impact and is eager to share her testimony.
Michelle J. Velasquez
Virtuous Wealth Building
@vwbcoaching (social media handles)
“Be Blessed Not Stressed” (motto)
“We should live and work passionately and value every moment. The most important part of a business is not just making money. The most important thing is the contribution and help given to each person. Let’s keep doing our best to help other people fulfill their dreams!”
Entrepreneurial, passionate, ambitious, enthusiastic yet humble by nature, Jackie was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and holds a degree in business administration. Jackie relocated to Chicago in 1987, in search of better opportunities. Jackie quickly found her passion helping people achieve their financial dreams, and over the years, has worked in different branches of the industry, starting out as a life insurance agent, later becoming a loan officer, real estate broker,and tax preparer.
After the economic crash in 2008, Jackie founded American Loan Modification LLC and, in collaboration with various banks, was able to help many of her clients get out of foreclosure and stay in their homes.
Today, Jackie draws on her vast experience in finance as CEO and founder of Chicago Financial Group (CFG) LLC since 2017.
CFG is an agency that represents various high-quality life insurance companies in the industry, providing a wide range of financial services that help the community protect their assets and fulfill their dreams.
Over the last few years, Jackie has dedicated herself to expanding the CFG agency to other states, recruiting and training other professionals to be the leading company that trains life insurance agents and who’s main goal is to educate and help the public make the best financial decisions for their future.
Jackie and her group of professionals have managed to meet production and reputation expectations with each company she represents.
Jackie and her team have insured thousands of families and have managed to work honorably and impeccably within the industry!
(630) 863-8324 / (847) 466-7162
“Without the understanding of giving back, we are trained to suffocate money and stunt its growth. Money carries its own energy, and if you do not put it in places where it thrives, you will stunt its growth. Like a child, it will never fulfill its full potential.”
Rubi Velazquez is chief executive officer at MRV financial and serving our community as a financial advisor, accountant and master in finance & accounting. As a business owner, she is always looking for ways to invest, volunteer and give back to our community and surrounding areas. She is a financial advisor and loves helping others by bringing clarity to their current financial house, assess their finances and fill in the gaps with experience and a team to help her clients achieve their goals and dreams.
As a financial advisor and investor not only does she have access to different investments types to fit client needs, but she is also able to help diversify investments by aligning them towards assigned goals, giving the opportunity to talk to someone who can provide professional information about different investment types to make sound decisions to continue the journey towards financial freedom. Once hired i draft a plan that is suited to meet client needs!
Helping people achieve their goals and dreams since 2014, Rubi has worked in various accounting jobs before creating a MRV Financial and is currently a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) candidate at the American institute of Certified Public Accountant.
“This continues to be a country of opportunities, and the world of finance offers us, Hispanics, that chance.”
Glenda Alvarado was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador on January 24, 1969 to Gloria Yance and Luis Alvarado, and the first-born daughter of three children, the other two being boys. Glenda went to primary school at Escuela Particular La Providencia, and high school at the Providencia Private School, then graduated in administrative sciences from the Vicente Rocafuerte Lay University of Guayaquil. She was an assistant for the management of a banking agency, Banco de Prestamos, in Guayaquil, Ecuador from 1990 to 1992. Glenda was also the owner of an automotive painting business from 1992 to 1996 and a manager of the office of First Financial Mortgage 2002, and owner of Solo By Owner Advertising Agency from 2006 to 2008. Currently, Glenda is a licensed life insurance agent, and licensed mortgage agent, a member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate and is dedicated to helping families obtain adequate financing for the purchase of their homes with programs that range from zero percent down payment to programs for ITIN individuals and DACA. She is a member of the New Vision Community Church, Casa de Oración where she collaborates in event planning and programming in the Cicero, IL community organizing food pantries, informative workshops, and other church activities with the intention of helping and serving the needy while sharing the gospel and helping Hispanic families. These are the activities that I do in my free time, always looking for a way to serve others because “he who does not live to serve, is not good at living.”
“It was crazy for me to entertain the idea of going back to school, to get more into debt, and try to get a job which wouldn’t even pay me enough for the lifestyle I had, just for me, a one-person household.”
At the age of 22 years old Cristina Pineda realized that most of her family challenges at that time were due to financial stress. Lack of financial planning was the #1 factor for her family to disintegrated, for each of her family members to find a way to financially survive.
During her job as a bank-teller Cristina started to notice how much lack of financial education the Latino community had, it wasn’t just her family, it was most people, with various professions. Cristina observed that most people didn’t know the basics of budgeting, saving money for the unexpected emergency expenses, saving for their kid’s college, planning for retirement or protecting their ability to have an income just in case they couldn’t work due to an illness.
