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Monica Flores Rowley

Entrepreneur

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Goals Foundation

www.thegoalsfoundation.org

Monica Flores Rowley of Goals Foundation is a winner of one of North Bay Business Journal's 2018 Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Professional background: Co-Founder of Epicenter Sports and Entertainment plus 30 years of experience in sports business operations, business administration, events, marketing and design.

Education: Bachelor of science, interior architectural design from San Jose State University

Tell us your story and that of your organization: In 1996, my husband, Andrew Rowley founded Sports City Indoor Soccer Center in Santa Rosa. With my prior experience in graphic design and business administration combined with my passion for soccer as a player and fan, it was a perfect match to work side by side with Andrew.

Together we developed everything from scratch. It was a new industry and there wasn’t a manual for it. With his vision and my attention to detail we created policies, procedures, a scheduling process, you name it. There was trial and error. Great days and horrible days but it was all worth it when we saw the smiles on everyone’s faces.

For years we looked for a place to expand to other sports, to see what else we could offer our members. We always studied market trends and saw the future in combining sports with family entertainment. We spent years researching and learning as much as we could about family entertainment.

There were real estate attempts and failures but through perseverance, our years of research combined with our many years of sports management and development, it finally paid off and resulted in the creation of Epicenter.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for Andrew’s tenacity, Sports City would have never relocated and Epicenter would have never come to fruition. Only our family/friends know how hard we worked on these projects and now that Andrew and I have officially stepped away from the day to day operations, we enjoy more time with our five year old as he’s our next big project - raising a boy who loves his sports.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Even though Epicenter has been open for nearly two years, I am now realizing what I personally accomplished specifically with regards to design. Every sign, every paint color, light fixtures and more…all my decisions. When my son was a young toddler, I was tasked with developing the children’s play area, so I designed a space with my son in mind for children to use as they grow. In the children’s play area, there’s a specific spot for crawling/cruising babies while toddlers play nearby. Even the goofy sports characters are my designs.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

Aside from being the first female in my family to receive a college education, I think that becoming a mother at the age of 44 while in the middle of developing Epicenter and still the COO of Sports City would be what I’m most proud of.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Time management between health, my son, husband, family, friends, fun, responsibilities, etc. I want to do it all.

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them:

Prioritizing the to-do list when EVERYTHING is a priority. That was always my biggest obstacle. My father-in-law would say, “Planning Precedes Performance”. My Tia Martha would say “Prioritize, Deputize and Supervise”. Prioritizing my to-do list was a daily task. Without prioritizing and planning, I couldn’t execute successfully no matter what I was working on. Once the list was ready, I’d do as my mom would always say, “Just Do It”.

Monica Flores Rowley

Entrepreneur

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Goals Foundation

www.thegoalsfoundation.org

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

I predict you will see more female business leaders and owners. If not, there should be…I’m speaking to you ladies, make your mark and don’t let anyone get in your way.

Who was your most important mentor?

I’ve had several great mentors but without a doubt, my mom is the most important. She lead by example and would advise me. When I was in high school, I’d find newspaper clippings stories/articles taped to my bathroom mirror that she wanted me to read; today they come in the form of a screenshots via text with the headline, “For Your Mirror”. She is always learning, always teaching and always cheering me on. I learned from her professionalism, experience and guidance and no one will be as honest with you as your own mom.

Tell us about your community involvement: I co-founded a nonprofit foundation with my husband Andrew in 2012 (Goals Foundation) and I volunteer my time and resources to the foundation and other non-profits. I’ll roll up my sleeves and/or make financial contributions to community programs and partnerships that I believe in. We have assisted many families through sports equipment collection and distribution during the 2015 Valley Fire and through collection and distribution of needed supplies and equipment including fundraising during 2017 North Bay Fires.

I’m most proud of the Rising Stars program which helps children with special needs through sports. I helped develop the program and volunteered many hours directly with these children. There’s nothing like the smile on the child’s face or the look on a parent’s face when they see their child in a uniform and being able to participate in a sport with other children.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

With regards to leadership and decision making, I recommend to listen to their inner voice, their intuition, as it’s usually right. You can learn from education and text books but to lead comes with experience and personality. Not everyone has the ability to become a leader and that’s okay. However, lead when and where you can.

Be your own advocate for your health, your work, yourself, as no one else is in your shoes, so speak up! To treat others as how they’d like to be treated, even if it’s merely a simple smile and hello. To keep marching forward with a great attitude, to live in the moment and enjoy the ride as life goes by fast and there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. There’s more advice I would give but I’ll stop with this - always think about what you post on social media as it will last forever!

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: I won’t mention her name but will let her know that I wrote the following, “In a culture that put men first, all that did was fuel your fire.

You started working as a 16 year old in sales for a national brand. Without your families support or a college education, you made your way to the top in sales for a global company for the past 15 years. You did this by being self- motivated, creative, and relentless and just doing what it takes! I admire your tenacity and bravery.”

Quick takes…

Words that best describe you: Employees and colleagues have described me as “creative, hard-working, dedicated, loyal, decisive, level headed, cooperative, a problem solver, visionary, leader and mentor”.

Current reading: “Raising Boys” - I’ll let you know how it goes in about ten years.

Most want to meet: I’ve met a countless number of celebrities, professional athletes, politicians and business professionals in my time so what I look forward to the most is the day I get to meet my son’s future wife and family…he turned five last week so I’ll have to wait a while.

Stress relievers: Playing with my young son, any form of exercise and time with my family and friends.

Favorite hobbies: Activities like golf, tennis, and hiking. Basically anything that keeps me moving.

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?

My role models - My parents have always been amazing role models, without even realizing it. They always led by example. Every summer, or it felt like every summer, we’d drive out to their home towns in Texas and Mexico. I’d see first-hand where they grew up, the dirt roads where they played, the poverty that they came from. It was normal to me and it’s a part of me as if I grew up there too.

I’m always grounded by those memories of where they came from. Those two young kids started their life together at 20 and 23 and provided me with a great life through their love and work ethic. They provided me with a launching pad to take off from, or wings to fly as I like to say.

My parents have sacrificed, volunteered and succeeded in both personal and business life. I wouldn’t be accepting this award today had they not lead by example. So for that I dedicate my award to them.