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Taken from, May 4th, 2023

Meet Jennifer Barbosa

We recently connected with Jennifer Barbosa and have shared our conversation below.

Jennifer, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Before we get into specifics, let’s talk about success more generally. What do you think it takes to be successful?

Tenacity, grit, and faith are the keys to success in anything you embark on. You have to be aware that there will be challenges and you will constantly be tested. Your patience will be tested. Your dedication will be tested. Your belief will be tested. Your relatioships will be tested. Your commitment will be tested. Every skill and trait you need to be successful will be tested. It is the ability to push through especially when things are difficult and seem bleak.

Jennifer, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?

As a child of immigrant parents who came to America from the islands of Cabo Verde, my siblings and I grew up in a small city, Central Falls, RI (the same city as Viola Davis). In 2016, I began work in the financial industry before starting ISP, running a local insurance boutique. Quickly, the insurance network began to grow and demanded more of my attention. When the Pandemic happened, I lost my job as a benefits specialist and found myself thrusted in the panic of sourcing PPE from around the world. It was during that time, that I gained a plethora of knowledge, skill, and more resources than I could have imagined.

Not realizing it at the time, but my background and family history would aid in preparing me for my new venture. I knew my grandfather did import and export as a child but did not understand the business completely. I knew my Uncle traveled the world as an ambassador and engaged in meaningful relationships with people of different cultures from all backgrounds. My mother and father worked in manufacturing companies but didn’t appreciate it. Little did I realize I already possessed the foundational understanding and skills to build an international business leveraging relationships I built with suppliers and worldwide manufacturers to bring essential products to my clients in the US.

My desire to help, serve and contribute to solving problems are the core at how we do business with our clients and our partners from around the world. We look to understand the business operations and needs of each client and include it in how we serve them and source the needed items they are looking for. We strive to become a trusted supplier and partner who solves the problem of securing timely and fairly priced quality products.

Additionally, I actively train and learn my industry and improve my service craft. I do this by gaining new skills, certifications, and licenses, participating in trade associations and staying abreast of industry trends and news. I transfer all of this to how we operate, respond, and serve our clients.

Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?

On one occasion, I received a large Purchase Order from a significant client worth more than $100,000, but I needed more funds to fulfill it. At the time, I was collaborating with a person who I considered a mentor, who introduced me to someone they believed could assist me. This individual claimed to be successful and had the resources to aid me in fulfilling my client’s order. However, he stipulated that he would fund and supply the order but demanded 80% of the profit since he was taking on the most risk. Despite my reservations, I agreed because fulfilling the order and cultivating a positive relationship with my client was critical, and I didn’t have the capital to do it myself.

Additionally, the person required that the client make payments and order directly to him. Fortunately, my relationship with the client was strong, and they refused to comply. Despite this, the order was not delivered on time and was short in quantity, which put my business in a vulnerable position. Although I felt used and taken advantage of, I fulfilled my promise and paid the individual as agreed. I learned I shouldn’t have allowed someone to take advantage of my vulnerable situation by not negotiating. From this experience, I learned to trust my instincts, fulfill my commitments, and be open to learning from every situation. I continued to receive larger Purchase Orders from my hospital, and my relationships with my clients and suppliers grew stronger and more trustworthy.

What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?

Growing up, we are taught the importance of individual achievement and self-reliance. In school, we are taught that we can’t help each other on a test or will be accused of cheating. This mindset often carries over into our personal and professional lives, where we may believe we must do everything ourselves to succeed.

However, this mentality can be limiting and can ultimately hinder our success. In reality, our success is directly connected to the support and help we receive from others. Collaboration and enlisting the support and expertise of those who already know and have the answers is crucial in life and business.

We may have a certain skill set or knowledge base, but being an expert in every area is impossible. To achieve success, we must recognize our limitations and seek out the knowledge and expertise of others. We must also be willing to share our skills, knowledge, and resources to contribute to the success of others.

Collaboration and working with others can also help to expand our own network and opportunities. We can tap into their networks and connect with new people and resources by working with others. This can lead to new opportunities and growth for ourselves and our businesses.

Unfortunately, the fear of failure or the desire to maintain control can often prevent us from seeking out the help and support we need. We may be afraid to ask for help or delegate tasks to others, fearing losing control or being seen as weak. However, this thinking can ultimately hinder our success and limit our potential.

Learning to collaborate and seek out the support and expertise of others can be challenging, but it is an important lesson to unlearn. It requires us to let go of the need for control and embrace vulnerability. We must trust others and let go of the fear of failure.

I have had to learn this lesson the hard way in my own personal and professional life. As a young entrepreneur, I believed I had to do everything myself to succeed. I was afraid to delegate tasks or seek out the support of others, fearing that it would reflect poorly on me or my business. However, as my business grew and the demands increased, I realized I needed help.

I started seeking out mentors and experts in my field, asking for their advice and guidance. I also started delegating tasks to others and hiring employees with skills and expertise I did not possess. This allowed me to focus on my strengths and freed up time and energy to pursue new opportunities.

I also started collaborating with other businesses and entrepreneurs, sharing resources and expertise to achieve mutual success. By working together, we could achieve more than we ever could have on our own.

In conclusion, the lesson that we must do everything ourselves to be successful is a limiting belief that we must unlearn. Collaboration and seeking out the support and expertise of others is crucial in achieving success in both personal and professional endeavors. We must let go of control and embrace vulnerability, but the rewards can be great. By working together and sharing our skills, knowledge, and resources, we can achieve greater success than we could alone.

Goldman Sachs
Ms Jennifer Barbosa