shining light on Independent Producers

We invite you to learn about this wonderful Independent Television Service (ITVS) that brings to light stories and points of view that are not covered by mass media.  As we, Silicon Valley Latino, are accustomed to highlighting and promoting the positives that Latin@s do within the community we wanted to share this organizations contributions and their similar Mission as ours.


Mission Statement

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) brings independently-produced, high-quality public broadcast and new media programs to local, national and international audiences. The independent producers who create ITVS programs take creative risks, tackle complex issues and express points of view seldom explored in the mass media. ITVS programs enrich the cultural landscape with the voices and visions of underrepresented communities, and reflect the interests and concerns of a diverse society.

Visionary Latino philanthropists in the Bay Area

LCF is hosting this Community Conversation to recognize visionary Latino philanthropists in the Bay Area and to inspire community giving. Join us for a dynamic panel followed by a lunch reception at PPIC.

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SVL Pick-Up Party at Schwab photo album


SVL Charles Schwab pick-up party 2015

We held our pick-up party at Charles Schwab last week and many turned out for a fun filled evening. See the photo album here.

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Biking Cuts Down Holiday Weight Gain, Keeps Family Time by My City Bikes


During the holiday craze its important to stay connected with friends and family in meaningful ways. Going for a bike ride lets you unplug and spend quality time together while being active.

Studies show that on average Americans gain between one and five pounds over the holidays. Cycling at a leisurely pace of 10 to 12 mph burns about 40 calories per mile. Its easy on the joints and can be done almost anywhere. Biking is a family friendly activity that just about anyone can do which helps counteract the negative effects of the season’s indulgent meals. Consider skipping one holiday feast this year and going for a family bike ride instead. Check the Silicon Valley Bikes app to find local beginner-friendly trails in the “Recreation and Touring” section, and go for a ride.

My City Bikes is a public health project to benefit communities across the United States by providing a simple mobile resource to inspire and facilitate cycling. Whether for fun, fitness or transportation, My City Bikes is a definitive guide to cycling opportunities in communities nation-wide. My City Bikes along with its network of beginner-friendly bike shops and local municipal governments are bringing beginner biking resources to home towns across the United States to empower individuals to improve their health by simply pedaling a bike. Visit


Tell us how you spend quality time being active with your family.  Happy Holidays!

LSA 2nd Annual Global Innovator Summit 2014 San Francisco

Latina Professionals Discuss Career Strategies at the 20th Anniversary of ALPFA in SF


ALPFA, the nation’s largest Latino professional organization, took over the third floor of San Francisco’s InterContinental Hotel last Saturday. Auditors, non-profit professionals, HR representatives, life-coaches, and finance specialists were there to commemorate ALPFA’s 20 years in the Bay Area and to celebrate and support the careers of Latina professionals.


ALPFA was founded in 1972 and it began as an association for Latino professionals in finance and accounting (hence ALPFA). However, over the last 42 years it has been transformed into a premier business association for Latino professionals in all industries and now has 23,000 members across the country. For student members, ALPFA is a great place to network and many of them end up building careers at companies such as Deloitte, KPMG, McKesson, Walmart, and McGladery.


The Women of ALPFA make up another big portion of the organization. WOA, as they are also known, supports the goals of Latina business professionals by organizing annual conferences and workshops that provide leadership development for its members. This year, WOA chose the theme of “Using the Power of You to Transform Latina Leadership” and the executive coaching expert Dr. Santalynda Marrero kicked off this year’s conference with an energizing keynote speech.


Dr. Marrero commenced a day-long conversation about what it means to be a Latina professional and how they can overcome obstacles they face in the workplace. She shared with the audience one of her biggest professional setbacks that she experienced as a doctoral student at Rutgers University. When Marrero was in the early stages of her research, she found out that one of her colleagues had stolen her research topic and data. Although Marrero had to start all over again, she marched back to the library in search of a new research topic. It is during these major setbacks, she told the audience, that each woman needs to give herself what she calls “CPR”—not Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, but Confidence, Presence and Resiliency.

Dr. Santalynda Marrero

Dr. Marrero characterized confidence as a muscle that women “must work out everyday” and that must be exercised especially when your boss passes you up for that promotion or when you don’t get that highly coveted job. “Self-confidence,” she explained, “is having the ability to define success for yourself. If you don’t do that the media will and everyone else will.”