In 2009 Cristina was forced to make a career change. She knew she wanted to be a part of the solution, have control of her time, money, and freedom all while helping our Latino community. In 2015, Cristina become a Senior broker at World Financial Group Insurance Agency and 6 figure-earner by June 2016. In January 2022, she celebrated having her own financial agency, being a bi-lingual Mexican Immigrant, Latina Financial Professional for over a decade.
“Seeing my parents accomplish things like homeownership and real estate investments molded me into making that a priority for myself.”
Liz Quintana-Romero is a Mortgage Loan Officer in a top producing office she enjoys meeting new people who are ready to achieve homeownership and getting them to the closing table. She also enjoys buying investment properties and is working towards growing her portfolio. Liz works on building her online boutique, House of Queens Boutique LLC where she can express her creativity. Her goal is to impower women with the clothes she offers and uplift them. Liz also is a Podcaster you can find her podcast, The Ambiciosas Podcast where you can hear her talk along with her friend Giselle Gonzalez who talk about relevant topics, guest speakers, and much more. Liz is currently working on other projects with the Hispanic Regional Chamber of Commerce in her community and hopes to share them with us soon.
“This experience in finance not only helped me learn about the different financial programs that existed for mortgage loans, but it also showed me how much I could help my community given that there were many Hispanics who needed assistance in their native language, and I was there to guide and offer them my service.”
Aracely Markowski-Castro was born in Quito-Ecuador, and she is the youngest daughter of 5 siblings. She has 2 sons and is married to Tomasz Markowski who got his realtor license to help his lovely wife as a part time job. Aracely is a determined, dedicated & motivated bilingual Real Estate Broker who has seasoned sales and customer service experience for more than 17 years. In 1995, she came to the United States after graduating from high school at the age of 18. Her first job was at Clover Insurance in Chicago where she started filing the client files without speaking any word of English, with her determination and desire to learn, she gained the trust and admiration of her bosses and after a few years was promoted to accounts receivable position. In 2000 Aracely was able to achieve an associate degree in accounting graduating with honors Cum Laude from St Augustine College. Also was an active member of a youth group in Our Lady of Mercy Church where her beliefs and faith in God got stronger.
Before becoming a realtor, Aracely worked in Unidos Financial Services as a territory manager in Illinois where she earned a lot of experience in sales, customer service, tech support, management, and advertisement. She joined the Real Estate market in 2016 with many happy clients! Her desire is to help families buy the home that fits their desires and their budget as well as for those that are selling their home to make the maximum profit possible. Aracely is an active promoter of first-time home buyer’s seminars in the Hispanic community, also participates in talk shows giving advice and valuable information for future homeowners.
Aracely’s hard work and persistence has awarded her multiples accolades which includes “Su Familia Real Estate” Top producer 2019, 2020 and 2021, Chicago Association of Realtors top producer 2021, Homes.com and Homesnap Award for Excellence in Client Service 2021, Also Top 250 nationwide from The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) 2022 and Top 100 Midwest from NAHREP 2022. Aracely can balance between her professional and personal life and enjoys worship, traveling, dancing, exercise, and family time more than anything else.
Facebook and Instagram: @aracelyhouses
“I’ll never forget the feeling, and the look on my children’s faces when I showed them their first house. This is where I fell in love with the real estate industry, and what fueled my passion to help everyone achieve the gift of homeownership.”
Tiffany Jimenez is a wife and mother of 3. She is also a bilingual top producing Real Estate Broker with Coldwell Banker Realty in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Tiffany is a serial entrepreneur with a strong background in mortgage lending and over twenty years of experience in the real estate industry. Tiffany understands navigating tough times and tough markets which allows her to provide her clients with a comprehensive understanding of the entire real estate transaction.
Tiffany was most recently awarded the International Diamond Society Award at Coldwell Banker Realty and currently serves as the executive secretary for the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, and also a Chicago Association of Realtors D77 committee member serving communities on Chicago’s south side. Tiffany is committed to educating future generations on managing finances and the different components of the real estate industry.
When assisting her clients, you may will find Tiffany fostering the spirit of philanthropy within her community. From utilizing her not for profit to offer a safe environment for young men and women to build camaraderie. As well as spending time with her family, sponsoring food and coat drives along with educational seminars.
“If you don’t like where you are, move: you are not a tree.”
Mary Buitron was born and raised in Ecuador. She moved with her family to the United States when she was 15 years old. She was instantly fascinated with how cosmopolitan Chicago is and the diversity of its people. Besides learning English, she studied a bit of French, Italian, Portuguese and Serbian. Without a doubt though, her favorite language is Polish. One day she hopes to master 10 languages so she can help more individuals in their native tongues.
She graduated from Wright College with an Associate of Science and obtained her Medical Assistant License from the Illinois School of Health Careers. She has always been dedicated to helping people, be it in her volunteer programs in nursing homes, children’s hospitals, citizenship classes for seniors, now she hopes to help her Latino community more.
