I was the first born of 4 children and 4th generation female first born on my mother’s side of the family. My Mom (mi Mami) always worked full-time in the medical field and loved it. She never apologized for making money for herself and her family and I adored her for that as a child and even now as an adult. My Dad (mi Padre) was a career Welder and what one could call as a “masculine feminist”. He did an amazing job making sure my 2 younger sisters’ and I were strong, positive-minded, spiritually-grounded, independent, resourceful to others, educated, and courageous enough to know that we are all leaders in our own right. All skills that were going to be abundantly necessary later in my young adult life…
I created my mobile, social enterprise, (CC4Kidz) Career Coaching 4 Kidz (https://www.facebook.com/cc4kidz), as a way to be the “captain of my own ship” after I was part of “national reorganization” of a national non-profit I had worked for just 6 months after they had hired me. I felt like a loser. That I was not worthy of working. After shedding a few tears for 5 days straight, it dawned on me while I was taking a shower and thinking of my current state of employment…I refused to experience being laid off ever again and I promised myself to do everything in my power to fulfill my life’s purpose in empowering others, especially young people, in my process of building my life back up again.
Although I didn’t truly realize it at the time, it was the perfect time in my life to start a business. I was single had just turned 26 years old just a month before my layoff with no kids, no mortgage, no car payment, and no one to tell me what to do and how to do it. I had to find entrepreneurial mentors who have been there and done that and QUICK! I had to build a brand and open up my business card binder to start with pro-bono contracts throughout the Northeast.
It wasn’t an easy road but I decided to strategically attend every networking event, conference, summit, and public meetings so that I could to learn the Boston entrepreneurial scene and potential organizational partners. Throughout the 8 years I developed CC4Kidz with a B.S. in Business Management and Human Resource Management from Lesley University in MA, I applied and was accepted to 4 Certificate programs in Career Coaching (http://www.inspiredbusinessinstitute.com/certified-career-coach-training/ ), Entrepreneurship (https://www.facebook.com/JVSBoston/posts/10150500598656048), Social Justice Leadership (http://www.ywcaboston.org/leadboston/) , and Collaborative Leadership (https://www.umb.edu/leaders/elp). I became an Opportunity Nation Leader representing my home state of MA (https://opportunitynation.org/who-we-are/opportunity-leaders/) and connected with like-passionate young professionals who have struggled as I have in closing the opportunity gap in the U.S. I became a Board of Advisor through Camp Campbell’s for Campbell’s Soup Company. My CC4Kidz team and I have won many awards and honors for our work in empowering 8th-12th graders on 21st century career-readiness skills through our customizable workshops in groups and individually.
You see, Education might have opened doors for me but Entrepreneurship gave me the confidence to WALK through those doors.
Entrepreneurship co-assisted me in developing my feminine power. It helped me discover that I had a voice. That I had something to say. That I could literally have a voice at “The Table” (ie. In Board Rooms). To give a voice to the voiceless. The women could be business owners too. That I can be creative and create jobs for others. That I AM a leader. A Latina Leader. I can create change in my community as I AM part of the community. That I am knowledgeable as well. That I can motivate others also. I have a feminine wisdom and tri-cultural competency that cannot be bought or learned on YouTube.
I am an Entrepreneur, a Boss, and a Leader…I just also happen to be a woman.
Lynette Correa-Velez is BostoRican (ie. Born and raised in Boston, MA and a proud Puerto Rican) currently residing in Champaign, IL with her “masculine feminist” husband. She is an Education Social Entrepreneur, CEO of the Correa-Velez household, Contributing Writer/Blogger for an online magazine called “Modern Latina”, and a current M.Ed. graduate student recently accepted into one of the top 5 Human Resource Development graduate programs in the U.S. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. You may contact her on Twitter @cc4kidz to connect further.