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“iYo Quiero Dinero! Telling Our Stories” will feature a night of transformational stories


The community is invited to celebrate local women of color on a journey to becoming public speakers and storytellers at Midwest Mujeres’s third annual event, titled “iYo Quiero Dinero! Telling Our Stories,” on Friday, June 16, at the MyArts building on Madison’s near east side. 

“What I love about this is it shows that community really believes in freeing our stories and taking up space as women of color entrepreneurs,” Midwest Mujeres founder Araceli Esparza tells Madison365. “And we’re doing this to close the wage gap — the wage gap is still alive and well. This is a way to be a part of the solution. Coming to this event, you’re definitely supporting a woman of color entrepreneur.

“I think it’ll be a great experience that you can know that you are supporting a movement that is basically saying, ‘This is how much I’m worth. I’m worth this.'”

Midwest Mujeres Collective, a regional Latina network, is a social enterprise that boasts over 60 women of color and over 1,000 women in its interactive online group.

Dr. Sagashus Levingston

“iYo Quiero Dinero! Telling Our Stories” is an empowerment event through stories of financial success and financial failures that focuses on immigrant and first-generation individuals telling stories that have helped propel them forward. Latinas typically earn only 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, says Esparza.

“We are changing that narrative through storytelling. This event will illustrate our mission to close the wage gap with storytelling,” Esparza says.

Networking and hors d’oeuvres for “iYo Quiero Dinero! Telling Our Stories” will begin at 6 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m.

The highlight of the evening will be the eight storytellers who have completed the Midwest Mujeres Chingona Leadership program and will receive premium awards for their work. The event will celebrate all these women’s hard work and those who have gone through the program.

Dr. Sagashus T. Levingston, the founder of the Infamous Mothers brand, who is an author, speaker, and influencer and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be a special guest.

“Her message of using your social capital as a vehicle for your success is a perfect complement to our night of transformational stories,” says Esparza.

Additional storytellers of the evening will include Karen Garcia, Yazmin Lopez, Robbi Dominguez, Qiana Holmes, Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores, and Victoria Thayer.

Yazmin Lopez

Lopez is the owner of Katharisma Cleaning, LLC, a family business serving Dane County and surrounding areas.

“I have been working with Araceli [Esparza] for quite a while, maybe three years now,” she tells Madison365. “And it really inspires me all the work that she’s doing. I decided to be a speaker for her this year … just to share my story, share the things that I have done that have taken me where I am right now. You never know when you will affect somebody else positively with your story. So I hope mine has something that could be helpful for somebody else.”

Lopez says that she will be sharing some of her stories about money including her money successes and money failures. 

“I think by talking about these things and sharing my experiences that will be able to help some people out,” she says. “I’m looking forward to finding people that I can relate to, meeting other women, networking and having a fun time.”

Thayer, a CPA and an entrepreneur who grew up in Venezuela and has been a public accountant for 10 years, recently started her own CPA firm.

Victoria Thayer

“I’m looking forward to connecting with women that are entrepreneurs and to give them perspective,” Thayer tells Madison365. “I think that we need to understand our value, and what we bring to the table … and that’s a part of Yo Quiero Dinero – I want money.

“From my own personal perspective… my story that I’m bringing to the table … I have always looked for value by seeking approval of others instead of starting with myself and saying, ‘OK. I am valuable. I do bring something to the table.’ I think that I want to empower other women.

“Specifically as Latina women, we often try not to be seen and not to be heard,” she adds. “We try to be just like a fly on the wall. But I want women to know that they do, indeed, have a voice and you don’t need other people to tell you that you’re valuable. You need to understand that you’re valuable.”

Thayer says if she sees someone in that audience at iYo Quiero Dinero! that is like she was 10 years ago, she wants to talk to her, especially. 

“I’m hoping to see a nice attendance at this event,” she says. “So many people will be able to use this information and these messages from all of these women.”




Esparza says that she hopes people will come out to iYo Quiero Dinero! and “embrace our community’s stories, learn from other’s experiences, and connect with like-minded individuals.”

“This night will remind you that our stories have value,” she says. “I’m so happy that this is an in-person event after such a long pandemic. We need real interactions with people. We need real community hugs. I think in that realness we also are able to sit with each other’s stories in a way that transforms us.”


Tickets to iYo Quiero Dinero! are $25. For more information about the event, click here.