Vanessa Casillas immigrated into the United States at the age of One from El Salvador with a single mother seeking asylum with no support, as her Father was killed in the Salvadorian civil war 2 months prior. Vanessa as a Latina immigrant who grew up in poverty in the streets of South- Central LA, knew first-hand what it was to struggle. Being raised by a single mother with 6 brothers and sisters, with minimal relative support lived their lives jumping from house to house, due to financial hardship as her mother possessed limited educational skills and struggled to find employment or childcare. Vanessa knew what it felt like not to have a home, food, or a job and this gave her the strength to develop a passion to live by doing for others. Vanessa’s main focus has always been to help others, so she developed organizations aimed helping build people and leaders.
Vanessa is the co-founder and CEO of Changing Lives Staffing Inc., a Southern California Employment agency, that focuses on building communities and making a positive impact in low income families while changing lives. Although this is one of the best and most rewarding experiences of her life, it is also the hardest accomplishment she has ever made. What was once a company that started with zero customers, has grown into a multi-million-dollar company in a matter of 5 years.
With over 20 years of industry experience with leading staffing vendors, Vanessa has held several high-level senior management positions. She has had a long and successful career. Vanessa experienced firsthand the cost and complexity of building a business from scratch. However, with the support, guidance and education, she received from the IE-NLBWA she gained confidence in converting from a business owner to an entrepreneur! Since her experience with the IE-NLBWA Leadership & Entrepreneur program, she has co-founded two other businesses. EMPOWER ME NOW LLC, a leadership motivational training center that focuses on offering training to develop professionals and leaders at the same time maintaining compliance and Just like Grandma’s house day care LLC a daycare in low income communities for low income working parents.
The IE-NLBWA gave a connection to the areas most needed to grow a business, Vanessa was able to connect with banks for capital and line of credit and developing a strong solid business plan. The accreditation for being a minority business owner opened many doors of opportunities with government contracts, that will range from 1-3 dollars in new business.