EL PASO — Owning a small business can bring minority women much success and many challenges, and in some cases just being a double minority is an advantage.
Rosa Marin-Abdeljaber told the Women’s Business Border Center of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently that she always knew she wanted to be successful.
At one point her goal was to become a doctor and own her own practice. Well she didn’t become a doctor, but she is President and CEO of Russell Transport, an Hispanic female-owned and operated trucking company based in El Paso. She credits part of her success to being a minority. “There are a lot of benefits with being a woman and a minority—the government helps you so much,” she said.
Her vision four years ago was to grow, but she never thought the company would grow to 300 trucks. “The key to success is to diversify your product to people. We are just growing and growing,” she said.
Success also comes with challenges such as hiring and retaining good employees or dealing with the rising price of gasoline. “The gas prices have affected us, and we just gave the drivers a raise. In El Paso there is a lot of turnover in the transportation industry. Drivers come and go, if they see one penny more they will leave this job to go somewhere else, the challenge is keeping them happy. You invest a lot of time and money on an employee and then they go somewhere else leaving you to do it all over again,” she said.
Networking is also important she said. “Becoming acquainted and knowledgeable of all the committees that are there to help Hispanic women entrepreneurs is just amazing,” she said.
Every month, the Women’s Business Border Center invites guest speakers to explain their successful business practices.
“The uniqueness about the Hispanic Chamber is we do have our WBBC. It is a nationwide program and usually they are a stand alone organization and us being housed in the Hispanic chamber they can access our resources,” said Mary Helen Aldeis, the Program Director for the Women’s Business Border Center concentrating in business development.
“I felt Mrs. Marin-Abdeljaber could share her successes being a female business owner in a non-traditional role and give some highlights and some inspiration to other female business owners,” said Aldeis.
Marin-Abdeljabers advice to those who are looking to be CEO’s one day is to feel the hunger of success. “It takes money, to make money.” She says. “I say just jump on it, just do it!” she says.