Selina Suarez, MBA, CSM, CSPO, PMPIII, and Executive Director of PepUp Tech, is a TOTAL Chingona in the tech industry and in LIFE. She has an MBA from St. John’s University and a list of honors and awards a page long. I knew I had to meet her when I read about the company she …
We knew this shirt would be controversial and we made it anyway. A huge thank you to Taina Berardi for stepping into her power with purpose and for rocking this shirt. Taina is one of the instructors we’ve enjoyed working with over the last few years. She is from Oakland, California, has her MBA from San Diego …
In May, Living Firme had the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented and influential mujeres. We had initially scheduled to do onsite training, but Covid-19 foiled our plans. Luckily, Zoom came to the rescue. We were able to adapt our four-hour wellness curriculum to meet these faculty and staff members’ needs. The burnout rate …
Living Firme is a lifestyle brand driven by the desire to unify the community, stimulate the economy, and celebrate multiculturalism. We are a small business, literally started by two women, dedicated to doing good in the hood. Their vision now is to create a world where diversity is the norm, and the “good life” is all-inclusive.
In 2017, as a fledgling event production company, Living Firme specialized in urban pop-ups that were a mashup of cultural nostalgia that partners Angel Aviles and Cynthia Carranza had known and loved as kids. They quickly realized that in addition to the fun events they were producing, there was a need for gatherings that provided more than just entertainment. They created agendas for meetings that would address the systemic issues affecting the neighborhoods they visited. They began to host business networking events, facilitate personal development seminars, and offer wellness workshops that primarily supported the Latinx community. Today they partner with experts from diverse backgrounds to serve individuals and organizations across the United States.
Now about those women…
Angel Aviles grew up in New York City. At the prestigious High School of Performing Arts, she studied dance and drama at various studios throughout New York as well at Hunter College. Once bitten by the acting bug, Angel left college with several commercials and a few film and television projects added to her resume. Angel’s work in Los Angeles included Quentin Tarantino, Michael Patrick King, and Steven Bochco. However, landing a principal role in the Allison Anders gang-girl classic, “Mi Vida Loca,” was a milestone. The part of Sad Girl became an iconic character in Latino culture and the most noteworthy role in Angel’s career.
While on set for the Robert Rodriguez film “Desperado,” Angel spotted her first non-linear editing system. In 1996, Angel returned to school to study, multimedia production. As a media producer, she completed work for a variety of high profile clients. As her skill set grew, so did her desire to connect to her community. In 2004, a blog she started with her creative partner, became a popular online cultural exchange that encouraged people to express themselves artistically. In 2009, Angel began her self-discovery journey and health; hence her blog, www.AngelAwakened.com, was born.
Today, Angel is a motivational speaker, a transformational life coach, and a community advocate. On any given weekend, you might find Angel serving the homeless, fundraising for the many causes she supports, or simply catching up with her family. Her ability to reach out to communities all over the world is a gift and her calling. With humor, humility, and relatable vulnerability, Angel can reach across the chasms that separate communities. Angel travels the world but can be found online on a weekly live chat with her fans. Her message is always simple. “No matter where you have been, master your mind, and you can live the life of your dreams.”
Cynthia Carranza grew up in Hacienda Heights, California. Since early childhood, Cynthia was concerned about human adversity as she was fascinated by haute couture. Cynthia pursued her degree at the highly regarded Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, focusing on business. She worked primarily in office management throughout her career but always maintained an extra income by selling fashion jewelry. That’s how she received the nickname “Sparkles.” Her ability to maintain a lucrative “side hustle” allowed her to fund her other passion, philanthropy. Cynthia’s community advocacy at churches, in the private sector, or at the many well-known outreach programs, began to make her “go-to gal” to lead the charge in organizing and fundraising. It was on outreach in 2016 that she met Angel, and the idea of Living Firme was born. Cynthia is excited to be involved in a venture that allows her to pursue her passion for fashion and reminds her to be grateful at the same time.
Currently, Cynthia works full time at Living Firme while also being a caretaker for her mother. Having an aging parent has given Cynthia an additional perspective on what it means to serve specific communities’ needs. Both partners agree that success is measured by their ability to help as many people as possible.
In their shop, they focus on selling locally sourced, branded items. The relationships they have forged with the artists and vendors they work with continue to keep them connected in their communities. They work hard, love what they do, and honestly believe there is always enough of what’s good to go around.
LIVING FIRME MISSION
To create culturally relevant content that inspires leaders to take physical, spiritual, and emotional wellness personally.
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