Social Entrepreneur Spotlight: Claudia Arroyo of Prospera
Get Closer to ProsperaApril 21, 2022
Prospera, one of eight organizations in New Profit’s first Economic Mobility Cohort, envisions a vibrant ecosystem of Latina-owned businesses cooperating to transform communities and local economies and building prosperity for the benefit of all.
Below, we get closer with Prospera’s Executive Director, Claudia Arroyo, as she shares her guiding mindset and valuable perspective on the power of collective collaboration.
Q: What is the one thing you wish more people knew about the issues Prospera is working to solve?
A: Prospera partners with Latina entrepreneurs to launch businesses that foster cooperation, economic independence, and well-being in immigrant communities. Through our culturally-based programs, Latinas access the networks, tools, and capital they need to become successful business owners and powerful community leaders.
Q: What has been the most fulfilling part of the work that you do?
A: I am myself a Latina immigrant entrepreneur; I spent twelve years undocumented and I feel really connected to the population we serve. I admire the resiliency and power of women and I am grateful for being able to serve them.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that helps you in a challenging time or that you look to as a guidepost when doing this work? How is it reflected in your work or habits?
A: “In lak’ech” is my mantra. The Mayans believed that we are all an integral part of a single gigantic organism. According to the Mayans, the mineral, vegetable, animal kingdom, and all matter scattered throughout the universe at all scales—from an atom to a galaxy—are living beings with an evolving consciousness.
When we wake up and realize that we’re only a gigantic organism, all relationships will be based on tolerance and flexibility and judgments and moral values will end because human beings will feel other human beings as another part of themselves.
The Mayans expressed this concept of unity in their daily greeting. When they met, they greeted each other saying: “IN LAK’ECH,” which means “I am another you,” to which they replied “HALA KEN,” which means “you are another me.”
I learned this philosophy of life from my mentor, a wise and amazing elder. We all are interconnected and our essence is community, cooperation and connection. This is reflected in the way I live. I decided to be a single mom by choice and my son has been raised by me and my community; I live in a collective way with a committed community where we all help each other. I run Prospera with the philosophy of collective power that comes from seeing and hearing each other.
Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: Inclusive, humanistic, strength approach, coaching so each person sees their real potential, horizontal, friendly, close, visionary, creative.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share that might help people to feel closer to you or your work?
A: Never underestimate the collective power! Women together are unstoppable!
To get closer to Prospera visit their website, and read their strategic plan, 2020 Annual Report, and one-page overview. You can stay up to date with Prospera’s latest activities by following their social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about why Economic Mobility is a key investment area for New Profit here.