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 +

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