As the CEO of ReCapturing the Vision International, Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario leveraged her expertise in psychology, education and organizational leadership to launch a non-profit program targeting young people and their families and help them ” overcome the negative trends that lead to generational cycles of failure and dependency.” Her programs have received over $20 million in federal, state, and county funding. Known as “America’s Marriage Doctor, her work with relationships and family health has certainly caught the attention of policymakers and leaders. We caught up with Dr. Del Rosario to ask her about the secrets to her success.
What’s helped me most in building my career is the strategic network of partnerships and relationships that I’ve established along the way. Never underestimate the power of a relationship. As Jim Rohn so famously stated, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with,” so choose wisely. Surround yourself with people that embody the qualities that you admire and that are already where you want to be in life.
My greatest personal strength is my unmovable belief that anything is possible with a great God empowering a little me, along with my compassion for others. It’s what spawned my companies. It’s what has made me successful. It’s what makes me wake up and do what I do everyday.
The best piece of advice I ever got was from my mother who said, “No one is better than you. You can do whatever you want to do in life. PERIOD.” As the child of poor migrant workers growing up in the south, this statement was sometimes hard to believe. I was in the first class to be desegregated at my elementary school. There was so much racism, inequality and negativity. Even as a six-year-old, I remember the angry rioters, barricades and picket lines. I can still see the guards trying to keep to the peace as glass bottles sailed through the air as they were hurled at us in anger. It was a hostile time full of adversity. My parents gave me a sense of identity. They reminded me of who I was, but made sure to also show me where I could go in life. Eventually, my mother’s words rang true.
The best piece of advice I could give to other entrepreneurs would be to do it for the love, not for the money. For years, I worked full-time while being a wife and a mother to two young children while trying to get my company off the ground. Young companies usually don’t break even until about the third year, so trust me, there was no money. My husband and I dumped our savings into the companies, and times were tough. No more nannies, pedicures or hair appointments.
Inspiration comes from what moves your spirit. For some, it’s the majestic outdoors or music. For me, I get so much inspiration from the element of water – being around it, seeing it, hearing it.
I look up to people that stand up for what is right. I always say that it’s easy to do what’s wrong; doing what’s right is the hardest. It costs something when you speak out, or when you don’t cheat to get to the front of the line. Those tried-and-true leaders who exude integrity especially in the face of adversity are the people that I truly look up to.
I define success as found in the authenticity of every man and woman who become the people that they really are. Being authentic takes a deliberate decision. It requires courage to be unique. I also define success as being a sound, productive person that actively contributes to society with the aim of improving the status quo.
I wake up at 6 a.m. every morning. No alarm clocks necessary. Early starts help me to make the most of everyday.
If I could do it over again I would’ve chosen to be more comfortable with the growth that comes with adversity. We often fear change and upheavals, but I have learned that the resistance and struggle that we experience during those times are what truly shapes us and develops us into great leaders. So, if I could do it all over again, I can think of a few growing pains that I would have allowed to happen instead of fighting against the flow.
The first thing I really splurged on was my car. I used to drive around this old beat-up minivan while I was pregnant with my second child. I always chuckle to myself every time I think back to how much I disliked that van. After years of hard work and a few paychecks, I finally treated myself to the car that I’ve always wanted.