Latinos Don’t Have Role Models? Say WHAT?! Behold Rita Moreno!

A cozy and very personal conversation with the incredible and iconic Rita Moreno took place in Los Angeles at The Grammy Museum, courtesy of NCLR (yes, the very influential Hispanic civil rights organization). Not only has Rita Moreno won an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, and an Emmy, but at the ripe age of 83, she is now also a published author.


Here Miss Moreno discusses growing up a Spanish-speaker in New York and the neglect she felt by nurses who didn’t speak Spanish, and how that experience compelled her to master the English language and become a wordsmith. She also shared intimate stories of the one-sided love she and mega star Marlon Brando shared for eight years. Ms. Moreno recapped that phase of her life by saying “I was madly in love with him, but unfortunately it was killing me slowly.”

nclr-event-rita-moreno-audience-conexion-networkingMs Moreno answers audience questions on acting, dancing, motherhood, the industry, life, family, and love — and of course, the insights of her vitality.


Thank you NCLR for the opportunity to be part of your event. We look forward to your upcoming Convention and Family Expo in July in Los Angeles.


3 Life-Changing Habits of High Performers

3-life-changing-habits-of-high-performers-conexion-latino-events-leadership-conex3601. Say ‘no’ to distraction. Every. Single. Time.
Successful people have that same list of tasks to accomplish as anyone else, the key is they make time to get them all done without excuses.

2. Read something new everyday.
Successful people read constantly, find mentors who can teach them and value new information that can help push them forward. Learn before you earn.

3. Flaunt your failures like a champ.
Fail, and fail often. Everyone fails. Successful people have the ability to get up and give it another go with a better plan the next time around.

Excerpts from “3 Life-Changing Habits of High Performers” by Brad Sugars, for

Found Good Resources at “Where’s the Money? Access To Capital Business Expo”



In my last post I suggested the “Where’s the Money Expo”. I attended, networked and took some pix. I met some great people, like a serial entrepreneur who’s working with Richard Branson (he had photos to prove it!). In addition, I’m happy to report that the organization putting this on (VEDC) is doing something other orgs aren’t: they are funding loans as small as $5,000 and walking business owners through the process of qualifying for the dollars they seek.

The event is now taking place in the San Fernando Valley (some 30 miles north of LA), and in our continuous effort to be a resource, VEDC is letting our network attend for free through this blog post.

The “Where’s the Money? Access to Capital Business Expo” will take place on Saturday, September 21st, from 8AM to 3PM, at the Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills. You can only register for free by clicking here.

Event highlights:

  • Networking Breakfast
    Network with other Small Business Owners
  • Business Workshops
    3 Tracks Focused on Finding, Managing or Growing Your Business Capital
  • Finance & Resource Expo
    Connect with Local Bankers & Business Organizations
  • Loan Pavilion
    One-on-One Financial Assessments Available
  • Business Luncheon
    Get Inspired by a Successful Local Business Owner

As for the producers: VEDC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining jobs and businesses in our communities by providing high-quality economic development services.

conexion-networking-events-access-to-capital-bankers-investors-mixer-entrepreneur-business-hispanic-market-September-ownerRemember, it will cost you nothing to find out if the event can get you the capital you seek.

I’d love to hear about your experience at this event; please comment on this post or on our Facebook page at:

Modern Day Mothers

Modern Day MothersThis snapshot of today’s mother tells a story of how we’ve evolved as a society, but it’s also a glimpse into the country’s future demographics, and future economics.

The Passion Behind Sam Adams Beer

Jim Koch Sam Adams Beer

Jim Koch Sam Adams Beer

We recently caught up with Jim Koch, founder and CEO of Sam Adams Beer. Jim spoke at the US Chamber & Latino Coalition’s Small Business Summit in D.C., and aside from his story of persistence, I knew I liked this guy when he busted out a beer and downed it during his speech.

As it turns out, Jim left for college believing that for the first time in 150 years he would be the first of the Koch’s to turn his back on beer. After college and graduate school Jim began a promising career in management consulting. Even though he followed that path for several years, he always kept an eye on the beer business.

In 1984, he started brewing an old family beer recipe in his kitchen. Before long he was packing samples in a suitcase and going from bar to bar, trying to get people to taste his lager.

