Ionica Brito is a self-made entrepreneur with a fantastic story to tell. She moved to the US at the age of 18 from The Cape Verde Islands. She excelled in the workplace and accomplished something even greater (if possible!) – she discovered her most passionate joy and turned it into a very profitable business!
RCG: So, tell me about your work history? Where did you get started? Let’s read her story here:
Ionica: I worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years. I started at a major medical insurance company at a call center, then I moved up the corporate ladder working in finance, national sales, and landed in project management. After completing my master’s degree, I moved on to another major insurance company by taking on more senior project management roles.
Although I was very good at my job, I felt I’d reached the bottom. I am an entrepreneur at heart, and I want to work in a way that is more creative, intuitive, and in line with what I love.
So, I decided to take the time to figure out who I was and to discover what made me flourish and what made me happy.
RCG: It’s impressive that you had the wherewithal to do that!
Ionica Brito on finding the inspiration to take the leap:
Ionica: Well, at that time, I needed to take some time off from work to deal with a medical condition.
I started thinking and wondering how I could contribute to the world with something that comes easier to me and can help others.
That’s when I found this book that introduced me to the idea that I could turn something I loved doing into a business. It’s called The $100 Startup.
I quickly learned and embraced that I’m a designer at heart! I always get excited about designing and creating inviting spaces for people to celebrate life.
From there, I slowly began to build my business. I started with adding event planning and design and event staffing, and now my business includes event rentals.
What’s incredible is that I feel so happy when I do these events! I get so excited to see people enjoy the places I transform. I’m so grateful that I found this thing that makes me happy.
I am in the best place right now that I’ve ever been!
On the importance of a support system:
RCG: Is there anything else that contributed to finding this success?
Ionica: My family and the people that I am surrounded by. They believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my passion.
I also think being in a great place with a partner who supports me in becoming the best version of myself is key.
RCG: Did you know about this passion for a long time?
Ionica: I knew, but I didn’t believe it would become profitable enough.
RCG: And you love it?
Ionica: Every bit of it!
I love having control of my life. And I enjoy the flexibility that this offers me.
I get up and do what makes me happy every single day!
More about Ionica Brito’s fascinating history and journey after moving to the US:
RCG: Tell me more about your history.
Ionica: I was born and raised in the Cape Verde Islands, off the West Coast of Africa. I came here when I was 18 and learned to speak the language while finishing my senior year in high school. After high school, I worked full-time to pay for my education and earned my bachelor’s and master’s degree from Northeastern University. I graduated at the top of my class and was the recipient of a scholarship for my master’s degree.
Soon after I began moving up the corporate ladder in corporate America, and when I reached the senior level, I started feeling that I needed to do something that would bring more joy into my life.
I have worked really, really hard. The politics in the corporate world can be tricky, especially when you are a woman of color and English is not your first language.
RCG: What an incredible story!
You didn’t just adjust to career changes. You also adapted to a new country and a new language.
On the importance of sharing her story:
Ionica: I believe our job is to speak about our experiences so that I can make other people aware! Sometimes all it takes to motivate someone to take the first step is to hear a story like this.
Sometimes they aren’t aware of stories like mine.
RCG: What would you say to a woman in the same position? Do you have any tips?
Ionica: First, know that if you are unhappy about a situation, there is always something you can do!
And next, research, read, learn and put what you know into action. I recently heard something that resonated with me that says knowledge is power, and actionable knowledge is even more powerful.
RCG: Is there anything else?
Ionica: Also, surround yourself with people who inspire you. They’re going to remind you to continue to work toward your goal.
RCG: Do you have any other resources to share?
Ionica: Yes, another person that inspired me is Rachel Hollis.
When I first started learning about her work, I remember her writing something like, “If you look on my Instagram, you’ll see that I have photos from when I started and didn’t know what I was doing.”
I like how she is very vocal about where she started and how much she persevered to turn her company into a multi-million-dollar company.
RCG: So true! She is a regular person who found extraordinary success through hard work and determination. I think that’s a big part of her appeal.
Ionica: Yes! Whenever I felt my dreams and goals weren’t realistic, I would go for a walk and listen to the audio version of her book. It inspired me and gave me the fire to work hard to put my goal into reality.
My favorite book of hers is Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.
RCG: Another great tip!
Ionica, thank you so much for sharing your story! I know I am personally and so deeply inspired by you and the path that you’ve taken!
Ionica: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my story in your space!
Are you looking for the perfect person to help you to create that event you’ve been dreaming of? Learn more about Ionica Brito and her Socialite by Design business here.
Also, follow Ionica’s journey on Instagram here.