“Executive presence” she defined as acting like a leader, which includes walking into a room with your head up high, staying composed under stressful situations, and being a team-player instead of an “individual contributor” who can be easily replaced. She warned the entire room: “looking busy or frantic is not impressive folks,” adding, “working up until midnight so someone will notice—forget about it.”


Resiliency, which many understand as the act of getting up after being knocked down, is actually more complex in Dr. Marrero’s description. She saw an example of resiliency in her father who immigrated from Puerto Rico to New Jersey with a second-grade education. He taught her “that you have to survive first in order to thrive.” According to Marrero, migrants and immigrants can teach us a lesson in resiliency since they make the most out of a situation even when choices are limited.


But even more important than administering this form of CPR in difficult times, suggests Marrero, is having an unshakable sense of self that can withstand any circumstances. First you have to “be” before you can “do” and before you can “have,” she says. She calls this the “Be-do-have” philosophy and it rests on the notion that you must have a sense of who you are before working toward a goal and attaining professional success.


The question of what it means to “be” a Latina professional in the corporate sector is one that was pondered by many of the participants at the ALPFA event. At the panel discussion, which featured women who hold prominent positions at Microsoft, McKesson, Walmart, and McGladery, one young woman from the audience named Bianca asked a question about finding fulfilment as an auditor in corporate America. She shared with the audience and the panel that she was going through “internal conflict” about choosing to be a professional in corporate America instead of working at a non-profit.


As Bianca saw it, her sister, who is working for a non-profit that helps high school students, is “doing something that gives back to the community” while she is helping a company that is “already rich” generate revenue. Bianca asks the panelists, “Is there anything that you ladies do to give back to the community?”


Geraldine Nueva, a senior director at Walmart Gobal eCommerce, assured Bianca that “just because you are a finance accountant doesn’t mean that you can’t get be involved in other things.” Nueva, for instance, is part of multiple employee resource groups that support diversity efforts.


After the panel, audience members trickled out of the grand ballroom for a short networking session. While many networked as they grabbed a drink from the hotel bars, some continued the discussion raised by Bianca’s question. A group of women standing around a high table seemed to agree that there is an unspoken pressure for Latinas –and Latinos as well— to choose careers that are explicitly about helping the community over careers that are financially rewarding.


Rosie, who is a consultant for professionals, was one of the women partaking in this conversation. “I think there is a belief system [within the Latino community] that it’s bad to make money,” said Rosie. “I get the social good—it’s important,” she added. “But you can do more for the social good with money than without it.”


Rosie wondered why Latinos feel “that they always have to choose” between a career in business and helping the community. As she shared with the other women at the table, she did not choose one path over the other in her own career. “There are two worlds I operate in,” she explained, “the money world and the social good world.” The women listening to the conversation all agreed that there is a feeling of “guilt” or “selling-out” around choosing financially lucrative careers.


While the discussion didn’t reach any conclusions, it did raise questions. As the women walked back to the grand ballroom to celebrate ALPFA’s 20th anniversary that night with dinner and dancing, for example, the question of what a Latina and Latino professional should or shouldn’t be still remained unsettled. Considering that Latinas and Latinos are defining success on their own terms, perhaps it is better to leave that question unanswered.


Keeping Financially Fit


Keeping Financially Fit:

There’s much more to getting and staying ahead financially than earning a good salary.  This article offers tips and best practices on ways to help improve one’s financial well-being.

Achieving financial success is no simple matter.  It takes hard work, perseverance and adherence to strategies of saving, investing and managing your finances. Just as there are good habits associated with staying physically fit, there are also best practices involved with keeping financially fit.  Simple strategies such as using debt wisely, taking advantage of tax- advantaged investment vehicles, and monitoring spending habits all go a long way toward helping you achieve your personal, business and financial goals.

Consider the “financially fit” best practices below.  If you are not already doing them, consider how they could improve your financial picture.

Reduce and manage debt.

  • Consider how much you spend on debt service for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, and student or other loans. Lenders typically look at two metrics when deciding whether or not to extend credit: the front-end and back-end ratios. The front-end ratio shows what percentage of your income goes toward housing expenses, including mortgage payments, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance and association dues. The back-end ratio shows what portion of your income is needed to cover all of your monthly debt obligations, including housing, credit card bills, car loans, student loans and other debt service. Most lenders look for a front-end ratio of no more than 28% and a back-end ratio of 36% or less.1
  • Develop a plan for eliminating credit card debt. Credit card debt is one of the most expensive debts you can carry. Interest rates often top 18% on existing balances. Paying off just $100 more per month on a $5,000 balance could pay off the entire balance in 32 months instead of 94 months, saving almost $3,000 in interest (assuming an interest rate of 18% and a 2% minimum monthly payment).2
  • Check your credit report. Credit reports offer a snapshot of how the world views your “creditability.” Credit scores range between 300 points and 850 points, and most fall between 600 and 750. A score above 700 usually suggests good credit management.3 You can request a free copy of your credit report once each year from each of three major credit reporting agencies–Equifax, Experian and TransUnion–at


Manage your income and expenses.

