Irene Quevedo, Veronica Burgos Gudiel, Cecilia Rodríguez
Co-Founders of Level Up Latina, LLC.
Tell us about your career and how it all started?
Three friends approaching twenty years of friendship started Level Up Latina, LLC. in the summer of 2018. It began as a labor of love to ensure all women, but especially underrepresented Latinas, had the specialized and strategic coaching needed to truly succeed. Level Up Latina, or “LUL” for short, partners with working women and mommas alike to guide them in achieving fulfilling career and life goals through financial empowerment, professional or leadership coaching, and personal wellness.
What is LevelUpLatina?
We are primarily a career advancement and life-coaching service. More specifically, we specialize in one-on-one business and financial empowerment coaching for women. We facilitate business retreats, host networking events focused on women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, and manage a rapidly growing social media platform meant to fuel women to live purpose-driven and fulfilled lives. We produce an inspiring, while often off-the-rails, weekly podcast (available on iTunes and directly on the LUL website).
What inspired you to create it?
Latinas are wildly underrepresented in positions of leadership, influence, and power. As three women who are all first-generation college graduates themselves, and climbed the corporate ladder in lonely silos, we learned firsthand how difficult our paths to becoming a CEO, business manager, and attorney, truly were. Each of us needed mentors, guidance, and simply more women who looked like us to lead the way. Yet, there simply weren’t many women who looked like us in the roles we aspired to have and eventually attained through a lot of trial and error. Our hard-fought journeys and lessons are meant to be shared with others. We knew there was something really special about LUL if it was fundamentally based on making other women’s aspirations easier to accomplish. We are not in competition with other women and therefore decided to build a company focused on elevating all women, together, and for generations to come including each of our little daughters. Did we mention we’re all raising leveled-up Latinitas of our own?
What are the most common challenges as a Latina owner and what advice would you give someone starting a business?
Starting a business is hard work, but the best work you’ll ever do! This is your hard-earned vision coming to life and fighting for that is in and of itself so rewarding. LUL is run by three equal partners who are also mothers and wives. This can pose its challenges, but we’ve found that we continue to expect the best from each other and show up for our business every day by showing up for each other. Our best, and of course bias advice, is to turn to LUL for actual expertise on building a business. We have a combined 30+ years in leadership experience and business development. You don’t have to build a business alone. In fact, not doing it alone is our secret weapon (well, maybe not so secret anymore)! So if you want to go for it.... let’s do this! There’s plenty of room at the top..., especially for successful, dynamic entrepreneurs.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Meeting like-minded women. Networking with such inspiring human beings fills our hearts. More specifically, Irene enjoys sharing her expertise as a longtime CEO. She loves public speaking and large group facilitation as well as podcasting. Cecy is a master at one-on-one coaching and a certified life coach and licensed attorney. Vero, thanks to her longtime business management expertise, enjoys organizes amazing large-scale events and is extremely passionate about women reaching their full potential through the financial empowerment work we do! In our business model, we each get to do what we love every day and lead with our strengths.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
It means truly being vulnerable with all women by elevating and not tearing each other down. It means crying and laughing with the same non-judgmental love that only true sisters can provide. Sisterhood is finding a place to belong as your truest self and to leave feeling better than before after every interaction with your sister circle!
What's your personal mantra?
Find the unique coaching you need to succeed... you don’t have to do it alone!
What would be your advice for women who are building careers in your industry?
Network like crazy! It’s very lonely to build a business without like-minded women in your corner to share in the highs and lows. Entrepreneurs # 1 rule is to put themselves out there and do yourselves a big favor: give zero F’s about the critics’ opinions. Sometimes the closest to you will judge your dreams of business ownership. Ignore those critics and proceed. Next, when striving to be a life and business coach remember the old cliché is completely true: LEAD BY EXAMPLE!
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