In celebration of Women´s History Month and Women´s Day, we are sharing a series of profiles of Argentine women that actively work for the advancement of women, and have participated in Embassy´s exchange programs.
By Morgan Swanson
Charging ahead with a multifaceted life of entrepreneurship, networking, advising, and family, Romina Gleria, CEO and Founder of Boutique du Sens, is passionate about sharing her expertise and creating tools that empower other women to learn and grow. As she spoke to me over the phone, Romina sat at her desk in her home office in Rosario, where she lives with her husband and young daughter. She laughed, “as long as I have my computer and my phone I can work anywhere!”
Romina’s days are busy. She runs her own artisanal soaps business and also consults for the ES VICIS Foundation’s pilot program, “Welcome to My Town,” which encourages family businesses to take root in rural towns. At the same time, Romina builds networks to connect and enable other women entrepreneurs to share expertise, gain visibility, and collaborate to help one another improve their work.
A native of Cordoba, Romina’s family runs one of Argentina’s oldest and largest soap factories, where she counts herself fortunate to have spent the first ten years of her career gaining expertise that she has since leveraged for her own and others’ success. During that time, she earned a Master’s Degree in Business Sciences from the Universidad Austral Rosario, which complemented her Bachelor’s Degree in Publicity from the Universidad Empresarial ‘Siglo 21.’ By 2012, Romina felt ready to pursue her own path, so she resigned from her family’s business and founded Boutique du Sens, a wholesale line of artisanal soaps. This was her first personal project and challenge.
In 2016, Romina added a new dimension of work as a consultant for the “Welcome to My Town” program. As an adviser to twenty-five family businesses under this program, Romina helps them overcome obstacles to bring their business—and the families that own them—to rural towns where residents otherwise tend to depart to seek opportunity elsewhere. In this way, Romina is passing on her own knowledge to spur local development and revive the towns’ social and economic fabric.
Enjoying this new role as an advisor helping others succeed, Romina founded her own online network, “Talentia Red de Mujeres Líderes,” to offer Latin American women a platform to network and gain support, expertise, and visibility for their work. This project began with a small web of two hundred women, and has grown to include almost 4,000 all across the region.
While working on these projects in recent years, it became clear to Romina that the work she finds most gratifying is giving women the tools to develop their own capacity and abilities. She has become passionate about helping them access the tools and experience they need to grow.
In 2016 she was one of thirty women from across Latin America who traveled to the U.S. on an International Visiting Leaders Program in 2016 as part of the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative, which works to connect women entrepreneurs throughout Latin America and increase women’s economic participation. The annual WEAmericas exchange program allows participants to explore a variety of mentorship, job shadowing, education, and skills development programs. During the 20-day trip, Romina and the other participants met with leaders from non-profit organizations, government offices, businesses, banks, and universities in several U.S cities. She was able to learn and apply new ideas immediately.
For the future, one of Romina’s top goals is to strengthen and expand the community of women who are part of her Talentia Red de Mujeres Líderes network. “This is a project that emerged quickly and has a great deal of potential,” she said. She hopes to continue to grow it throughout Latin America, and to ensure that it has staying power. To that end, she and her team are currently working on developing a new online platform to improve the site’s capacity. Romina’s ability and drive to foster others’ potential is truly remarkable, and we wish the greatest success to her and all the members of her networks.