A version of this story was originally published in wevonline.org.
Ana Yessica Guerrero is a social entrepreneur who dedicates her life to empowering first-generation Latinx students to reach their full potential. She is a proud immigrant from Mexico City and grew up on a ranch in Goleta, Calif. As a first-generation student herself, she had numerous aspirations and goals. Ana was an eager and determined scholar, yet she received little academic guidance and a lack of resources. Although Ana encountered greater difficulties in higher education, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Then she obtained a master’s degree and doctorate from the department of education at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
A business born of her challenges
Ana realized the challenges she endured in her academic journey were not unique, but a recurring pattern among first-generation students. While researching for her doctorate degree, she studied more closely the experiences of first-generation, Latinx students in college. She also looked at the type of guidance they receive for career development after graduation. Observing the inequalities, Ana then used her expertise and passion for supporting Latinx learners to launch her business, FirstGen_Resilience.
FirstGen_Resilience is grounded in research, practice, and personal experience. The company empowers students by providing higher education information, exposure, guidance, and motivation with a holistic, culturally relevant approach. When Ana started FirstGen_Resilience in June 2021, she had the idea, the drive, and the passion. But she sought resources and mentors to guide her as a new small business owner. This led her to Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV).
Having no business background or mentors, WEV helped solidify my ideas and business plan. WEV has given me the tools to move my business idea forward, plus, everyone is friendly.
Knowing when to seek help
With WEV’s guidance, Ana has been able to further develop FirstGen_Resilience. She completed WEV’s LivePlan class where she worked on a business pitch, financial plan, identified target audiences, and made her website more user-friendly.
WEV helps business owners by facilitating space, connections, and guidance to further develop their business. WEV also gives you the opportunity to be empowered by a community of other mighty women business owners! I have learned a lot from my peers.
Ana has appeared on multiple news platforms, including a live interview in the largest American Spanish-language news network in the U.S. (Univision). She also had a cover story in a national news media magazine, and most recently was selected for the “Education Advocate” of the year award in her hometown.