Meriden Native Creates Event to Empower Latinas

Growing up in central Connecticut, Marilyn Alverio said she was discriminated against. As a professional, working at the executive level, she realized that there was a lack of opportunities for Latinas when it came to leadership roles.

The Latinas & Power Symposium was started by Alverio – a Meriden native with Puerto Rican family roots – 19 years ago. She contacted a group of other Latinas working in the Hartford area and they began meeting for lunch to discuss strategies for success, which led Alverio to create the Latinas & Power Symposium.

Alverio feels that Latinas have been viewed as “invisible” and wanted the symposium to be a place that showcases the talents and skills of Latinas in the workplace. The first symposium took place in 2004, with 186 participants. Over the years, about 10,000 people have participated, Alverio said.

The 2022 Latinas & Power Symposium

“The Future is Bright: Opportunity, Preparation and Choice” is the theme of this year’s event, taking place June 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Marriott Downtown Hartford.

CNBC correspondent Bertha Coombs and Emmy-winning producer and author Nely Galán will be the keynote speakers. Panelists include Dr. Elsa Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University; Diana Pagano, founder of the “Make Things Happen” movement; Yvette Peña, Vice President of Latin Audience Strategy at AARP; and Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, author of “A Woman of Endurance.”

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend the in-person event, which will include lunch and a post-event networking reception beginning at 4 p.m. The event will also be held virtually. Men and women of all ethnicities are welcome.

Latinas & Power’s mission is “to inspire, motivate, encourage, and enable Latinas to succeed as leaders and advocates by providing them with the tools and resources they need,” Alverio said.

Work in progress

Alverio retired from MassMutual last year after 35 years working in corporate America. She holds a degree in political science and cultural anthropology from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in marketing from the University of Phoenix.

Alverio recently turned the event into the nonprofit Latinas & Power Corporation and serves as its CEO. Now the organization also holds seminars throughout the year. Another project the organization is working on is The Latinas in Leadership Institute, a three-and-a-half-month certification program in leadership and community advocacy.

Latinas & Power is in partnership with the University of Connecticut, Hartford campus.

local community

Adriana Rodríguez, executive director of the Spanish Community of Wallingford, said she and some of her team members attended the 2021 symposium. She said the event was “empowering and revitalizing.”

“The program started with the CEO and Founder dancing upstage to salsa music and that definitely energized the symposium,” Rodríguez said. “It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by Latinas of all ages and backgrounds in one room. It was a day full of personal growth and learning.

For more information on Latinas & Power or to become a sponsor, visit

[email protected]: @KarlaSantosNews

Joseph K. Bennett