Filipina/Entrepreneur/Christ Follower/Connector/Musician/Feminist

First and foremost, I am a very strong believer in Jesus and God. I am a Christ follower and daughter of the King. At my core, I always come back to my faith and relationship with God because it determines everything else in my life.

I grew up in Hawaii and have a pretty extensive, and may I add loving family. I have 3 siblings and first cousins; at least 20 just on dad’s side. I am pretty sure I have 20+ second cousins. My value and gift of connecting people definitely derives from my family and the Hawaiian culture. Our community is all about giving to one another and doing whatever it takes to maintain a sense of community.

In all honesty, my family wasn’t too excited when I decided to move away to Hawaii and go to the mainland. My parents and grandparents were originally supportive when it was just to attend college in Hawaii. But they gave me major push back when I decided to attend Azusa Pacific University in Southern California, and reside in Los Angeles. My grandparents biggest concern was that I would lose the aloha spirit. In some ways they were right; the islands have a very different culture than L.A. But I love it here because the people in the city are so open and have helped me change by seeing the rest of the world.

Making the decision to stay in L.A was a very big shift for me in how I define community.  I no longer viewed community as dependent upon a specific place. I realized that I can develop authentic and genuine relationships with initial strangers due to shared values and belief systems.

My new shift led me to also reassess what I wanted my impact to be. I thought that education would be my path in life and was tutoring until I decided what my next step in education would be. After a few years, I saw the end of the movie of public school teaching. For one, you don’t get paid a lot and also, your potential for impact is very limited since you can only go so far outside of the classroom. I had a hard conversation with myself, and I decided that I wanted to broaden my scope.

That scope now called for me to be a businesswoman. Shifting from education to business was a massive leap. A lot of people told me I was crazy. One of those people was my mother.  She is a very cautious person and she warned me by saying that I don’t have any experience and I don’t know anyone that could assist me in my new journey. That was a tough pill to swallow.

It was hard enough making the decision and getting push back made it even more difficult. 2 years ago. Luckily, I knew a friend that had recently started a business and joined his team. While there, I was blessed enough to have two female mentors who had been at the company for several years. They were quick to let me know that life as a woman in the business sector is very different than in education. In teaching, at least you have a larger representation of women, whereas in business we are few and far between.

I had a lot of doubts when I decided to transition but the guidance from my mentors kept me going. As a result, I wanted to give that same guidance and encouragement to other women. Men experience things very differently than women and we must acknowledge that and support one another through that. We relate differently. Women can take one of two ways when in close personal or professional proximity to one another. On one side of the coin, women can feel threatened or  insecure and view interactions as a competition where they need to win, win, win. This is what I experienced in my early years in school, where young girls would burn one another and use cattiness to cover their insecurities; which are at rampant level at that age. On the other side of the coin, women can choose to lift one another up and use each interaction as a means to empower each other.

I am grateful that the women mentors I have had, have so eloquently modeled for me that there is enough space for all of us women. My goal now is to help other females and specifically empower other women. I have had other women leaders tell me I have a very feminine spirit; a very giving and nurturing spirit. My spirit coupled with my passion for supporting women, has translated into my work with WeFems. WeFems is a place for women to grow, inspire, encourage and empower one another as entrepreneurs and motivators. Ultimately, it is a safe, supportive community to share messages that will uplift, inform and educate other female entrepreneurs.

I am looking forward to the work we are doing to expand our reach and support for women across the country. In November, we will have our big conference in Hawaii. It will be an end of year celebration to highlight women and help a number of women to network and promote their businesses. Before the big event in Hawaii, we will also have four pop up events before that in major cities such as L.A, Miami, Chicago and New York.

The women who attend will take away practical tools that then can use right away to elevate and expand their business ventures. These will most likely consist of a lunch-and-learn with actual value so that the women can not only build their business skills, but also gain tips and tricks for personal development.

In addition to WeFems, I have also used my gift of connecting people to step out and start my own in business. In January, I began creating and developing a business that not only speaks to my skills, but also to my passions. Music has always played an important role in my family and life. When I was asked by my brother and another business mentor what I could see myself doing full-time, music and community had to be at the center.

The business mentor asked me what I was good at and I quickly said music and working with kids.  At first, the ideas we brainstormed were centered around voice and piano lessons. But voice and piano lessons weren’t speaking to my own values and spirit. After a few more brainstorming phases and reflecting on my love of family, we came up with, “Happy Hawaiian Parties”. The mission statement is “Families that never stop laughing together, never stop loving one another”. I want to create experiences where families can have fun in a luau setting and come away with unforgettable memories.

I must admit though, the life of an entrepreneur is so different from a typical 8-5. I appreciate that I can be focused now. I am not filling my plate just to be busy with a bunch of things. My priority is now on quality. I had to change my mindset around hours determining progress. The progress I envision for Happy Hawaiian Parties include getting to a place that the company can expand to where I can have multiple performers use the same, duplicatable performance and experience to reach more families. In order to do so, I need to continue to recognize the growth I have made as a woman and entrepreneur, learn from others who are successful in business, and keep a positive mindset by reminding myself what I am grateful for.

Within the last few years, I have made some major decisions that have altered my personal life and professional trajectory and I am even more so firm on the idea that I can accomplish anything with God, my family, and my unapologetic attitude on my side.

Want to stay connected to Angelica?

ig: @abuenconsejo7

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