“All good thoughts and ideas mean nothing without action” Mahatma Gandhi
The Power of the Heels Foundation, created and led by former Aventura Vice Mayor Gladys Mezrahi, takes that phrase to heart as they help young girls turn ideas into action. The foundation features mentorship, education and ‘taking action’ so that the next generation of young girls grow up self-sufficient, financially educated and emotionally healthy.
When the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce (AMC) held their first AMC Student Shark Tank Zoom program with ACES, Aventura City of Excellence School K – 8, Mezrahi heard one 8th grade team leader, Valentina Elias, present her business proposal to the Sharks, and was so impressed that she offered to mentor her to bring the business proposal to life.
Valentina was born with unilateral profound hearing loss, and has overcome many obstacles. She has learned to read lips as part of her everyday communication skills until COVID masks became part of our daily lives. In Valentina’s world, this was a major issue since lips were now masked.
With the help of her teacher, they came up with a design for clear masks as part of a school project. This idea was brought to the AMC’s Student Shark Tank, winning her first prize. Valentina donated her prize money to Pandemic of Love-Aventura Chapter.
With the full support of the parents, and after months of weekly meetings to create a business plan, in between Valentina’s school and homework, she finally had her business plan ready. But it was a long road in finding a domain name, doing extensive research on competitive products already on the market, figuring out manufacturing, design, supply, branding and sales. Finally, Valentina was able to incorporate her first business, SMILEGUARD.
Her initial lot of 400 has been sold with a profit as well as a donation made to the Starkey Foundation, an organization that helps pay for hearing aids for children. Valentina’s biggest challenge to date is getting another shipment, and more suppliers so she will not run out of masks. Distribution to other countries has also become a challenge because she wants to fulfill the orders that are coming in from around the world.
This is very much a family business. Her sister helps with accounting, Mom takes care of shipments, and Dad is the creative power behind the marketing. Valentina directs and enjoys packaging while relishing having a whole team to help her out.
One thing we know for sure: This will not be the only business venture for Valentina, a very determined and dedicated young woman.
For more information on Power of the Heels Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org