Today we’d like to introduce you to Giselle Rivera-Flores.
Giselle, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. From selling resumes in high school to peers to starting a virtual administration company after finishing my first year of college, I have always had a passion for the process. After leaving the corporate world in 2015, with zero plans for the future, I quickly realized that my strengths are best used as an entrepreneur. For several months, I began to readjust my lifestyle, and I began to prioritize the things that meant the most to me: family, travel and empowering other entrepreneurs.
Within seven months, I went from reprioritizing my life to becoming a founder of two organizations. I founded the Learning Hub, an S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) maker program increasing STEAM accessibility to students in grades kindergarten to sixth, and co-founded IgWorcesterMa, a brand empowering entrepreneurs, small businesses, and innovators through a series of workshops, positive photography, and community. Since then, I have received the Worcester Business Journal’s 40 under 40 awards, the Entrepreneur and Small Business Excellence award from Women in Action, completed the Leadership Worcester program and received awards for the Learning Hub’s impact in the city of Worcester and throughout Massachusetts: 2016’s Startup Worcester Winner and 2017’s Hulafrog’s Most Loved STEM award.
Through it all, I have worked alongside great individuals, entrepreneurs and with amazing brands including Mass Foodies and the Worcester Sun. I started consulting small businesses and entrepreneurs as a marketing and digital media strategists and haven’t looked back since.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
To say the road has been a struggle is an understatement. Since the beginning, I’ve had to prove my strengths. Coming from the corporate world, people didn’t take me serious as an entrepreneur. The notion that I could not break through my “corporate ways” was often tossed around when discussing my ideas for new brands, ventures, and businesses. The mere thought of me taking on the role of an influential leader in the city rubs people the wrong way but I don’t let the opinions of others dictate my success. As a woman – a Latin woman – I have much to prove and although the road may be much harder for me than most, I know its all possible with a little hard work.
While the road of entrepreneurship has not been easy, I live for the struggle. In fact, I love the struggle. Being the underdog is the best feeling in the way. Knowing that the odds are stacked against me motivate me, even more, to get where I want to be. I have been called “overly ambitious” by some and “unpredictable” by others, and I take those comments as a compliment and remain focused on my end goal.
Please tell us about The Learning Hub & IgWorcesterMA.
With the Learning Hub, we specialize in increasing S.T.E.A.M access to students from all demographics and financial backgrounds. We know that the school system lacks both funding and capacity to diversify their teaching methods and while that is causing a disconnect with students and their futures, we believe that organizations like ourselves should step in to provide a creative solution.
From hosting a series of free workshops at the local libraries – libraries include but are not limited to the Worcester Public Library, the Lincoln Library, and the Wayland Library – to creating S.T.E.A.M fairs and exclusive maker classes with our affiliates like Barnes & Noble and Recreational Worcester, we create an educational, yet fun and interactive experience for students. Our workshops range from ages 6 to 12 and we host classes focusing on science experiments, engineering and building classes, art labs and technology workshops such as coding and robotics.
The thing I am most proud of with the Learning Hub is the feedback we receive from every single class. Parents thank us for creating a great environment and experience for an affordable price and students thank us for showing them something new and cool.
With IgWorcesterMa, we specialize in entrepreneurial empowerment and community. Our goal is to focus on increasing the resources accessible to entrepreneurs, influencers, and small businesses through an engaging experience. We set ourselves apart from other organizations because we present our followers with access to real entrepreneurs and influencers changing the world and the local market. In our most recent workshop, our attendees had a chance to talk with entrepreneurs like Ryan Canuel of Petricore, Chris Chabot of HeliMedia360, Diel Lousigene of the Jewelry House and Courtney Ross Escobar of Escobar Ross Group. Not only were attendees able to converse with some of the most amazing local talents, but they were also given the opportunity to link with the panelist after the event, one-on-one.
No other workshop provides this much access to industry leaders and we believe that this is the best way to increase inspiration and clarity for new entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs, influencers and small business owners need other entrepreneurs, influencers, and small business owners to thrive. This industry is a lonely one and we want to ensure people that when they take that leap of faith, we will be there for them.
We started out as a simple Instagram account with the mission to change the negative imagery projected onto Worcester and within a year and a half, we have gained close to 7K followers, hosted a lengthy list of workshops and will launch a new magazine called Elevate, aiming to become an industry leader for all things entrepreneurship and lifestyle.
I am most proud of IgWorcesterMa’s success because it has built a sense of community, has allowed more exposure for my husband, Jaime Flores, as a photography and has given the city of Worcester a revived sense of pride.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood will always be seeing my grandfather after school. While my mom was working, my grandfather – who I called Papa – picked me up from school and we would spend time buying candies from the corner store – something my mom never let me eat as a child – and playing with the school’s neighborhood dog. We would have a great time and then go to visit my grandma until my mom came to pick me up.
- Website: www.learningathub.com; www.igworcesterma.life; www.giselleriveraflores.com
- Phone: 508.596.4054 cell ; 508.353.1888 – the Learning Hub
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @igworcesterma @learningathub @notjustawriter
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/learningathub ; www.facebook.com/igworcesterma ; www.facebook.com/giselleriveraflores
- Twitter: @notjustawriter
Jaime Flores Photography