As part of our Female Founder series, The Startup Magazine caught up with Rita Bautista, CEO of Latina Podcasters.
Founded in 2019 by Ms. Bautista, Latina Podcasters is a Latina and certified minority-owned and operated global podcast network group. Latina Podcasters is changing the landscape of media by streamlining the process for brands and companies to purchase host-read ads and curated segments on podcasts with authentic Latinx voices. Under the group’s umbrella are its two subsidiary networks: Latino Pods which features shows geared for a male audience, and Latina Podcasters Network that showcases Latina-hosted programming. Visit latinapodcasters.com for more information.
Here Rita shares more about her journey…
TSM: Can you tell us, in 10 words or less, what is the mission of Latina Podcasters?
Rita: Latina Podcasters streamlines the ad buying process on Authentic Latina, Latino and Latine podcasts for brands and agencies.
TSM: With a bit more detail, tell us more about the background of Latina Podcasters and how it works?
Rita: I formed Latina Podcasters to create representation and amplify the stories of the authentic voices of U.S.-based Latinas, Latinos, and the Latine through podcasts. As a traditionally underpaid and unrepresented community, we ensure our podcasters get paid market rate or above by curating premium host read ads for the brands and agencies we work with to connect authentically to the U.S. Hispanic market.
TSM: Can you cite a particular success story that exemplifies the Latina Podcasters purpose and success, one that inspires you?
Rita: We did a campaign for McDonald’s that focused on how McDonald’s has created a positive impact in our community. One of our podcasters produced an ad about her son being ill when he was younger, and the Ronald McDonald House paid for her family to stay near the hospital. As I listened to the podcast, it made me look at the positive impact the company has had outside of just the fast food industry, and the podcaster highlighted this for her audience.
My success story about getting the podcasters paid market rate or above was while I was hosting dinners in our major markets with our podcasters. While in New York and LA, the podcasters shared all the things they were able to do because of the money they were able to do because of the network. The most important stories I heard came directly from these podcasters who said they were able to purchase homes. I felt what I have built made a difference after hearing how these podcasters telling me they can now purchase homes in two of the most expensive markets in the country.
TSM: What are the most important things you tell Latinas to help them find their “voice” as leaders and entrepreneurs?
Rita: To not be afraid and tell their story. We have been unrepresented for too long, and the only way to change that is by stepping up and creating it. Their stories do not have to be seriously deep. The comedic and humorous stories are also important and make the heart happy, but we need creativity and amplification of these stories to move the needle.
TSM: As an entrepreneur yourself, going back to your early life decisions, tell us what factors influenced your decision to be an entrepreneur?
Rita: I was raised in a household with a mother who never took no for an answer. I watched her clean houses, (sometimes even cleaning houses with her) sell Mary Kay Cosmetics, invest in local and international real estate, and do many other jobs to make ends meet. However, the most powerful lesson I learned was that she determined how and when she made money. That was important to me and would eventually empower me to know that I could do this; I had a role model that showed me where there is a will, there is a way. As long as your personal mission aligned with the greater good, everything eventually works out.
What is interesting, too, is that as an entrepreneur, you must be flexible and wear many hats. One day you are talking to producers and each individual podcast host to get their buy-in. Then, the next day you are the sales manager, and the following day, you are face of the company who is talking to people who want to invest millions in your company. All of these behind the scenes actions are just as important as the next, but you must know how to be the jack of all trades to understand your industry.
TSM: What do you have planned for the future of Latina Podcasters or where you expand into new media businesses?
Rita: We want to create original pieces and audio novelas in English, Spanglish and Spanish and have them turn into movies. We are also expanding into YouTube. The big goal is to become a publicly traded company.
TSM: What is the most important thing you tell other startup founders? What are your lessons learned?
Rita: One lesson is understanding the meaning of the word grit. Learn the word and make it part of your vocabulary. You will learn more not giving up on your idea and seeing it through. Pivot fast and without taking anything personal. Be open to change and figure out how your company fits in the changing markets.
The biggest lesson I have learned is not to take anything personal, even though every now and then, there is one thing that hits close to home. If you work on not taking anything personal, then this will be much easier.
Also, make sure to prioritize me time. You give so much of yourself as a startup founder, but you also exist outside of the company as well. Figure out what your “self” care routine is and practice it religiously so that you can be the best version of yourself when working on the company.
TSM: What is one interesting fact about you that people may not know?
Rita: My family owned a circus in Honduras up until the 1970s. Entertainment is in my blood, so I’ve learned to understand many different personalities. This fact has been one of the reasons for the success of Latina Podcasters. I also played the baritone horn, lol 😊 .
TSM: That has to be a lot of fun. Thanks for your insights. G00d luck on your future successes.