As the national and international founder of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, Nora de Hoyos Comstock, Ph.D has served as the organizations President and CEO since its founding. Comstock received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Educational Administration with an emphasis on community college management and a B.A. in History with a specialty in Latin America. In addition to her role at Las Comadres, since 1989 Comstock has been running a business development consultancy known as Comstock Connections which she continues to the present day.
WHAT IS LAS COMADRES AND WHY DID YOU START IT?
I created Las Comadres because I was painfully aware that my cultural roots were slipping away and I was dangerously close to losing my cultural identity. I felt a deep desire to connect on a close personal level with other Latinas in the community to build and maintain my cultural heritage and, because of my early involvement with email and the web, I was able to open doors and share information which few had access to at that time.
LAS COMADRES PARA LAS AMERICAS continues to grow on a daily basis as Latinas build personal and professional relationships with one another. Women in Las Comadres are from all walks of life waitresses to professionals with doctorates. Our gatherings do not have to do with credentials, they have to do with the need to connect around our humanity and shared experience.
Las Comadres is defined by two elements: monthly face-to-face gatherings called Comadrazos(sm) and daily email service to the many city networks that make up the organization. Las Comadres is a city-based community building/networking group for Latinas to learn about and celebrate the Latino culture and share professional, social and cultural connections. Educational and enrichment activities and opportunities are provided both by Las Comadres and many community groups whose information is shared via this network.
There have been local (city-based) informal groups of Comadres around
the country for over 40 years. The Austin local Las Comadres was started in Austin (April 2000) by Elizabeth Garcia and Veronica Rivera as an informal face-to-face gathering of Latinas. What I did was transform the informal in-home gathering into the national and international Las Comadres network. My husband Jack Bell’s technological expertise and financial support have been key to both the survival and growth of the organization.
WHAT IS LAS COMADRES UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION?
Las Comadres is a far-reaching virtual and face-to-face community of
socially-conscious Latinas who rely on each other for personal and
professional support and understanding.
HOW LARGE IS LAS COMADRES IN TERMS OF MEMBERS AND CITIES?
We have approximately 100 city networks; some small, some large. We are international with networks in London, working on Canada, and with plans to expand to other part so Europe this summer. We have approximately 15,000 subscribers.
WHAT IS YOUR ORGANIZATION’S WEB SITE?
WHAT PROGRAMS OR PARTNERSHIPS DO YOU HAVE UNDERWAY?
Through Fleishman-Hilliard in Miami: Tide and Downy. Through
Casanova-Pendril, Nestle Abuelita Chocolate. Through Primavera
Strategic Planning, Tampico Beverage. We have partnership with
American Association of Publishers and the publishers of Latino-themed
books who are part of their Latino Voices. Through Edelman
Multicultural, MedImmune. Some of our projects with these
companies/agencies have been completed for this year. We have had
other projects with other companies/agencies in the recent past.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT CORPORATE PARTNERS CAN GET INVOLVED IN SPONSORING OR SUPPORTING LAS COMADRES?
We create many different ways for involvement. We usually develop the programs directly with companies or their agencies. We ideate with our clients to create something unique to showcase your benefits and provide meaningful exposure. Or the company provides the idea and we work together to implement it. We also send emails locally, regionally or nationally and provide exposure on our website and links to the company’s web pages.
I must thank the agencies who have created these opportunities for us.
Without their help, none of the opportunities we have had would have