Hi, I am Vimari and at 42 years old I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. ?
I help professionals overcome dissatisfaction & skepticism, believe in their purpose and amplify their unique gifts so that they can get their groove back, become high performers and finally do work that moves them.
I took a few detours before arriving at where I am today. When I was 15-year old I thought I wanted to be an attorney. My parents thought I was on the right track as I definitely could argue a good case and did a great job of representing myself as a teenager. But that changed by the time that I was getting ready to graduate from high school and at that time I wanted to be a Psychologist.
It turns out that my journey took a different turn at 17. Life happened and as an independent high-school graduate, I moved out of my father’s house and started living on my own. My parents had not saved for my college and therefore I had to continue working to support myself. Thanks to my dad I had started working part-time at the hotel where he was a General Manager and once I graduated high-school I was able to go fulltime. I decided to take a break from school in order to support myself and save some money but my career ended up taking off and I never went back. At 18 and after going fulltime at the hotel in Long Island, I realized that I needed to make more money and decided to look for a job in Manhattan. I put my own resume together, went into the yellow pages and wrote down the names and fax numbers of the Waldorf Astoria and the Essex House. I had been working at a limited service hotel and at this time I was very clear about wanting to work at a luxury hotel and I thought I start with those two. I decided to fax my resume and the first call I received was from the Essex House. I was super excited and I did not say a word to my father as I did not want him to make any calls on my behalf. I wanted to get my next job all on my own.
I went shopping and purchased my first two-piece suit. It was a black skirted suit and I wore a white collared shirt underneath with black pumps and kept my jewelry to a minimum. I wanted to look mature and older, and I think I accomplished it. I took a printed copy of my resume with me to my interview and felt prepared. I got to the hotel and went into the basement to where HR was located. I met the hiring coordinator who led me to complete a written assessment – at the time I called it a test. I didn’t expect to have to complete an assessment and I was extremely nervous. I hated taking tests and felt intimidated by the process. I completed it and about two weeks later I received a letter that I believe I still have somewhere that said that they decided not to move forward with hiring me. I was devastated that I didn’t even get to meet with a manager. I was certain that they would have hired me if they would have met me in person and if I didn’t have to take that damn test.
I decided to go back into the yellow pages and write down the fax numbers for a few other luxury properties. I faxed my resume and received a call from the Surrey Hotel. I went in for the interview at the corporate office and they sent me the same day to the hotel to meet with the Front Desk Manager. I met with Helene and she hired me on the spot. I was super excited and felt like a grown up. I got this new job all on my own and I am now working in NYC.
I gave my dad my two weeks notice and he was very proud. I started working at the Surrey Hotel as a Front Desk Agent and was promoted to Supervisor in less than six months. My career in Hospitality took off and I grew into different leadership positions leading teams of up to 25. I spent a total of 22 years in Hospitality, ten in operations and twelve in Sales & Marketing.
I remember getting the itch to leave the industry every three years. I didn’t feel fulfilled or challenged. So every three years I was seeking a new promotion. I was a high performer but I didn’t know how or why. It all came so naturally to me and I didn’t know what else I could do or what other industry I could go to. I didn’t want to go back to college to get a degree because I thought it would take too long. I took the Real Estate course in NY as an option when I was 19 and because my dad had gone into that industry but I had no interest and let it go.
In 2008, I remember taking the course in Florida thinking that perhaps I would find it interesting as I was older but again I didn’t feel the passion for it so I started to do some soul searching and in 2010 I wrote a brief summary of what I could do. It turns out that I wrote the following:
Electrify with Vimari
“I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…..”
- Career Coaching
- Discover your natural art (what are you good at?)
- Get a new business look
- Business etiquette
- Communication in 2010: Persuasive language to get results. (I was in sales at this time.)
Together let’s discover your plan B.
I also wrote down an intro, an about and my fee at $50 per hour. I put the summary away and forgot about it. I find this hilarious now because life comes full circle and I found those two pieces of paper in a drawer somewhere last year when I was in the process of developing my “Productively Yourself: Progress, Passion and Purpose” workshop. I found them and it confirmed to me that I was on the right track.
