2020 Top Florida Latino Lideres Award Recipient
Claribel Bocanegra is a Latino Mover N’ Shaker from South West, Florida.
Latin Times Magazine: Where are you and your family from? What is your Hispanic heritage? Claribel Bocanegra: I am a native of the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I proudly share Puerto Rican bloodlines and culture which evolved through a mixing of the Spanish, African, and indigenous Taíno and Carib Indian races that shared the island.
Latin Times Magazine: Tell us about what you do for a living and how you got into it
Claribel Bocanegra: I am the practice administrator and owner of Porto Fino Dental. My husband is a dentist and I received my Expanded Functions Dental Assisting Certification fromThe University of Florida(Go Gators) . I have attended and obtained certifications and training that have prepared me to lead a successful dental practice for over 22 years. At heart, I am a community organizer. I am the Founder of LEAD like a Girl in SW Florida, an organization that aims to inspire, educate and empower young women in our community. I am also the founder of the Hispanic American Doctors Association of SW FLORIDA, an organization that aims to unite the medical community to bring forth representation and empower our community through investments in education and access to healthcare.
Latin Times Magazine: In your industry, what would you say separates you from your competition
Claribel Bocanegra: In the management of my dental practice I lead by example, always moving out of a place of love, humility and empathy. I strongly believe in investing in my team and their continuous education because if they grow we all win. As a community organizer I have a passion for rallying the community and getting them involved and identifying resources and making them available to our youth, specially those at a socioeconomic disadvantage in a effort to open doors of opportunity so that they can thrive!
Latin Times Magazine: During Covid-19, tell us about your Biggest Challenge/obstacle and how you overcame it/or are overcoming it
Claribel Bocanegra: I run a dental practice and due to the nature of our profession we create aerosols, the number one source of Covid infection. My biggest challenge was to strategize to obtain and maintain the supplies my team needed to stay safe, the implementation of protocols to ensure the safety of the team and our patients during their dental visit. It was important to educate the community about the measures necessary to keep all of us safe. In my community work rallying together my team to keep our young women of our program engaged, we established a fund to provide mental heath services and support for them at no charge during these difficult times. We worked together to offer webinars to inspire them to stay active and engaged. We continue to work and are working in partnership with FGCU students to bring forth a podcast in which we will create a safe space for all to learn and grow together through life!
Latin Times Magazine: Tell us about your biggest achievement, and how you achieved it (Covid or non-related) Claribel Bocanegra: I am the mother of four beautiful children and my achievement has been to raise kind, empathetic, smart and loving children. I am also very proud of the vision and mission created and brought to life through LEAD like a Girl in SW Florida.
Latin Times Magazine: What is next for you? What can people expect to see from you?
Claribel Bocanegra: I am passionate about bringing LEAD like a Girl and it’s podcast to a world audience. To inspire, educate and empower the next generation of women community leaders that will transform this world and contribute to more equitable and just societies.
Latin Times Magazine: What words of encouragement can you offer?
Claribel Bocanegra: We must stay humble, listen and learn from Each other. There is so much power in collaboration and as Helen Keller once said “ If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together. “
Latin Times Magazine: Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to share?
Claribel Bocanegra: It’s important that we are humble enough to learn from other people’s experiences and that we understand that we are all human beings but we do not live equally on this earth. It is of utmost importance that if we are in a position of privilege and power that we use them to create opportunity, become allies of those who don’t have a voice and create the opportunity and space at the table for them to use their voices. We must elevate the voices that normally don’t have a voice.
Latin Times Magazine: What is YOUR comida Latina favorita? Claribel Bocanegra: El arroz con pollo de mi abuelita!