Woman Wednesday: Kelly

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.     


 

Q and A with Kelly, Toronto, Canada

 

One thing I’ve learned is this: You cannot control what happens in your life, but you can control how you react to it. I think if I continued to sulk and think negatively, nothing significantly positive would’ve happened in my life. Changing my perspective and immersing myself in hope and positive thinking only resulted in positive changes in my life.”   

 

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Q: What are you passionate about?

A: It would be exceptionally hard to pinpoint one thing I am passionate about because I am passionate about everything I do. I currently work as a communications coordinator for a company that promotes financial stability in underdeveloped countries. Luckily, I found this position by accident, and I am proud to say that I am a part of a project that helps those in need in someway somehow. One of my passions is definitely helping others. Aside from my full-time job, I am the founder of the subscription box business “Petite Princess Box,” and I have to say building, creating, and executing my own ideas and seeing it all come to life is one thing I will always be passionate about. I think I have always been an entrepreneur at heart.

 

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Pictured: One of Kelly’s customers enjoying her Petite Princess Box! 

 

Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?

A: A year ago, I lost my dad suddenly from a heart attack. I had such a stable life and everything was going great for me. I just got into my master’s program, had a growing business, and my family was happy and healthy, and then my world just changed dramatically with his death. You can say I had to grow up quick. I had my hands fully immersed in everything after his death. I guess you can say I became the “new man” in the house. After his death, I lost a lot of motivation. He passed away two weeks before my master’s program would begin, and I could barely focus. I felt like the quality in my work was slowly diminishing. I also stopped focusing on my subscription box business, and I could see it literally sinking. I ended up picking myself up and telling myself that I have to really immerse myself in positive thinking and to focus on finishing the goals my father wanted me to complete. And so I did that, and a year later, my whole life has changed (for the better). I graduated with my degree, found a close and loyal tribe of friends and loved ones, got my very first “big girl” job, and rebranded my entire subscription box business, and it is growing very quickly.

 

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One thing I’ve learned is this: You cannot control what happens in your life, but you can control how you react to it. I think if I continued to sulk and think negatively, nothing significantly positive would’ve happened in my life. Changing my perspective and immersing myself in hope and positive thinking only resulted in positive changes in my life.

 

 

Q: What were your younger years like? 

A: My childhood was nothing but great! We lived a pretty modest life in the suburbs. I grew up with my parents who immigrated from Palestine and my younger sister. My parents have always been supportive and always pushed us to be our best. Growing up, I struggled in school—all the way up to my high school years. I was never able to maintain exceptionally good grades and as many tutors as I had to assist me in my studies, there was still this struggle I had in obtaining a single “A” on my report card. Before starting my last year of high school, I told my guidance counselor that I wanted to get into university after I graduate. She told me that based on my grades from my previous years, attending a university would not be a realistic goal unless I managed to maintain an 80% average in my final year. I remember going home to tell my parents how angry I was at the lack of encouragement my guidance counselor had for me, and I promised myself and my parents that I would work hard enough to get accepted into a university program. In my last year of high school, I ended up maintaining an 87% average and got accepted into the highest ranked university in Canada. Fast forward to my last year of university—I had maintained a substantial GPA and ended up getting accepted into a very competitive program for a master’s degree in communications. You can say that these experiences in school really impacted my life to where I am today. If you were to ask me if I’m still upset that my guidance counsellor for discouraging me, I would say no. If she didn’t discourage me, I wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard as I did to prove her wrong and prove myself right.

 

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Pictured: One of Kelly’s customers enjoying her Petite Princess Box!

 

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Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

Business Links:

www.petiteprincessbox.com

instagram.com/petiteprincessbox

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/petiteprincessbox/

 

 

 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Leilani

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below. 


 

Q and A with Leilani Romero, Fairfax County, Virginia

Website: www.leilaniromero.com

WATCH LEILANI HERE VIA A SHORT VIDEO CLIP.

