Puerto Rico – Day 3: Auralís Herrero-Lugo & Carmen Cedré
Mentee Auralís Herrero-Lugo created Retazo, a Puerto Rico-based circular fashion platform that integrates circular manufacturing, modular training, capacity building and sales for long-term economic development on the island.
A big challenge Auralís wanted to address at the outset with her mentor, Carmen Cedré, founder of Clutch Consulting, was determining whether the company would follow a non-profit or for-profit model with social impact. Here are their reflections:
The part of the program that has been really useful to me is the holistic approach to the life of a woman. Sometimes it’s all about the work. But you have to design the business around the life that you want. That was a very valuable lesson I learned here from Carmen and the program.
The strategic planning and holistic life-mapping workshop were eye-opening for me. I’ve never seen it in a mentorship program about business. I’ve never been in one that’s specific to women, and maybe that’s why. It definitely set the tone for what I’m doing not just in the next week but for the next five years.
We’ve been operating for a year and a half after gestating the project for five years. Retazo wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Hurricane Maria. Before, I would go to factories and they would have no interest in working with commercial designers and manufacturing other things. When the hurricane happened, all of a sudden the words “resiliency” and “sustainability” resonated with them. Three factories I went to a month after the hurricane are still working with us today.
My intention as a Global Ambassador was to serve, help and make a difference. If I can have an impact on someone or show her something positive, that’s what I want to do. I like mentoring and was looking forward to this. It’s also personal learning for me. I love new discoveries and experiences.
Auralís and I exchanged emails last week and got here early. We went for a walk on the beach and began to get to know each other. When I read all of her materials I felt confused. I didn’t know if she wanted to create a business or have a social impact. I asked her what her passion was, what was inside of her. “In my heart I’m a designer,” she said.
We kept talking. I wanted to clarify if she wanted to build a for-profit with a social cause or a social entity that supports women and develops their industries. We walked for more than an hour, having that conversation. We had a nice connection and it felt very comfortable for me, I felt like I was talking to a friend.
Talking the next day it was clear she wanted to take Retazo on a for-profit-with-social impact path. From there we’ve been on a journey of trying to understand the goals and how we can work together effectively.
Puerto Rico has many challenges. As women entrepreneurs we need to access tools and training – like the Global Ambassadors Program – to get stronger. And we need to find inspiration to go and do it. That’s our only salvation.
Carmen Cedré (left) and Auralís Herrero-Lugo (right) work on strategic planning during a one-on-one mentoring session
Stay connected to #GlobalAmbassadors this week:
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.
Watch the program’s YouTube playlist.
Visit the Global Ambassadors page at Bank of America and learn about their other women’s empowerment programs.
Photography: David Hume Kennerly