Yesenia Montenegro is helping women see themselves in a new way, appreciating their inner and outer brilliance and potential. She is the owner of Divinity Light and thanks SER MUJER for helping her business, teaching women how to holistically see who they are, including mind, body, and soul.
“I was part of Milwaukee’s multicultural Latino entrepreneurial institute, and our boot camp cohort was selected to be part of the SER MUJER grant project. SER MUJER came at precisely the right time in my life. My focus was shifting from a brick-and-mortar business and transitioning to an outdoors, more mobile enterprise. I needed to be at events, fairs, and anyplace where I could quickly and cost-effectively touch many people.”
The challenge was bearing the cost of developing a mobile storefront that could be easily transported, set up, and utilized without additional equipment or personnel. Yesenia credits SER MUJER for helping with the initial funding that gave her business the flexibility to be anywhere, anytime, with a display and accessories needed to meet her audience. “These days, an entrepreneur must be agile and ready to move around to identify and serve new market opportunities. SER MUJER opened that door by providing the financial support to purchase a display tent, tablecloths, and other tools to put my business on the road to success in a real way.”
The more profound benefits to Yesenia of SER MJER transcend dollars and cents. She focuses on women’s empowerment, especially being a Latina who is just getting started and learning the ropes. Montenegro admits the journey can be very lonely and finding a community of like-minded individuals has been essential to endure her trials and tribulations. As important is having contact with people with whom to share her triumphs. Acknowledging this need is not a sign of weakness; instead, recognizing a condition takes courage and determination daily to be healthy.
“SER MUJER has created a space where women are coming together who can inspire, act as mentors, can help keep me motivated and moving forward. Having other people in your corner is vital when you have questions or need someone to say, keep going, you’ve got this. An entrepreneur’s mindset is very different from the world, and it takes an extraordinary person to be one. It is a whole lifestyle; if people don’t understand, it can be very isolating. You get tired and need a team like SER MUJER to teach you how to navigate the peaks and valleys in business.”
Yesenia says meeting the SER MUJER team convinced her that she would have access to the right resources, expertise, and support for the long term. From this experience, she continues to hone her skills of seeing every person she meets in her business as a unique individual, in the same way, SER MUJER is treating her. Yesenia adds that the SER MUJER website was exciting to explore and learn about other success stories of women like her. Then, meeting SER MUJER staff in person was a very personal moment, and she was struck by how approachable and caring the team is and their desire to help.
“You are not a number at SER MUJER. It is the fact that SER MUJER sends its team across the country who put a face to their name and convey their sincere interest in me and other Latinas. Also, this program is about a relationship that creates a mutual commitment between the SER MUJER participants. The camaraderie is critical in our present society, where the pandemic has led to a sense of isolation and separation. It’s all online, whatever you need from work to recreation, so to have someone come out in person to know you and support you is extraordinary.”
Yesenia says the favorite part of her dealing with SER MUJER has been the opportunity to bond with its team. They display warmth, caring, and positive intentions, essential to individuals putting all their effort and resources into their business. These traits are exemplary and positive role models for SER MUJER participants so that they, in turn, emulate the same characteristics in their enterprises. Market share is won one customer at a time. Montenegro says this integrity in a business is especially critical these days when so much is being purchased online without any personal contact or interactive human touch.
“As an entrepreneur, I have many goals and tasks to accomplish every day. SER MUJER took a worry off my shoulders and allowed me to focus on my priorities. Essentially, they said, give it to us and let SER MUJER help make your dream grow and flourish. Taking that financial load off my mind allowed me to think more clearly and move forward. SER MUJER has taught me to see challenges as opportunities, and now I can see ahead and know I will grow my business faster, bigger and better.”