Laura Jimenerz is passionate about learning and growing as a person. She loves to travel and see different cultures and foods. She likes reading Philosophy and world religions and also she is deeply interested in colors and design. Marketing is a passion of hers; learning to use marketing to communicate better with the customer is her end goal. She is the owner of Ishine365. Ishine365 is a swimwear boutique online and has one brick-and-mortar location in Miami, FL. Ishine365 sells beachwear for women and is a bikini online shopping brand.
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Let’s start with a brief introduction first. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Laura Jimenerz: First of all, thank you for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself. I am Laura Jimenez, owner of Ishine365. I did my Master and then I along with my husband decided to launch a business. Thus, after our efforts, we manage to shine our ishine365 business.
Our audience is interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to become a CEO or was it something you were led to? Our readers would love to know your story!
Laura Jimenerz: It was my dream to be a CEO from my childhood and thus we both I and my husband decided to fulfill my dream. It was back in 2012 when two Miami-based, beach lovers and best friends decided to create a new concept of swimwear where everybody was considered a beach-ready body.
“Selfmade” is a myth. We all received help, no doubt you love to show appreciation to those who supported you when the going got tough, who has been your most important professional inspiration?
Laura Jimenerz: A lot of people inspired me in my life, first, my mom has her own business and made me believe that if she did it, I can do it better. Then my husband, who always has high expectations for what I can do. He is an incredible and super smart guy, I kinda always wanted to surprise him with what I can accomplish. Every project, every decision was carefully taken to deliver more than he asked. In simple words, I will not answer this one in a confusing language I will give a simple and short answer and that too by heart. The struggle of my husband. I witness daily inspired me to take steps which I have taken now. As I have told earlier, it was my husband who supported me always and helped me in achieving my dream.
How did your journey lead you to become a CEO? What difficulties did you face along the way and what did you learn from them?
Laura Jimenerz: In my opinion, the biggest challenge for a CEO is how to make the business last for a lifetime. Hiring the best employees for the business and giving customers satisfaction is the key to sustaining every business in the industry.
Tell us about your company. What does your business do and what are your responsibilities as a CEO?
Laura Jimenerz: Founded in May of 2012, the concept behind ISHINE365 is to give our customers a uniquely edited selection of merchandise including top swim labels, contemporary designer brands, and more affordable brands to ultimately create an overall fashion-forward look! ISHINE365 aims to be a true lifestyle boutique that is simultaneously comfortable and chic. It’s for the fashion-forward girl who puts her twist on the latest trends and knows what she should save on and on what she should splurge on. However, ISHINE365 is not just about fashion and creating an incredible wardrobe, a big part of us and our site is about giving back to our community.
What does CEO stand for? Beyond the dictionary definition, how would you define it?
Laura Jimenerz: CEO for me is everything about everything which has to do with anything is your every responsibility. No one can likely do this alone, so they leverage the talents and skills of others to do it.
When you first became a CEO, how was it different from what you expected? What surprised you?
Laura Jimenerz: It surprised me how little I knew about small business after becoming a CEO, even though I had more than 5 years of corporate experience. My management experience from working in a big company for 5 years helped me deliver a valuable service to clients but it wasn’t a good background for growing and running a small company. The psychological aspects of a customer-facing business were a great surprise to me. But every day brings new learning or surprise in dealing with peoples’ motivations and quirks and how different the actual result can be from what one would rationally expect.
There are many schools of thought as to what a CEO’s core roles and responsibilities are. Based on your experience, what are the main things a CEO should focus on? Explain and please share examples or stories to illustrate your vision.
Laura Jimenerz: Two Things:
Be the leader & Influencer and “don’t be the boss”, the world has changed. If you tried to be too hard/harsh, employees would eventually leave you. Be Good and be their friend, help them and they will surely help you back (tried & tested formula). But also keep track of their performance and motivate them to upscale their performance.
You need to surround yourself with the best people you can find, folks that are smarter than you on their subject matter, and leave your ego at the door. You need to ask a lot of questions since good questions make your direct reports engaged and teach you about what’s really going on at your company. Having clear channels of communication is important, both for accountability, and just to make sure whatever you’re doing is scalable. I’d also highly recommend meditating daily if possible or giving yoga a try. It’s one of the best investments in your decision-making that you can make. We have a weekly meditation meeting at Imperfect and it’s really great for our team focus and morale.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Laura Jimenerz: A productive work environment is the best way that benefits my employees. A toxic workplace with disgruntled, undervalued staff is ultimately doomed as an enterprise.
How would you define success? Does it mean generating a certain amount of wealth, gaining a certain level of popularity, or helping a certain number of people?
Laura Jimenerz: A successful life can be defined as a life with the perfect balance of happiness, fun, adventure, work, and the ups and downs of life. A person can only have a successful life if he loves what he does.
Some leadership skills are innate while others can be learned. What leadership skills do you possess innately and what skills have you cultivated over the years as a CEO?
Laura Jimenerz: For me, it’s always been Creative Problem Solving. I have a track record of solving unique problems for which there is no obvious answer. I have won more than a few awards for innovation amongst a highly competitive crowd. It carried me through a lifetime of challenging occupations as an architect, a computer programmer, a software engineer, and finally as a software architect.
How did your role as a CEO help your business overcome challenges caused by the pandemic? Explain with practical examples.
Laura Jimenerz: Innovations adopted during the coronavirus crisis drive revenue but it is hard to combat for every business owner. However, there are pretty much good opportunities for E-commerce store owners like me. We shifted our whole staff to remote working to not get affected by pandemics.
Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs and future leaders? What advice would you give a CEO that is just starting out on their journey?
Laura Jimenerz: My advice for aspiring CEOs is to develop a very solid business plan that covers all aspects. You must ensure that, no matter what happens, you have a way of handling it. You need to think of all of the things that could go wrong and prevent them from happening.
Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with our readers! They would also like to know, what is one skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire but never really could?
Laura Jimenerz: White water rafting. I always wanted to do that, for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, every single time I had an opportunity and wanted to grab it, and there were about a dozen, my then-husband wouldn’t let me.
Before we finish things off, we have one final question for you. If you wrote a book about your life today, what would the title be?
Laura Jimenerz: If I wrote a book about my life today, then the title of the book would be, “Behind every successful person, there are many unsuccessful years”
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Laura Jimenerz for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Laura Jimenerz or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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