12 Leaders to Celebrate During National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 26, 2022

From fine art and culinary flavors to technology and healthcare, the rich histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino (or Latinx) Americans are honored and celebrated during National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM). Started in 1968, this observation runs annually from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate Americans with ancestral roots in Spain, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. 

As we join the nation in honoring this observance, we’re spotlighting 12 Latinx leaders who are breaking barriers, supporting communities and providing valuable products and services through innovative businesses. While there are many ways to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the achievements of these Latinx-owned organizations that are on a mission to ignite inclusivity and diversity through purpose-driven brands.

From engaging apps that are teaching children the importance of bilingual education to vibrant beauty brands that elevate multicultural heritage, we’re proud to feature these companies that are driving change all throughout the year.

Bianca Kea, Creator & Owner at Yo Soy Afro Latina

With a passionate pursuit to celebrate and honor the beauty of Afro Latinas, Bianca Kea built her apparel brand, Yo Soy Afro Latina (YSAL). Through interviews with mega outlets such as POPSUGAR and People en Espanol, Kea explains how she grew up with little understanding of her Afro-Latina cultural identity and struggled to find icons who she felt represented her. Until moving to the diverse community of Brooklyn, New York, she witnessed cultures she had never before interacted with. From there, her entrepreneurial spirit came alive, and through a true desire to cultivate a bold, empowering Afro-Latina community, her brand of stylish trend-setting products was born.

Ellen Marie Bennett, Founder & Chief Brand Officer at Hedley & Bennett

This trailblazing organization is bringing functionality, comfort and style into the kitchen one apron at a time. Launched in 2012, Hedley & Bennett (H&B) propelled kitchen gear to the future to meet the needs of top chefs and home cooks alike. Founded by Ellen Marie Bennett, a half Mexican, half English creative genius who was born and raised in Los Angeles, H&B invites cooks of all levels to join their #apronsquad. Bennett is not only on a mission to invite vibrant colors, confidence and extreme functionality into the kitchen, but she has whisked up some other impressive accomplishments, including her involvement in Vallarta Supermarkets’ Vallarta Influencers and Partners (VIP) Program to support Latina women in becoming entrepreneurs and leaders. The Hispanic retail chain donated copies of Bennett's book, “Dream First, Details Later: How to Quit Overthinking & Make It Happen!” to Latino non-profit organizations.

Iván Jiménez de Sandi, Co-Founder & CEO at Asanté

If you’re one of the millions of Americans following a vegetarian diet, or if you just enjoy bold, delicious flavors, then add Asante´products and recipes to your grocery list. Iván Jiménez de Sandi founded this plant-based company to showcase Mexican flavors that are good for consumers’ health and kind to the planet. Keeping Latin-American flavors at the forefront, these shelf-stable products are grown by local farmers and use traditional Mexican growing and cooking methods that are packed with high-quality plant protein. Whether you’re wondering how to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work or home, Asante´ flavors are a must.

As a movement of philanthropic leaders with a laser-focused commitment to invest in Latino-led organizations, the Latino Community Foundation (LCF) was founded in 1989. What started as an affinity group of United Way of the Bay Area is now an independent statewide foundation in California that drives change and impact and has sparked the largest network of Latino philanthropists in the U.S. As CEO of the Latin Community Foundation, Jacqueline Martinez Garcel brings a wealth of experience in the areas of equity, community wellbeing, and health policy. The LCF is “on a mission to unleash the power of Latinos in California,” and the numbers show impressive results with over $17 million invested in 150 grassroots Latino-led nonprofits in California.

For a clean and ultra-smooth taste with distinct flavors from Jalisco, Mexico, YaVe Tequila is a spirit full of– well, spirit. This NHHM, we’re raising a glass to Joe Cruz Jr., founder of this handcrafted and double distilled volcanic water spirit brand that is truly an experience. Boasting award-winning tequilas, it’s no surprise that the foundation and mission of the brand is all about vision, drive and determination. In fact, YaVe is the phonetic spelling of “key” in Spanish, which symbolizes holding the key to unlock possibilities, and that’s exactly what Cruz did with this naturally flavored premium tequila. Salud!