  • Set a budget and track monthly spending. This is one of the most effective ways to control your costs. The simple act of recording expenses forces you to think about them and to see exactly how much you are spending on a given item on a monthly or annual basis. A $5 latte at the local coffee shop may seem insignificant on its own, but if you buy one five days a week, that adds up to over $100 per month and $1,200 per year.
  • Pay bills on time using online recurring services. Online bill payment saves time and postage, and lets you avoid late fees by automating payments for many services. Timely bill payment also factors in your credit score. According to FICO, credit history accounts for about 35% of your credit score.4
  • Cancel recurring expenses you don’t use. Many services today are purchased on a subscription basis, with monthly charges and automated annual renewals. That includes club memberships, gyms, newspapers, magazines or online publications, not to mention cable TV and phone service. Taken individually, none of these expenses may amount to a lot, but when looked at collectively over the course of a year, they can be surprisingly high. Consider how often you use these services or if they can be renegotiated with the provider by reducing elective options. 
Save more by taking advantage of tax-deferred accounts.
  • Contribute the maximum to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. Your company retirement savings plan offers one of the best ways to save for retirement. Contributions to traditional plans are tax deductible, and earnings are tax-deferred. And in many plans, employers will match a portion of your contributions. In a 401(k) plan, employees can contribute up to $17,500 in 2013. Individuals aged 50 or older can contribute an additional $5,500. 5
  • Contribute to an IRA. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be deductible, so they may reduce your taxable income. Contributions to a Roth IRA are after tax, but distributions are tax free when you retire. Whether or not you can contribute to a Roth is based on your Adjusted Gross Income. Traditional and Roth IRA contribution limits for the 2013 tax year–which may be made up until April 15, 2014–are $5,500 per individual and $6,500 for those aged 50 or older. 6 Note that deductibility of traditional IRA contributions phases out above certain income levels, depending upon your filing status and if you or your spouse are covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
  • Look into a Health Savings Account (HSA). If you have a high-deductible health plan, you may be able to contribute to a HSA. These accounts let you set aside pre-tax money to pay for health care costs not covered under your plan. The maximum contribution to an HSA for 2013 is $3,250 if you have single coverage, or $6,450 if you have family coverage. No income limits apply to HSAs, and funds do not have to be used in a given year. HSAs are offered through banks or other financial services companies, and may be available as part of your employer benefits package. For more information, see IRS publication 969 Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans.7 
Plan for the future.
  • Set aside money for emergencies and retirement. Whether through contributions to an employer plan or automated payroll deductions to a savings or investment account, making regular, systematic contributions is the easiest and most effective way to save over time. And when it comes to saving, time is your ally because of the power of compounding; so the earlier you start, the more you’ll save.
  • Create a will. Especially if you have children, a will serves not only to specify executors and beneficiaries of your estate, but also to designate guardians for minors. If you die without a will and have minor children, the probate court will appoint a guardian for them, and there is no guarantee that the court’s appointment of a guardian will coincide with your own wishes.
  • Review your beneficiaries annually. This includes your will, insurance policies and retirement accounts. Keep in mind that an account with a designated beneficiary is not included in your estate for distribution purposes. It is distributed to the designated beneficiary. So you will want to make sure your account beneficiaries are coordinated with named heirs in your will.


1Source:, 2Source: S&P Capital IQ. Example is hypothetical. Your results will differ.
3Source: Experian,
4Source: Fair Isaac Corporation, 2013,

5Source: Internal Revenue Service,
6Source: Internal Revenue Service,,-Employee/Retirement-Topics- IRA-Contribution-Limits.
7Source: Internal Revenue Service.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact [Angel Chavez 415-984-6008].
Article by Wealth Management Systems, Inc. and provided courtesy of Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor.

The author(s) are not employees of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”). The opinions expressed by the authors are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Morgan Stanley. The information and data in the article or publication has been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley. Neither the information provided nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation by Morgan Stanley with respect to the purchase or sale of any security, investment, strategy or product that may be mentioned.

