Business Hada Madrina: Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda’s ‘Jefa in Training’
Indie/Alt catches up with #WomxnCrush Music founder, business fairy godmother and now debut author Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda on her new new book, ‘Jefa in Training,’ the first Spanglish business book for Latinas.
The last time Indie/Alt talked with Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda, she was in the throes of a hurricane.
Back in November of 2020–the day after the presidential election–Ojeda was living in Miramar, Florida as Hurricane Eda approached. Fortunately, the hurricane passed and Ojeda lived to tell the tale. And now, over a year later, she’s returned–along with her husband Martin–to their true home: Portland, Oregon.
“It feels amazing to be back,” Ojeda said. “I hated Florida with a burning passion. I mean, there are pros and cons to every city. Pros about Florida: nice weather. But for me, that was probably it.”
Thankfully for the pair, Martin was able to land a new job in Portland back in September of 2021, prompting their return to the West Coast. And–as Ojeda says–they probably won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Aside from the return to Portland, Ojeda also celebrated another milestone in the time since our last chat: her 30th birthday.
“That’s kind of a scary milestone that I think now I’m just more excited about,” Ojeda said. “I think at this point in my life, I have had enough time to learn a lot about myself and know how to apply that to what I want to do.”
For Ojeda, that “personal why” translates to everything she’s done up to this point in the world of business: helping create opportunities for people and guiding them to make those opportunities happen. It’s the same drive that launched her nonprofit organization #WomxnCrush Music, the same drive that led her into being both a music and business coach, and the same drive that led her to co-create an online network for The Mujerista, a digital publication and online network for Latinas.
“It was when I really started building out that space that I felt like, shit, I think this is what I’m meant to be doing,” Ojeda said. “I really enjoyed talking to other Latina entrepreneurs and hearing about how there aren’t enough resources out there for us, and the reason we don’t start businesses or our businesses fail is because there’s not enough access to these resources for our community.”
Through these conversations and her experiences in building the Mujerista network and coaching Latina entrepreneurs, Ojeda saw a need that wasn’t yet being met in her community. This was how her debut book, Jefa in Training, was born.
Covering everything from building a business’s foundations to the finance and legal parts of business management and ownership, Jefa in Training is a guide, a toolkit, and a workbook for the next generation of Latina entrepreneurs. Every chapter includes a worksheet, with writing prompts and other activities to keep the reader engaged with hands-on material.
“I didn’t want to write something boring,” Ojeda said. “The tone of the book is literally like me coaching the reader as I would if they were one of my coaching clients. It’s very friendly and… literally me. It’s very me.”
Not only is Jefa in Training an engaging book for aspiring entrepreneurial women, it also has the distinction of being the first business book written specially for Latinas. Although Ojeda says she’s honored to be the first person to write it, having a business book written specifically with Latina’s in mind is long overdue.
“There’s this huge need, clearly,” Ojeda said. “I remember the moment I decided that, yes, this is the book that I need to write. That’s the same spark and fire I felt within myself when I was like, #WomxnCrush needs to be a thing. It’s crazy how these feelings just come back to you.”
Among Ojeda’s own guidance and the interactive worksheets, Jefa in Training also includes contributions from other Latina founders in their areas of expertise.
Marivette Navarrete, founder of The Mujerista, gives her social media tips on how to build a brand community. Ana Flores, founder of Latina network #WeAllGrow Latina, has a section on the five best practices for business partnerships. Cat Latingua, founder of Goddess Council, contributes her self care and wellness tips for entrepreneurs. And Melba Tellez, founder of Mujeres on the Rise, talks about imposter syndrome, a topic that Ojeda says is especially important for their Latina audience.
“As Latinas and first-gen and second-gen women, we feel like we can’t do certain things because of what society tells us,” Ojeda says. “But we can, and we’re continuously proving we can.”
Ojeda herself says she struggled with imposter syndrome when she first started #WomxnCrush. As much as she accomplished with the organization, she was always bogged down by the feeling that she could do more.
“That will literally drive someone crazy and run them into the ground,” Ojeda said. “But just remember that you are a person outside of your business and celebrate all of the little wins. Every time you get a good email, celebrate that. Every time someone says, thank you for doing the work that you do, go get yourself a glass of wine. Just celebrate all of that, and that will make everything a lot easier.”
The most important thing Ojeda wanted to amplify with this book, though, was the representation that is so lacking for Latinas in the business world.
“A lot of these business books that are targeted toward women are self-help books that come from a very specific lens of mainly wealthy white women,” Ojeda said. “I’m not saying they’re bad because some of them are helpful, but it doesn’t hit the same way as if [it’s written by] someone who grew up like you.”
Though the book is written in Spanglish, Ojeda says that 85% of it is English, so even those who don’t speak Spanish but are open to learning a few words can find value with its pages.
“Even though it is written for Latinas, I do think that it can help everyone, especially if you’re a part of a community that you feel you’re not seen and you don’t relate to the other business books that are out there,” Ojeda said. “I hope that you’ll feel more seen with this one.”
‘Jefa in Training’ hits shelves today, February 22nd, via Mango Publishing. Look for it at your local bookstore or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Join Ojeda for the Virtual Launch Fiesta by Cafe con Libros on March 3rd at 4pm PST / 7pm EST. RSVP now on Crowdcast.