Major at Florida International University: Finance
Ellenit Serrano (BBA ’86)
Background: Serrano worked for twenty years in the finance area for American Express, Latin America, in various roles and markets. She was the lead financial officer for the international dollar card.
Inspiration for Becoming an Entrepreneur: American Express’ reorganization began moving people to local markets. Serrano wanted to stay in Miami and thought it would be the perfect time to start her own business. She decided to pursue her dream. She drew on her passion for fashion and her desire to encourage others to live a more peaceful and inspired life; as a consequence, she created the Inspirit brand.
Current Company: Inspirit International was launched in 2006. The company designs and offers inspirational fashion consisting of imprinted and embellished women’s shirts and accessories. All merchandise is made in the U.S. and uses the highest quality elements, including Swarovski crystals on all stone designs.
Personal and Professional Qualities: Serrano has the technical skills and strategic business planning background along with drive and determination. She has a grasp of all aspects of business from her business consulting experience.
Exciting Opportunity: To come full circle and merge creative passion with business expertise, Serrano first studied fashion merchandising and ran a boutique at Dadeland Mall. She started to study business, and finance courses were easy for her. Finance helped her build a successful, well-rounded career that has given her the know-how essential to running a business.
Challenging Moments: Hitting the streets for hard sales calls in order to get sale volume. “Putting yourself out there is time consuming and you have to go into it with high energy and a constant positive attitude. The task is challenging in a great way,” she said.
Most Rewarding Aspect of Owning a Business: Serrano is grateful to be able to take risks. She feels that she was blessed with a great career at Amex and accomplished everything she wanted to in a corporate setting. She moves forward in her new business with confidence.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: “It is important to do something that you love. You have to be willing to wear many hats, know when you don’t have the expertise, and not be afraid to reach out to others for help.”