Her goal is to tell people: yes, you can! She hopes to hold their hand and guide them throughout the home-buying process, specializing in first time homebuyers and people with ITIN and DACA. Her focus is to provide the best service to those who want to sell their properties and teach people how to invest and generate income, all with compassion, honesty, and integrity.
Mary is a Bilingual Real Estate agent, proud member of the National Association of Hispanics Real Estate Professionals. She is an avid reader, nature lover, traveler, and athlete who participates in triathlons and enjoys adrenaline-pumping activities like skydiving.
“As a young woman in a culture that is predominantly male-dominated, I had to prove myself to my Latino counterparts and show them that I was capable of filling my father’s shoes.”
Denise Portillo Krohn is a mortgage consultant that takes pride in helping her clients navigate through the challenging mortgage lending process. As VP of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate, the third largest lender in the U.S., Denise helps first time homebuyers and investors alike. As a top loan originator, performing in the top 15% of mortgage originators in the nation, she is committed to ensuring that her clients have a seamless lending experience. Furthermore, she is steadfast in educating and keeping her clients abreast of the constant changes in the mortgage industry.
Denise is not only passionate about real estate for her clients, but also about real estate investing for herself. She and her husband are unswerving in their devotion to create wealth for their children; thus they are always looking for ways to grow their portfolio. As a mom of 3 young children, Denise understands the importance of investing now to set them up for success in the future. Denise is also a flipper, investing in urban and suburban markets, while also investing in short term rentals, like Airbnb.
Aside from real estate, Denise believes fervently in education and philanthropy. These are two key components of the mission of her foundation, The Alberto Portillo Hope Foundation. She is committed to unceasingly creating opportunities to educate people on financial literacy issues, while continuing to support underprivileged neighborhoods. Denise is hopeful that this book will continue to open doors that will allow her to encourage minorities, especially young women, to take bold steps that will create generational wealth.
“Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.” –Galileo Galilei.
Martha Razo is a business consultant, mathematician, engineer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, writer, and CEO of Guero’s Pallets and co-founder of SOLiX Business Services. Martha has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Applied Mathematics and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a focus on data and process mining. Martha is also the founder of the 2% Fund, a nonprofit whose mission is to increase higher education through financing and mentorship for undocumented students. Martha is your business and numbers expert. She has used her Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics, along with 10 years of business experience, to build a national, multi-million dollar company. Her experience as a business owner and consultant ranges from restaurants to properties to manufacturing and spans clients throughout the nation. If you are feeling stuck in your business pursuits, uncertain about particular decisions, or looking to expand your business Martha’s services will benefit you. Martha’s knowledge and experience will help grow your business.
“It seemed unrealistic to me to start a new career at thirty. My brother responded, “That’s true, but you will eventually be thirty anyway. So you will either be thirty and still be the assistant to the attorney, or you will be thirty and you will be the attorney.”
Nancy Piña is the founder and owner of Piña Law Firm, LLC. Her practice focuses on real estate transactions.
Nancy graduated from DePaul University with a major in Real Estate Investments and Finance and she obtained her Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School.
While at John Marshall Law School she was president of the Real Estate Law Student Group, member of the Latino Law Student Association, member of Lambda Alpha International (Honorary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics) and member of the Trial Advocacy Honors Council. During this time, she also held an externship with the Neighborhood Housing Services.
Nancy’s other work experience includes work as a Judicial Extern for The Honorable Lisa Marino of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division, as a legal intern for Clarion Associates conducting research for the Argentinian Conservation Easement Project, and volunteer at the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic.
Nancy lives with her husband and three beautiful children.
Nancy is licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois and is fluent in Spanish.
“But my family questioned, how could I go from a six-figure salary to 100% commissionafter so much hardship and hard work? My answer was easy, our communities deserve more. I was no longer choosing a career for the money but rather following my new personal mission.”
Evelin Freytas is passionate about education and financial wellness. She voluntarily facilitates educational workshops and personal education sessions for the Money Management Educators Network (MME). She is the first woman and first Latina/o in Illinois to be a part of MME, a not-for-profit organization that partners with many of America’s leading corporations. Her common-sense approach to the otherwise complex world of personal finance is what makes her a sought-after educator.
Evelin has been active in the financial services industry for 13 years. As the Founder and CEO of Mastermind Wealth Strategies LLC, she helps individuals and business owners reach their financial goals by creating a financial roadmap. Her career is built on the premise of assisting her clients on all things with a dollar sign.
Evelin received her bachelor’s degree in International Business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and she received her MBA in Chicago. Additionally, she studied Finance and International Business in Granada, Spain, and at The Chinese University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, China. She received her LUTCF and CLTC designations through the American College. She holds her Series 6, 63, SIE, 65 and 7 licenses.
