Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roxana Lissa >

Roxana Lissa, Founder of RL Public Relations

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
You need to be fearless, passionate, a strong leader and giving.

What did inspire you to start your business?
I realized that there weren’t many people doing what I wanted to do and the desire to do the best work possible.

How did you finance it?
Luckily in PR, you don’t need a lot to get started. I used my bank savings.

Being Hispanic… Does it have any influence on your business?
Absolutely. Knowing the culture, language and nuances are my key competitive advantages. Being Hispanic has benefited me a great deal as most of the work that we do is Hispanic PR and marketing.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I don’t have a choice but to keep going. My father always taught me to never give up, and to face the obstacles as they come as things always work for the best in the end.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
A horrible fire. One night, our offices in Beverly Hills burned to the ground and the cause was undetermined. It was really shocking and very scary. But this incident made me realize that I had the power to trust my wonderful team. They made sure that in spite of such a terrible incident, everything went smoothly moving forward. And it did.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I would hope that Fortune 500 companies and PR executives everywhere value the role of the Hispanic consumer and Hispanic PR as a powerful marketing tool.

What was your childhood ambition?
To live in the U.S.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
I am fascinated by the rapid growth of internet companies like Groupon, Andrew Mason is a genius. Vera Wang is somebody amazing as well, who has been able to expand her business worldwide, beyond traditional fashion. Maria Contreras-Sweet is another great role model. Currently she is the CEO of Promerica Bank in Los Angeles. She has an amazing story as an immigrant, as a Latina and as a mom.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Lunch or dinner. I enjoy breakfast at home with my family.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
When I opened my business at 25, I had to work really hard for the first few years… so my twenties were more about work than fun. Another big sacrifice has been not to see my parents in Argentina as often as I wanted to. Now I have more flexibility and am able to see my mom more often.

What is your favorite quote?
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I guess either you are or you are not unconventional. It’s a characteristic that defines you – not something made up. I like to think that you can do whatever you want in life…nothing is impossible.

Biggest mistake made?
In two occasions I delegated too much to senior staff before they earned their trust in certain areas. This caused discontent among employees and clients who felt these people were not the best person to either run the company or manage their business. I learned that people need to earn trust before I can fully delegate key aspects of the business.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I believe I was able to raise the bar in Hispanic consumer PR. When I launched my company 15 years ago, little was known about how a good Hispanic consumer PR plan can help companies reach Hispanics better. Given the type of clients we have had over the years (with the focus solely being on Consumer PR), I can say we have contributed to the Hispanic industry overall to help deliver innovative approaches.

About the company:
RL Public Relations (RLPR) is the premiere, independent bicoastal Hispanic PR agency in the U.S. Founded in 1996, RLPR has been providing stellar client service and delivering breakthrough PR campaigns for leading companies in the U.S for over a decade.
With offices in Los Angeles and New York, RLPR has carved out a niche in the industry for creativity, service, strategy and results. We specialize in helping brands relevantly connect with the diverse Hispanic population in the U.S and beyond through media relations and community outreach that is rooted in strategy and insight.

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