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Graphic: Maybeth Peralta/AL DÍA News.
Graphic: Maybeth Peralta/AL DÍA News.

2021 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty Honoree: Silvia Roldán

At the upcoming AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event on Aug. 27,  Silvia Roldán will be one of the 40 honorees.

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The second annual AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event will serve to highlight and showcase some of the most diverse and impactful young professionals across the Philadelphia region.

At the event, taking place on August 27, 2021, Silvia Roldán will be one of the 40 honorees. She is the CEO & Founder of Yaku Wear

Biography

Silvia Roldán is an entrepreneur and community organizer. In 2017, she founded Yaku Wear, an online boutique that sells Panama hats and silver jewelry. A native of Ecuador, Roldán has been able to leverage her business to share her knowledge and passion that go into the construction of each hat and piece of jewelry. 

Roldán is also an event organizer for I Belong Philly. The organization is comprised of a volunteer group dedicated to serving communities in the Greater Philadelphia area, with the mission of raising the voices of immigrants and facilitating immigrant integration to make Philadelphia a better, more welcoming city. 

She earned a degree in business administration from Universidad Tecnológica América in her native Ecuador before arriving in the United States. 

Here are Silvia Roldán's responses:
1. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your professional career?

I view each new responsibility in my career as a challenge and work hard in trying different approaches to create the most efficient solution to each situation.

The most challenging of all has been starting my business in a foreign country. I brought my skills from my country to put into practice here. At the start of this adventure I had done very little networking and had no clue what I was doing. But as you meet people and express your passion it urges you forward in finding the answers you need to be successful. Now, I am still here and with a successful business. Sometimes asking myself how did I do it? And I realize without my family this dream couldn't have been possible, that support system was crucial.

2. What steps can be taken to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in your industry? Why is it important to do so?

The first step to improving DEI in retail is educating customers about where their products come from and telling the stories of the people that made them. I think in humanizing the journey between raw material and the human hands used to create the product sold to the end user that we create a connection. A culture which views a product such as a hat as just an inanimate object subject to the best price and completely ignoring the circumstances of the people that made it as well as the ethics of the people that sold it, is more likely to view individuals of different beliefs or identity within its community with indifference or outright disdain. By pursuing a more conscious marketing strategy, more responsible consumer behavior through connection and campaigns like the Fair Pay movement, I believe it can lead to better diversity, equity, and inclusion for all involved in the retail product’s journey from raw material to consumer.   

3. What does being a leader mean to you?

Being a leader can be difficult. The leader knows when others need support and guides them to reach their goals. The leader makes decisions that impact the business and the team. The key to being an effective leader is to be responsible, flexible, and build a resilient mindset. Resilience is crucial to dealing with leadership challenges effectively, seeking and building on feedback, and boosting performance by being critical of one’s self. 

4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

One thing that inspired me to launch my business was to maintain the rich cultural traditions of my country and I would like to continue to share that with my customers and community. My dream is to expand to a small brick and mortar location while pushing to grow my e-commerce performance. 

In addition, I would like to stay involved in the I Belong non-profit, as a volunteer committed to bringing resilience tools, celebrating cultures, and providing educational seminars that can improve lives in the immigrant communities of Greater Philadelphia. 

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