She has been inducted to the Million Dollar Round Table, Top of the Table; Negocios Now 40 under 40 class of 2020; and Forbes Best in State Top Financial Securities Professionals in 2022. She is President of the Ecuadorian Volunteers Association (EVA). Former President of the University of Illinois Latina/Latino Alumni Association (LLAA). Most recently, she became a National Ambassador for the Grief Sensitive School Initiative (GSSI).
She is happily married to Dr. Héctor Freytas, a high school principal and they have three sons: AJ, who is five years old; Carmelo, who is three; and Romeo, who is one.
Evelin Freytas, MBA, CLTC, LUTCF
“I compare one part of my life to a video game, always running, always unlocking levels, but never finding peace. It was not until I found the right people in my life that doors began to unlock for me.”
Connie has a beautiful family with Nano, her husband of more than a decade. Together they have a vibrant 10-year-old Fiorella and a lionhearted 7-year-old Luciano. Connie started her business career when she was 14 years old with an Internship at DHL, followed by a second internship in the International Business MICIP – World Bank 4346 EC Project. When she was 18, she got her first job as an administrative assistant at IBM Ecuador while she pursued her full-time Business Administration BA at the USFQ – Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Currently, Connie is a licensed producer in Life, Property & Casualty in the States of Illinois and Wisconsin. Connie works as an all-lines insurance specialist at the Anna Harambasic Amfam Agency, recognized as the agency of the year in 2021 for district 815. Amfam – American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 251 on the Fortune 500 list. At the same time, in 2022 Amfam earned a place on the Ward Group nation’s top 50 performing Life Insurance companies.
As part of Connie’s commitment to empowering her community, she collaborates with the Women’s Business Development Center – WBDC as a guest speaker of the Startup, as well as the Scale-up programs giving commercial insurance Webinars to entrepreneurs. Moreover, in 2021 Connie collaborated with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals – Nahrep as part of the Philanthropy committee. In 2022, as a member of the events committee, Connie continues collaborating with Nahrep Chicago in its pursuit to help more Hispanic families achieve homeownership in a sustainable way.
LinkedIn: Connie Alban-Franco
“Talking about finances is a very personal conversation, and I encourage you to never compare your story to anyone else’s.”
Maria Ramos is a passionate and fierce Non-Profit Leader, Community Organizer and Activist in the Chicagoland community. With the deep-held belief that every person matters, Maria is committed to helping individuals achieve success and reach their goals as they define it. Maria is committed to leaving a legacy behind for her children and others. Maria’s inspiration comes by her late indigenous grandfather, who told her, “One day when you feel you are successful enough to stand strong and continue to grow, turn around and get the next person to where you are, that is the only way you will contribute to making strong communities and change the world.”
Maria’s passion for accessible education, family, community and culture has been shaped by her family’s story and her own immigrant story as an undocumented child. This experience has birthed a heart for social justice, a desire to support others in their journey and informs much of the work that she does. Maria can also be found volunteering for The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights where she acts as a Child Advocate, speaking up on behalf and for the best interests of unaccompanied youth during detention and post-release, as a member of the Make-A-Wish Chicago Neighborhood Council and board member of El Circulo Resource Cennter.
Maria has a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American and Latino Studies as well as Math and Computer Science. She also has a Master of Science in Urban Planning and Public Policy from University of Illinois at Chicago. Maria is a graduate of the Mujeres de HACE leadership program, a national program for high achieving Latina professionals. Following graduation, Maria gave back by serving as an alumnae board member on the Program and Event Planning Committee which focused on planning and executing Mujeres de HACE programs and events to engage alumnae via professional development and networking opportunities, and to fundraise for scholarships.
“The good or bad experiences we lived shaped the person we are today.”
Cynthia Beltran is a Latina proud of her roots. Born in Quito –Ecuador and having moved to the United States in 2000, she is a persistent woman with a strong character that has led her to achieve exemplary achievements. Cynthia was manager for a Car Dealership for 18 years, where she was able to mentor and help others reach their best potential.
She has a degree in Marketing Management and Social science.
Cynthia is an enthusiastic woman that has always loved to help others, and working with people is what she likes the most.
She finds her passion in Real Estate. She is a Real Estate Agent and investor who has been able to create a portfolio and passive income through properties in Illinois and Ecuador.
She is currently part of the NAHREP Events Committee and volunteers her services in the care center of Willowcreek.
She is a woman who knows that she can always find something good in every experience, a positive, cheerful woman who believes a lot in constant development.
She is a happy wife, proud mother of Stefano and Julieta, and proud stepmother of Vanesa and Mateo.
Her most excellent support comes from her parents, her siblings his beloved stepfather Fernando. Cynthia continues being inspired by her mother’s heart and strength, but more than anything, she feels immensely blessed to be a woman of faith.