A Moline native is helping shape women to become the next leaders and influencers in the Quad Cities.
Zenaida Landeros recently became the first Latina to lead the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
She’s using a group she started in the Hispanic Chamber to help women get ahead and overcome inequalities.
“Our Hispanic Chamber is here to promote and support local businesses of any cultural background,” said Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Zenaida Landeros.
Coming from a family of local entrepreneurs, Zenaida Landeros knows collaboration means good business.
“There’s about 10,000 Latinos on both sides of the river in the Quad Cities,” said Landeros.
And she sees the Latino market as an important source of economic success.
“40% of the workforce growth in the next five years will be Latinos. And Latinos have a purchasing power of 1.5 trillion,” said Landeros.
The Moline native has spent her professional career promoting and increasing diverse businesses in the QC.
“We’re the only Hispanic Chamber between Chicago and Omaha, so that means we cover a very big space without there being a Hispanic chamber somewhere else,” she said.
The first Latina to be executive director, she’s on a mission to scale her impact even further.
“I think as a woman of color means being brave you don’t often see yourself in every space,” said Landeros.
Landeros says more women are interested in entering entrepreneurial circles, but they don’t always have those mentors or connections to make headway.
“So we have one workshop wealth building or creation and the other one was. Que era el tuyo,” she said.
To fill that void, Landeros created a group called Ella within the Hispanic Chamber.
“All about empowering and inspiring Latinas to achieve the goals they would like,” Landeros said. “Whether that’s going to college or starting a business.”
They meet once a month to create workshops and social events.
“We’re so underserved that anybody that wants to come then we welcome them and we target it for every Latina,” said Landeros.
And behind this successful leader is a tribe of strong women who have her back.
“They are apart of it because they want to mentor other Latinas like them that perhaps didn’t have a connection with somebody,” she said.
They also discuss obstacles that they face.
“You do get that pushback, or your voice isn’t really taken, your voice isn’t really validated or it’s not seen as strongly as others,” said Landeros.
And while she has seen gender equality improve in the workplace, her goal is to continue the pipeline for women to rise to executive roles.
“A lot of Latinas are craving this time of information for them, these types of events for them,” she said. “So they really want to connect.”
And just like she knows diverse collaborations are key for growing businesses, she leads to create more opportunities so talented women “always feel that you’re very valuable and know your worth and know that you’re enough.”