During the 2018 Animus Women’s Innovation Summit, 5 amazing women showcased their innovating, inspiring businesses.
Suhaily Sepúlveda is an attorney and certified public accountant who, driven by a desire to innovate and make a difference, launched Guilty—the first clothing membership program in Puerto Rico, a lifestyle platform designed to change how Puerto Rican women experience fashion. While studying accounting in college, Suhaily was recognized by PwC as one of 50 outstanding students nationwide. She studied law in San Juan and Barcelona, specializing on international and constitutional law. After graduating, she joined the O’Neill & Borges law firm to practice corporate, tax, intellectual property, contract and pension law.
Kiara González is a young entrepreneur who is an outstanding member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico in Isabela. As a part of the organization’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Program, the high school senior has collaborated on a number of innovative entrepreneurial projects. She also has developed a business idea—Coquí Bounce & Splash, an inflatable water park—to promote tourism in the Aguadilla area. Kiara is studying computer programming at the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla.
Alyz Torres De la Cruz heads the organization’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Program, which promotes innovation and develops projects that may have a positive impact on the island’s economy. As an entrepreneurship leader, she helps children and young people cultivate an entrepreneurial, can-do mindset. Alyz holds a BBS with a concentration in marketing from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. She is completing a master’s in interactive marketing and new media at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain.
Karla López is a footwear industry professional with a passion for an ethical and sustainable approach to product development. She launched shoe brand Isleñas with funds and mentorship from pre-accelerator program Pre18. Previously, the San Juan native worked in the fashion and footwear industry in New York and managed pre-production and manufacturing processes in several countries. Karla has a master’s in footwear design from Polimoda in Italy and a BFA in furniture design from Rhode Island School of Design.
Ruby Dávila-Rendón is a marketing-driven jewelry designer who brings a unique entrepreneurial perspective to the fashion industry. At Retazo, she is the link between designers and affiliates in the fashion ecosystem. Ruby trained at the Institute of Technology in New York and the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design in the Dominican Republic. She holds a BBA in marketing and an MBA in international business. Her designs have been featured in Ocean Drive, Revista EGO, Condado Magazine and Imagen, among others.
Auralís Herrero-Lugo is an entrepreneur, designer and sustainable fashion consultant with more than 15 years of experience. She leads all of Retazo’s circularity and manufacturing efforts and teaches product development, circular fashion, apparel, accessories and sustainable fashion at top design schools such as Parsons New School for Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Baruch College. Since moving to Puerto Rico in January of 2018 she also serves as director of product development at Blue Water Defense.
Rebecca Villalba Irlanda is passionate about using high quality, sustainable urban agriculture and farming methods to feed the world while preserving the environment. To help local farmers grow healthy products in Puerto Rico she co-founded Block Farms, a startup focused on commercializing hydroponic cultivation in maritime containers. Rebecca spent seven years in Spain, where she co-founded an ag-tech company that developed and capitalized on innovative hydroponic, viticulture, enology and organic cultivation techniques.