Maria de Lourdes Sobrino
Founder and CEO of Lulu’s Dessert® Corporation.
Established in 1982, Lulu’s Dessert®, is ranked among the fastest growing Hispanic owned businesses in the United States. As Jim Hopkins from USA Today wrote she is “the queen of ready-to-eat gelatin and a force in the surging number of Hispanic entrepreneurs.”
Join me as I discuss with Lulu her struggles through her 35 years of being an entrepreneur and what she’s learned from building her business.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Ms. Sobrino’s first business was in the tourism industry. She later expanded her business to a travel agency, which grew so rapidly that she decided to open an office in Los Angeles. In 1982, Ms. Sobrino had to close her Mexican travel business due to unstable economic conditions in Mexico; however, her entrepreneurial spirit grew stronger and she began to explore other passions and ideas.
How did Lulu respond to this setback, and what motivation strategies can she teach us that has led to her later success?
Ms. Sobrino came up with the great idea of ready-to-eat gelatin when looking for the popular dessert while living in the U.S. A staple in her native Mexico, the concept was new to the U.S. and a novelty when she introduced it to American grocers in California. She recognized a need, filled it and revolutionized the food industry by creating the first-ever ready-to-eat gelatin category, based on her own mother’s recipe. From the initial production of 300 cups of gelatin a day, Lulu’s Dessert® has overcome many challenges and obstacles to become a leading maker of ready-to-eat desserts.
I’ll be talking with Lulu about the trends in her sector of the Latino marketplace and how she does her research.
Ms. Sobrino’s leadership also gained her recognition and an invitation to be part of President George W. Bush’s, Economic Forum in Waco, Texas to represent “Small Businesses”. She lent her expertise to identify obstacles to increase jobs and the economy in America.
Ms. Sobrino’s business, leadership, community efforts and dedication to supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses have won her much recognition by many corporations and the media. Recently, Ms. Sobrino was a speaker at the Microsoft Small Business Summit in March 2008. The four day event reached an audience of 200,000 on-line viewers. Ms. Sobrino along with other small business experts including Donny Deutsch and Louis Barajas educated the business community on topics important to small businesses. Her segment is available for viewing at www.sbsummit.com
The Schlesinger Library at Harvard University honored Ms. Sobrino in a national traveling exhibit that reinterprets the History of American Women and Business. “Enterprising Women, the Businesswomen of America: 1750-2000” She was among 40 intriguing women who helped shape the landscape of American Business such as: Meg Whitman, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey among others. www.enterprisingwomenexhibit.org
How has Lulu responded to these honors and awards, and what has she learned from networking with others at these recognition events?
Currently, she is on the advisory board for Nawbo-LA, Co-Chair for the (CWBR) Center for Women’s Business Research National Symposium, Rancho Santiago Community College Foundation, NAFIN (Nacional Financiera, an investment bank in Mexico) and Latina Style Magazine in Washington DC. Ms. Sobrino is also a founding member of the Working Families for Wal-Mart (WFMM) steering committee.
Lulu’s desire to give back is admirable. What advice does she give budding young business women?
In her first book Thriving Latina Entrepreneurs in America she shares her story along with seven other outstanding Latinas and their successes. The book is available through Amazon.com, Borders, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers nationwide.
We’ll be speaking about her book, how the idea for it came about, how she found the women in the book, and what she got out of the process.
Check out the Lulu’s Dessert website at: www.lulusdessert.com and her own at www.lulusobrino.com.
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