Author/illustrator of The Little Things: A Collection of Happy Things

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“Since I was a little girl, I loved all things artistic. I would draw people for fun since I could remember and gift them the drawings just to make them smile. I would create cities out of art supplies and colored cardboard…creating my own little world. I would spend hours on Microsoft Paint drawing pretty things simply because I enjoyed it, and little did I know that this was called design.”

 

Q:What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m a graphic designer, international portrait and wedding photographer, an illustrator, and most importantly an entrepreneur. I graduated from the school of art and visual technology at George Mason University with a concentration in graphic design and a minor in art history. Although this might sound very cut and dry, my college career was far from it. I changed my major three times, and for a while I thought I’d be an architect…It took a little soul searching to find my passion, but in the end I chose happiness over all.

Since I was a little girl, I loved all things artistic. I would draw people for fun since I could remember and gift them the drawings just to make them smile. I would create cities out of art supplies and colored cardboard…creating my own little world. I would spend hours on Microsoft paint drawing pretty things simply because I enjoyed it, and little did I know that this was called design.

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In high school, I began to explore photography and in college a friend gave me my very first canon camera because I was really good at photography. I later learned dark room film photography and continued to take portraits of the people I loved because I didn’t want to forget a thing about this beautiful life. As I took more and more photos, I began to receive requests, and friends and family pushed me to launch a Facebook page. Next thing I knew, I was starting an official creative business: Leilani Romero Co. and taking portraits and shooting weddings professionally! It’s been five years since and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After that, I began to expand the design side of my business and launched The Flower Shop, a place for handmade prints. Pretty soon I published my very first book, an illustrated work— The Little Things: A Collection of Happy Things.

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While running a business became my passion, in order to support it, I worked in the professional world for five years in the non profit, corporate, and consulting spaces. As a consultant, I was able to learn about marketing strategy, communications, and social media marketing. It was through these many corporate career opportunities that I became a digital marketing subject matter expert. Although I’m only 23, I’m proud to say that I have worked professionally in this space for five years, and it was well worth it.

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Q:What things have you learned that have been valuable to you?

A: One of the most valuable lessons I learned is to always be clear and open with others. In business it’s very important to always be professional, learn as much business knowledge as you can, and always educate yourself. Business law is crucial, and drafting the appropriate contracts can really be the best decision in the long run.

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Q: What do you want others to learn from your story?

I want others to learn to never stop working on their dreams, and always follow them with all their hearts, because it is so worth it.

The grass is always greener where you water it. Fairytales and daydreams are possible as long as you work hard for them. Nothing comes easy, even if it seems that way, but if you believe in yourself, good things will come. Always be passionate, true to yourself, and constantly search for motivation.

The biggest takeaway is to focus on what will make you happy, and live life to the fullest. If you have a dream, you need to listen to it, and chase it with passion!

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Woman Wednesday: Kidron

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.


 

 

Q and A with Kidron, Baltimore County, Maryland

WATCH KIDRON HERE VIA A SHORT VIDEO CLIP.

 

 “I was born in a very modest household, the daughter of a Financial Planner and a Phlebotomist (chemistry nerd). In many ways, I reflect characteristics of my parents, but I am very much like my father. I have always been told that I am “very bright,” but it wasn’t until I entered the world of finance that I felt I had finally found my place. I worked long hours…for less-than-ideal pay, applied myself to learn as much as I could, and over the years, I finally began to progress up the corporate ladder.

 

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Q: Tell us about your younger years.

A: I grew up in a small town in Pikesville, Maryland. I was scrawny, spunky, had a knack for making up bad jokes (that I thought were great), and I was good with my hands. According to  my mom, I spent a good deal of time “taking things apart” when I was younger, but also often putting them back together. The kids in the neighborhood also considered me a sort of “connoisseur” of the monkey bars, and a master of broken bicycle chains. My mom interpreted these inclinations as signs of a future “Mechanical Engineer.”

