Junior Lara

Junior was born in the Dominican Republic. He moved to the US along with his mother and three brothers in 1994 and grew up in the Bronx, NY. In 2003 he moved to St Louis, MO in 2003 where he currently lives.  

Junior is passionate about making human connections and has had the opportunity to be a coach and mentor in both personal and professional aspects of life.

He has served as president of a Corporate Toastmaster club where he had the opportunity to work alongside a group of talented individuals to improve their communication and leadership skills. Currently, Junior holds a Competent Communicator Certification from Toastmasters International.  Junior is also fluent in English, Spanish and French.

Junior continues to invest in himself and his community. His desire to serve empowered him to connect with Gabriela to create Autentico, a podcast which looks to help Latino professionals navigate their professional lives and work through the challenges that come from Corporate America and Entrepreneurship. He hopes to continue to grow this online platform and with the help of Gabriela, continue to deliver problem solving tools and lessons learned by him, Gabriela and our amazing Latinx guests.


Gabriela Ramírez-Arellano

Originalmente de Guanajuato, México.  Inspirada por su propia experiencia al crecer como inmigrante nuevo y pobre en Estados Unidos, Gabriela tiene una pasión y compromiso para ayudar a otros.

Desde que se mudó a Michigan y empezó a involucrarse en la comunidad veía la importancia de sus esfuerzos y eran momentos familiares para ella y sus hijas dar clases de liderazgo, salubridad y de comunicación a jóvenes y estudiantes.

Ahora de regreso a St. Louis, Gabriela a encontrando su voz ayudando a los dueños de pequeñas empresas a alcanzar sus sueños.  Ella y su esposo son dueños de un restaurante Mexicano en O’Fallon, MO y se complacen en compartir la cultura Mexicana y sus platos favoritos con sus clientes.

She has been recognized as a thought-leader in social innovation and entrepreneurship and was named one of the Top 100 people to know in St. Louis to succeed in business in 2017. She has appeared on St. Louis Public Radio, featured in the STL101 Speaking Series and on various panels on food entrepreneurship and recognized as a Diversity Champion by the MO Department of Transportation and a Diversity and Inclusion Champion by the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers.

Gabriela sits on the board of the Contractor Loan Fund, the St. Louis Equity and Inclusion Collective, United Way Multicultural Leadership Society, VISION St. Louis Planning Committee, Fontbonne Arts and Science Advisory Board, WomenFuture Conference Advisory Board and is trying to conquer her fear of networking and speaking in public. She is not a native St Louisan but moved to the city in 2016 and hit the ground running. She spends her days helping small business owners reach their goals and enjoys walking and cuddling with her pup, Canek.

Gabriela holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a MBA from Lindenwood University. She and her husband own Don Emiliano’s Restaurante Mexicano in O'Fallon, MO and her grown children make her proud every day.  Gabriela is co host of the Auténtico Podcast with new episodes every Wednesday to empower and showcase bilingual Latinx professionals and small business owners, share their stories and lessons learned.


To create access to education and resources for bilingual Latinx small business owners and professionals, while forming strong partnerships which support and create community.


To empower and showcase bilingual Latinx professionals and small business owners by creating a platform in which to share our stories and lessons learned.