Dorothy Enriquez is a leadership development expert, a rising star Nominee in 2020 in the Wisconsin MarketPlace Awards, the 2021 Rising Star Award Winner in the minority business enterprise category, and has written for Forbes and Training Industry Magazine. She got started with leadership development in college when the school selected her as one of the top 10% leaders at her university. They put her into a one-year immersive leadership program to learn about leadership formal and informal elements. Every Thursday morning, she would go to class at 7:00 AM, and she loved it. 

She felt like that is when the seeds of personal development first got planted. She would not get into formal leadership development until many years later. She mentions, “Of the five companies I worked for, only two of them had leadership development. Most organizations, even till this day, don’t have a  dedicated leadership development department.”

Below we cover a 1-on-1 interview with Dorothy Enriquez.

How Was Being Selected and Being Pulled Into the Leadership Class Help You To Where You Are Now?

Dorothy: I feel like my philosophy is that you can only process it right from where you’re standing. Even though I was going through that leadership development program, I was trying to overlay it as the president of the French club or working in a group home, being a French tutor, or working in upward bound. I was trying to overlay it in those things.

But it wouldn’t be until much later that I would have the skills to put all of the pieces together. When I first went into the world of work, I did not go into corporate. I was a teacher, and I did not realize that I was applying everything I learned in leadership development.

I then became a training specialist. I think I was applying the content that I learned when I obtained my graduate degree more than what I learned during my undergraduate. It was later on that I finally felt equipped and optimized to connect the dots.

When I started doing formal leadership development, I was working for a much bigger company that had about 10,000 employees. And at the time, it had been the most prominent organization that I had ever worked for. I feel like that is when I started to connect those dots.

I had a talk show dedicated to gen Y AKA the millennials. I had created a magazine that spoke to my generation. So that personal development piece was there. But I wasn’t folding in the professional development side because I didn’t know. It would be quite a bit of time before I would figure it out.

I, therefore, created my first learning and leadership development firm in 2016. In 2021, people recognize us as The Ellevate Collective. 

Along The Way Was There Anyone That Helped You?

Dorothy: Of course. No one becomes phenomenal without help. I once saw someone doing something similar to what I would do many moons down the lane. Her name was Anita Golden, and she invited me. I was about 25 years old, and she had her HR learning leadership development firm.

She said, “Hey, I would love an assistant for the day. Would you be interested?” “Yeah,” I responded, “What do you want me to do?” She said that she wanted me to be there. They were doing team-building with a particular organization. 

She had created an activity where people had GPS’s, and they had to go on the scavenger hunt and find things that would allow them to ignite how they do work together. 

She got paid something from $3,000 to $7,000 to run that day. I made $250 that day, and this earning blew my mind away because I made more money having the time of my life helping my mentor.

Within 60 days of starting my first corporate job, I knew this was not for me. I didn’t know how people do it, and I didn’t understand it. Seeing someone do that every day motivated me. I asked myself questions like, “When do I grow up? What must I do, and what’s it going to take? 

What if I could be her assistant every business day for a month?” I would make more money than this company that has me. I decided to make a plan, and Anita was happy to help. She was the first coach who allowed me to think outside the box.

She helped me realize I am creative because I never thought of myself that way. She made me realize that if I could think it up, there would be somebody who would be willing to pay me for it. I still keep in touch with her on purpose because she changed my life. I feel like exposure allows us to dream bigger and think differently. And at this juncture in my life, I want to dream so big that even many dreams have dreams.