Jefa Strong: 7 Latina Leaders Behind Your Favorite Brands
During Hispanic Heritage Month, our nation commemorates the incredible impact that Latinos have had on our country’s past, present, and future. As a Latino-owned and Latina-run business, all of us at Lu are proud to celebrate our Latino roots and power every day. It’s part of the reason we love what we do! And this year, we take a look at the inspiring, visionary, and trail-blazing jefas who help steer many of the world’s most popular brands.
Sofia Hernandez, Global Head of Business Marketing
Marketers have always wanted to be part of the cultural conversation. Thanks in no small part to Sofia Hernandez, they get to engage with a global cultural community of creators on TikTok. In just a few years, Hernandez has made the short-form video platform a must-have for business marketing. And fundamental to that effort is creative, authentic storytelling. Think she’s been successful? Here’s a hint: 70% of people have discovered new brands or products on TikTok. Thank you, Sonia, for #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt!
Words to live by: “Be more real. Show up in a very real way.”
2. Marvel Studios
Victoria Alonso, President of Physical, Post Production, VFX and Animation
Do the Avengers assemble without Victoria Alonso? One of the most distinguished Hollywood executives in the business, the Argentine-born Alonso has had her fingerprints on every Marvel movie since “Iron Man,” and she’s been an executive producer on every blockbuster since 2012’s “The Avengers.” It’s no exaggeration to say that she has helped shape our pop culture, and drive innovation for the most successful movie franchise in history.
Words to live by: “When you have diversity, when you have inclusion, there’s a different conversation.”
Ana Corrales, Chief Operating Officer - Google Consumer Hardware
Ana Corrales might not be a household name, but the products she has helped bring to life certainly are. As COO of Google Consumer Hardware, the Costa Rican native leads the development process for a number of Google’s mainstays, including phones, laptops, Google Home, and NEST thermostat. Recognized by Forbes as one of the 50 most powerful Latinas in business, this engineer by trade who once sold scrunchies has become one of the most respected leaders in tech with a reputation for transforming startup businesses into multi-billion dollar companies.
Words to live by: “If you don’t have a narrative out there, there’s going to be a narrative about you … somebody else will decide it for you.”
Nanette Cocero, Global President of Vaccines Pfizer
Born in Puerto Rico, Nanette Cocero is driven by the fundamental belief that science will win. (Isabel Greaves, Lu’s chief innovation officer, would agree!). That conviction has steered a multi-billion dollar business, led a global team of 1,500, and has given her the strength to combat a global pandemic. Cocero also played a pivotal role in getting Latino representation in the clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine, because of the higher rates of infection among Hispanics and Latinos.
Words to live by: “Always bring your true self to the table.”
Marisa Moret, Global Director
It’s no easy task to create a world where anyone can belong. But that’s a mission Marisa Moret is committed to. In her role at Airbnb, Moret serves the twin roles of director of strategic partnerships and chief of staff for the global policy and communications team. Moret knows all too well that there was a time when communities of color weren’t allowed in hotels, or couldn’t afford them. The lawyer (she worked on the Erin Brokovich case) and political activist turned tech exec draws from her prior experience to shape Airbnb’s current efforts to democratize travel and make it possible for people to travel anywhere in the world.
Words to live by: “Don’t be afraid or ashamed to advocate for yourself.”
6. The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Michelle Freyre, Global President Clinique and Origins
It’s no secret that Latinas are beauty pioneers, but Puerto Rican Michelle Freyre is among the select few who truly shape the industry. As the global president for Clinique and Origins, Freyre brings her passion and extensive experience in beauty to two revered brands. From a very young age, Freyre saw how Latinas took the time and effort to look their best, from their skin to their hair to their style. Beauty was an integral part of her culture, and the deeper emotional connection of beauty in Latin culture is something that Freyre wants beauty brands to adopt.
Words to live by: “My mom in particular taught me so much about beauty. It wasn’t because she wanted me to look made up: rather, she wanted me to feel like my best and most empowered self.”
7. Sonic Drive-In
Claudia San Pedro, President
Next time you roll up for a cheeseburger and a cherry slush, you might want to raise a sugary toast to Claudia San Pedro, who came from Mexico to the United States to live the American Dream and went on to helm a brand that is about as American as it gets. During her tenure, she has spearheaded the restaurant’s rapid growth and innovation. In 2022, she was awarded the restaurant industry’s highest honor – Restaurant Leader of the Year.
Words to live by: “The opportunities that we may want are not the opportunities we get all the time … say yes to opportunity.”
These Latina leaders – among many others – are role models and superheroes. They remind us of our mission to create something special for Latina women around the world. Our purpose has always been to help all women feel empowered, confident, and beautiful. This Hispanic Heritage Month, we pause to honor these women, who have proven that anything is possible.