Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Carolina Martinez of CAMEO Is Helping To Change Our World
If you’re passionate about something, you’ll always find a way to pursue your dreams and make it work.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Carolina Martinez, CEO of CAMEO, California’s statewide micro-business network and leading voice for businesses with one to five employees
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My dad was a doctor and had his own practice in Colombia, and this was my first exposure to entrepreneurship growing up. I also grew up seeing my mom have several side hustles. Fast forward several years, I got married and moved out of my native Bogota and started over in Cali, Colombia. I found a job opportunity where I was working with former guerilla combatants at a nonprofit. These underage combatants came to the organization to learn skills to restart their life and re-enter into civil society. As an engineer who is also passionate about entrepreneurship, I thought the position would be a perfect fit, so I applied and got the job. The position was incredibly impactful for my personal growth and career trajectory. Training these kids and being a part of their growth from former guerilla members who had little to no education, to young entrepreneurs, was inspiring. Serving as a mentor and validating that they have what it takes to be successful was when I truly fell in love with what entrepreneurship could mean for people. I learned that entrepreneurship was a way for folks to find their purpose and build their own path.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
A few years ago, I was at a conference and I received a call in the late evening saying there was a fire in our office building and we couldn’t access the office. Initially, I was startled because I thought the whole building was burned down; however, it turns out it was a small fire in the basement. As we were on the seventh…