Don’t forget to have fun. Smile as much as possible. Enjoy the process. There will be a lot of work but remember your why and the impact you’re having on making the world a better place.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Victoria Jenn Rodriguez.
Victoria Jenn Rodriguez is the Founder and CEO of VJR Enterprises, a talent management consulting company dedicated to elevating, enriching, and empowering people to become the best version of themselves. She has been a Career Strategist and Brand Consultant for over 15 years and serves as the President and Founder of The Female Collaborative, a not-for-profit focused on revolutionizing the way women work and do business together. Victoria Jenn also sits on the Board of the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls located in the South Bronx of New York, a charter school dedicated to creating the next generation of female global leaders. As a strategic visionary thinker, she has a passion for inspiring and motivating people, at all levels, to optimize their full potential while maintaining a focus on emotional intelligence, reflection, and life balance.
Thank you so much for doing this with us. Before we begin our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”?
I’m a corporate hustler turned serial entrepreneur. After 15 years in corporate, I decided to bet on myself and become a full-time entrepreneur four years ago. I consult organizations on how to attract, develop, and retain talent. I also consult on inclusion & diversity best practices. I serve as a career coach and am often delivering keynotes on imposter syndrome.
Can you tell us the story behind why you decided to start your non nonprofit?
The Female Collaborative was born out of the need to create a stream of income for myself. As a new entrepreneur, I needed to make sure I was able to pay my bills. I decided to host an event for women that eliminated the fluff and inauthentic vibes you normally experience at traditional female empowerment events. To my surprise, the event sold out in two months, attracting women from around the country. It was at that point that I realized there was a gap in the market. Women were yearning for an experience where they could truly take off their masks and be themselves while learning, and connecting with fellow trailblazers. Fast forward four years, we’re now a nonprofit, giving back in a major way, with a dedicated board, and an amazing team of advisors. We’re about to host our Annual Women Who Roar Summit next month, after selling out three years in a row.
Can you describe how you or your organization aims to make a significant social impact?
The Female Collaborative is a national network consisting of over 2,000 trailblazing women who collaborate, educate, and provide access to each other revolutionizing the way women work and do business together. The Female Collaborative offers masterclasses, networking events, vision board workshops, interviews with celebrities and influencers, business connections, and coaching and mentoring opportunities to help women actualize their dreams on their terms.
Without saying any names, can you share a story about an individual who was helped by your idea so far?
One of our pillars is to give back. Every year we raise money for other nonprofits so they too can change lives and make the world a better place. We recently raised money for a women’s shelter that houses battered women and provides them with the tools they need to live safer fuller lives.
Additionally, two women that met at one of our Summits, have built a strong relationship and have started their own nonprofit that provides food and clothes to victims of natural disasters. We pride ourselves on curating experiences that empower women to collaborate and make magic together.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
First, we would love to partner with community organizations and politicians to reach more women that need mentorship or are seeking opportunities to build their legacy with other women. Second, access to funding would help us impact more lives. Third, a collaboration with the city or state for a facility to house our organization would allow us to have a central hub where women can go to get the resources they need.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I define leadership by one’s ability to be influential i.e. get people to take action, work collaboratively, and be productive, without using authority. Leadership is very much a selfless act. It’s more about who you are leading vs. leading yourself. Bring a leader is hard. Real hard. It’s one of the most difficult yet rewarding responsibilities one can have.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 things a person should know before they decide to start a non profit”. Please share a story or example for each.
First, they should ask themselves these questions. “Why are starting a nonprofit? What social needs are you meeting? What do you want benefactors of your mission to walk away with? How will your organization impact their lives? What makes your organization different? Why would potential sponsors/donors support you?” Using these as your compass will help give you a point of reference during the planning process. It’s important to have a solid foundation so when the pressure is heavy, you stay grounded and focused.
Second, to start you will need about 5,000 dollars to get your nonprofit registered, open a bank account, and have some startup money to run the organization.
Third, you will need to raise money if you’re going to survive. If you don’t have the training to sell your mission, get a coach.
Fourth, you will need to have volunteers that will help you run the organization. Make sure whoever you bring on to help, is bought into your mission. They need to believe in the organization and the work you do, or else it will be difficult to manage them.
Fifth, don’t forget to have fun. Smile as much as possible. Enjoy the process. There will be a lot of work but remember your why and the impact you’re having on making the world a better place.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world who you would like to talk to, to share the idea behind your non profit? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Wow, I love this. It would be a dream to partner with Michelle Obama or Jennifer Lopez. We serve all women, but our main demographic are women of color. A collaboration with either one of them (or both) would help us provide more access, education, and resources to help women live life on their terms.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson” Quote? How is that relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life quote is “Be mindful, even if your mind is full.” It’s by one of my favorite childhood artists De LA Vega. As a leader, you are constantly making decisions, and managing several things at once. This does not include everything going on in the world right now. It’s important we think before we speak, and pause if we need to.
How can our readers follow you online?
Please visit us at www.thefemalecollaborative.com or follow us on Instagram @TheFemaleCollaborative_
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success in your mission.