Meet Rosa Santana, founder and CEO of the Santana Group of companies, which provide transformational outsourcing solutions to organizations across all industries in the U.S. and Mexico.
Each year, WBENC presents 14 women business owners with the prestigious Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Star Award, the nation’s premier recognition for excellence among certified women-owned businesses, honoring female owners for their leadership skills, business success, and ability to serve as an inspiration to others.
Meet Rosa Santana, Founder & CEO of the Santana Group of companies
After more than 20 years of building a prolific staffing career in corporate America, Rosa found herself part of company downsizing. When a former client called her for recruiting services, she saw the opportunity to start her own business. Rosa negotiated majority ownership for a human capital joint venture and launched Integrated Human Capital, the first company under the Santana Group umbrella, in 2002. Over the years, Rosa and Santana Group have launched and cultivated new businesses across various industries.
Rosa credits the company’s WBENC Certification, as well as the educational programs and networking events WBENC offers, with helping her and her core company develop the capacity to support the creation of these businesses, which provide critical solutions to clients and have created numerous jobs in local communities.
Rosa has been the recipient of numerous awards during her entrepreneurial journey, including being named the 2019 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® for Central Texas, the 2019 SMSDC Supplier of the Year, and the 2019 MBDA Minority Enterprise of the Year at the San Antonio Minority Enterprise Development Week Consortium. In 2016, she was inducted into the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame, which recognizes the contributions of women entrepreneurs in their communities. Her proudest moment in business, though, was when her company was selected as the first Hispanic, women-owned Direct Tier I supplier to TOYOTA.
Rosa is “The Enterpriser” because she uses her business acumen and expertise to fearlessly lead and develop not just her internal team, but also other women and minority entrepreneurs.
Rosa shares some of the challenges she has faced, her advice for new entrepreneurs, and her guiding words for newly certified women-owned businesses.
What are the bigger challenges and barriers you’ve faced as a business owner? How have you overcome them?
Leaping into new and unfamiliar industries has been one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced as a business owner, but it has also been just as rewarding. I went from simply providing human capital services to also providing outsourced assembly services as the first Hispanic, women-owned direct tier I supplier to TOYOTA. At the core of each of my companies is human capital, and we recognize that the key to our continued success lies in our commitment to developing our people so that they can deliver transformational outsourcing results for our clients.
What advice do you have for a new entrepreneur?
Hone your listening skills. Listen to what your customers’ or prospects’ challenges are and create your opportunities by designing solutions to their specific needs. When I first started my business, I learned that TOYOTA was opening a plant in San Antonio, 545 miles from where I was living in El Paso, and that they and their suppliers wanted to work with local businesses. So I expanded into San Antonio and later opened an IHC branch across the street from the TOYOTA plant. Today, TOYOTA does business with four of my five companies.
What guiding words would you like to share with a newly certified WBE who is looking to get involved in the WBENC community?
Show up! Immerse yourself in the many events hosted by your affiliated council and WBENC. Stay connected through their many lines of communication. Involvement with the WBENC community is so important and powerful in getting the most out of your new certification. Volunteer your time by serving on your local board and/or their committees. Lastly, use the resources that WBENC avails to you, and there are many!
The Santana Group of companies provide transformational outsourcing solutions to organizations across all industries in the US and Mexico, allowing clients to focus on their core business.