 

 

Q: What was high school like for you?

A: To put things eloquently, I struggled like everyone else. I was pretty awkward, didn’t fit in any particular social circles, and didn’t seem to have a natural gift for any of my classes. With the exception of two subjects: honors pre-calculus and a technology glass, I was pretty status- quo. I would not really characterize myself as a “math-kid” either. I loved algebra, and other studies, to which I could attribute logical flow akin to building Legos. Otherwise, high school was a time I would never assign as “pleasant”.

 

 

Q: What was the next step for you after high school?

A: My first “Big-Girl” job was working at as a Digital Life Sales specialist at age 17 for a big-name electronics store (shout out to my mom for encouraging me to apply for that job). Believe it or not, I’ve always had a “knack”, or natural proclivity, towards computer technology—as long as I can remember.

 

As shy as I was, I actually ended up being quite the strong salesperson. I knew hardware, software, operating systems, and cell phones like the back of my hand. I knew the products, I was charming, and I recommended practical solutions without over-selling. I was willing to teach the customers to help them make an educated decision about their purchase. I began to thrive, and before long I was promoted to “team lead,” in a full-time employment capacity.

 

This was also the time in my life when I was supposed to be in college. I graduated high school (barely) on time, and enrolled at a private liberal arts school, with the intention of becoming an Interior designer. I thought I could make a decent living on interior decoration, and I had enough demonstrable math skills to comply with the calculation-aspects of the job.

 

However, once I got to school, it wasn’t long before I started to realize I wasn’t that great at being an artist; and that making a comfortable living would probably require an advanced degree, and years before the salary was commiserate with my experience. I also started to advance more and more in my baby-career as a salesperson. I enjoyed it, seemed to have grasped some form of popularity never previously experienced, and I did well for a kid out of high school.

 

It wasn’t long before I was promoted at work, and the allure of obtaining that Bachelor’s Degree in Arts faded away; during the same time, footing the tuition bill for that full-time private education became something my parents couldn’t afford. I became disinterested enough to drop out.

 

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Q: Do you believe dropping out of college was the best decision for you?

A: I would not necessarily say that I “regret” dropping out of school then, but returning to continue my education further on in life certainly has not been any easier than when I was a relatively careless 19-year old. Thankfully, the skillsets that I had acquired and developed working as a salesperson had universal application in the finance world. In the fall, I was recruited to start my first professional position, working an accounts receivable role for a company in the Baltimore area. I still didn’t have a degree, but I was good with numbers, excellent with spreadsheets, and learned financial concepts easily. Working for this company helped me develop critical thinking and analysis skills, that were unsatisfied by the collections-oriented position. I spent about 18 months with that company before I moved on to other opportunities.

 

I knew that tenure and consistency is important for advancement in the world of finance. I sacrificed for these positions. I worked long hours… for less-than-ideal pay, applied myself to learn as much as I could, and over the years, I finally began to progress up the corporate ladder.

 

There is an invisible line between the “associate” and “analyst” experience leveled position (which generally required a Bachelor’s Degree of some sort) that was rapidly approaching, and I it knew would be challenging to cross. In order to move beyond billing and collections, I had to be able to prove I had the skills required to be an analyst. I knew that would be difficult without a 4-year degree, but I also learned that sometimes, those 3-day long training sessions for Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint skills carried weight in the eyes of managers and employers—because experience is also valuable. I signed up for company-sponsored, industry-approved classes, I did IT hardware and software certifications through our employer’s online training center as often as I could; and I kept a running list of everything I did. I also amassed a number of training hours that qualified for “Continuing Professional Education” credits, which is a huge plus. No matter how long I worked at any contact position, I made sure I had some form of evidence to show what skills I learned and what I achieved. I also learned on the job, sitting behind computer monitors. I learned to identify, explain, and resolve account variances. I read lengthy sales agreements, servicing agreements, tax publications, and experience in multiple aspects of the finance industry. I learned how to implement short term and long-term solutions through the use of process automation.

