Name: Victoria Jenn Rodriguez

Major at Baruch College: BBA - Finance & Investments
Graduation Year: 2005
School within Baruch College: Zicklin School of Business
Company and Title: VJR Enterprises, CEO


1. Tell us about VJR Enterprises and your role as CEO. 

VJR Enterprises is not your ordinary Talent Management Consulting Agency. We value innovative thinking and encourage challenging the status quo. With a distinctive approach, we provide insight driven new age solutions to disrupt the traditional way organizations attract, develop, and retain talent. We create cultures that promote entrepreneurial authenticity which in turn produces results.

I founded this agency after spending 15+ years in the corporate sector and wanted to solve for the gaps I saw in how organizations attract, develop, retain, and most importantly, engage their talent. As the CEO, I focus on overseeing all operations and leading the development and execution of all long-term strategies.


2. What made you decide to start your own company and what motivated you to become an entrepreneur? 

Not realizing that I was setting the foundation for the next chapter in my life, I started my company as a side hustle while I was still working full time. It was a great way for me to generate what I called “play money”. I had no aspirations to venture out on my own. I was pretty happy with my corporate job. Fast forward two years, the company I was working for was downsizing. I had a decision to make. Stay with the company and find myself in a new role, with a new team, and start over, or I could venture out and find a new job outside of the company. I decided on the latter.

After several final round interviews fell through, I started asking myself if working in corporate was really for me anymore. I felt like the universe was telling me something. I paid attention and bet on me! I turned my side hustle into my main hustle. Two and half years later, I’ve built out strategic engagement campaigns for several Fortune 500 companies and continue to push the needle ahead as it relates to Inclusion & Diversity similar to the work I was doing in corporate – only this time I get to do it on my terms – under my own company name.


3. What were some unique challenges you faced throughout your professional career and how did you solve them? 

A unique challenge I experienced in my career was being laid off 4 times! Yup, 4 times. The blessing in this challenge was as a result of being laid off, I had to reinvent myself multiple times. I found myself going from the trading floor during my days at Lehman Brothers, to advocating for legislation in Washington, DC, to Human Resources at Morgan Stanley, to Recruiting at Bristol Myers-Squibb, to Talent Management at Johnson & Johnson, to now entrepreneurship. It’s been one hell of a ride and if it wasn’t for those “challenges” I wouldn’t be where I am today. 


4. What was the most important part of your business journey? 

The most significant part of my journey as an entrepreneur is understanding that I have all the power I need within me to make things happen. If I don’t hustle, I don’t eat. Meaning, as much as I put into my business is as much as I will get out of it. 


5. How was your experience at Baruch like? How did Baruch impact your life and career? 

Attending Baruch was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was able to save money by living at home and going to school. I had a full scholarship, which meant no student debt when I graduated. I met some of the best people at Baruch including several mentors who are still in my life now. Baruch was super diverse which I loved. I felt like differences were celebrated which allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin and focus on setting myself up for success vs trying to fit in. Diversity is a beautiful thing and Baruch taught me that. 


6. What are your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

My favorite memories from Baruch were from when I ran for student government. There was a strong sense of comradery and pride that my peers and I had a blast showcasing as we campaigned. It was a great learning experience as well. I learned how important relationships are and the power that comes from influence. The trips that were planned for the student body as a result were a blast as well. There is nothing like experiencing life with people who were once strangers that became family through education. 


7. Do you have any advice for current Baruch students and alumni who are interested in starting their own business?

Starting a business is not for the WEAK! It’s not for everybody and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t feel pressured to start a business because it seems like the cool thing to do. Starting a business is popular, but the work, sweat, and tears, required to actually make money and sustain a business is not. It’s hard work. It’s also the most rewarding work. Decide what’s really important to you and pursue that. You can still make your dreams happen as an employee if that is what makes you happy. The goal should be to do whatever makes your heart sing and your bank account remain in good standing. That is how I define success.


8. What are your top 3 tips for Baruch students and alumni to help kick start their career?

Tip 1: Take the time to figure out what you care about, and what makes you tick. Do the internal work so you can understand your passions, your drivers, and your purpose. It’s important to do this work because having a strong foundation will guide you and also give you the motivation to keep going.

Tip 2: Do your research. Once you identify what it is you want to do, build a targeted list of organizations you want to work for and focus on them only. The more targeted you are the better.

Tip 3: Be Persistent. Don’t let a “no” discourage you. Keep following up and go after your dreams. You are the architect of your career.


9. How can people contact you?

I am pretty active on social media. Please follow me @IAmVictoriaJenn See you there! You can also check out my Talent Management Agency at: vjrenterprises.net I also founded a not for profit TheFemaleCollaborative.com