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During a pandemic, who is investing to make larger her business, create more jobs for our people, and ensure access to first-class care for those without private insurance? The answer is easy: a Latina woman.

In the last year, nearly 60% of the new businesses opened across the country are owned by female entrepreneurs from our community, according to the latest Stanford University study.


Dr. Gabriela Duraes is another excellent example of fighting women who, against all odds, believe in their dreams and are willing to coping with adversity to achieve them.

At her successful office in Bloomingdale, IL, she already had plenty of work, with over 300 clients and generating at least 15 direct jobs. You could say she was comfortable and didn’t have to risk it.

But entrepreneurs are driven by an inner flame that invites them to keep generating opportunities. She was not afraid and decided to bet on growth, invest her savings, and now has the challenge of serving more Hispanic clients in her second practice, located at 2340 N California Ave, Suite A, here in Chicago.

The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) President & CEO, Jaime di Paulo, was invited to tour the Blooming Smiles Chicago Dental Center’s new facilities in the heart of Logan Square. In that visit, he witnessed firsthand the great work of this professional who is now a proud new member of our IHCC.

“It’s a matter of pride seeing the Latina women carrying on with their entrepreneurship spirit. They are leaving aside the complaints, putting a huge effort, opening first-class facilities, and thinking about providing quality service to our community,” said di Paulo. “Gabriela is another excellent example of the thousands of women who make the work of our organization even more important.

Opening a new dental office in Chicago amid the pandemic was a big challenge. But nothing scares this Brazilian woman, who speaks perfect English and Spanish. She has a destiny: to help build smiles.

Her two parents are dentists in Brazil, she says. So, since she was six months and did not even have teeth, she was already crawling around her parents’ office and watching them work in silence.

Those memories marked her forever. Thanks to her parents’ efforts, Gabriela attended the same Federal University of Diamantina, where they graduated as dentists. In 2005 she graduated with honors and became Dr. Gabriela.

After earning her dental degree, she moved to Baltimore to complete a graduate program specializing in general dentistry at the University of Maryland. There, she received the Harry WF Dressel Award. It was granted to her both for her clinical competence in dentistry and her concept of patient care. While she was in Maryland, Dr. Duraes earned a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences. Later, The Journal of Dental Research, perhaps one of the most prestigious dental scientific journals, published her dissertation.

Dr. Gabriela understands that professional skills must be coupled with compassion to provide exceptional dental care. Thus, she is also committed to serving Hispanic families in need of care.

Latina-owned small businesses are the fastest-growing segment in the United States and play a key role in driving the nation’s economy. How do they do it? With perseverance, education, and a lot of grit.

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