Martha de la Torre is the president and CEO of El Clasificado, a weekly Spanish-language publication she co-founded in 1988 with her husband, Joe Badame. Launched in 1988 with $350,000 from friends, family and business associates, El Clasificado faced an initial 10-year struggle to survive due to common business startup challenges and mistakes, as well as an economic recession.
Today, the award-winning El Clasificado’s revenues now exceed $20 million, with a work force of 170, a weekly circulation of more than 510,000 with readership of more than 1.5 million Latinos. Now that El Clasificado is a dominant force in the print industry with a proven successful business model, Ms. de la Torre concentrates her efforts on developing a sustainable vision for the future.
The original mission to serve the needs of Southern California’s Hispanic community remains the same. But today there is a broader reach to the grassroots Hispanic market through many media platforms including expos, community workshops, mobile, e-newsletters and internet. Masclientes is a platform that provides online visibility for small and medium-sized businesses, Quinceanera.com helps young Latinas and their families plan their special coming of age celebration, Su Socio de Negocios provides Spanish speaking micro entrepreneurs with business tools and workshops, and Al Borde targets the young and edgy Latin rock en español enthusiast.
In recent years, Ms. de la Torre has begun to focus most of her time on the digital operations of El Clasificado and has become somewhat of an amateur expert on search engine marketing. Under her direction, elclasificado.com has become the leading Spanish classified online portal with more than 324,000 ads, 32 million monthly pageviews, and 1.1 million unique visitors. Further, El Clasificado is already looking to extend its niche base even further with more than 200 domains relevant to the Hispanic grassroots community under development.
Among much recognition, Martha was also the Los Angeles Business Journal Women Making a Difference, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, the SBA Small Business Person of the Year for Los Angeles, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Business Woman of the Year and the recipient of the Latina Style’s Anna Maria Arias Memorial Business Fund Award. In 2012, El Clasificado was awarded with the prestigious Latino Business Award by Los Angeles Business Journal. Her latest recognitions include an award for the 2014 Latina Business Woman of the Year by the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and she was named as one of the “Mujeres del Año” by the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. de la Torre is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. She joined Arthur Young & Company in 1978 and became a Certified Public Accountant and audit manager specializing in banks and businesses targeting the U.S. Hispanic market. In 1986, she served two years as Chief Financial Officer of La Opinion, the largest Spanish language daily in the United States.
Ms. de la Torre serves on the Board of Regents for Loyola Marymount University, the Managing Committee of the International Classified Media Association (ICMA), and the Board of Directors for the Latino Coalition. She also serves on 2 nonprofit boards: Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic, and on Loyola Marymount University’s Latino Alumni Association. She is a former board member of the Los Angeles County Education Foundation and will continue supporting LACEF with their community outreach efforts.
She also blogs often at The Reluctant Entrepreneur
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
■ Loyola Marymount University’s Board of Regents
■ Los Angeles County Education Foundation (Formerly on the board)
■ Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic
■ Mexican American Alumni Association (MAAA) of Loyola Marymount University
■ Los Angeles Family Housing (LAFH)
■ Los Angeles Economy & Jobs Committee (LAEJC)
■ Hispanic Advisory Board of City National Bank
■ Latino Advisory Board at City National Bank