Latonya Wallace, 2023 Outstanding Women in Business recipient

Latonya is the Director of Community Relations at NH Community Loan Fund

Latonya spent 20 years in banking, 15 of them in leadership roles supporting and empowering underserved and underrepresented folks. She sits on the Portsmouth Library’s Board of Trustees, is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Seacoast and a 2021 recipient of the NH Women’s Foundation AmplifiHer award. Latonya is a board member of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, as well as an incorporator and vice chair for the Business Alliance for People of Color.  In 2019, she founded Purseverence 207, a nonprofit where she has distributed over 900 purses filled with personal care products and a handwritten message of encouragement to various organizations that assist women in need.

Latonyaw Jwh 6445 3What do you admire most about your role and being a community advocate?

I’ve become kind of that bridge between the community and the Community Loan Fund, creating that visibility for the amazing work that we’re doing across the state.

What I love so much about all of the work I do on the boards is that they all align with things that I’m personally driven by or passionate about. For the most part, it really does not feel like a heavy weight or heavy left, because they’re all intertwined, serving the community in very similar ways.

How important is mentorship to you?

It’s beyond important to have mentors. I have people that we go back years and years. And even though we don’t connect regularly, when we do reconnect, it inspires me even more to keep up the work that I’m doing and having that support from them or to have individuals that have helped me get to this point that I can bounce ideas off of. It’s really such an amazing thing.

It’s almost necessary to have that mentor and, and someone you can lean on, especially if you’re involved in so many things. I don’t wanna call it like a roadblock, but you get to a certain point when you’re having self-doubt, and they help you come back a little bit.

You want to make sure to keep those lines of communication open with your mentor. It’s okay to have multiple mentors, because they might be in different areas of study or industries with a completely different input based on what they do compared to what you’re doing. So, you just see through a different lens.

What are your passions outside of work?

I have children, so making sure that they’re comfortable with who they are and the environment that they’re growing up with. But that they also find the strength and know that they have my support if they ever want to speak up if they see change that they want. I want to be the one to help them work through that.

I’m really passionate about helping youth and being a mentor to young folks — just overall empowering women in the state. We have that imposter syndrome. I was in banking for 20 years, which is a male-dominated industry. So, there was a lot of self-doubt that I placed in myself, and I try to find opportunities to empower women as best I can.

What’s next for you?

This has been a couple years in the works, but I’m growing a group called the Women of Color Connections. A lot of people of color move to New Hampshire, and then they don’t have a network or they don’t have people to connect with. I haven’t received approval yet, but that’s something new that I’m looking forward to and hoping I have the opportunity to experience.

I have all of these little branches that are kind of my foundations, but then I’m always trying to make sure other branches are connected to the other, even within the nonprofit space. I love being able to find or have people find the value in connecting. You don’t have to always see each other as competition. There’s enough funding, there’s enough resources. There is enough out there for all of us to just work together.

What advice do you have for future female business leaders?

Probably the best advice that I can give is to get out of your own way. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy, and we don’t understand our value that we bring to the world and to the community. Just taking the time to believe or invest in yourself, so you can figure out what you’re meant to do, and put all you have into it. You’ve got to find the enjoyment in everything you do.

Categories: Outstanding Women in Business