Thursday, October 30, 2014

Diego Prusky>

Diego Prusky, Founder & CEO, Inpulse Digital

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Thick skin, creativity and passion. Thick skin in order to still be creative throughout the hurdles of running a business. Creativity is absolutely essential to create new services and products, new processes, and to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist. And without passion for your business, you can’t spend the endless hours that it takes to run it successfully.

What inspired you to start your business?
My parents, although I didn’t know it initially. My father and my grandfather were entrepreneurs. I enjoy the challenge of building something. It is a huge source of energy for me (which my team has to cope with). At some point I realized why my dad had done some things that as a kid I didn’t understand (I was the youngest). I know now that he was strategizing.

How did you finance it?
With my own savings, I have been saving all my life. We had a ranch in Uruguay. When I was about 10, I bought a sheep, which had twins. About six years later, my dad made me sell everything because between me and my brother we had grown a herd. While finishing college I also spent some time in software consulting for Y2K projects and that allowed me to save money too. 

Does being Hispanic/Latino have any influence on your business?
We are all about understanding our client’s consumers. What really helps is having lived, travelled, studied, and analyzed different cultures. We are focused on the Hispanic market because we feel very comfortable and passionate about it.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
Experience helps. After making a few mistakes, you learn that adversity and economic downturns are all opportunities if you are prepared.
I love my work, I believe we are the best Hispanic social media agency around; we thrive on Intel’s principle of destroy your business or others will. We are always evolving.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
In the early stages, going from a single large client to multiple clients in the middle of a crisis was tough. We needed to build up and grow our infrastructure while dealing with the uncertainty of the market. Music was our first industry and they’ve been ahead of the curve, which helped us a lot.

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
I’m constantly changing things. We are always developing new services, testing new approaches. We started a social video lab just in time for Facebook’s auto-play video launch. We also created a social media research department this year. There’s a lot more we need to do.

What was your childhood ambition?
According to my mom I would say I wanted to be the boss like my dad. I used to read a lot about animals, especially African wildlife and I wanted to help save these amazing animals. I still hope I can help. I talk to my kids about it. Fortunately kids today know about Polar bears being close to extinction, and water preservation, all things that I had to learn on my own. Right now the White Rhino is about to go into extinction, there are about 5 left. I think we can take better care of our home.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
In general I don’t admire people by the size of what they’ve built, but by how they did it, the teams they’ve assembled around them, and the challenges they’ve faced. I admire friends who have been able to keep a balance between work and life, while maintaining a low profile. I’m also very intrigued about what Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’s endeavors will look like 10-15 years from now. He has been spending on growth and expansion, and the stock has tripled in 5 years. I admire entrepreneurs that give back to the community. I think they can really save the world by showing the rest of us mortals a better balance in life.

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Usually lunch, I try to have breakfast with my kids when I’m in town.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
My wife probably has a long list! Being away from home, working long hours, not taking enough vacation, and probably the biggest challenge is, as an entrepreneur you are always thinking about the business. It’s a 24x7x365 job.

What is your favorite quote?
“El diablo sabe por diablo pero más sabe por viejo” My mom used to tell me this when I challenged some of her responses as a kid. It reminds me that we can always learn new things and that experience is very important.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Not if you trust yourself and why you are doing it. I meet hundreds of people per year and some are way more unconventional and successful, and that gives me courage and inspiration.

Biggest mistake made?
Not taking more risks. Since we are self-funded, and have gone through the dot com bust, 9-11 and the Great Recession, I’ve tended to be conservative, but we’ve probably lost some growth opportunities because of it .

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I’m a Chemical Engineer, then I got into software development in the late 90s with Y2K projects. I then went on to launch the hosting & digital arm of the company I was working for and then launched InPulse as a social media agency. I like change, I like constantly thinking about and understanding how technology is changing our habits, how we communicate and what we expect from brands and entertainers.

Description of the company
InPulse Digital works for the most demanding clients at the forefront of digital: media & entertainment. InPulse Digital manages over 40 million social connections and is continually innovating and adapting to changing digital platforms and social media landscapes.  As a leading Hispanic marketing social media agency, InPulse Digital has executed hundreds of projects in over 20 countries for clients such as Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Pictures Television, MTV, Univisión, E! Online Latino, as well as various celebrities and athletes.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Earlene Cruz >

Earlene Cruz, Founder, Kitchen Connection

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Above all, you need passion and that passion will help you draw in the people and the resources that you don’t have on your own to make your project a success. 

What inspired you to start your business? 
A serendipitous moment of what I call ‘good fortune’, losing all of my money before going to Ghana inspired my business idea. In short, good people in a moment of desperation opened my eyes to the beauty of human connection and the opportunities surrounding that beauty.

How did you Finance it? 
Bootstrapping: a combination of my savings, my wonderful mother’s support, and a private investor. 

Does being Hispanic/Latina have any influence on your business?
Absolutely – I always say that my first language was ‘Spanglish’, speaking a combination of Spanish and English among my network of family and friends. This innately became the root of my curiosity for other languages and other cultures. This curiosity led me to travel to over 40 countries before the age of 21 and to want to continue exploring other cultures through food: hence the premise for

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
I write things down; I make a plan. It’s the closest thing I find to dealing with roadblocks – it brings the abstract problems in my mind down to something concrete that I can visualize, and sometimes seeing it on paper makes me realize that the situation isn’t actually as bad as I’m making it seem in my head. 

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Leveraging resources – we live in a land, (in a world) of opportunity, but that doesn’t always mean that we know how and when to best take advantage of those opportunities. Timing is key, but it’s not like every venture or project has a definitive schedule that tells you what to do what and with what, so it’s really a matter of iterating and discovering as you go. Every business is different, and although there are guidelines, Google doesn’t always have the answers – trust me. 

