Photo Courtesy of Victoria Jennifer Rodriguez
During her 15+ year tenure in the corporate sector, Victoria Jennifer Rodriguez was laid off four times. While most would consider this a challenge, Rodriguez saw it as an opportunity to reinvent herself. And she did. Her resume is packed with diverse roles, from working the trading floor at Lehman Brothers to advocating for legislation in Washington, D.C.
All that change has prepared her for entrepreneurship — a lifestyle that truly requires you to be on your toes 24/7. Rodriguez is enjoying every second of the chaos — especially the moments that allow her to make a difference.
We spoke to Rodriguez about the two businesses she's founded, how she found the work that makes her tick and how she's overcome the career challenges she's come across in her whirlwind of a career. Then, she shared what keeps her going everyday — and what she's looking forward to.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Victoria Jennifer Rodriguez
Founder & President, The Female Collaborative Inc.
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
After spending more than 15 years in the corporate sector, three years ago, I became a full-time entrepreneur and have not looked back since. I am the Founder of two businesses. First, a Talent Management Agency — VJR Enterprises, LLC — that focuses on disrupting the traditional way organizations attract, develop and retain talent. We create cultures that promote entrepreneurial authenticity which in turn produces results. In addition to my agency, I founded The Female Collaborative Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides access, education and opportunity, revolutionizing how women work and do business together.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
An accomplishment I am proud of is taking the risk to bet on myself and become an entrepreneur. To date, it is the hardest thing I have ever done — and the most rewarding.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
A unique challenge I experienced in my career was being laid off four times! Yup, four times. The blessing in this challenge was as a result of being laid off, I had to reinvent myself multiple times. I found myself going from the trading floor during my days at Lehman Brothers, to advocating for legislation in Washington, D.C., to working in Human Resources at Morgan Stanley and Recruiting at Bristol Myers-Squibb, to managing talent at Johnson & Johnson, to entrepreneurship. It’s been one hell of a ride and if it wasn’t for those “challenges,” I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
My Fairygodboss is Shirley Rodriguez Remeneski — a pioneer in her community, a legend in female empowerment and the reason why I am the woman I am today. I owe much of my success to her. She took a risk on me and ensured I was set up to win. She showed me the power that comes with collaboration and the responsibility I have to my community. If I win, they win.
What do you do when you're not working?
When I'm not working, you can catch me on a plane traveling to explore new cultures, museum hopping, checking out a spoken word event or spending time with family and friends.
If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
I would like to have dinner with Jennifer Lopez. Her work ethic, discipline and big heart is so admirable. She is the product of grit and focus. Meeting her and picking her brain would be a dream.
Lightning Round: What is your karaoke song?
"Real Love" by Mary J. Blige.
Lightning Round: What is your favorite movie?
Lightning Round: What book would you bring with you on a deserted island?
One that teaches me how to stay alive on a deserted island.
Lightning Round: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
I LOVE accessories. If I won the lottery, I would buy beautiful, blinged out accessories.
What is the No. 1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Take the time to figure out what you care about and what makes you tick. Do the internal work so you can understand your passions, what drives you and your purpose. It’s important to do this work because having a strong foundation will guide you and also give you the motivation to keep going.
Why do you love where you work?
I love the work that I do because it allows me to fulfill my purpose which is helping people become the best version of themselves while staying authentically true to who they are. Owning my own business affords me the freedom to make money as I see fit while also having tremendous impact.
Join Victoria at the 3rd Annual Women Who Roar Summit on March 7 in NYC.
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