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MEET PROSPERA'S ENTREPRENEURS

Ada Recinos

Interview with Ada Recinos

“Latina power means the power of a community. I think that women are influencers. They bring a lot of strengths to their families. They are more likely to be out there talking to the community about things that matter. They have the power to influence so many generations of people from different races, classes…they’ve been using principles of organizing without labeling them as that – talking to their comadres about injustices that are happening. Most of the good advice about my career has come from my mom and other Latina women. They have eachothers’ backs.”

How are you connected to Prospera?

I am connected through the desire to create and innovate. My family always bestowed in me to have my own ideas and put them into fruition.

Prospera is a place where women can bring ideas to fruition in a very supportive environment. Business ideas keep changing and they have that space to mold their ideas.

That comfortable space to innovate and have those ideas.

I’m a fund developer at Prospera, but I see myself as the person who makes sure the programs happen in a way that responds to our commitments to our community.

In a way that holds true to our community. Having a sustainable program is really important to me.

What inspires you most about Prospera’s mission?

That Latina women are at the center of it. The program is really determined by them.

Yes we have trainings and technical assistance and coaching and much more but it’s what the women make of it.

It calls on their entrepreneurial spirit to come to a program and make it their own.

How do you describe your immigration story?

Resilience. Being a bad-ass almost. I pick this up from my mom who came here by herself at age 17 and made a wonderful life not only for herself and for her children.

My mom came with the help of one of my uncles. My dad came to meet up with his family at 13 with his two younger sisters.

His parents were already here -- they were bi-national. They had businesses in El Salvador so they would travel frequently.

One of my tías to this day took over my grandma’s negocio when she passed away when I was very young in El Salvador.

I didn’t visit El Salvador until I was 14. I met many of my mom’s siblings at that time.

I got to meet my dad’s side of the family who lives in very different circumstance than my mom. My mom had 8 siblings and they grew up in a Canton called El Zapote. Very rural.

Most people had their little plot of land where they would grow vegetables in contrast to my dad who lived in a gated community with a house in the suburbs of the Capital.

What does Latina power mean to you?

Latina power means the power of a community. I think that women are influencers. They bring a lot of strengths to their families.

They are more likely to be out there talking to the community about things that matter. They have the power to influence so many generations of people from different races, classes…they’ve been using principles of organizing without labeling them as that – talking to their comadres about injustices that are happening.

Most of the good advice about my career has come from my mom and other Latina women. They have eachothers’ backs.

Name a Latina who has made a difference in your life? Who is she and how did she impact you?

My madrina. She’s my mom’s best friend. She taught my mom how to change a diaper, how to cook.

She’s one of the first people that cared for me that I was not related to. She treated me as if I was one of her own. She was a single mom.

My padrino was a drug addict and she continued to support him through his recovery. She values him as a person not as a partner, but as the father of her kids and as a friend.

She taught me patience. I always remember her being the type of women to say what was on her mind.

She was vocal on several occasions. Seeing a woman do that with such strength, with responsibility to her kids to know she was not going to be susceptible to the whims of my padrino. I also remember she was a hustler – selling avon, selling pozole. Doing it all.

Not in the way we fantasize it now. A career women. To survive. She loved it. I didn’t see her being sad. She was glad to have her life. She is still like that to this day. 

If you could wave a realistic magic wand, what would you wish for Prospera and for the Latina entrepreneurs we work with?

For prospera I would ask for a million dollars to start an endowment to give grants and loans to women who come through our programs.

For the entrepreneurs, I would give them a reality TV show to give them exposure, like Univision to feature them, or someone to do a documentary on them to show the world what they are doing.

How do you see yourself contributing to this magic?

I see myself as a person who will talk about the women in our program, to anyone who will listen. And be a promotora for all of them.

To lend expertise that I have and to shamelessly promote and bring people who are curious about what we do or are interested and want to support.

And asking – people want to do it. I just want to be better at asking.

What else would you like us to know about you?

I hope in 50 years I’ll be able to come back and throw a birthday party for Prospera and have everybody who has come through our programs celebrated.