Only one year later, the beer was re-introduced as Samuel Adams Boston Lager, at the re-creation of the first battle of the American Revolution on Patriot’s Day. Three months later, it was voted “Best Beer in America” at the Great American Beer Festival, in which 93 national and regional beers competed. The publicity that followed helped the Boston Beer Company’s sales grow to 7,393,000 liters (63,000 barrels) by 1989. The beer was first put on tap at Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain.

Today, the idea born in that kitchen has approximately 840 employees in its Boston, Cincinnati and Breinigsville, PA breweries combined. It is also the largest craft brewery in the U.S.A.

The lesson? If you’re going to follow your passion go all out. Think big. And when you get a NO, believe a yes is just around the corner.


Grow Your Company With Fewer Customers

less-is-more-2A new study finds evidence to support the idea of ‘less is more’. Here’s why scaling your company with fewer clients may just contribute to your company’s long-term health.

Helena Yli-Renko, an assistant professor of clinical entrepreneurship at USC’s Marshall School of Business, was working on her Ph.D in Finland in the late 1990’s when she began to observe a novel trend among Finnish telecommunications start-ups: rather than seeking out multiple customers to grow their companies, the companies all seemed to be clamoring to strike deals with Nokia, an industry leader. At the same time, the young companies were apprehensive about their growth strategies: “They were worried about putting all their eggs in one basket,” she says.

And rightfully so. Why put it all on the line for one big client—no matter how big they are?

Over the next six years, Yli-Renko set out to determine if those fears were justified. With Dr. Ramkumar Janakiraman, a management professor at Texas A&M, Yli-Renko surveyed 180 young firms operating in business-to-business, and asked: How does dependence on a key customer impact the firm’s customer growth?

Defying conventional wisdom, the researchers found that young companies that rely on one or two big clients were more successful than companies that didn’t. In her words, “What we found was that key customer dependence actually had a positive effect on the firm’s customer growth.”

Following are the factors that help young companies scale with just a couple of clients—and how your firm can leverage them for growth.

Who your clients are matters. If your one key customer is someone like Apple or GM—industry leaders that are well-recognized and well-respected—you’re going to get positive reputation effects from that relationship.

“That instantly creates legitimacy for that young firm,” says Yli-Renko. “Other firms may says, ‘If GM uses these guys, we can too.'”

Good clients act as great referrers—and your evangelists. By focusing on a single client relationship, Devesh Dwivedi, founder of a Web development company in New Jersey, has grown his business.

“They would hire us for every project they had, but the reason I use the word “evangelist” is because they personally introduced me to each one of their business contacts,” says Dwivedi.

The client also became a mentor to Dwivedi, helping him strategize on new product offerings, and how to best position his company.

Yli-Renko says this type of ‘evangelism’ was pervasive among her study. Going to an industry trade show, for example, with a client like GM will open doors for future connections. “It’s about building personal networks,” she says.

Find the perfect balance. Denise O’Berry, a small business consultant based in Tampa, Florida, says the company should look at their bottom line to determine if they’re too dependent: If more than 50 percent of the company’s revenue comes from one client, it’s time to move on to new prospects.

“The sexiness of the steady client has quite an allure to it, especially for start-up companies,” she says. “But they need to divide their time between making clients happy, and not totally stop trying to do customer acquisition, mainly because of the risks. They need to have a process in place for business development in addition to satisfying their current clients.”

Know when to expand. Eventually, even if your company does rely on one or two big clients, you’ll want to expand.

According to Russ Lombardo, president of Cary, North Carolina-based PEAK Sales consulting, “When it gets to the point where a customer says ‘I want a demo,’ and you have to say, ‘Sorry, we’ll have to schedule it two weeks from now.’ That’s when you know you need more resources—or fewer leads.”

Yli-Renko concluded; “The basic idea in the research is that if you can sell as much to one large customer as you can sell to 10 smaller customers, you’re going to be more efficient,” she says. “You’re also going to free up marketing dollars and management time that will then enable you to pursue other customers and grow your firm.”


From a previous post by Eric Markowitz, via Inc, who reports on start-ups, entrepreneurs, and issues that affect small businesses. Previously, he worked at Vanity Fair. He lives in New York City. @EricMarkowitz