Samí Haiman-Marrero

Orlando, Florida

Personal LinkedIn Profile

What is your company description and what makes your company unique?

URBANDER specializes in assisting organizations in the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors to develop and implement an intentional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) strategy that will harness the socioeconomic power, influence and contributions of people of color. We support the development and implementation of internal and external programming and marketing initiatives focused on employee, consumer, supplier and community diversity as follows:

• Employees - The infusion of DEI practices that improve hiring processes, retention, cultural competence, internal relations, productivity, workforce development, and team member morale.

• Consumers - Crafting an approach to the market that will effectively connect, engage, and optimize an organization's engagement and outreach efforts geared towards diverse consumers.

• Suppliers - The establishment of a Supplier Diversity program that connects, educates, vets, and secures qualified, certified, and diverse vendors who do not have equal access to contract work with the entity.

• Community - Demonstrating a serious commitment to edifying marginalized people and allyship to worthy movements, not driven by boasting robust philanthropic investments, metrics, and awards.

URBANDER's unique business proposition is our Multicultural Navigator services. Consumers, employees and communities of diverse heritages are loyal to companies that represent and honor their voices, identities and cultures properly and authentically. Put simply, people feel connected to enterprises, brands and entities in the private, public and nonprofit sectors that speak to them in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

URBANDER’s Multicultural Navigator can produce and transcreate original content in 120 languages through our team of over 400 certified language and culture experts, for marketing, communication, educational and outreach efforts such as the following:

• Instructional or Promotional Videos
• 2D and 3D Animations
• Scriptwriting and Speechwriting
• Audio Transcribing
• Subtitles
• Social Media Posts
• Infographics
• Editorial / Newsletters / Magazines
• Website Content
• Press Releases / Media Advisories
• Annual Reports
• PowerPoint Deck Presentations
• Employee Onboarding and Instructional Manuals
• Promotional Materials / Flyers
• Brochures / Rack Cards
• Multimedia Advertising
• Biographies
• Research / White Papers

URBANDER exercises a 2-step process for projects that require linguistic and cultural relevancy. This is how it works: a lead language and culture expert transcreates the content into the language required, and then submits it to a fellow language and culture expert on our team who will proofread the content prior to final client submission and dissemination.

The transcreation of content is also a basic first step in establishing equitable pathways for diverse people to have an equal opportunity to access any available resources and support they need to thrive.

How did you get into entrepreneurship?

When I lost my job in 2008, during the last economic crisis, I struggled to find a job that would sustain my family. My husband had lost his job as well. Having experienced a 180 degree change in our financial situation made me realize how ill prepared we were to overcome the loss of our income and also to seek for new opportunities in a highly competitive environment.

We almost lost our house, our savings vanished, we had to rely on credit cards to buy food and pay our bills, we had to pay for our own health insurance, etc. Unemployment was not enough to cover all of our expenses and our credit was shot after 10 months. It took us years to recover from all of that. And I still feel we were privileged in that we both are Hispanics who command English and had college degrees that we could lean in on, which we did.

Running out of options, I started my own company where now my husband works as our Creative Director. I also realized then that many people of color do not have access to resources and opportunities to face barriers much greater than mine. The inequities they experience are daunting to navigate. It was a realization that we had to focus our work on Multicultural Marketing and implementing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion models into how our clients conduct business in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Only then, all individuals and families in our communities will attain social mobility and thrive.

Why do you do what you do?

We are constantly looking for companies and organizations we can collaborate with in the full spectrum of society to affect positive change. For us, this is measured by increasing access to diverse population segments to the resources they need to experience equity in their lives.

From leaders in the corporate sector and government, to nonprofits and the most underrepresented communities, URBANDER seeks to collaborate with others to eliminate barriers that prevent diverse people from experiencing equitable access to quality services, products, business opportunities, social mobility, professional and career advancement, education, funding, and resources – just like successful White males in America. Our end goal in everything we do is to edify people, so we are hyper-focused on entertaining prospective partners, locally, regionally, and nationally, that are aligned with our values and are ready to take action with a sense of urgency.

What tools, resources or books have you used to start and/or grow your business?

1. We have been able to grow and expand our bandwidth through peer-to-peer mentorship and collaboration with other entrepreneurs.

2. Our Women and Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) certification with the City of Orlando afforded us the opportunity to become a vendor of the Orlando Heath hospital network (2014 to present).

3. URBANDER's philanthropic and grassroots work has helped us build our three R's: Relationships, Respect and Reputation.

4. We seek and explore for collaborative opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs in Central Florida and in other states.

Why did you choose to locate your business in Florida?

We chose to move to Florida from New York in 2004 because of how affordable it was to buy property (a home) here in comparison. Back then, I was able to secure employment with the New York Post who allowed be to work from Orlando in my role as National Advertising Director. After four years of working from Florida for the newspaper, I was asked to move back to New York in order to keep my job, and I declined.

It was 2008 and I felt that there were no guarantees at that moment that my position would not be terminated in a second wave of lay-offs. We stayed in Florida and I started my business to support my family during that difficult time. Thirteen years later we have been able to not only survive and thrive during the pandemic, but have been able to also help others struggling to sustain their families.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Practice peer-to-peer mentorship and collaboration with other entrepreneurs to grow and expand your bandwidth. Find trusted collaborators that have an abundance mindset and are not caught up in competition (a scarcity mindset).

Invest time in giving back to build muscle as a leader inside the community. Entrepreneurship and activism are not mutually exclusive. In the current business climate, it's a requirement to take a human-centered approach in everything you do, putting people first (if that's what you believe in).

Build on the three R's: Relationships, Respect and Reputation. Value and honor your relationships with others, demonstrate and yield respect by modeling behavior rooted in integrity and respect for human dignity, and protect your reputation (also refraining from knocking down others).

Seek and explore for collaborative opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs in other states and around the globe. Do not limit yourself! Always innovate and surround yourself by people that know more stuff that you do!

How can other entrepreneurs help you?

1. By sharing any complementary expertise they might have and exploring collaborations where we can pitch large business opportunities together with a sense of camaraderie and full transparency.

2. Through any in-kind support to help and mentor entrepreneurs with younger business we can pair them up with would be awesome.

3. Referrals are always welcome.

4. By exercising equitable business practices in their workforce, with their customers, with their vendors and in their communities. We all have a role in repairing the very fabric of humanity. Entrepreneurship is key to building generational wealth across all communities, delivering social justice.


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