Tax laws are complex and subject to change. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice and are not “fiduciaries” (under ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or otherwise) with respect to the services or activities described herein except as otherwise agreed to in writing by Morgan Stanley. This material was not intended or written to be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. Individuals are encouraged to consult their tax and legal advisors (a) before establishing a retirement plan or account, and (b) regarding any potential tax, ERISA and related consequences of any investments made under such plan or account.

Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor(s) engaged (Name of Publisher) to feature this article.

may only transact business in states where is registered or excluded or exempted from registration [Insert URL link to FA website or FINRA . Transacting business, follow-up and individualized responses involving either effecting or

attempting to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, will not be made to persons in states where [Name] is not registered or excluded or exempt from registration.

© 2013 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. CRC 758843 11/13]





2014 Manos Angel Network One Day Conference

2014 Manos Angel Network One Day Conference

Manos Accelerator – 2nd Cohort Kick-Off Reception


SVL was delighted to cover the Manos Accelerator 2nd Cohort kick-off reception hosted at Google on June 17th. 


Below you can read how the seven companies that make up the 2nd class describe themselves.




Bandbazaar (San Jose, CA): Bandbaazar connects music enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels — It is a web app that’s pioneering a new way for people to convert their skills, musical instruments & gear and space into a source of income.

CoupleCare (Chihuahua, México): CoupleCare is the first app platform guide to fertility. It allows couples to track, monitor and manage monthly menstrual cycles together as a team.




 (Palo Alto, CA): is a social platform that allows users create questions to leaders, organizations or people of influence. By supporting these questions, they become relevant, inspiring leaders to provide answers.

Cycle Money (Guayaquil, Ecuador): Cycle Money is a platform that helps people to recycle their electronic waste. It connects the recyclable elements from people’s e-waste with the recycling companies directly.

FashionTEQ (Aliso Viejo, CA): FashionTEQ is a fashion-forward, wearable technology company, created Zazzi, a smart and stylish jewelry collection that allows women to remain connected to their smartphone.

My bigame

My Bigame (Bogotá, Colombia): My Bigame is the unique system that offers the possibility of realizing bets in way multiplayer in different games and different platforms.






saySquare (Tegucigalpa, Honduras): saySquare is a payments platform that allows fast social electronic transfers and lets small business accept money using mobile devices as POS. 




We look forward to bringing you more on these Latino entrepreneurs as they progress through the summer.

5 Tax Filing Tips for Young Latino Professionals and Entrepreneurs

It’s that time of the year again, tax season!

I understand why you would get anxious every year about your taxes. Filing your taxes can be complicated and time consuming; especially if you are doing it by yourself. The US tax code changes every so often and sometimes you may be uncertain whether you will get money back from the IRS when you file your taxes.

Below, there are five tips for young professionals and entrepreneurs to consider when filing their taxes:

1. If you are still paying student loans, make sure to take advantage of the student loan interest deduction which allows $2,500 to be deducted every year.

2. Health Savings Account (HSA) offers tax-free contributions, tax-free earning from interest and investments, and tax-free payments for qualified medical expenses. Individual maximum contribution is $3,250 and for a family is $6,450. If you are 55+, there’s a $1,000 annual catch contribution.

3. If you have a home business, you can deduct $5 per square foot of your home that it’s used for business purpose (maximum of 300 square feet). Also, home-related itemized deductions can be claimed; for example, real estate taxes and mortgage interest.

4. People with low- and moderate-income may be eligible for the saver’s credit. It allows a $1,000 tax credit for an individual and a $2,000 for couples who save for retirement (A maximum contribution of $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for couples).

5. Donation to charity can be deducted as well. You can deduct a maximum of 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), however if you exceed that amount, the excess amount can be carried forward for upto five years. For cash contribution remember to always keep your receipts.

Remember that before talking to your CPA or tax advisor, the first thing you must do is to make sure to gather all the documents necessary to prove your income and/or deductions. Those documents may include your paystub, checks paid, bank statements, receipts, property taxes documents, charitable gift documents, student loan interest payments documents, medical bills, retirement contributions, etc. Once you have all the necessary documents at hand, make copies to bring to your CPA or tax advisor and keep the originals in a safe place.


Juan F Polanco

Financial Advisor

Disclosure: I am not a legal or tax advisor. This article was written for education purpose only. I recommend you talk to a professional (for example, a CPA) about your specific situation.