Feedback: Sept. 2018

by Rebeca Lopez, Mary Rabago, Zulema Valenzuela

Question: As the owner of an identified woman-owned, minority-owned business, what does “diversity and inclusion” mean for you and your business?

Rebeca Lopez

Owner and Co-Founder
Milestone Pediatrics and Milestone Innovative Therapy Group
Sector: Healthcare

As a woman-owned, minority-owned business, Milestone Pediatrics ensures its commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion in its business model and its practices. We grow our business by embracing visible and invisible diversity. Milestone views inclusion as a fair work environment where resources, opportunities and respect are provided equally, and are key to the organization’s success. Milestone thrives off of the unique talents and varying lenses that our workforce brings to our community and truly makes us perform better. Milestone Pediatrics is among the list of clinics in the Valley with the most diverse patient/staff population, who are attracted by the diversity that exists as a minority-owned business.

Special focus has been placed on increasing the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups. We have targeted recruitment efforts present at minority-focused employment events, advertising in minority employment publications and ongoing strategic networking. As a Mexican-American woman, it is my duty to speak about my journey and to provide access for women, minorities and other underrepresented groups about leadership, empowerment and training opportunities.

Rebeca Lopez is the owner and co-founder of Milestone Pediatrics, which provides speech therapy and occupational therapy to children with developmental disabilities. In addition, Lopez serves on the board of directors for the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona. 

Mary Rábago

President and CEO
Mary Rabago Productions
Sector: Media

This could be life or death for my business; working with corporations and organizations that support woman-owned businesses or take diversity into consideration when deciding with whom to do business has been key in the success of my company. Being able to bring to the table that differentiator of the language, the cultural background and knowledge of the market they are trying to connect with or tap into their buying power gives me the opportunity to get their attention to present my services and products as the best options for their project. 

In marketing, particular multicultural marketing as the area of expertise in my business. The message is the magic element that can determine the success or failure of a campaign. Having that message resonate or reflect the reality of the group of consumers a client is trying to attract is the winning formula, especially if that message is given or delivered by a trustworthy figure within their community.  

With a career spanning more than 20 years in various media companies nationally and internationally, Mary Rábago is a multi-award-winning journalist. Born in Sonora, Mexico, she has been the main news anchor of Univision Arizona as well as Univision California, and is one of the Top 10 Hispanic women with more media presence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. She brings this wealth of experience to Mary Rabago Productions, a multimedia company that has garnered national attention for its creative solutions. 

Zulema Valenzuela

A&E Development LLC
Sector: Construction

As the owner of A&E Development, a woman-owned and minority-owned business, I know how powerful and needed diversity and inclusion is; essentially, it means the work I and my team does gets counted. For me, it means I can tell my story of how I personally overcame adversity and powered through numerous obstacles, especially when it came to proving my own and my team’s capabilities in the construction industry. Too, my business has allowed me to give back to the diverse community from which I came. My company has created living-wage jobs and has also supported diversity in our suppliers.

I understand and value the needs of my employees and subcontractors, and, by creating an environment of inclusion, I have received commitment and loyalty from my staff that has allowed my company to build an even stronger and more cohesive and creative workforce. My staff and I have leveraged the assistance from agencies that promote diversity and inclusion, and have received the strongest support from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Phoenix MBDA Business Center, and we are also very proud members of both of these amazing organizations.  

Zulema Valenzuela is the president of A&E Development LLC. She is currently enrolled in the SBLA program. Her firm, which she leads with her husband, has built hotels, restaurants, commercial spaces, warehouses and custom homes, and is currently pending certifications for SBE/DBE and 8a. 

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