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Advocating Women’s Success

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Lisandra Martinez

Age: 39

Title: Director

Name of Organization: Women’s Business Development Center

Lisandra Martinez is an advocate for empowering women through entrepreneurship with an emphasis on supporting women of color.

Lisandra Martinez was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Chicago with her parents who were both teachers who came to work for the Chicago Public Schools, leaving life as they knew it on the island in search of better opportunities for their daughters.  As hard working, middle class parents, they instilled the value of a good education, a steady paycheck and saving for retirement to their children. With their encouragement, Martinez graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and went on to earn her Juris Doctor from The University of Illinois College of Law in 2008 after giving birth to her son, Onix Sequoia.

After being laid off from her first job after law school she was forced to find her inner hustle as an entrepreneur. Martinez now lives for her true purpose, which is to passionately advocate for female business owners, help them grow to become entrepreneurs with high potential to help change communities and improve the world, one business at a time.

As a director for the nationally recognized Women’s Business Development Center, Martinez has brought the Leadership Entrepreneurial Advocacy Development program (LEAD) to the forefront as the only platform of its kind pioneering social change and economic security for minority women business owners.  She also spearheads the Early Childhood Entrepreneurial Education program where she helps childcare providers run sustainable businesses that allows them to contribute to the economic development of communities by ensuring the availability of high-quality, safe childcare options for working families.

“If revenues generated by minority-women owned firms matched those currently generated by all women owned businesses, we would add millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in revenue to the U.S. Economy.”

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