Guest column: Jefas: Latinas in Business Magazine highlights empowerment, inspiration and fearlessness

Published by Nicole Grundmeier on

Jefas to partner with Fearless initiative


Editor’s note: Fearless will be sharing one Jefas Magazine story in the first e-newsletter of the month through November. In this column, Jefas Editor-in-Chief Christina Fernández-Morrow shares more about the new magazine’s origin and purpose.

Jefas: Latinas in Business Magazine showcases Latina entrepreneurs who are trailblazers, changemakers and fearless. “Jefas” means “boss” and that is exactly what these women are.

The magazine launched digitally May 9 at the inaugural Latina Business Excellence Summit in Des Moines. The event, organized by a team of Latina business owners, was created to bring together Latina entrepreneurs and those with aspirations. It was a resounding success that sold out three times over. Women came from neighboring states, and the vibe was electric.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see this in Des Moines,” said Erika Macias, publisher and co-founder of Jefas Magazine. “Hundreds of Latinas coming together, supporting one another to thrive – I knew we created something bigger than we imagined.”

The magazine lit up social media, being shared, quoted and reposted for weeks. When the print edition debuted in June, the buzz was even louder. People keep saying how beautiful it is; they love the quality and how it makes the photos pop. It does justice to these women who have pushed against some incredible odds to create businesses in environments that are often hostile and unwelcoming to Latinas. It shows the tenacity and fierceness of our women.

The Latinas featured dominate in industries across the board. You’ll read about a petite, soft-spoken Mexican American who drives a huge tow truck through the streets of Central Iowa like it’s a go-kart; a cosmetic chemist whose family is originally from Puerto Rico who runs a global beauty brand out of Storm Lake and created a reality TV competition for makeup artists in Cuba; an indigenous Chicana living in Iowa City and creating one-of-a-kind jewelry from metals and stones handpicked and cut by Natives. These are just a few of the fearless Jefas who are creating legacies despite the many obstacles in their way.

Jefas Magazine was created to not only shine a light on how many Latinas are contributing to Iowa’s economic landscape but also as a resource. Its mission is to empower Latina business owners by increasing their access to opportunities, representation and resources so they can realize their full potential and inspire other Latinas to do the same. According to the 2020 State of Latinos Entrepreneurship Report, Latinas represent 40% of all Latine-owned businesses, yet less than 2% of their businesses receive venture capital funding, which leaves Latina entrepreneurs to seek financial assistance from family and friends or try to go it alone.

Blanca Plascencia, owner of El Fogón Mexican restaurants in West Des Moines, and the new Guacamole Patio and Cantina in Waukee, wrote about using Small Business Administration programs and creating personal relationships at her bank to finance her ventures. These testimonies are critical because Latina business strategies to overcome barriers aren’t often covered in traditional media.

That lack of attention led to the talent that came together to create Jefas Magazine. The entire team is from Latine communities across Iowa. When writers, photographers, designers and translators heard about the magazine, they wanted to be a part of it. Their shared experience brought unique perspectives of straddling cultures and blending languages that connected the contributors in ways that glow throughout the pages of Jefas Magazine.

Jefas: Latinas in Business Magazine can be found online and at Latina-owned businesses across Iowa, the Quad Cities, Chicago and Nebraska. To order copies for your place of business, contact Erika Macias at Follow us using @JEFASmagazine on Instagram and TikTok.