Mindy Figueroa has found her place in the tough, competitive world of communications at the helm of her own company, while keeping up her philanthropic endeavors and her work within the Latino community.

Figueroa made her dream come true in 2007 when she founded Latin2Latin Marketing+Communications, LLC, targeting the growing Latino market in the United States, and initially operating her new business out of her home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The entrepreneur told Efe that she launched the company "with lots of hopes and plans," and though in that year the financial crisis was brewing that in 2008 turned into the Great Recession, she never gave up.

"Starting up a business under those circumstances was one of the hardest times I had," said Figueroa, who at the time she founded her company had 25 years of experience in the corporate world, beginning with a marketing position at Anheuser-Busch.

She told Efe that thanks to the support of her family, hard work and being flexible with clients in times of crisis, Latin2Latin kept going.

"It was a mutual vote of confidence," Figueroa, who settled in New York after graduating in marketing from the University of Puerto Rico, said.

She said that a big problem she had to deal with in the midst of the financial crisis was being able to raise enough money to pay her employees and the expenses of her fledgling company.

"I needed enough money to continue with the business that the clients were paying. But I did it, no one loaned me the money," said Figueroa, whose first client was the firm Scholastic Media, where she had formerly worked as a project director.

Together with Scholastic she launched the award-winning children's television series "Maya & Miguel."

In just five years after creating Latin2Latin, her efforts have been rewarded by countless prizes, including this year when Diversity MBA Magazine put her on its list of the 100 best emerging executives and leaders less than 50 years old.

Figueroa said her goal over the next five years is "to become one of the biggest small independent agencies in the country."

"That doesn't mean we're just going to grow in the number of clients, but with solid clients" that help educate the Latino community about caring for their health and the importance of education, she said.

"We work with hospitals and develop innovative educational programs that allow us to put the tools for better health in the hands of our community," said Figueroa, who numbers among her clients Mount Sinai Hospital, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"At the same time we continue working with Scholastic and PBS public television, providing alternatives for educating our children, training them from the time they're little so they'll be able to finish college, because that's the only way we can fix the problems of our community," she said. EFE