Ep 36: How My Immigrant Mentality Contributed To My Success As An Entrepreneur with Juanita Velez


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“Being an immigrant made me resourceful, made me a motivated individual. It changed my career track and the way that I view life, and the way that I’m going to teach my daughter to persevere.” -- Juanita Velez

Moving from Medellín, Colombia to Atlanta, Georgia at the age of six — and on the first day of the ‘96 Olympics, to boot — Juanita Velez grew up bridging communities. As an adult, she’s made a career of it. Driven by her innate empathy for others, Juanita earned a degree in psychology followed by a master’s in international business, going onto run international communications campaigns for Delta and UPS, companies that are simultaneously homegrown and global — just like Juanita. Early on in the corporate world, Juanita noticed a gap. At networking events, she rarely met anyone like her: young, Latinx, immigrants. Yet she knew these people existed; they were her friends, her classmates, her mentees. To connect that talent with opportunity, Juanita founded HYPE: Hispanic Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs. As HYPE has evolved over the years — its fifth anniversary is coming up this June — so has Juanita. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is no longer her extracurricular, but her 9-5, as she recently hung up her social media hat to become a DE&I manager at Delta. In this episode, we discuss the importance of representation, the unique resourcefulness of immigrants, and the lessons in perseverance Juanita plans to teach her daughter.

What we tackle in this episode:

  • Growing up between Colombia and the United States
  • Navigating school and career as an immigrant in the U.S.
  • The relationship between sacrifice and success
  • Founding HYPE: Hispanic Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs
  • Switching career tracks, from psychology to marketing to diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI&)
  • Managing global brands, sponsorships, and social media for international brands like UPS and Delta Air Lines
  • Becoming a mom and raising a Latina daughter in a multicultural family
  • Bridging communities to find common ground
  • Creating economic opportunities through a global entrepreneur mindset
  • Succession planning and cultivating a sustainable business model
  • Using her platform to drive change in her community


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101 episodes