Zaka is a platform and community designed for immigrant individuals to advance in their careers and expand their knowledge.
WHAT WE DO

Zaka is a membership community that fosters authentic connections among first and second generation immigrant professionals across a variety of industries. We provide highly vetted workshops, motivational content and a safe space where immigrant professionals can build a community with each other, industry leaders, recruiters to attain their professional vision instead of enduring the challenges that come with figuring it out for themselves.

WHO WE HELP

Zaka is a platform and community for immigrants to gain knowledge, mentorship and coaching to attain and succeed in their careers. Part of what makes Zaka appealing to members is our access to top, global immigrant leaders across industries.

THIS IS HOW

WE DO IT

Zaka’s platform offers the full spectrum of resources, education, community and inspiring content needed for first and second generation immigrants to excel in their personal and professional lives.

ARTICLES about immigrant industry leaders, their experiences and advice. MINI-DOCUMENTARIES/ VIDEO CONTENT to highlight the journeys of immigrant leaders in short format. PODCASTS to provide interactive interviews and conversations with immigrant industry leaders.

WORKSHOPS on career advancement topics (professional branding, cultural differences in the professional world , negotiating your salary and promotion, etc). Interactive and intimate Q & A SESSIONS with industry leaders. “WHAT I WISH I KNEW…” segment from industry leaders Zaka highlights weekly/monthly.

Zaka provides an AUTHENTIC SPACE where immigrants can build community with each other and industry leaders. Zaka connects minority talents with recruiters and job opportunities. ACCESS to coaches who specialize in coaching minority professionals.

BECOMING A LEADER

NETWORK

Build community with fellow immigrant professionals, top immigrant leaders, recruiters and coaches.

LEARN

Acquire knowledge in critical areas that will help you become a better professional and attain your professional vision.

BE INSPIRED

Engage with top, immigrant leaders who will provide you with the blueprint for person and professional success.

“My Journey” shares inspiring and motivational stories from the successful leaders within the first and second generation community in America. We are surrounded by heroes everywhere we go, from our teachers, farmers, lawyers, small business owners, chefs, doctors and fitness trainers etc. “My Journey” is a safe, authentic and vulnerable space where these leaders share their incredible experiences. The mission behind sharing these stories and strategies is to inspire and provide the blueprint for how first and second-generation immigrants can attain their professional vision instead of enduring the challenges that comes with figuring it out for themselves.

My Journey: Allison Runes

Allison is passionate about creating genuine connections with consumers and telling compelling stories to establish brand affinity and long-term relationships. She’s  fascinated by trends and the power of authenticity. Allison joins us to talk about her personal journey from her parents immigrating from thr Philippines and her career growth from working at Red Bull to now being The Associate Director of Content at The Content Collective.



Allison preaches the importance of seeking mentors who will hold you accountable while empowering you. Nourishing these relationships and being a role model for her community inspires Allison to be the social media wizard that she is today. Allison educates us on the power of social media and how brands are utilizing it to organically connect with their audience.

My Journey: Christopher Sherman IV

Christopher Sherman IV was never shy about using his voice to be a leader. He founded an organization in college, The Distinguished Gentlemen, that promoted diversity on campus and sought-after changing the misconceptions about young minorities. Today, the organization is helping inner-city children continue their education.

Chris has continued carrying the torch of leadership in the corporate world through his roles at General Electric, Jet Blue and now Bank of America but also in his community where he mentors several underrepresented minorities who play youth football.

He joins us to share the ups and downs of growing up in the Bronx after his parents migrated from Jamaica. Chris stresses the biggest lessons he learned working in Corporate America, lessons that weren’t taught in college.

My Journey: Jerry Fortuna

Jerry Fortuna is making a name for himself as a leader in the Big3, a professional basketball league founded by Ice Cube. Jerry breaks down his journey growing up in a Latin household in LA to climbing up the ladder in the entertainment industry. Jerry shares how his humility and authenticity have helped him develop relationships with influential people like the Dallas Mavericks governor, Mark Cuban.

Jerry has worn multiple hats in the entertainment industry, from contributing to several tours including reggaeton artists and Ice Cube, to pitching shows to Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to being the Players Relations and Game Day Operations Manager for the Big3.

My Journey: Elvin Colón

Elvin Colón from American Express joins us to talk about his current role as the Director of Mergers and Acquisitions / Corporate Development. Before this leadership role, Elvin worked at several other financial institutions, learning the ins and outs of the industry.  Elvin shares about how he found the confidence as a Latino to advocate for himself and use his voice in competitive, professional environment.  Elvin recommends some of the tools people of color can utilize to overcome the many challenges that minorities face during the recruitment process and within the walls of the companies they work for.

My Journey: Krystle DeSantos

Krystle DeSantos joins us to share her journey from Guyana to moving to NYC when she was 18. Krystle is a Design Guru,  Digital Content Creator and  Digital Advertising Professional with  over 10 years working  the Tech space.   After a successful career working in Corporate America, Krystle followed her dream and passion by launching her agency Krystle DeSantos LLC. Her agency manages interior/event decor projects and develops written as well as visual content for fashion, lifestyle and DIY categories. Her mission in life is always empowering others to show as their authentic selves.


