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Belizean To Receive Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award

Jun 23, 2023

Belizean To Receive Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award

Philanthropist and Entrepreneur Teresa Hernandez-Howe is set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the President of the United States of America.  What makes this recognition special is that Teresa is a Belizean woman. Hailing from Dangriga, she shared with us how her passion for mentorship and entrepreneurship has not only changed her life, but the lives of others.

Sabreena Daly, Reporting

Teresa Hernandez-Howe visited Belize a few weeks ago. She was the guest speaker at Ecumenical High School’s graduation ceremony. As a mentor, Hernandez-Howe makes frequent trips to Dangriga where she advises and guides young girls of color.

Teresa Hernandez-Howe

Teresa Hernandez-Howe, Founder, Girls of Color Take Over
“You know, if you don’t remember my name, at least, I want you to remember this lady, that changed my life where she, she mentored me and she, you know, empowered me to, to move forward and to create something of my own, of, create a legacy for themselves.”

Teresa is an entrepreneur residing in Tampa, Florida. Her passion is mentorship and entrepreneurship.  Over the years, she has found a way to empower girls of color by merging her enthusiasms.

Teresa Hernandez-Howe

“I have an organization, it’s called Girls of Color Takeover. It’s products and services. So the services, as I mentioned before, is to mentor and empower young girls, um, again, to just start their business, think about what they wanna do. And then the product side is, um, self-care, body care products, so bath salt, oils because, you know, we could think of everything we wanna do in the world, but we have to pour into ourselves first. So it’s always good to take care of our mental health, our spiritual health or physical health. So the self-care body products, not only is it showing them that I have my own business as well, but it’s also helps women, young girls, to use products to help with self-care.”

Hernandez-Howe has mentored girls as far away as the Philippines, Thailand and even Ghana. The goal is to provide support through guidance, while reinforcing that their dreams can be realized.

Teresa Hernandez-Howe
“This all started a few years ago when I went on a mission trip to the Philippines. That was how this started. I mentored some young girls out there and they all had goals and vision. They just didn’t have somebody to push and they didn’t have the resources. And so that was back in 2017 when I did that mission trip. And so my vision and my passion started on that trip and since then I’ve been of course, home is like number one, so making sure that I find time to be home. I’ve been to Thailand and I recently went to Ghana, so I’m working on some things there. So yeah, I’m just, you know, exploring the world and planting seeds and, and doing what I love to do.”

Two years ago, Teresa began mentoring Belizean girls with pageantry.  News about what she was doing quickly spread to other girls in the community. Soon enough, parents were reaching out and sharing the impact Hernandez-Howe’s mentorship had on their daughters.

Teresa Hernandez-Howe
“Their moms had so many good things to say. They sent me messages, oh my God, my daughter had a really great time. You really made a difference. She said she wants to be a dentist and have her own practice. So there was a lot of great feedback. And that’s the whole purpose of it, for them to be able to remember things that we talked about and, and the mentoring that happened.”

We traveled to Dangriga to meet Jaeann Laurie, a young lady with big dreams of opening her own dental clinic. She met Teresa after participating in a pageant two years ago. Since then, the goal of working for an employer has changed to Jaeann working for herself.

Jaeann Laurie

Jaeann Laurie, Young Entrepreneur

“First, I wanted to be a dentist and work for somebody else, but when I first met Miss Teresa, she asked me what I wanted to be and I told her I wanted to be a dentist. And when I met her again, she said she had her own business, her own skincare business and Girls of color, taking over. I told her I want to be an intrapreneur and have my own dental business.She inspired me to be an intrapreneur. She told me to do what I want to do and I can be whoever, wherever I want to be.”

Her mother, Raedawn, admits that she knew her daughter was destined to be in dentistry; she didn’t imagine that it would be as an entrepreneur.

Raedawn Laurie

Raedawn Laurie, Mother

“From little, she liked to play with her teeth, take out teeth, everybody teeth, even her own teeth.Her little sister, she even took out her little sister teeth herself. And she told me, mom, I want to be a dentist. I told her, baby, you could be anything you want to be. She said, I wanna be a dentist. Now, after she had that speech with Mr. Teresa, she didn’t just want  to be a dentist, she wanted to now have her own dentist business.”

Raedawn Laurie
“I would’ve never thought about that and somebody came like, godsend and just inspired my baby and inspired her that you could be great. I am so happy and excited about that.”

Teresa Hernandez-Howe
“Being a woman of color as well, working in the work field, I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen where we were denied positions, where the pay wasn’t where it needed to be, where you had to really fight harder to get a promotion. And so for me, having that background and that experience of what I’ve seen in the retail world, I knew that I had to work on a way where I can empower young girls to, number one, know their worth. Number two, know that they’re powerful, that they’re strong and that they can be anything they wanna be. You know, jobs or jobs are great, they help to sustain us, but at the end of the day, no job is your job unless you have your own.”

Teresa is currently mentoring seventeen girls from her hometown, Dangriga.  Her philanthropic pursuits, however, are also recognized to the point where she has been nominated to receive the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award. Hernandez-Howe shared with us that this recognition is special because of her roots.

Teresa Hernandez-Howe

“I was nominated and awarded for being one of the top 10 people here in Tampa to know in business, which was really great.  I won an award for being a She-E-O girl boss most recently. That was phenomenal. Somebody voted for me and I was, you know, awarded as one of the people who go above and beyond, which that’s what I do. And now I’m being, you know, I’m gonna be. Receiving a presidential lifetime achievement award from the President. So that’s phenomenal. And what makes that even more special is I’m a girl from Griga, you know, like from Belize. And you know, this is just to show that if I can do it, you know, anyone else can receive something like this. And I’m not sure if I’m the first. Person from back home, but I know I won’t be the last.”

Looking on the Bright Side, I’m Sabreena Daly.