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Ep 36: How My Immigrant Mentality Contributed To My Success As An Entrepreneur

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“Because I saw all of those sacrifices, and lived through them, I always say to myself: I never want my parents’ sacrifice to go in vain, and that’s really what pushes me.”

— Juanita Velez

Moving from Medellín, Colombia to Atlanta, Georgia at the age of six — and on the first day of the ‘96 Olympics, to boot — Juanita Velez grew up bridging communities. As an adult, she’s made a career of it. Driven by her innate empathy for others, Juanita earned a degree in psychology followed by a master’s in international business, going onto run international communications campaigns for Delta and UPS, companies that are simultaneously homegrown and global — just like Juanita. Early on in the corporate world, Juanita noticed a gap. At networking events, she rarely met anyone like her: young, Latinx, immigrants. Yet she knew these people existed; they were her friends, her classmates, her mentees. To connect that talent with opportunity, Juanita founded HYPE: Hispanic Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs. As HYPE has evolved over the years — its fifth anniversary is coming up this June — so has Juanita. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is no longer her extracurricular, but her 9-5, as she recently hung up her social media hat to become a DE&I manager at Delta. In this episode, we discuss the importance of representation, the unique resourcefulness of immigrants, and the lessons in perseverance Juanita plans to teach her daughter.


  • Growing up between Colombia and the United States
  • Navigating school and career as an immigrant in the U.S.
  • The relationship between sacrifice and success 
  • Founding HYPE: Hispanic Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs
  • Switching career tracks, from psychology to marketing to diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI&)
  • Managing global brands, sponsorships, and social media for international brands like UPS and Delta Air Lines  
  • Becoming a mom and raising a Latina daughter in a multicultural family
  • Bridging communities to find common ground 
  • Creating economic opportunities through a global entrepreneur mindset 
  • Succession planning and cultivating a sustainable business model 
  • Using her platform to drive change in her community

Connect with Juanita:

Instagram: @juanita.velez.atl 

Twitter: @JuanitaVelez07

HYPE Instagram: @hypeghcc 

HYPE Website: https://ghcc.org/en/hype/

about helen ngo

Helen Ngo, CFP® is a financial empowerment coach dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs own their worth, flip their money scripts, and smash every ceiling on their way up. The Self-Made CEO®, founder, featured speaker, and host of the Live & Earn podcast has unlocked the key to financial freedom that most people get wrong.

Use this simple, uncomplicated planner I created to help you stay on top of your money and create predictability in your business.