I met Vimari in Mexico during a study course for the CMM program. She had already started her business by then and is one of the people that inspired me to eventually start mine.
We had a helluva time in Riviera Maya and have been friends ever since.
A Look at Vimari’s Journey to Launching Her Own Business
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career?
I grew up in the hotel industry, as my father was a General Manager for hotels. My career started in 1992 at the age of 15 when I started working part-time at my father’s hotel in Lynbrook – Long Island, NY. I worked through high school.
After graduating and moving out on my own at the age of 17, I decided that I wanted to make more money and applied to work in Manhattan.
I was hired by Manhattan East Suite Hotels (now Affinia) and started as a Front Desk Agent at the Surrey Hotel on the upper east side of Manhattan.
After just a few months at the Surrey Hotel, I was quickly promoted to Front Desk Supervisor. Initially, I wanted to study Psychology but it was very hard for me to balance supporting myself and going to school.
At the time, I worked many different shifts and my focus was making money. Therefore I decided to pursue a career in hospitality.
After working with Manhattan East Suites for three years in two different hotels, I decided to move to Miami, FL where my mom lived in 1999.
I started working at the Sonesta Beach Resort in Key Biscayne as Assistant Front Office Manager and it was at that hotel that I started my Sales Career.
After working as AFOM for three years, the GM knew that I needed a change and created a small meetings manager position for me to move into.
I worked many different markets at the Sonesta and assisted with sales efforts for two other Sonesta’s that had opened in the South Florida market.
In 2006 when the hotel was closing, I knew I wanted to sell multi-properties and was hired by LXR Luxury Resorts to represent their Caribbean properties in Puerto Rico and Jamaica.
I successfully represented the four properties for four years and later was promoted to Director of Group Sales overseeing the Executive Meetings Team, which was a team of 12 representing 9 properties.
In Nov 2011, I was recruited as the Director of Sales & Marketing for the Sofitel Miami and although I was extremely happy at LXR, I decided to make the change as I knew it would offer a great deal of growth.
After working at the Sofitel Miami for a year, I felt that it was not a good fit and in November 2012, I left the hotel to take a two-month break.
What made you want to start your own business?
After leaving the Sofitel Miami, I knew that I wanted to do something different but I wasn’t sure what. During my two-month break, I received a call from a friend that was an independent meeting planner asking if I wanted to partner with her.
I entertained the thought and agreed to speak to her further in January. A couple of weeks after the call from my friend, I received another call but this time it was from a client that was referred to me by another client I’d worked with at Sonesta Key Biscayne over 9 years prior.
The client needed assistance with her meeting and I immediately told her that I was independent and could assist. That’s how I started my own business in January 2013.
What’s your average working day like?
I don’t have an average workday. Sometimes I wish I did but then I realize that’s not part of my personality and I would get bored.
I do work from home and my dog is a wonderful companion. I am usually started by 9 am after my morning workout and done by 6:30 -7 pm on average.
Say hi to Shadow 🙂
How would you define success?
Success looks very different to many of us and I would say that people are truly successful when they are doing what they love and are able to make money doing it.
For me, I define success by being able to reach a point in my career where I am well respected, was earning a great living and then decided that I could make it on my own.
Owning my time is freedom to me. I make less money for now but I am happy and would not trade it for anything in the world. The knowledge, contacts, and experiences I’ve had make me who I am today.
What have you learned and what would you do differently?
I’ve learned that you need some type of plan. I didn’t have a plan so I think I may have struggled more than I would have had I had the time to prepare one before going on my own. I’ve also learned that your time is extremely precious and time management is key.
What do you think has contributed to your success the most?
Definitely my experience, contacts and my focus on making it work.
Who has inspired you the most professionally and why?
My VP from LXR. She is amazing. Thinks on her feet and is creative. Takes an entrepreneur approach to her position and I learned a lot from her.
If you could do it all over again, would you still choose to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, absolutely! It’s not easy but there is a sense of freedom and accomplishment that I didn’t have when I worked for a company.
What advice would you give people looking to become entrepreneurs?
Have a plan and be ready for it not to workout 100%. Be flexible but stay focused on your goal.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Creativity, Flexibility, and Vision.
Related Content: Entrepreneur’s Talk with Shefali Ranthe, Artist
What do you do in your downtime away from work?
Workout – currently doing Crossfit and have fabulous wine dinners with friends.
Are you following your dreams and igniting your imagination?
Yes, I continue to evolve daily. My dreams are unfolding daily and I am being forced to ignite my imagination as I am determined to succeed.
Thanks to Vimari for the lovely interview. You can find out more about her at Be Productive Meetings & Events.
Want to start your own journey today? Check out A Guide to Getting Started With a Plan for tips, tricks and best practices for taking the first step in the direction of achieving a goal, getting your money right and paying off debt.
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