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Victoria Jenn Rodriguez of VJR Enterprises: “Equality across all levels”

Women need to become founders because we each have uniqueness and gifts that the world needs to see. We also need to use all of the things that traditionally were used against us to hold us back, such as, our beauty, our femininity, our voice, our intellect, to propel us forward as a gender. Equality […]

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Women need to become founders because we each have uniqueness and gifts that the world needs to see. We also need to use all of the things that traditionally were used against us to hold us back, such as, our beauty, our femininity, our voice, our intellect, to propel us forward as a gender. Equality across all levels; monetary, personally, professionally will only happen when more women decide to bet on themselves and lead the way.


As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, 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 dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I’m acorporate 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.

In addition to running my consultancy, I founded The Female Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to revolutionizing how women work and do business together. We have a national network consisting of over 2000 trailblazing women who collaborate, educate, and provide access to each other, revolutionizing how 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.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

After I got laid off from my last corporate job before becoming a full-time Entrepreneur, I was interviewing with companies I thought I wanted to work for. I would make it to the final rounds and never close the deal, which threw me off because I’m a closer. I kept in contact with everyone I interviewed when I was looking for a job but decided it was time to bet on myself and start my business. My first six-figure corporate contract as a business owner came to me from a woman I interviewed with when I was looking for a job. The lesson here is, a no means not right now, and relationships are everything.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I ever made was sending out an email that was meant for my boyfriend to my entire network! It was slightly embarrassing but ended up working in my favor. After reading my email, clients reached out to tell me how much they admired my bravery and focus haha. The lesson I learned from this was to slow down and triple-check my work.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m blessed to have so many mentors that look out for me and have played a critical role in the woman I am today and am becoming. My mentors are there when I experience imposter syndrome and also when I’m winning. They see me at my lows and my highs. One of my first mentors got me my first job out of college and put me on the board of a charter school at the mere age of 20. She gave me access. She gave me exposure. She literally is one of the pioneers behind my professional journey.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience, what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I believe women are holding themselves back. They are their worst enemy. Imposter syndrome is also at play, which impacts women, and women of color the most. We need more programming and leadership forums mobilizing women to be bold and take control. If you’re looking for an opportunity to ignite the fire within you and let your inner lioness out join me at the annual Women Who Roar Summit this April.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

As individuals, we need to take more risks and get comfortable being uncomfortable. That is when we grow the most and become the best version of ourselves to found and grow businesses that change the world.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Women need to become founders because we each have uniqueness and gifts that the world needs to see. We also need to use all of the things that traditionally were used against us to hold us back, such as, our beauty, our femininity, our voice, our intellect, to propel us forward as a gender. Equality across all levels; monetary, personally, professionally will only happen when more women decide to bet on themselves and lead the way.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean? \

Entrepreneurship is not glamourous. It’s not always fun. In fact, you’ll spend more time doing things that you don’t want to do than you will on fun activities. The self-discipline that is required is not for the faint at heart. I once heard Elon Musk say “if you need to be motivated to become or remain an entrepreneur, don’t become one.” I whole hearty agree with that. Don’t believe what you see on social media. Running a business is hard.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

Some attributes of a successful founder are being able to operate in ambiguity, staying positive, seeing the bigger picture, supreme self-discipline, and being in love with the grind.

If you prefer to not have to make 1000 decisions a day, not worry about people getting paid, accounting, paying bills, marketing, etc. then being an employee is best for you. Every position matters. We need the founders, and we need the teams to build and scale businesses. The sooner you find out what lane you play best in and enjoy the most, the sooner you will live a happier more fruitful life.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Learn from the best and pay for it. Figuring things out on my own is a waste of time and energy. I rather pay to learn quickly and implement to make money.
  2. Find a business partner. Building a business can be lonely, Bring someone along for the ride.
  3. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Figuring things out as you go is part of the magic. Embrace the uncertainty.
  4. Get a routine and stick to it. As soon as I became an Entrepreneur it just seemed like there more distraction in my life. Zone in and win.
  5. You have to love being a student. I never cared so much about learning as I do know. It never stops. I’m always a student.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I teach women how to roar and be seen. I also do work to humanize the corporate experience for people of color.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’m really proud of the movement I’ve started empowering women to live in their truth and power. My dream is to amplify that tenfold and have little girls around the world being the change they want to see by owning their magic.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would like to have an intimate conversation with Jennifer Lopez. She became ultra-successful against all odds and continues to break barriers and lift up her community.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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