Veronica Cool took the leap from Corporate America to entrepreneurship when she realized she was giving away valuable advice on how to engage the fast growing and affluent Hispanic American market. Now CEO and founder of Cool & Associates helping businesses bridge the cultural gap, she shares how to live an intentional life, value yourself, and know your worth.
Melinda Wittstock: Veronica, welcome to Wings.
Veronica Cool: Excellent. Thank you, Melinda. Thanks for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, I love to start these minisodes with what is inspiring you right now.
Veronica Cool: Oh My Gosh. I think the opportunities, just looking around and seeing things like what you're doing, seeing other women taking over, and not taking no for an answer. There's just so much potential, especially in my business. Every day I roll out of bed, pump out of bed, ready to roll. There's inspiration in everything for me today.
Melinda Wittstock: That is wonderful, I love to hear that upbeat voice and all that you're doing, which is so, so important. I'm just going to pick up there. It's so wonderful, Veronica, to kind of hear that excitement in your voice. It has been such an incredible year, where women really in the past year are really finding their voices and we're really speaking up for ourselves. How is that manifesting for your clients?
Veronica Cool: My specialty is Hispanic engagement, connecting different cultures, building a bridge. If you substitute Hispanics for women, women of color, or younger, older, think about any dimension of diversity. The #MeToo Movement, the #NoMore Movement, it's bringing to light the fact that many segments have been pushed to the side, and there is an openness today that wasn't there before. It's okay to discuss differences, it's okay to be conscious of it. It's actually being demanded that resources, whether it's dollars, time, budget, expertise, be allocated towards [addressing 00:01:53 these differences. I mean, when you're sitting at 52, 53% of the population being women, and again, throw in the Hispanic dynamics. One in six people today is Latino, one in five Millenials is a Latino, one in four kindergartners are Latino. You have a demand for acceptance, a demand for awareness.
The fact that all of these issues are surfacing right now is bringing to light the need that as a community, as a business, as an industry, as a world, we have to be aware. You can't just push it under the rug, you can't just ignore that we're here and we have needs and requirements.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely, of course, such an amazing and huge business opportunity to serve Hispanic Americans.
Veronica Cool: You're not kidding. I mean, we're representing the fastest and largest segment of the population in terms of growth. On the business side, Latinos are opening businesses at 15 times the rate.
Melinda Wittstock: Wow.
Veronica Cool: It's insanity. You know, there's a misconception out there that it's a lower affluence, lower income, that they're not the type of client that you may want for whatever your [inaudible 00:03:12, whether it's insurance, financial services, cars, cellphones. It's inaccurate.
It's a consumer base that buys more frequently online, that buys more often, and takes more vacations. It's a family-centric environment, so it's a large and young population. It's entities, whether it's a healthcare system, whether it's a … Think about a bank and they're hiring and they want to sell to customers, their checking and their loans. If you're not paying attention to this segment, you're missing a tidal wave of opportunity. You're not kidding about this being tremendous.
Melinda Wittstock: What are the big challenges right now, say, Veronica, for you in business, for some of your clients?
Veronica Cool: Sure. I thought a lot about this. I think the first challenge we have is the little personal and the little external. I think it's what I'm seeing a lot with women, and Latinos in particular. It's knowing your value. We tend to demean the power of the vote, we tend to demean the power of our dollar, we tend to demean the power of our expertise, and often that leads to lower pricing, not closing a sale, not going for a promotion. I think the very first thing is, in terms of challenges, knowing your worth. Knowing your value.
The other thing is, I think people are very afraid to make mistakes. We're living in a society where failure is not encouraged. I mean, that's innovation. How many times did Albert Einstein, sorry, Benjamin Franklin attempt to make the light bulb before it actually happened?
Melinda Wittstock: I think it was ten thousand times.
Failure and fear of failures are a missed opportunity. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @verocoolClick to tweet
Veronica Cool: Right? Some insane number. I mean, same thing with Michael Jordan taking shots that never went in. The bottom line is failure should be encouraged, and we're afraid. We're afraid to jump off a cliff, we're afraid to try new things. I mean, you trying this podcast concept and your virtual summit, that's innovation. Things get better as we do them, and I think those are the challenges people have. You're not advancing, you're not growing, you're not achieving 10X growth because you didn't try anything new. Failure and fear of failures are a missed opportunity, I think, and a restriction.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely.
Veronica Cool: The last thing I've been thinking about in terms of what are my challenges, I would say juggling. I would say trying to be fearless and continue operating. Be fearless, and try something new. Just getting it all done. It's the perpetual juggle of what takes my priority today?
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, that's true, and we as women tend to get really overextended as well. We try and do everything ourselves, it's so hard to sometimes just get out of our own way and delegate all that stuff out. What a perfect segue into your go-to three pieces of advice for women in business, and women who are either already entrepreneurs, or about to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Veronica Cool: Excellent question, excellent question. You made me think with this interview, so I appreciate that. Self reflection is always good.
Melinda Wittstock: I tend to do that.
Veronica Cool: Yeah, yeah. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I got to think this through. I can't just get up there and start talking, this has to be intentional,” and that's my first one. Be intentional about your growth. Be intentional about your strategy to grow. Spend time, and be strategic. We often get pulled aside for other people's passions and because we're women and we're nurturers by nature, we do. Your priority isn't necessarily in line with mine, and we often jump and spend months, and ages, supporting other folks, which is good in itself, but be a little selfish. I would say, be intentional about being selfish. Watch that be a catchphrase, and then I get in trouble for saying selfish. Be intentional about being selfish.
Number two: I mentioned failure before. In my life, one of my go-to advice is, “They're never failures, they're are life lessons.” That's a big number two for me.
If you’re launching a company, if you’re launching an idea, if you’re launching a department, if you’re running anything, remember that you are brilliant and you have extensive expertise. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @VeroCoolClick to tweet
The biggest one is knowing my value, knowing what I'm worth. Know what you're worth. If you're launching a company, if you're launching an idea, if you're launching a department, if you're running anything, remember that you are brilliant and you have extensive expertise. As women, I think we bring the strength of the nurturer, the strength of the people skills. We forget that, so often when we're bidding on things, when we're asking for things, we under-ball it all, because we don't get that value.
In terms of the top three pieces of advice, be intentional about being selfish, what are you doing next? Number two is there's no failures, it's life lessons. And number three, know your value.
Melinda Wittstock: Beautiful. Veronica, how can people find you, and work with you?
Veronica Cool: Excellent, yes. We do a lot of awesome things. I can be found on Twitter, at @Verocool. I'm Spanish, so it's the first four letters of my name, Veronica, Vero, V-E-R-O-C-O-O-L. They can also find us on our website, CoolAssociatesLLC and of course we have a real heavy social media presence in Spanish and English all over Facebook. CoolAssociates, Veronica Cool, and we love to engage with some of your listeners and participants.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Thank you so much for putting on your wings today and flying.
Veronica Cool: Oh Melinda, thank you for the idea and the invitation. This has been great.