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
I would change how limiting my business can be. is an online business that aims to connect people all over the world, but the truth is that not everyone has a computer, not everyone can access the internet, and all of these things seriously impede the ultimate mission of the project. I hope that Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to connect the entire world to the internet really works out! 

What was your childhood ambition? 
My ultimate dream was to be Judge Judy. 

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
My mother, Mark Zuckerberg, Denise M. Morrison 

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? 

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
I had to leverage a mother growing ill, end a prior commitment to teach English in France, and learn to balance relationships during the many weeks I spent waking up at 4am – seriously not living during the hours the rest of my friends and family did. 

What is your favorite quote?
"Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change" 

Is it difficult to be unconventional? 
I think we’re all ‘unconventional’ in ways; none of us are made to be ‘conventional’; it’s displaying that unconventionality publically and being true to that nature that’s truly difficult. 

Biggest mistake made?
Not prioritizing: saying ‘yes’ when I knew in my heart that it was a ‘no’. 

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Except for a pretty solid dog bark (even my dog gets confused), I don’t consider myself to be overly talented or creative. I am, however, determined, and when I think of a plan or an idea, I really try my hardest to execute it. Nothing seems too ludicrous or extravagant in my mind. I’m aware of the many possibilities in the world, and that leads me to innovate and take advantage of the resources around me. We all have ideas; we’re all innovators. It all comes down to execution. 

Description of the company: is a platform that virtually connects individuals by two common interests: food and cooking. This happens through a live, video session. A portion of the funds contributed to the Cheffies for their time goes toward the alleviation of global hunger through our international partner, Action Against Hunger, whose mission is to save lives by eliminating hunger through the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition, especially during and after emergency situations of conflict, war and natural disaster. Our partners, chefs and culinary schools alike, are all over the world, but Kitchen Connection is not only for the professionals. It’s for culinary enthusiasts everywhere. Why not share the meals we share with each other with the rest of the world? Discover a new recipe—discover a new culture. You’re eating-I’m eating- and because we’re eating together, someone else is eating too. 

Twitter: KitchenConnOrg
Instagram: KitchenConnection
Google +: Google +

Friday, October 10, 2014

Latino Entrepreneurs To Students: Ask Questions, Be Ready For Anything

HARTFORD — Leticia Colon de Mejias gave a swift rundown of her life in the Bulkeley High School auditorium Thursday.

"I'm a mother of six children, I own four companies, last year I made over a million dollars and I'm under 40 years old," said Colon, who founded Energy Efficiencies Solutions, a Windsor energy conservation firm, four years ago with a $25,000 loan.

The longer version? It involved seeing every job as an opportunity, researching ideas and being ready for anything, she told students. "None of the doors will open until you start asking the questions," she said.

Read full article

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Best And Worst Cities For Hispanic Entrepreneurs

Hispanics and Latinos now make up the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. By 2050 they will constitute a third of the country’s population, according to census figures and their impact in business continues to grow. Latinos today account for more than 70,000 of the country’s CEOs and the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs has tripled over the past twenty years – surging from around 557,000 in 1992 to over two million in 2012, according to a report by the Partnership for a New American Economy.

Together, they brought in an estimated $486 billion in revenue, says the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Read full article

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Laura Perez >

Laura Perez, Founder, By Laura PR 

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Yes, it does influence my business. It sets me apart from many fashion publicists. Due to the fact that I'm a Mexican American fashion publicist, I'm bilingual, I'm fluent in both English and Spanish, nothing will be lost in translation when communicating with mainstream media in the U.S., Hispanic media and the media in Mexico.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Of course having a business is difficult, but I work hard everyday to provide a unique service to my clients. I've always visualized myself being a business owner and now that I am one, I continue being persistent and consistent to reach my goals as a business owner and as a publicist.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
I'm sure just like any other PR agency, I also struggle to find great clients to collaborate with.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I wouldn't change anything because the challenges and the success I've had so far, have gotten me to where I am today.

What was your childhood ambition?
My childhood ambition was to encourage others to follow their dreams, I thought about being a teacher. This childhood ambition translated to wanting to be apart of the fashion PR industry and assist brands obtain exposure and achieve their goals.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
My adoring twin sister Lourdes, founder of My Coordinates My Compass, she always finds humor in the most difficult situations and encourages me to keep going. 
Crosby Noricks, founder of PR Couture. Crosby has been there since the beginning of my career, she has given me many opportunities to grow as a publicist. 
Jennifer Berson, founder and owner of Jeneration PR. Jen has been the most amazing mentor, she has been extremely supportive and encouraging, I have truly learned a lot about the industry because of her!

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Lunch, because it not too early, not too late and you can really carry on a conversation.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Having to go from having a full time job with a steady income, to taking the leap to the unknown. In the end, it was worth taking the leap, because if you never try, you will never know.

What is your favorite quote?
"She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them." -Beau Taplin 

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Somewhat, being that my agency is Hispanic, digital and focused on fashion. It seems as if potential clients question how I can possibly complete my work and obtain results due to not being located in a big city and all my work is completed online.

Biggest mistake made?
Not taking the leap to start my own agency sooner.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes, I consider myself an innovator. I've always considered myself a leader, not a follower. I knew I wanted to have my own business and once I was drawn into the fashion PR industry, I knew I wanted to provide a service unlike any other. I wanted to use my Hispanic background to set me apart from my competition, and I wanted to provide my PR services to both national and international brands, being digital allows me to travel and work remotely at a moments notice.

About the Company:
By Laura PR is a Hispanic digital PR agency. We specialize in the growth of Fashion, Accessories and Jewelry brands. Being a digital agency means, "Instant PR at your fingertips."


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