 

I also taught myself how to program, predominantly in Visual Basic for Application. It’s a scripting language that’s often used to display data or calculate data and automate processes or routine tasks. That was one of the skills I learned over the years, and programming was an effective tool I could use to gain a deeper understanding of the finance world. It was also a fun way to build things.

Eventually, I went back to school. I decided to change routes a little from my original Arts-direction, to pursuing an Accounting Major.

School is still an ongoing struggle for me, but I am happy to say that I am finally about to obtain my first Degree in Business Accounting (Certificate), have surpassed the Analyst experience level, and have become an intermediate-level Developer/Programmer/Financial Modeler in the finance industry. I am also enrolled in another University to resume my path to my Bachelor’s Degree, with a Master’s Certificate in Data Analysis on the side.

 

I landed my dream job as an “Engineer” like my mom thought I would be, except I build financial models for structured finance deals on a digital platform.

 

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Q: What do you want others to take from your story?

A: I’ve realized that in my life, for me to overcome what holds me back, and to be happy, I have to let some things rest in the shadows. If they don’t contribute to the betterment of myself and/ or humanity, they probably aren’t worth holding onto. I decided I had to push forward for what I wanted (and deserved) if I had to be the Little Engineer who Coded.

Work hard and persevere.

 

 

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The Trap These Mega Brands Want You to Fall Victim to…Don’t Fall for it!

There is a new trap many shoppers are falling victim to. It’s cheap prices on apparel. Yes, that may seem like a good thing, but for many in recent years, that is not the case.

Mega brands (big name brand stores—both storefront and online) are selling you clothing at such low prices that you may think they are doing you a favor, when it is often a disservice to you.

Just like a fine wine, a good pizza, a comfortable pillow, a long-wearing lipstick, some things are worth paying a little extra. Clothing is no different.

Yes, that five dollar top may be quite tempting, and I have fallen victim to buying so many cheap-priced clothing items myself that I have lost count. But not anymore. You should not either. Here is why:

 

  1. It will not last very long. That $ 5 top you bought that shrunk after one wash, got a hole in it when it got stuck to your purse, the color faded, it stretched out, the stitching came undone, it felt uncomfortable….I could go on and on. Don’t let that $ 5 mislead you, you will soon be throwing it away—and wasting more money on another cute, yet cheap top that will also face the same fate.

 

  1. It is not good for the environment. Often these cheap clothes are made with harmful chemicals, dyes, and they are manufactured in an unnatural way that sends pollution into our air. Most clothes need dyes and some chemicals, but pricier options often are made with low-impact dyes and chemicals that are environmentally safe. Make a cleaner choice, and opt for more natural material—like cotton. It is healthier for the Earth, and healthier for you!

 

  1. You will spend more money in the long run. This goes back to number 1…You may think you are getting a great deal with cheap clothing, but you aren’t. Spend a little more to get that well-made $25 top made of 100% cotton, and it could last you several years or longer (and actually save you money).

 

  1. Support small businesses instead—Often many small businesses will not give you clothes at a super cheap price, because a variety of reasons. One reason being that they cannot compete with the big brand names. Another reason being that they might be made better or more ethically. Also ask yourself, do you want to live in a world where we can only shop at 5 stores, because that is all that is left (because the little guys couldn’t compete)? That would be pretty boring. So instead, support small businesses when you can.

 

The next time you purchase clothes, ask yourself, “Am I really getting a good deal? Or am I falling into the trap that big name brands want me to fall into?”

 

Every $1 you spend is towards the businesses of tomorrow.

 

 

 

Next month, My Lilianas will be selling quality, 100% cotton loungewear shorts with pockets for $18 on Kickstarter. It is our pleasure to offer healthy, quality, environmentally friendly loungewear at an affordable price to you soon.

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