Dorothy Enriquez is a third culture kid by way of Belize, Italy, Japan and the US grew up to love fashion, gal pal bonding, learning and leadership. Her written works on confidence, competence and closing the leadership gap in Forbes, Training Industry Magazine, The BOSS Network and Ambition Magazine. Dorothy is known for her effective communication skills, ‘edutaining’ leadership courseware and interactive programs. A 15-year veteran of Corporate America, wielding multiple certifications and degrees, she and her collective partners strive to make transformative development accessible. In 2018 after giving birth to her daughter, Dorothy went full time as a small business owner. A boutique learning and leadership development firm, The Ellevate Collective, formerly known as The Communication Strategist, is dedicated to helping organizations and individuals optimize their leadership so that they are equipped to lead from every seat they sit in.
Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
I believe my business is the one to watch in 2021 because we are gearing up for the ultimate rebrand as we ramp up with the new vision of transforming the C Suite in the United States. Our vision is to increase female representation in the C Suite by 2%. Our plan is to focus on creating a pipeline to the c suite as well as reducing the lag that happens every time lady leaders transition from role to role at work. It’s time to accelerate!
How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
2020 pushed me to pivot in business. It taught me to be innovative with less and invest to garner more over the long run. I built out the B2C side of my business which didn’t really exist prior to COVID 19 and I also transitioned my business to function fully online. Prior to COVID 19, my business was B2B and 100% face to face. 2020 has pushed me to think strategically, work ON the business just as much as I work IN it.
What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
I learned several lessons. I’ll share my top 3. 1. You cannot set goals without strategy, they’ll often be misguided without clear strategic planning. 2. You have to clearly identify what you should work on next in the business pyramid. Ex: You can’t focus on profits if you don’t have enough sales conversion. Focusing on Sales the bottom half of the year was a game changer for my business. 3. You need a pipeline that is triple or quadruple what you plan to make for the quarter. A coach helped me to implement a pipeline that I designed and I was able to make exactly what I hoped to make between Q3 and Q4 this year. Q4 literally ended up being the BEST quarter I have had since starting my business in December 2016.
What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
I want organizations that I work with to feel like the culture has improved as a result of the work that my company did. They are able to see a shift in how their leaders lead which transform the culture to breed more leaders. I want each organization to feel like they lean more towards purposeful and results driven cultures that value belonging, safety and connectedness in order to maximize their most valuable resource: human capital.
Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market?
Absolutely. So often people don’t have access to the leadership development and coaching that they need in order to optimize how they show up. TCS exists to close that gap and create sustained leadership practices that can ascend with the leader as they climb the career ladder.
What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
The hurdles I faced were leaving my job without already garnering half of my salary, leaving while pregnant and knowing that I’d need to file for divorce after having the child. These personal hurdles felt insurmountable at times and made me feel like it wasn’t a good idea to go full time. But I truly believed that God was pushing me to bet on myself and trust the process and lean on my personal leadership to get me through that first year in business. It was so tough, but having faith, getting coaching, being resilient and relentless helped me to make it a full year in business full time. I celebrated 2 years full time on August 27th this year. I am blown away by how much I have learned about myself and the ups and downs of being a mompreneur.
When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
I knew entrepreneurship was my jam when I was 10 years old. I was always looking for problems that I could be paid to solve. And I knew if I could solve a problem that resonated with others because they saw it as their problem too…welp! Then I could charge a premium for that.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
I believe after 15 years in corporate, entrepreneurship was the only way that I could truly live my purpose ON purpose. I tried to make corporate work for me but it wasn’t designed for me, so I made my own way by betting on me.
What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
Honestly, my daughter. My mom was an entrepreneur. But not in the way that you and I know it. She honestly could have been the next Vera Wang with the right mindset and coaching. I want my daughter to see that she has choices. She can work for someone or she can be the one who creates the jobs. But she can truly choose. And having one parent that worked for others and one who worked for herself let me know that I, too, had choices.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life?
Tell me about them.My Mom and Dad. Honestly, I have started multiple businesses over the years. First a talk show, then a magazine, then a writing consulting firm…the fact that my parents in some regard are so traditional, I just didn’t think they’d go for it. They really do like to play it safe. So the fact that for all intents and purposes, I was literally doing things that weren’t a guarantee, I thought they would be pushing me to go down the work for others path. But they’ve been so supportive!! Even when I quit my job, filed for divorce AND started my business, they were like: YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS.
My boss Dr. LaGrant was instrumental in so many ways. She supported me by sending me to a transformational leadership program. She supported me doing my business as long as I got my work done. And when it was time for me to depart, she assured me that I was making the right decision because I was built for the entrepreneurial life.
And lastly Anita Goldin, she was my very first leadership coach. She helped me unlock things about myself that I think would still be buried inside were it not for her pushing me. She allowed me to see that I was extremely creative and innovative. She’s the reason I started the talk show. And the talk show is what fostered me being a magazine publisher for almost a decade…and the rest is history!
Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
I think the thing that planted the seed was being selected for this ‘secret’ leadership program in undergrad. It was exclusive and only for the top 10% of leaders at the university. I got the tap and found myself in a one year leadership intensive where we learned about so many aspects and facets of leadership. I LOOOOVED IT. Honestly, based on that program, I would have majored in leadership if it had existed at the time. That seed grew over the years, and I believe it led me to right where I am today, helping leaders across the US lead from every seat they sit in. Because, well, that’s the requirement and the non negotiable: you are REQUIRED to lead from every seat you sit in.
What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
I’m extremely excited about rebranding the firm. We are switching to a collective model with the vision and focus I shared earlier and we are getting ready for an expansion to create a force to be reckoned with at the highest levels of leadership. You can look forward to seeing us share our leadership philosophies, tips, tricks, cheat codes and best practices and non-negotiables to help you accelerate your ascent. We don’t simply want you to survive corporate. We want you to thrive!
Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
I’d love to share the new name with you! You can look forward to us being referred to as The Ellevate Collective. Honestly, I am so proud of the work I have done with my team to prepare for this evolution of how we do leadership and make an impact. Because I believe another non negotiable is that no one ever became a phenomenal leader alone. Ellevate wants to serve as a resource along the lifelong journey of leadership.