In 2020,  the Design Guru, launched her online shop, Lillian & Joan in honor of her mother and grandmother.  Lillian & Joan carries colorful eclectic fashion accessories and vintage pieces inspired by her Guyanese culture heritage.

My Journey: Paul Herman

Born and raised in the South Bronx, Paul Herman,  fell in love with the belief that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. With the birth of Hip Hop, Paul quickly took an interest in dance . While pursuing dance his parents instilled in him at a young age the value of an education, which led him to graduate with a Business Management and Marketing degree from the Jack Welch School of Business.  After working in sales and marketing for some of the most distinguished companies in Fairfield County,  Paul  knew his true desire was to succeed as an entertainer, teacher, and motivator. He knew he needed to take a risk and follow his heart; a path which opened so many doors and has given him the life he always dreamed of.


Paul’s dance career took him  to stages across the world including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe, performing alongside prominent artists such as Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Kat Deluna, Sean Paul, Lil Wayne, Eve, and Ciara.

My Journey: Leah Arscott

Energy, Talent, and Discipline! These are the words that describe Leah Arscott! An award-winning millennial Voice Actress who’s performed for hundreds of international clients, including Fortune 500 companies and various international production houses.

Born to joyful Caribbean parents, a background in Health and Fitness (competitor and competition winner), previously working in a variety of industries including Government, IT, and Health. Leah brings her wealth of knowledge, talent and life experiences to each voice project she is given. Leah has incredible range and the ability to take direction well, which gives her the ability to work in multiple genres of Voice Over from Commercials, Narration and Animation to Corporate work, e-learning, and IVR.

My Journey: Dr. Genelle Garcia

We are joined by Dr Genelle Garcia who is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Wound Specialist® (CWS®) and Certified Lymphedema Specialist ® (CLT®) with an avid passion in wound management. She has been practicing since 2009 and currently has experience in the acute care setting, inpatient rehabilitation setting, outpatient setting and skilled nursing facility. To date, she has worked at North Shore University Health Hospital Northwell Health, Louisiana State University, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Stamford Hospital.

 

Genelle documents her journey from getting inspired by her Grandfather who worked in the farm picking apples to save money and bring the rest of his family from Trinidad to the US. Genelle is a role model to a lot of young Black and Brown girls who look up to her for being one of the few Black Certified Wound Specialists and Lymphedema Therapist.

My Journey: Aisha Losche

SVP of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for Hill Holliday, Aisha Losche is responsible for the overall  DEI strategy for the agency across the entire employee experience. She works closely with the CEO to  nurture DEI partnerships.  With these partnerships, she makes significant impact in unifying and guiding Hill Holliday employees through programs that push for action and accountability, champion inclusion and allyship, and ultimately contribute to a more inclusive culture not just within the organization, but across the industry at-large.

Aisha speaks about her journey how she climbed to the top and what corporations can do to empower their minority employees.

My Journey: Rafael Rodriguez Morales

Rafael Morales is a Grammy winning musician from Puerto Rico. He is the lead trumpet player for SOJA, and  he was introduced to music at an early age singing in church with his parents. In this episode, Rafa shares a lot of his journey and goes into the historical origins of some of the most popular music of Puerto Rican culture. He shares his inspiration and philosophy to work hard and make it as a musician, and talks about personal things like some of his favorite musicians, what the experience was like to win a Grammy after being nominated 2 times previously, and some of his advice to young aspiring musicians.

Rafa has worked with mega producer Super Dubs on tracks for Sean Paul, Rihanna, Jason Derulo, Collie Buddz and Drake.

My Journey: Jean Giovanni Maurice

Gio joins us to speak about his education growing up in Haiti and how that influenced him when he moved to the US at the age of 11.  As one of the few Black Engineers, in the US, he speaks about his appreciation attending an HBCU, Tuskegee University. He learned so much interning for the Department of Energy in DC and Exxon Mobile in New Orleans. Because of his hard work and dedication, he received an offer from Exxon Mobil, the start of his senior year in college. Working for a fortune 500 company right after college was a blessing that he could not imagine.

My Journey: Aaron Ramkalawan

Aaron Ramkalawan is a residential and investment sales realtor. He was born in Trinidad and moved to the Bronx, New York when he was 7 years old. Being one of 5 children, Aaron talks about his upbringing and how he was inspired by his mother’s great work ethic, which he adopted and used to push through some of his early struggles and doubts. He majored in business administration at Sacred Heart University, before deciding that he wanted to work for himself and got into the real estate business where he is seeing great success. In this episode, he talks about his heritage and culture from Trinidad, what experiences led him to where he is today, and advice on being a realtor today and how important it is to understand the climate of the market and have knowledge about real estate in general.

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