KISH:Tell us about you.
Dorothy Enriquez is a third culture kid who grew up to love fashion, gal pal bonding, learning, and leadership. Dorothy is known for her effective communication skills, leadership coursework, and interactive programs. A 15-year veteran of Corporate America, wielding multiple certifications (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Emergenetics, Situational Leadership & Breakthrough Performance) and a master’s degree in Human Communication, she strives to make transformative development accessible.
In 2018 after giving birth to her daughter, Dorothy went full-time as a business owner. The Ellevate Collective, formerly known as The Communication Strategist, is dedicated to helping organizations and individuals optimize their leadership so that they are equipped to lead from every seat they sit in. Serving clients such as African American Leadership Alliance Milwaukee, Apartment Association Kansas City, FUEL Milwaukee, Kohl’s, The Y, Campbell’s The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, Rockwell Automation & The City of Milwaukee, Ellevate strategically supports you through your leadership transformation in a relatable and impactful way.
KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?
Dorothy: My dream is to own a firm that is a household name in the homes of Black women business owners and black women in the 9-5 world. I want to create a brave space where Black women and women of color can cultivate their competence, capacity, capability, and creativity. I want to create a leadership experience where women leaders can grow personally and professionally while they build lives they love and inspire others to do the same by being unapologetic and prepared to lead from every seat they sit in.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?
Dorothy: I believe after 15 years in corporate entrepreneurship was the only way that I could truly live my purpose ON purpose. I tried to make corporate work for me, but it wasn’t designed for me, so I made my own way by betting on myself. My experience of barely surviving corporate and always feeling like I wasn’t equipped or optimized was a big red flashing sign.
I created The Communication Strategist, which is now The Ellevate Collective, in 2016 after completing the opening retreat for the African American Leadership Program (AALP) in Milwaukee, WI. Just the retreat experience alone was opening my world, giving me permission to unlock my greatness, and unfold into my power. I knew I would need to create something that will help me and others like me WIN!
KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream? Where do I start?!
Dorothy: One HUGE challenge was really understanding the sales cycle and pipeline and making sure I could fill the holes when I’m looking at projections. And it’s not necessarily that it’s hard, it’s more of a learning curve.
You go from getting a steady paycheck for almost two decades to a 75–90-day sales cycle process and it’s a doozy to say the least. I didn’t have a pipeline. I didn’t even know what a pipeline was so of course I wasn’t using one so my income would go up and down like crazy. I’ve learned a ton from 2016 to now and going full time with this dream helped speed up the learning curve. Ultimately, the best way to overcome it is to have tight projections, ALWAYS be selling and have a line of credit for the months that are skinny and read Profit First. You want to do your best to have a plan and pull it together, so you don’t freak out and run back to your old life.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of the challenges you’ve encountered?
Dorothy: My daughter is my biggest why. I want to show my bun what’s possible. I want her to start at least five steps ahead of where I started, and I honestly have to thank my parents for the head start. But also, for all the mompreneurs and corporate team players who see themselves in bits and pieces of my story. That’s part of the rest of my why.
And lastly, lots of inspiration comes from the fact that I know there are single moms who, like me, wonder if they should quit their job or wait. There are women who wonder, even if they are married, if they can do business AND motherhood. There are women in their late 30s who may feel too old, like they should have started 10 years ago. There may be women who feel like they can’t quit the golden paycheck. The fears, the scares, the bruises, and tears. I believe seeing what’s possible with someone else, someone like me, will inspire others to take action and dream so big that their dreams have dreams!
KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.
Dorothy: Dream with intention powerhouse. Daydream on purpose of the time and place when you’ll be able to use the privilege of your journey, success, and resilience to reach back and bring another woman who looks like you along as you continue to lead from every seat you sit in.