Mujeres in Marketing

from our Founder & CEO, Yeliza Centeio


I had no idea that Marketing would take me this far.

Growing up my options were to marry a man with money that could take care of me financially or become a secretary at a doctor’s or lawyer’s office.

The Beginning

My maiden name is Gonzalez Rivera. On the Gonzalez side, I mostly had uncles, it was a family dominated by males. The men made good money and took care of their families financially (though not emotionally). On the Rivera side, they were mostly females and were poor but had plenty of love to give and were caretakers. I was raised by a single mother who reminded me everyday of the importance of knowing how to cook and clean so that my future husband wouldn’t slap me across the face. I recall looking at her with anger every time she made that statement. I’ll pay the man who someday dares to slap my face – that will NEVER be me. To which she would reply ‘a pues, vas a tener que buscarte un marido rico entonces’. Translation: ‘well then, you’ll need to find a rich man.’ 

Fuck that.

Finding My Way

Becoming a secretary didn’t sound too bad growing up. I used to pretend play that I was one and every Novela I saw had a secretary who was smart, witty, and pretty but in the Novelas, the secretary usually got the ‘guy’ who happened to be her boss. 

Fuck that. 

I wanted to be the boss. But I didn’t know how to become a boss…

Then High School happened. I attended Greater Lowell Technical High School – a vocational school where you get to pick your ‘shop’ meaning that you receive hands-on trade experience while also preparing for college (one week of class, one week of shop). During freshman year I took up 6 different exploratories to see what shop I wanted to select for the next 3 years – Fashion, Cosmo, Early Childhood Edu, Culinary, CAAD, Information Processing… I hated them all. With 2 weeks left I had to make a decision. I was in tears with anxiety to the max. I wasn’t looking forward to 3 years of any of those shops, I hated them, even the fashion shop (shocker, I know). Until a friend of mine, Jennifer Laurent, told me about Marketing. She had just completed that exploratory and was considering it for her shop; she told me all about it and it sounded cool. She brought me to meet the teacher in charge of the freshmans and he was able to pull some strings to get me into the Marketing exploratory with just 2 weeks left.

I feel in love.

This was it.


I immersed myself into my shop, excelled in my classes, joined DECA and racked up awards every season. I learned about product marketing, brand building, advertising, entrepreneurship and everything in between. College taught me nothing in comparison to the experience that I had at ‘The Voc’.

After college my husband sent my resume to Zimmerman Advertising where I got a jump start in my advertising career. At the time I had no idea what Media Planning and Buying was and what the hell was Strategy???? CPMs, CPCs, TRPs, GRPs, IOs…. sounded like we ran out of letters in our alphabet and needed to create more.

But I dominated my field and made this industry my career.

Over the past 19 years my incredible husband, Adilson Centeio, has had to kiss away every bruise, wound, and scar that this industry has left me with. And yet everyday I wake up inspired and excited to take it on once again.

Four years ago I started my own advertising agency, Integral Marketing & Advertising. Since launching I wanted to align the agency with a nonprofit but I knew nothing about nonprofits. 

I have clearly outlined my business values from the start and wanted to align with a nonprofit that laddered up to them. At first I considered Autism Awareness because my nephew is autistic; but out of respect for my sister, I didn’t.

When we moved back to Orlando, I reconnected with a long time friend and colleague, Patti Brownsord, who helped me get back into the scene. In Bridgerton terms, she brought me out into society LOL. She has opened many doors for me over the past year, particularly the nonprofit doors.


During an event that Patti brought me to, Women in Communications, I met Ashley Rivera Mercado who approached me with an idea she had – to launch a nonprofit for latinas in the marketing and communications industry. She called it ‘Mujeres in Marketing’. 

I loved Ashley’s energy and spunk, she was so cute. I gave her my business card and agreed to connect with her. 

We met for dinner one evening in December where she propped opened her laptop and walked me through her brand deck for MiM – she explained her mission and vision clearly. I was in awe. 


This was it! 


This was the nonprofit that aligned with my values. 


This was the nonprofit I wanted to be part of and immerse myself into. 


From that point forward Ashley and I spent countless hours working together to realize MiM. I poached Ana Carolina Salazar from BOLD Hispanic Marketing Agency and Krystal Morris from Mindful Media Group; two industry badasses who are the epitome of Mujeres in Marketing. They are two strong, smart, and gorgeous women that I admire, respect, and genuinely care about. Thankfully, they both jumped in with no hesitation and together the four of us worked tirelessly to develop Mujeres in Marketing. 


Today, we launch our nonprofit. 


This is more than a project. 


This is more than a nonprofit. 


Mujeres in Marketing is a mission that is personal to the four of us. We are four latinas in this industry; we’ve faced adversity, discriminated against, held back, lacked resources, and faced the well known pay gap. 


We know that it will take more than the four of us to move our mission forward. This journey hasn’t been easy to date and it will not get any easier moving forward but with our community we know that we will take MiM nationally and someday not too far out into the future – internationally. 


To echo Ana Carolina’s why for joining MiM: if we can help shorten the path for another latina, we WILL. 


Cheers MiM 

May you become the community for latinas we dream for you

May you serve our community authentically

May you shine a light on our beautiful culture 

May you take over the world and make latinas everywhere proud 


To Ashley, Ana Carolina, and Krystal – THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me into your lives. 


To Ashley – thank you for having faith in me and my abilities to help you bring MiM to live. 


To Ana Carolina and Krystal – thank you for answering my emails when I reached out and thank you for helping Ashley and I with this giant undertaking. We couldn’t have done it without the two of you on our side. 


Today we are stronger because we have each other. I love you girls so much!