CEO Rosa Santana Receives 2017 IWEC Award
IWEC (International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge) is a New York-based international economic empowerment organization exclusively for women business owners, formed in 2007 with the assistance of the U.S. Department of State. In addition to the State Department, its founders include the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC), and the FICCI/FLO Chamber in New Delhi. IWEC’s mission is to develop a global business network for successful women entrepreneurs, helping them gain and expand access to international markets by presenting a platform to exchange knowledge, experience and connections, and to promote dialogue among women entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout the world, an ecosystem with a combined income of over US$25 billion per year.
Since 2007, IWEC has gathered some of the world’s largest and most successful women-owned companies in an intensive 3-day program to inform, connect and celebrate the work of women entrepreneurs from all corners of the globe. This year’s event was held in Redmond, Washington State, from Nov. 12-14. The conference closed with an awards gala celebrating the ground-breaking work of 53 new awardees from Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas. The conference, named ‘Connecting Women Businesses Globally: Accelerating Growth Through Innovation & Technology’ was sponsored by Microsoft, who also hosted the event at their global headquarters.
“IWEC understands that providing access, resources, and support to help enable the success of female entrepreneurs is key to ensuring women’s active, sustainable participation in the global economy, and helps to close the gender gap. We provide a global forum to exchange knowledge, experience, and connectivity among women business owners, setting the stage for education, disruptive business opportunities, roads to joint ventures, and promoting social dialogue among women entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said Ruth A. Davis, Chairwoman, IWEC.
Ms. Santana is a world-renowned human capital solutions expert. She began her career in staffing at one of the world’s largest staffing corporations, driving record-breaking revenue and wins, and expanding their service footprint into Mexico. She launched Integrated Human Capital (IHC) in El Paso, Texas, in 2002, simultaneously opening her Mexico-based staffing organization, Workforce Management, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. In 2005 she expanded IHC to Austin and San Antonio, and later added two new lines of business: DIVERSA, a Managed Services Provider (MSP), and Oveana, a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company. Ms. Santana brought disruptive innovation to Santana Group in 2014 by launching Forma Automotive after a successful 10-year business relationship with Toyota. This divestiture of the company became Toyota’s first Hispanic woman-owned direct Tier 1 supplier, providing fully assembled beds for the Tacoma truck.
Nina Vaca, Chairman Emeritus of the USHCC and Chairman of the USHCC Foundation, who nominated Rosa Santana for the IWEC award, said of the awardee: “The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is thrilled that Rosa Santana is being honored as a 2017 IWEC Award Recipient. Rosa has achieved tremendous success in business over the past 35 years and has leveraged her innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit to launch her own group of companies. Through her work, she has expanded employment opportunities for people in both Texas and Mexico. Rosa shines, not only for her amazing professional achievements but more importantly, for her personal integrity and her commitment to serve the community. Rosa is illustrative of so many Latino business leaders across the country and has been an incredible addition to our USHCC board. Rosa is a role model for women’s business development efforts in both the United States and Mexico, and I am proud to call her a friend.”
Rosa Santana also sits on the board of several local and national boards that support women’s entrepreneurship and minority business concerns, and in 2016 she was inducted into the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum in New York.
“It’s an honor to accept the 2017 IWEC Award at the 10th annual conference in Washington State. This is an important opportunity for women entrepreneurs from around the world to share their experiences and challenges with others, and to recognize their accomplishments not only for themselves, but for other women entrepreneurs striving for growth and sustainability in their own industries,” said Santana of her nomination.