Join the McAllen Chamber All About Women Committee, the City of McAllen, The Law Office of John David Franz, Oh Kay’s, Embassy Suites by Hilton McAllen/On the Border, and Socialife Magazine for the annual McAllen Legendary Businesswomen’s Luncheon scheduled for Thursday, March 10 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton located at 1800 S. 2nd Street in McAllen.
The women to be honored this year are McAllen businesswomen Blanca Cantu owner of Cantu Special Events, Raquel Hochman owner and CEO of Mego Afek USA, LLC, and CEO of Bert Ogden Auto Group Natasha Del Barrio. At the event, each honoree will be interviewed by The Monitor news reporter Naxi Lopez-Puente about their experiences as they developed their business careers.
The McAllen Chamber will annually recognize women who lead or own a business in McAllen for over 15 years, and the honorees will share how they overcame adversity and challenges to reach their business goals.
Blanca Cantu – Founder & Owner of Cantu’s Special Events, LLC, and Floreria Cantu, S.A. de C.V.
Blanca was born in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico and holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Valle de Bravo in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, she also holds a certification in Event Design from the New York Art Institute and Design, and a Master’s Class in Wedding Design from Preston Bailey in New York, New York.
In 1977 while studying, Blanca started working at Zenith in the financial department, the following year she joined Mexican Bank SOMEX as a general accountant and was there for ten years. In 1984 while at SOMEX, she began her own business, Floreria Cantu specialized in flowers and events. Due to U.S. customer demands, she moved to McAllen in 2004 and began Cantu’s Flower Shop. Four years later, she redesigned her business and started with Cantu’s Special Events specializing in wedding design. In 2009, Blanca received a Small Business Grant Award from the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Blanca continues to study floral Design & Development in Events Industry.
In 2017, Blanca started another business related to events, Cantu’s Special Events Rentals, offering all kinds of rental services to the Rio Grande Valley. Currently, she is developing another business related to events but will make the announcement next year. Blanca is the mother of Christian, Paloma, and Estefania, successful young professionals following in their mother’s footsteps.
Raquel Hochman, Founder and CEO of Mego Afek USA, LLC and Co-Owner of Mego Afek S.A. de C.V.
Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela to Jewish Argentinian parents, oil, and gas was not a natural career choice despite her father’s Petroleum Engineering background. Raquel holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from The University of Texas in Austin, a higher-level degree in Architecture History from Barcelona, Spain, and Business Administration from IESA in Caracas, Venezuela.
In 1991, she joined her father’s business as an architect to redesign the office spaces and production area to accommodate growing needs and new machinery. She was intrigued with the business of oil and gas and especially motivated by the challenges and injustices of being a woman in a predominantly male world.
Thirty-one years later, Raquel is focused on growing the business Mego Afek in McAllen, a manufacturer and distributor of equipment for oil and gas cementing operations worldwide, while maintaining her vision of the company as a microcosm of a society where equal opportunities exist and where education, family, and active participation in society are key. As a Latina immigrant in the USA since 2012, Raquel is determined to continue paving the way for women in the oil and gas arena. Raquel is a mother and wife, has three adopted dogs.
Natasha Del Barrio – CEO – Bert Ogden Auto Group
A lifelong valley native, Natasha received both her BBA in Marketing and MBA from our local University, legacy institution, The University of Texas-Pan American. She began her career while attending high school at Bert Ogden Auto Group as a part-time Marketing Assistant in 1999. She went on to work for Citi Group and JP Morgan Chase as a Dealer Development Manager and Assistant Vice President, respectively, where she managed business portfolios for 140 automotive dealers throughout Texas, generating over $14 million in revenue per month. During her tenure within the banking industry, Natasha became considered a leader and subject matter expert for several cross-functional initiatives designed to grow profitability and training within the realm of financial services.
In 2012, she returned to Bert Ogden as the Corporate Strategist. With Mr. Vackar as her mentor, Natasha quickly rose through the Group’s hierarchy and became the Chief Administrative Officer in 2014, and in early 2017, was promoted to Chief Executive Officer. Natasha has the vast responsibility of carrying out the strategic vision of the company by overseeing the operations of Bert Ogden Auto Group’s 20+ franchises. Strategic planning, efficiencies, accountability, and professional ethics are values close to her heart and have been instrumental in her professional success. These core values earned her recognition in 2018 in the industry’s leading trade publications, Automotive News and F&I Showroom. In 2019, Automotive News recognized her extraordinary work in automotive retail operations by honoring her with the 40 Under 40 award. She continues to contribute to various industry media outlets as an industry leader.
Natasha has often said that one of the greatest benefits of the scope of her work is the opportunities afforded to her to be involved in the community such as sitting on the Board of Directors for Easter Seals, UTRGV’S VCOBE Executive Advisory Council, and the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s Alumni Advisory Council. But her most beloved role is being the proud mother of her three beautiful children: Ethan, Connor, and Cora.
The event includes lunch to be served by the DoubleTree Hotel. The cost to attend the event is $40 for Chamber members or $60 for non-members. Sponsorships and reserved tables are available. There will also be swag bags and plenty of fabulous door prize giveaways.
For more information or to make your reservation, please contact Gerry Garcia at 682-2871.