Barbara Lezcano is a freelance writer and poet. A lifelong writer, she has crafted pieces for a variety of organizations, addressed a crowd of over 800 on domestic violence prevention, and works in communication and marketing. She is writing various books, including a collection of poetry. Her poems have been published in local exhibits and the Agencies fanzine. Barbara has specific expertise in business and money, charity, food, music, family and parenting.
Business and Money
Barbara is entrepreneur with over 20 years of corporate business experience. Having earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Economics from Florida State University, Barbara began her professional career in the public sector, working with the State of Florida. Her responsibilities ranged from forecasting the State’s then $13B Medicaid program to addressing statewide wage and compensation issues, in addition to briefing the Governor on a healthcare plan redesign.
After moving into the private sector over a decade ago, she has worked with major firms such as Raymond James, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. She has experience in the niche market of low-income housing tax credits and in the wealth management space with business owners and non-profits.
Barbara founded Sweet Babs, a line of all-natural sauces based on her Cuban family's classic recipes, to combine her passion for food with her desire to nurture others. By using timeless flavors, wholesome ingredients, and an attention to quality, Sweet Babs sauces bring love to the table. The company seeks to disrupt the sauce industry by providing healthy alternatives to enhance any meal.
Sweet Babs has been awarded multiple grants from Prospera USA (formerly the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund), been mentioned in Edible Orlando, and received praise from influencers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Distribution is spreading quickly throughout the Southeast, and products ship nationwide. Barbara is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Barbara is an agent for social change. She divides her time, talent and resources between various non-profits. She is on the Board of Directors for Harbor House of Central Florida, an organization that works to prevent domestic abuse, where she has been involved in all aspects of grass roots fundraising. Barbara is a passionate advocate for the cause, and has spoken on behalf of the organization on multiple occasions.
She is also a survivor, and knows that through our own 'everyday engagement' with those around us, we can save lives. Active in the Junior League of Greater Orlando, she is a champion of women in leadership and promotes empowerment of women in all walks of life. She has also mentored children in various capacities. She believes women supporting each other is a force to be reckoned with.
Food and Diet
Before launching her sauce line, Barbara was all-too-familiar with dietary restrictions. Having suffered from digestion issues since she was a child, she was diagnosed with IBS in her teenage years. Barbara realized through extensive research and her own trial and error that her symptoms were largely manageable through diet and exercise.
Having successfully recovered from an eating disorder over a decade ago, she understands the difficulties these types of issues can play when integrating back into daily life. When creating her own line, it was imperative that she appeal to as many dietary considerations as possible, while still honoring generations of family recipes. Thus, the all-natural, vegan, dairy, gluten and soy-free line Sweet Babs was born.
Barbara is a lifelong cook and baker. She hosts cooking classes and is a guest chef with The Dinner Party Project and Tool4Life. She employs her company’s social platform as a vehicle to review local restaurants, share recipes, and promote her favorite food finds.
Barbara has been a musician for over 35 years. She began singing and performing at the tender age of 3, taking up piano in elementary school and viola in middle school. A member of the South Florida Youth Symphony, she was selected to play at the annual Florida Music Educators' Conference, with the All-State Orchestra, through the Florida Orchestra Association. She subsequently attended New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida.
A graduate of the Music Theater program, Barbara studied under the tutelage of Paula Wayne, Ron Headrick and Kimberly and Rafael DeAcha, founders of the New Theatre in Coral Gables – to name a few. A multilingual, classically-trained soprano, she was a member of the New World Connection, a performance group, and awarded an Honorable Mention in the YoungArts national arts competition. She currently sings, plays piano, and is teaching herself to play guitar and percussion.
Babies, Kids, and Family
Adopted at birth by Cuban immigrants, Barbara is fluent in Spanish. She is able to speak to the nuances of cultural differences associated both with nature and nurture. She found her birth mother 13 years ago and has successfully integrated the relationship into her current family’s dynamic, as well as enlightened others during their own adoption process.
Barbara began working with children over 15 years ago. She volunteers with local non-profits to mentor former foster children and is an active member of the Junior League of Greater Orlando, an organization of women that seeks to be a catalyst for lasting community change by empowering trained volunteers to enhance the lives of children and families.
Barbara is a mom. She has a spunky elementary-aged girl, and is a dog-mom to a sprightly senior-aged Maltipoo. She volunteers regularly with her daughter’s class and has inspired her daughter to become an activist in her own right. Following a contentious divorce, Barbara has navigated through the challenges that come with life as a single mother and co-parenting. She has been both a stay-at-home mom and a working parent. Because of this, she is a champion for the empowerment of women in all walks of life.
Hobbies and Interests
Barbara subscribes to the school of lifelong learning. She is an avid reader, journals, and has a personal blog. Among her favorite topics are self-help, health and wellness, and vulnerability.
Barbara is an avid yogi, having practiced for over 15 years. She practices hot or Bikram style 4-5 times weekly, and has recently seen the benefits of a consistent Yin yoga practice.
She loves the water, and enjoys the plethora of water activities available in the Florida sunshine. Barbara frequents theme parks with her family, and they enjoy new adventures together, like Circus School and aerial yoga. To learn more, please vist her website.