AL DÍA Women of Merit Honoree: Conchie Fernandez
Conchie Fernandez is one of the AL DÍA Women of Merit honorees, in the field of entrepreneurship.
The AL DÍA Women of Merit event is a celebration of women who are breaking barriers and emerging in leadership positions across the nation.
Conchie Fernandez, Owner & Founder of CF Creative, is one of the honorees at the event, in the field of entrepreneurship.
In the lead-up to the event, AL DÍA asked each of the honorees about their biggest career challenges and accomplishments, gender equality in their industries and their of advice for other women looking to make their way into their particular field of work.
Here are Conchie Fernandez's responses:
Surviving 2020 as a small, Hispanic woman owned company is definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. As a speaker, business mentor and communications consultant, most of my work last year was committed to speaking opportunities and business workshops abroad and across the U.S. with partners in the public and private sectors, but all of those projects fell as COVID shuttered venues, the economy, and society worldwide. We lost all but two clients, and it took us 2-3 months to pivot. We’ve always worked remotely and we’re tech-friendly, so we knew we had a chance to salvage some of our workshops and group mentoring opportunities by turning them into virtual events. While we had to rethink our pricing and focus on new solutions (mentoring other small, women and minority owned businesses, tech enablement and business consulting), we were swift to reach out to our customers and partners in the government and the corporations that we serve, and we closed all and more of the deals in our original pipeline for 2020. By being tech-savvy and creative to rethink our business model really helped us to thrive.
There are so many opportunities for women owned and minority women owned businesses today! Some RFPs specifically set aside projects and budgets for certified minority women owned companies, and it’s more critical than ever to position Hispanic women owned companies as contenders in corporate and public sector supply chains. Reach out to your local minority council and get certified!
Government bids and corporate supplier diversity and procurement divisions really need to step up their game to drive more inclusion in their supply chains.
I find, through my mentorship sessions and workshops, that many women entrepreneurs, whether minority or not, really need to invest in becoming more specialized, knowledgeable and well connected with the key constituents in procurement and supply chain in the organizations and companies that we target.
One thing that I’ve done consistently since I started my company in 2014 is to make sure I attend events where I can find these stakeholders, like minority busines organization summits and tradeshows, like NMSDC, USHCC, FSMSDC in Florida and MBDA in Florida and nationwide. I reach out to them once in a while to keep them updated on innovation and news related to my solutions, services and awards, to keep my brand top of mind. Meet your clients where they are, and stay in touch.
Doors will open!