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Female Disruptors: Victoria Jenn Rodriguez of VJR Enterprises On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

I was told recently that your team is a reflection of you. If your team is not performing, you should look at yourself and your leadership style vs. pointing the finger. That hit home for me. Managing a team through the pandemic is one of the hardest and most developing things I’ve done to date.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Victoria Jenn Rodriguez.

Victoria Jenn Rodriguez is the Founder and CEO of VJR Enterprises, a talent management consulting company dedicated to elevating, enriching, and empowering people to become the best version of themselves. She has been a Career Strategist and Brand Consultant for over 15 years and serves as the President and Founder of The Female Collaborative, a not-for-profit focused on revolutionizing the way women work and do business together. Victoria Jenn also sits on the Board of the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls located in the South Bronx of New York, a charter school dedicated to creating the next generation of female global leaders. As a strategic visionary thinker, she has a passion for inspiring and motivating people, at all levels, to optimize their full potential while maintaining a focus on emotional intelligence, reflection, and life balance.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I’m a corporate hustler turned serial entrepreneur. After 15 years in corporate, I decided to bet on myself and become a full-time entrepreneur four years ago. I consult organizations on how to attract, develop, and retain talent. I also consult on inclusion & diversity best practices. I serve as a career coach and am often delivering keynotes on imposter syndrome.

In addition to running my consultancy, I founded The Female Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to revolutionizing how women work and do business together. We have a national network consisting of over 2,000 trailblazing women who collaborate, educate, and provide access to each other, revolutionizing how women work and do business together. The Female Collaborative offers masterclasses, networking events, vision board workshops, interviews with celebrities and influencers, business connections, and coaching and mentoring opportunities to help women actualize their dreams on their terms.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Owning my individuality is the most disruptive thing I can do. A major focus of all of my work is empowering people to live authentically and be comfortable in their own skin. Humanizing the corporate experience for people of color is very important to me as well. I advise all of my clients to challenge the status quo and set the trend vs following suit.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I ever made was sending out an email that was meant for my boyfriend to my entire network! It was slightly embarrassing but ended up working in my favor. After reading my email, clients reached out to tell me how much they admired my bravery and focus, haha. The lesson I learned from this was to slow down and triple-check my work.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?​

I’m blessed to have so many mentors that look out for me and have played a critical role in the woman I am today and am becoming. My mentors are there when I experience imposter syndrome and also when I’m winning. They see me at my lows and my highs. One of my first mentors got me my first job out of college and put me on a charter school board at the mere age of 20. She gave me access. She gave me exposure. She is one of the pioneers behind my professional journey.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

What great questions. I am a firm believer that smart disruption is always good. It can either reveal hidden problems or encourage collaboration. To me, smart disruption is about innovation. When we disrupt, we shift mindsets and behaviors. We welcome new ways of thinking. I’ve coined the term “smart disruption” to differentiate chaotic disruption from disruption needed to transform industries positively.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

I was told recently that your team is a reflection of you. If your team is not performing, you should look at yourself and your leadership style vs. pointing the finger. That hit home for me. Managing a team through the pandemic is one of the hardest and most developing things I’ve done to date.

Listen more than you speak. This advice has served well for me both personally and professionally. I’ve learned that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Closed mouths don’t get fed. I once missed out on an opportunity to build a relationship with a very influential leader because I didn’t speak up when they were in the same room as me. I will never let that happen again.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

This year, I’m writing a book teaching women how to roar and be seen by having the audacity to be themselves. My goal is to instill confidence in as many women as possible to disrupt the spaces smartly​ they are in and make their own rules.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Humm, let me count the ways! Women get so much heat for being aggressive, for using their voice, for being bold, and for not taking sh”t from anyone. We are constantly held to a standard of what women should be instead of who we are meant to be. Male disruptors are labeled as iconic or revolutionary. Women disruptors are troublemakers and make too much noise. That is why I’m doing my part to make sure more women rock the boat and make society uncomfortable. We need to play our game and make our own rules. We need to be bolder and louder. We need to keep living in our truth and leaving the naysayers in the dust. For any woman reading this, please know you’re not alone. There is a whole squad of women ready to disrupt with you. Find your tribe and make magic together.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?​

One of my favorite podcasts is Small Doses by Amanda Seales. I love it because she is so smart, so forward-thinking, so brave, so unapologetically herself. She is smartly disruptive in so many ways that it makes people uncomfortable. Her content is both thought-provoking and inspiring. Whenever I feel like I need to fit in, to stand out, I listen to Amanda and immediately get my badassery on.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-) ​

I’m proud of the movement I’ve started empowering women to live in their truth and power. My dream is to amplify that tenfold and have little girls worldwide being the change they want to see by owning their magic.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on Instagram and Clubhouse @iamvictoriajenn

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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