Infusing her music artistry, fervent ambition with the positive inspiration she draws from her faith, Irene Eclavea is a shining testimony of the commitment it takes to pursue one’s dreams and goals and the utmost desire that comes from serving a higher purpose than your own. Her journey from church choir singer to a variety of professions in the service industry and as an entrepreneur was anything but predictable and she doesn’t take her recent success for anything less than a blessing from many years of dedication and perseverance. As a lifelong learner in the pursuit of knowledge, Irene is a Renaissance woman. Accomplished in both the arts and sciences, Irene is a registered dental assistant, licensed vocational nurse, licensed in property and casualty insurance, a high school teacher and adult instructor, and more. But it doesn’t stop there. She is also the president of the network consulting firm, Elevate DragonFly. With a plethora of professions, Irene believes that “once you reach a level where you feel it’s time for growth, there’s no reason for one to just stop there. Why not do everything we always thought we can do?”
Experiencing and overcoming challenging obstacles of life, Irene knew that there was more to the four walls that surrounded her. Singing in the ministry for about 15 years taught her to apply scriptures into reality; learning to “let go and let God” all in the faith and strength provided by God. For Irene, the entertainment industry was career driven first. Gathering all her knowledge and skills from her professions, she applied it into the influence of her networking business. Invited to attend the BET awards, Irene experienced her first few seconds of fame on TV. What “felt like heaven on earth”, as she describes, she was surrounded by amazing talents such as Blueface and Rihanna. Feeling like she could “breathe for the first time” ignited her journey of what we know as Elevate DragonFly today. Being born the Year of the Dragon is a part of Irene’s inspiration for the brand name. The design of the dragonfly intertwined with a flower but allowing the dragonfly itself to elevate is related to their mission: to elevate all of God’s people at the same time. Irene explains “with one, we fall and as a colony we rise. It’s about what the people of heaven’s wealth has given [me] and the relationships of everybody to work together and everybody rise. And with elevate, it’s just that. It’s about leading by faith.” Her goal as a network producer is to build strong, ever-lasting connections and mutually beneficial, strategic partnerships for people to network together. One of her many projects focuses on holding conferences on women empowerment.
“People are going to be People”
I don’t just see people; I see the spirits in people. Meaning, in every sense of the word, I only want to see the good in them. The gifts they hold, their aspirations, their dreams, their desire to succeed~ Irene
Patrice Rivers was able to catch up with Irene to sit and talk to her about her blooming and inspirational journey in business.
Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?
Irene: Throughout my journey, I realized as children, we believed that anything was possible. If we wanted to become a superstar, then naturally, without fear, we become who we envision ourselves to be. As adults the world tells us to stay in our lanes. With that being said, for me, what makes a pretty woman that hustles, is one without limits. Moving from one project to the next, executing the plans, and planting the seeds to allow all that is envisioned to become a reality, each plan, a perfect piece of the puzzle. As I connect the pieces, “the pretty woman that hustles,” reaches for the next level of opportunity in each gifted career, with excellence, and carry out the plans that arise, to reach the goal of success.
Patrice: How did your journey in business begin?
Irene: “Be Careful What You Ask For, Because You May Just Get It.”
One day, I was working as a nurse at one of the most prestigious hospitals in Southern California. I had my life set. I was newly married for the second time, had the fairytale wedding of my dreams, successfully blended the lives of our six children, sang with a Praise and Worship Ministry, and was on my third successful professional career.
I was set, as a full-time employee, with a 401K, vacation time, sick time, PTO, childcare options, and every employee perk imaginable. My morning started the same every day, Monday – Friday. Coffee, cubicle, patient work-ups, messages, immunization schedules, and occasional monthly meetings. Five years of the same routine, until one day, I stared at the four walls of my station cubicle and said “GOD this can’t be it. This can’t be it. How do I minister to your people, if I am stuck behind these four walls? It doesn’t make sense. What you have planned for me, doesn’t make sense.”
Shortly after, I received the dreaded pink slip, and was asked to leave the premises, without an invitation to return. That is when my journey began. The Leap of Faith was given to me as a gift, based on my infinite question. Ready or not, I accepted my fate. And, learned how to strategically apply, every job, every lesson, and every professional nugget, learned throughout my multiple career experiences and professions, into my own company. That was how Elevate DragonFly was born.
Patrice: As a business owner, what challenges did you face along the way?
Irene: “People are going to be People”
I don’t just see people; I see the spirits in people. Meaning, in every sense of the word, I only want to see the good in them. The gifts they hold, their aspirations, their dreams, their desire to succeed. Unfortunately, one’s desire to knowingly or unknowingly, want to continue to repeat the same cycle, becomes evident once the momentum of each project begins. And since, personally, as well as colleagues I work with today, I do not believe in employees, but practice under the realm of partnerships. Juggling with the emotions can become challenging, leaving me to say “Sometimes, people are going to be people, it’s not their fault.”
Patrice: Tell us a little bit more about your business and what does it entail.
Irene: Elevate DragonFly is a network consulting firm that is set up to help entrepreneurs and businesses through strategic partnerships that utilize resources throughout the nation to develop their knowledge, financial stability, and company operations so that the businesses involved will strive and thrive.
Patrice: How do you balance your work life, personal life, and business life all at the same time?
Irene: Since I have been in many different professions throughout my life, I have had a lot of people come and go. I make sure that I only mix business with pleasure when needed . I do not have anyone from work in my personal business or life. Anyone that is in my corner, I make sure that they are trustworthy and reliable so that we can all grow together. I make sure that I keep God at the forefront of everything that I do making sure to always seek God with any decisions that I make before I make them. I learn from every mistake that I have made or will make so I will not have to repeat the lessons over again.
Patrice: Do you find that to be a challenge for you?
Irene: There are times that I find it to be a challenge because I want to help everyone, and I want everyone to succeed. However, I have learned that you can only help those that want to help themselves and a lot of people are comfortable with clocking in to a 9 to 5 job daily, that is one of the reasons that I keep my work life separate. A lot of people do not see the vision and that is ok. I have learned that I have to keep moving in the direction of the vision that God has given me and work with what comes when it comes.
Patrice: Where do you see your business in five years?
Irene: In 5 years, I see Elevate DragonFly being a franchised business and helping women and men around the world to be the best version of themselves.
Patrice: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a business owner/entrepreneur?
Irene: To everyone that wants to become a business owner/entrepreneur I would tell them “NEVER give up on your dreams no matter how long it takes, no matter how many ideas you have, no matter what, keep doing it until you find the right one. God will always help you on your journey. If He did it for me, He will definitely do it for you. Have faith and put Him first and He will direct your path. My favorite verse in Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV) states “Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” Make sure that you write your vision and make a plan and stick to it step by step and if you get off track a little bit, that is ok, you will find your way back.
Patrice: Tell the readers about your new radio show, Elevate Doing Me.
Irene: Elevate Doing Me was founded by my former business partner, Mahonale Waters. This is an entity of Elevate DragonFly that is set to help young girls and young ladies to become the women that God has designed them to be. It is an etiquette class as well as it teaches them how to dress. It also helps them to learn how to manage their emotions and live a life that they would be happy to live when they are an adult.
Patrice: What is next for you and your business for the brand-new year?
Irene: There are major things that are already in motion, and more people will be blessed and be able to benefit from the vision of Elevate DragonFly through the partnerships that are being set up now.
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