I was born in New Port News, Virginia, soon after which, my family moved to Miami, Florida. At the age of six, I moved to Fort Myers, Florida where I continued to live until going to college at the University of Miami. Since that time, I have lived in many areas of the United States, as well as, five years in Mexico. Along with my personal passions, the culinary arts and traveling, I find my passion for business and entrepreneurship has increased greatly over the last decade.
During my early years in Miami, I was exposed to many cultures through my grandfather, who was a developer in the Bahamas, along with having homes in Italy, France and the Bahamas. Through his influence, two lessons stick with me to this day. The first was to understand everyone’s perspective and culture and to use a different approach with each individual I encountered, as to accommodate their needs while maintaining a firm grasp on my own. The second is that hard work is what will get you ahead in life.
As a teenager, I became fascinated with the Hispanic culture and learned to speak Spanish. I loved the music and cuisine and soon, I was itching to travel to a country that exemplified the Hispanic culture. At the age of 16, I was contacted by the Lions Club and asked to represent them and The United States in Peru in their annual Festival de Primavera (Spring Festival). My title was La Reina de EEUU (Queen of the United States of America). The 10 days I spent traveling through Peru were some of the best days of my young life. Aside from the amazing people and the beauty of the land, I took away what later would be my passion for food and my love of travel. I was so grateful for the opportunity to be in Peru and represent the USA. I came home a changed person. I had grown up merely hearing stories about the world and finally I had a chance to experience it for myself.
The Peru experience had left me wanting more and after returning, I applied to The University of Miami. I knew they had a strong study abroad program and it was in a city I loved. I was accepted with a 75% scholarship as a Biochemistry Major. I thought I had chosen a field of study that I would enjoy, but it just didn’t feel right and I ended up leaving to reconsider my future. As time passed, I gradually rediscovered my love for business. I had always been fascinated by my Grandfathers business dealings and his out of the box way of thinking. I knew I had some of those skill sets and I just needed an opportunity to pursue them.
After moving to Texas, I began working for DHL. I started out as part of a rather obscure collections team that handled last chance accounts. Within this group, were a subset of accounts that had “no home.” They had outstanding account balances and yet were still shipping, but no one knew how they were getting billed or why. The extent of the loss to the department was not apparent at the time; however, it later turned out that we were losing around a million dollars a month in unpaid shipping costs. I began to analyze these accounts and ran a few macros to pull out pertinent information. There was a pattern and I had found it. I compiled a list of a few thousand accounts and presented an idea to the Director of the Collections Department. The following month I was promoted to Supervisor and was given the freedom to develop my own team of Collection Specialist. Unfortunately, my glory would be short lived as DHL went out of business, as far as domestic shipping in the US was concerned.
It was right around this time that I got the travel bug again. I also wanted to see if my business acumen could take me to the next level, that of owning my own business. At first, my husband and I couldn’t agree on the next phase in our lives. He was a self-defense instructor who knew nothing of business dealings and I had an understanding of accounting and management. Fortunately, we both loved to travel. The compromise was to move to Mexico and start our own self-defense academy. I lived in Merida, Yucatan for the next 5 years. I ran the financial and marketing side of our little school while learning everything there was about the varied cuisine and culture of the new country in which I lived. After 5 years, missing my family, I moved back to Florida, but had a difficult time finding a job, so I went back to my college standby of retail management. About a year in I knew what I wanted the next step in my life to look like. I wanted to go back to college and complete a degree in Business Administration and Finance. I knew that I could not work in retail with the varied hours and schedule while attending school, so I began to look for another job. While searching for a new opportunity, I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase my first home. I had my base which was my family and a home, but I still needed a new career to support my plan. That is when I was contacted by Mr. Macke. I felt an immediate connection during my first interview and was hired shortly thereafter. And so it is, with this opportunity, that I begin the next phase of my career and life.