If it wasn’t for my last position as Director of Sales & Marketing in 2011, I would not be where I am today. I accepted a position at a hotel that I was not crazy about but it was a lot closer to home, and they offered me a compensation package that I could not refuse. Immediately after starting there I knew the culture was not a fit. I was devastated as I had left a wonderful position where I was highly respected, making good money, with an amazing team, all because I was bored and wanted to work closer to home. I now found myself for the first time in my 21 year career at a job that where I was completely unhappy working for a leader that I could not look up to or respect. Day one I knew that I should have left but I didn’t want to quit and I was afraid of how that would look on my resume. So I decided to stay one year, do the best I could and then leave. Today, I feel grateful for this experience. That position and that hotel brought out the entrepreneur in me. I did not have many resources, therefore, became very resourceful, and I learned systems I probably would not have learned anywhere else and some of the projects I took on would typically not fall under a DOSM position so for that I am grateful.
I had planned to leave Nov 2012 as it would have made a year and I thought that would look good on my resume but things didn’t work as I expected, and sometime in October my boss blindsided me calling me into his office for a write up because he was not satisfied with the results from my teams. It turns out his excel numbers were not correct and by this time I was mentally and physically exhausted. From that moment on, we did not see eye to eye. A few weeks later I was called into HR and I was offered a severance package. Life could not have been so perfect. Surprisingly I was super excited. I had the plan to quit in November and take December off without pay and now I had a generous severance that would allow me to enjoy my time off.
I took the rest of November and December off to de-stress, and get my groove back yet a little concerned because for the first time in my life I did not have a job and I had no idea what I wanted to do next. There wasn’t another hotel in the area that I was excited about and after all, I knew I had outgrown the industry. About a week into my time off, I was feeling terrible filled with doubt and fear because it dawned on me that I did not have a job, I was in the middle of a divorce (that’s another story) and I had no plans when suddenly my phone rang. I moved the phone to look at who was calling but I hit the green button by accident and had to answer it. To make the already long story short, my first client was on the other line. Yes, that’s right – my first corporate meeting. The woman that called me was referred to me by a client I had worked with almost 10 years prior. She was responsible for putting together an annual sales conference and had no idea what to do. Her colleague who I had worked with at one of my hotels gave her my cell number and told her that if she called me she would be in the right hands. I told her I was no longer working in hotels but that I was independent, and that if she liked she could hire me as her meeting planner. She did. and just like that, I had my first client.
I created Be Productive Meetings & Events, LLC Jan of 2013 and I hit the phones to get more clients. I got my CMM Certificate (Certified Meetings Manager – basically the Masters in Meeting Planning) and I made the decision to do whatever it takes not to ever step into a hotel as a fulltime employee again. A few past clients gave me the opportunity to work with them, I also worked a few Task Force jobs for some of my favorite hotel leaders and I made it work. But suddenly I was feeling that feeling that I would get every 3 years except it was only a year into my independence as an entrepreneur.
I went back into doing some soul searching and I realized I was missing my teams. I was missing the leadership and coaching component of my job. I decided to go to Tony Robbin’s Unleash the Power Within and I hired a coach shortly after and my coach is who encouraged me to get my coaching certification. With his guidance, I did the schooling and became a Strategic Intervention & Leadership Coach in late 2014. I had no idea what I was going to do with it and continued working as a Meeting Planner. Throughout the time I was going to the classes and coaching I realized I was finally feeling fulfilled. I continued coaching friends and referrals from friends in order to get more experience and in 2017 I made the conscious decision that I would start advertising myself and that’s when Be Productive Coaching was born. I ordered business cards and got a website still not sure of what my niche would be. Finally, in 2018 I made the decision to no longer solicit for corporate meetings and that my focus would be on growing my coaching practice. Today, I continue working with a few of my repeat clients handling their meetings and the rest of my time is focused on my coaching.
I share my story with you because I want you to know that things do not happen overnight and that I can certainly relate. I know what it is to be in an environment where it’s all about the ROI. I know what is like to fear the transition from doing work that supported you for so long, to doing work following your purpose and your passion.
I know what it is to not see a way out. My mind was completely closed from the possibilities. Then something unexpected happened and a door was opened for me to start living my purpose, and here I am six (6) years later realizing that door was opened all along.
I never imagined that I would feel the way I do today. I am the proof that it’s possible. I wish I had that wake-up call 10 years ago, and because I didn’t…..I want to wake YOU up to the possibilities.
Do work that moves you. Overcome skepticism. Believe in your purpose and amplify your gifts.
Other people do meaningful work……..YOU can too!