We’re celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting women who inspire and motivate us. The 2017 theme for Women’s History Month is ‘Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business’ so we thought it made sense to share stories about women associated with Verizon Ventures – our corporate venture capital group that works with up and coming innovators in a range of industries, technologies and market sectors.
Though she had never run a tech company, Beatriz Acevedo felt strongly that no one in media and entertainment was paying attention to the fastest growing demographic in America — English-speaking Latino millennials. So she decided to do something about it. Today, mitú is a successful media site targeted at the 200% — youth who are 100% American and 100% Latino. Beatriz and mitú make sure a youthful Latino point of view is found in mainstream entertainment across multiple platforms.
What are your job responsibilities?
As president, I oversee all creative and content aspects of the company. Externally I am the voice and face of mitú. But one of the most important parts of my job is to inspire our employees with the goal to build a digital media brand that matters. I also want to devote more of my personal time to groom and mentor the next generation of Latino leaders and storytellers – both inside and outside mitú.
What was the motivation behind starting your company?
I wanted to diversify media, to help connect the broken bridge between content buyers and creators; basically to build a digital media brand for this generation of U.S.-born, English-dominant Latinos. Through our mitú accelerator, we invest time and resources to mentor the next generation of diverse storytellers and digital media leaders.
What was the best advice you got while setting up your business?
The best advice I’ve received with regard to mitú came from Allen DeBevoise. He was our first investor. We wanted a perfect launch plan, but Allen smartly said, “Stop thinking about it and just do it. You can adjust later!” So we did, and now, here we are five years later. I’m glad we finally listened to him because years could have gone by and we would still be working on the ‘perfect’ pre-launch plan.
Every day I learn from the young Latinas in my company who fearlessly lead their departments with so much passion and professionalism.
What different advice would you give women, if any?
As a woman and a Latina, I have very strong feelings about why any business needs us and our unique point of view. So my advice to female founders is to lean into the things that make them different from men. Women and multicultural founders have unique insights that add value to any business they run or work for. For me, being a woman entrepreneur who also happens to be diverse has been the best thing that could have ever happened in my career. It gives me so much confidence knowing that very few people at the C-level or on the boards I serve are like me, so I know I have so much to contribute to those teams.
What makes you a good business leader?
For me, it’s all about empowering the next generation of leaders in your company. I am not a 20-year-old founder, so as a woman and a Latina in my 40s, I want to make sure I am not the exception, but the norm on executive teams and boards. I want to work hard to empower and mentor an army of amazing young leaders to take over and lead for generations to come.
What were the most difficult elements of bringing your business to market?
The stereotypes around young U.S.-born Latinos that still exist. People think we don’t speak English, we only like to watch telenovelas (TV soap operas) and we aren’t mainstream, but segregated into the ‘Latino’ or ‘Mundo’ bucket. The hardest part is to constantly educate the marketplace on the big opportunity they are missing with their pre-conceived notion of whom this demographic really is and how they consume media.
Who inspires you and why?
Every day I learn from the young Latinas in my company who fearlessly lead their departments with so much passion and professionalism. I have so much respect and admiration for them. Many of them are the first in their families to go to college and they are so committed to uplifting our community with the stories we tell. These women are hungry to make their parents proud after all the sacrifices they made so their children could dream big and achieve their goals.
What do you do to relax?
I love SoulCycle, but I can’t say I do it as much as I would like. My day starts very early with my 11-year-old twins, Isa and Diego, and ends late with work after they go to sleep. I do try to squeeze a little meditation in with the kids before they go to sleep. ‘Calm’ and ‘Headspace’ are our go-to meditation apps.
Looking for more inspiration about women who are succeeding on their own terms?