CEO of Northern California's Lucy Hernandez Consulting wins North Bay Latino business leadership award
Aligning your business model to your core beliefs is key says, Lucy Hernandez, a 2020 winner of the Business Journal's Latino Business Leadership Awards.
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in social science from California State University Chico; Masters degree in business administration from Sonoma State University.
Tell us your story and that of your organization: I was a teen mother facing homelessness and was served by a local community action agency. My caseworker provided me services such as food, housing can child care so I can could continue attending school and graduate. I lost my child to Child Welfare during this time and the agency staff helped me get back on my feet and get my daughter back.
At this moment, I knew I wanted to do this type of work and help others like me with key services to help them get back on their feet and keep their children.
I have spent over 22 years in social services and community-based as staff promoted to director for small and large organizations. In 2016, I launched my consulting firm to support agencies in maximizing their performance & services for vulnerable residents in their communities.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
My business has been instrumental in supporting agencies and organizations in responding to COVID-19 community needs and developing community needs assessments to assess the community priorities and allocate CARES Act funding for the most impacted.
Our team has grown and I have been able to increase our team members, as we have expanded to Southern California counties.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Recognized as the Latina Entrepreneur of the Year by the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, recipient of Congressman Mike Thompson’s Congressional Recognition for my business work in the community and attaining my master’s degree in business administration from Sonoma State University last year.
My clients increased from 10 counties and agencies to 22 counties and clients in the last 12 months and I have reached $1M goal in my five year anniversary as a business owner.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Building internal capacity to respond to the increase in client demands, new contracts and state-wide projects and work. Hiring team members that have the skill set necessary to meet the needs of our evolving industry.
What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?
I am proud to see our Latino’s growing in the field of human, social and community-based services through public agencies and nonprofits in our state. They are being promoted to management and administrative level positions and I get to work with them on their executive professional development to assist them in leading their agencies and organizations to respond to community-based programs and services for their communities (serving low-income/vulnerable populations).
I am proud to see our Latino professionals obtaining their degrees and taking the step towards being in executive-level positions, which impact the way we reduce disparities in our communities.
Words that best describe you: Over-achiever, passionate and innovative thinker.
I love taking a complex issue and problem and helping my clients to think of a strategic approach to lead and manage their agencies and organizations to better serve our communities. I am a one-stop consulting firm that specializes in organizational change management, strategic planning and practices and building internal capacity to endure the shifts in the environment.
As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
Since I started as a staff member in human, social and community-based services in 1998, I always was the minority in the workforce that advocated for our minority groups.
Through my career I always needed to work extra hard to ensure people took me serious and deflected the racist systemic attacks that were present in my field.
Today, I work on reducing these barriers for other professionals and love that I have the opportunity to support my clients (agencies and organizations) to be more culturally-responsive and reduce barriers for other minority professionals.
This is a huge accomplishment, because I am in a position to influence executives and boards and commissions to take a deep dive in their agency and organization culture and help them shift to a strength-based approach, inclusive and culturally responsive entity.
As of today, I am the only Latina consultant and trainer that focuses on my work. There is a demand for my expertise in organizational management, strategic planning and training to build our new generation of workers in this field.