Made with quality and natural ingredients, Latina-owned Rizos Curls’ perfect formula celebrates all curl types. Founder Julissa Prado says she battled with curly hair for years until finally creating a product to put curly hair on beautiful display. Prado made waves by being the first Latina-owned curly hair care line to hit the shelves at Ulta Beauty stores. Not only can shoppers find Rizos Curls shampoos, conditioners, styling creams and gels, scalp massagers and more on their website– but consumers can glean insight into styling tips and tutorials from the site’s featured “Curl Education” page.

Mabel Friás, Co-Founder & CEO and Shaira Friás, Co-Founder & Head of Global Product Development at Luna Magic

A beauty brand that celebrates multicultural heritage, Latin culture and music with a mission of diversity and inclusivity? Yes, please– sign us up for this makeover! High-performance cosmetics brand Luna Magic was founded by Afro-Latina and Dominican-American sisters, Mabel Frias and Shaira Frias. Featuring products of bold flavor and vibrancy, this fierce duo took inspiration from the Caribbean and Latin America mixed with the high fashion of NYC and Los Angeles. In fact, you might recognize the Frias sisters from their 2021 appearance on the hit show, Shark Tank, where they accepted an offer from Barbara Corcoran. From bronzers to faux mink lashes, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month just took on a new look.

Latinx identity meets bold fashion in the inclusive brand of Hija de Tu Madre. Founded by Patty Delgado in 2016, Latinx culture-inspired fashionable sweaters, shirts, beauty tools and fun accessories hit the market in style. Delgado has a goal to empower her customers to celebrate their culture while sporting the brand, and she is on a mission to remain aware of issues affecting the Latinx community while finding charitable ways to give back. If you were wondering, Hija de Tu Madre is translated “daughter of your mother,” and it’s actually the phrase Delgado’s parents said when she revealed her plan to journey to Mexico City to rediscover herself. From finding the perfect gift to adding a vibrant piece to your wardrobe, there’s much to shop at Hija de Tu Madre.

Patty Rodriguez, Creator & Co-Founder and Ariana Stein, CEO & Co-Founder at Lil’ Libros

Lil’ Libros opens the door to a world of imagination, curiosity and wonder through bilingual books for children. With a mission of inspiring and encouraging parents to read to their little ones in two languages, moms and co-founders Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein set out to celebrate bilingualism, Latin American culture and important historical figures through the beauty of inclusive picture board books. Featured in publications like Los Angeles Times and POPSUGAR, longtime friends Rodriguez and Stein share their story of how they saw a gap in the children’s book market with a shortage of bilingual books. Using both English and Spanish, this dynamic team began writing stories about Latinx icons and more to educate and entertain kids of all ages. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, might we recommend cracking open a new book at bedtime?

Susie Jaramillo Co-Founder and CEO at Encantos

This number-one bilingual preschool brand has us singing a new tune to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Driving the creative force behind Encantos, Susie Jaramillo saw that her childhood songs and stories were missing in the U.S. Through bilingual books, apps, games, and animated videos, Spanish-speaking nursery rhyme classics are brought to life for all children. Encantos is an education company with a clear purpose of uniting families through beautiful culture and languages, and of course, music! Jaramillo also developed the Canticos app, which is one of Encantos’ many educational offerings and features Emmy-nominated sing-along videos that are sure to engage little ones while teaching powerful messages and skills.

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As we continue to observe National Hispanic Heritage Month, we hope you’ll join us in learning more about the innovative leaders and brands that are on a mission to support and shine a light on the rich Latino culture and heritage. From child-friendly apps and stories to spirits that embody the distinct flavors of Mexico, there is something for everyone to enjoy while welcoming more diversity, inclusion and cultural education– at Bolt PR, that’s something we plan to celebrate all year long.