Contributed by Pamela Capalad
In the last ten years, there has been a growing trend among women in finance. The number of Hispanic women taking high-powered roles in the business and financial sectors has increased significantly. Since 1997, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses has grown 82 percent, making it one of the “fastest growing business segments in the nation” and more than one third of those businesses are owned by Hispanic women. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of Hispanic women earning bachelor’s degrees has increased 150 percent and Hispanic women earning master’s degrees has grown 164 percent. This increase in education and business ownership has translated to increased opportunities for Hispanic women in business, law and finance in the last decade.
From a CFO of the ad agency responsible for those relaxing Corona commercials to a high-powered attorney with a heart of gold to the president of a microfinance firm, this growing force of Hispanic women in business proves that these top ten women are not only eclectic and talented, but take pride in giving back to their communities as well.
- Maria Elena Lagomasino, CEO of Asset Management Advisors, LLC. Named Hispanic Business Magazine’s Top Hispanic Business Woman of 2007, Lagomasino began as a management trainee at Citigroup in 1977 and worked for Citi and JP Morgan3 before taking the position of CEO at Asset Management Advisors, based in Palm Beach, FL, in 2005. AMA specializes in catering to ultra high-net worth families, defined as “those with more than $25 million in wealth” and manages over $10 billion in assets.
- Marisa Lago, Global Head of Compliance, Citi. Lago has a no-nonsense attitude about her climb to the top, claiming that besides the passion and determination needed to make it to a position like hers, it takes “hard work, that’s an indispensable ingredient of climbing the corporate ladder, no one should ever try and sugar coat it.” As former director for the Office of International Affairs for the US Securities and Exchanges Commission, Lago is now entrusted with the task of making sure Citi and its clients never see the doors of her old offices.
- Maria Otero, President and CEO, ACCION International. Beginning her relationship with ACCION International in 1986, Otero was named President and CEO of the nonprofit organization dedicated to providing microloans and technical assistance to the poor in developing countries. ACCION’s website describes their exponential growth as such: “While it took twenty years for ACCION’s partners to reach their first million clients, it took just three more to reach their second million.”7 With Otero’s passion for the cause leading the organization, reaching their third million will surely come even sooner.
- Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment. As president for “America’s most watched network,” Nina Tassler has the unforgiving and relentless job of making sure American viewers are watching, week after week, as well as answering critic’s questions about the content of CBS’s programs. She began her time at CBS in 1997 and took on her current position in 2004, overseeing all aspects of the network’s programming.
- Wanda Medina McDonald, CFO, Cramer-Krasselt. Three of the top 10 Superbowl commercials this year can be attributed to Cramer-Krasselt, including the famous beach commercials for Corona Beer. As CFO for the ad agency, Medina manages over $800 million in billings and 500 employees. She is also one of the first Hispanic female CFOs for a top ad agency.
- Marie D. Quintero-Johnson, Vice President and Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, Coca-Cola. Quintero-Johnson led Coca-Cola’s $4.1 billion acquisition of Glaceau, the manufacturers of the Vitaminwater brand, revamping the Coca-Cola image. Quintero-Johnson has worked for Coca-Cola for 15 years, starting as a Latin-American-focused financial analyst, and has held her current position since 2001.
- Cristina Lambert, President and CEO, Puerto Rican Telephone, a division of Verizon Communications. Lambert has worked in communications since 1974 with humble beginnings, working as a cashier for Contel, a company that merged with GTE in 1991. She has since learned all of the ins and outs of the industry. She was appointed President and CEO of PRT in 2005, which is the largest communications provider in Puerto Rico and of which Verizon owns 52 percent. She is the highest ranking Hispanic woman within Verizon and was honored as one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s 25 Elite Women in 2004.
- Anna T. Pinedo, Partner, Morrison and Foerster. Pinedo specializes in securities and derivative transactions and is known in the industry for creating innovative financial products and helping financial institutions implement new techniques. She received the Burton award for Legal Achievement in 2006, which honors legal writers who “use plain, clear and concise language and avoid archaic, stilted legalese.”
- Ileana Hernandez, Partner, Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips, LLP. While Hernandez’s practice for Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips “focuses on general business and commercial litigation,” she also participates in the firm’s pro bono program, working for adoption and guardianship cases and children seeking asylum and has been instrumental to serving the Spanish-speaking community. “I am thankful that Manatt gives me the opportunity to grow as an attorney while also making a difference in my community,” said Ms. Hernandez.
- Frances Aldrich Sevilla-Sacasa, President, US Trust Corporation, Charles Schwab. With 29 years of financial experience under her belt, including work for such companies as Citibank, Deutsche Bank’s Latin American Private Banking group, and Bankers Trust, Sevilla-Sacasa has the distinction of being the only Hispanic to serve on Charles Schwab’s executive committee. She currently oversees Schwab’s US Trust division.