I am a lifelong New Jersey entrepreneur and self-starter, born in Elizabeth and raised by a single Cuban father. I earned my AS in Communication Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked as a marketing consultant for a few years before inspiration struck: after attending dozens of professional events that left me with a dead cell phone battery halfway through, I realized there was a business opportunity.
In 2009 I sold everything I had, moved back in with my dad, and worked three part-time jobs to found InCharged, an event technology company building brandable cell phone charging kiosks. I had no investors or external funding - I bootstrapped this business and retained 100% ownership. Over the next six years, we developed a reputation as a reliable yet innovative experiential marketing company, partnering with Fortune 500 clients like Google, Coca-Cola, and T-Mobile.
The company generated over $6M in revenue and in 2016, I invested the profits from InCharged into VendX, an experiential vending machine that gives users a prize on the spot for completing valuable actions - for example, filling out a survey, playing a game, or posting on social media. Both InCharged and VendX were built with no engineering or software background, but we made it work and VendX generated $750K in sales within the first year. Things were moving and shaking, so we decided to seek external funding to help build the company. On our first pitch, we got picked up by Newark Venture Partners.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue from booked events started to cancel and by April 2020 we went to zero revenue. We had over $500K in debt, and I had a mortgage as well as a toddler to feed and a baby on the way - so I did what any parent and entrepreneur would do, and I got to work. I rolled into my basement and started building just like I did 10 years ago, but I had more on the line this time. My goals were to save my home, to save my business - and to help others reopen their businesses in the process.
I started with UVC technology, which has been trusted by hospitals for over 80 years to disinfect critical areas but can require a large up-front investment that is prohibitive to smaller organizations. My first prototype was off-the-shelf bulbs in a basic industrial ceiling fixture that I had attached to a tripod. But it was proof of concept - so I channeled my knowledge of event operations, and my team applied the research & development processes finely honed at InCharged to start Lux Disinfect, a company offering a complete suite of tools, products, and services to help others safely reopen their businesses in a new landscape with entirely different operational needs.
While I was in my basement, I got a call from Governor Murphy to be on the Restart and Recovery Commission. I thought it was a prank at first, but I accepted. In the past few months, I’ve been able to build LuxDisinfect: we’ve generated over $4M in sales, paid our debt, and employed 20+ New Jerseyans to help grow the company. Our point of differentiation is that most companies focus on only one technology, but we provide customized solutions to address each of the ways that viruses are spread – through the air, surfaces, and personal space. All of the product lines come together with LUX 360, a comprehensive system to train employees and keep customers informed on the full disinfection process in real time, building trust through transparency so businesses can reopen and people can finally be together again.
Safe to say, I’m not a “typical” business leader - but I like to think I bring a fresh approach to each problem I tackle. I’m ready to bring my perspective as a female minority business owner and apply my 10+ years of experience to help families, communities, and fellow business owners of New Jersey moving forward - safely.
Building things without degrees
Navigating the landscape of business as a woman minority
How to kick ass at sales with social anxiety
Sales Development using new and old techniques
How to #mom while growing a company
Women in Business 2021 — The Top 50
Power List 2021 — Technology
Parker Award for women leaders in innovation
Tech Council Innovators to Watch 2018
Smart Women 2016: Entrepreneurs Top 5
Best 50 Women in Business 2016
Smart CEO 2015, 2016
Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneur 2015
Women At The Helm Award 2017
EY Entrepreneur of the Year Nomination 2019
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