Latina Forum “Inspires” students to persist

“You always have to strive. The road can get tough, but you have to keep going and never give up.”


That’s what Butler student Ricardo Rodriguez took away from Thursday’s Latina Business Forum, a part of the Entrepreneurial Institute’s Student and Leadership Series. The event featured a panel of local businesswomen and community leaders sharing their experiences with attendees, as well as answering questions about their personal stories of success. 

“The greatest investment you can make is in yourself. We want to go far, but there are always obstacles trying to keep us down. You can’t ever allow that. Life happens…you need to look at that Plan B and turn your obstacles into opportunities.” – Panelist Yolanda Camerena, Vice President La Raza Pizza, Inc. 

“I made a promise to myself. I was never going to tie my daughters down to the restaurant like my parents did to me. They’re going to keep getting more education and I’m proud of them.” – Panelist Carmen Rosales, Owner Connie’s Mexico Cafe

“My husband and I support Butler Community College so much because we know the value of education. You have to set up goals. Make a to-do list. What am I going to do? Where am I going to go?” – Panelist Sylvia Orozco-Do, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Kansas-Wichita

 Dime con quien andas y te digo quien eres.” (“Tell me who you’re with, and I’ll tell you who you are.”) – Panelist Patricia Koehler, President of JR Custom Metals, relaying a Spanish proverb on the importance of keeping good company.

“Make sure [children] are proud of their heritage and where they come from.” – Moderator Gene Camerena, President La Raza Pizza, Inc. 

The panel also included Anita Mendoza, mortgage consultant for Wells Fargo. Students seemed to take a lot away from the event. 

“It made me feel like a VIP. There are people out there who can help us as young minorities and young ladies by sharing what they went through and how to succeed in life.” –  Student Brianda Bernal 

 “It was a good experience for young students to get insight on what our lives could be like if we follow through on our goals.” – Student Sergio Padilla

“It was great motivation to be involved and to not give up and to decide what I want and what choices to make.” – Student Maria Vazquez

“I’ve been unfocused lately. I’m going to concentrate more, especially if I’m going to continue my education. These are great women leaders.” – Student Katherine Romero


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