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Sylvia Banderas Coffinet Tells Diverse Stories

Sylvia Banderas Coffinet Tells Diverse Stories

Sylvia Banderas Coffinet

Sylvia Banderas Coffinet is the CEO for Latino Media Network, a Latina-owned media company focused on serving the Latino community in the US. Stepping into that role not only placed her in the 1 percent of Latina CEOs in national media but also gave her an opportunity to help shine a light on more diverse stories in an industry that has long kept underrepresented groups in the dark.

Banderas Coffinet shares the passion for equity and community she brings to Latino Media Network in addition to her commitment to giving back to the next generation.

What do you do today?

I am the CEO for Latino Media Network (LMN), a Latina-owned and Latina-led media company laser focused on serving the Latino community in the United States. I oversee finance, operations, corporate strategy, and development to drive growth and profitability. LMN creates cultural pride by inspiring and celebrating our community: our language, our leaders, our stories, our concerns, and our possibilities. At LMN, we believe our collective voice can redefine our place in the world, and create community cohesion that allows us to build a brighter future in the US and abroad.

What was your biggest professional accomplishment over the past year?

Being appointed CEO of Latina Media Network this May 2023. Latina Media Network made history as the largest capital raises for Latina-owned and operated start-up in the US. I am now in the 1 percent club of Latina CEOs in national media. This appointment is such a full-circle moment for me as a Latina that has been fighting for visibility, representation, and consumer equity for Latinos.

How has your identity and your connection to your culture evolved as your career has progressed?

It’s simple: for me, it’s personal. My passion for equity and for my community have been the driving force of my career path. I grew up undocumented. I know all too well the pain for exclusion of being invisible for the sake of survival. I know that the media’s narrative can change self-perception. You see, I believe more in the spirit of our people in our resilience in the beauty of our struggle and the stories that I grew up with in my community full of optimism, hope and dreams that were bigger than our circumstances. I know firsthand that telling more diverse stories is how we build a more tolerant world.

That is my purpose and that is what I do know and hope to continue doing that at a greater scale for LMN. I believe celebrating our differences so that they stop dividing us and understand our uniqueness as individuals to welcome the universally human experience that unites us as a collective.

What community involvement is important for you outside of your role? How have you seen your own community change during your career?

I believe in giving back and paying it forward so that the next generation can be lifted up by those who have had access and opportunity in our communities. I am an active member of The Alumni Society and a mentor and sponsor of Latinx professionals. Over the years, I’ve seen improvement in representation and visibility, but we continue to be grossly underrepresented and we cannot take any steps forward for granted—especially at this crucial time where Latinos are the engine for demographic, economic, and cultural legacy of this nation.

The theme of this year’s Leadership Summit is Conexión: a reminder of the cultural connection that bonds Latinos and a call to embrace the exponential power we wield when we move as one. What does conexión mean to you and how has it helped you in your life and career?

Our greatest opportunity is directly tied to our greatest challenge. For too long, our differences have been leveraged to divide us as a collective. I believe that we can meet this challenge and that success looks like honoring and celebrating our differences because we are not a monolith, yet we can unite under the universal experience of Latinidad. We can chose to come together as one community, one voice focused on what unites us, our language, our music, our leaders, our traditions, our celebrations. Our connection to what unites us can overcome what divides us!

This is the first generation of Latinos who have the potential to see people that look like them in virtually every kind of role and leadership position. Many of us, and those who came before us, had to make our own way and find mentors who may not have shared our experiences. What does mentorship mean to you and how are you passing your own experiences forward?

In my academic and professional journey, I have always been in the “first, only, and different” category. These experiences have made it possible for me to understand how critical it is that we support and lift each other up as Latinos. I am a strong advocate for mentorship and sponsorship. I will always make time to coach, mentor, and sponsor the next generation because it is my privilege and responsibility to continue to open doors for the next generation of Latino professionals.