Yesterday afternoon, the Santa Barbara chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) honored Ana Jimenez at their 2015 BRAVO Awards ceremony with their Rising Star award. We are so proud of Ana - she has been an exemplary student leader as the President of Team Biscotti. We are also proud to be linked with an organization that does so much to celebrate and represent the interests of women business owners and community leaders. It was wonderful to see Ana honored alongside so many strong, creative women working to change our community for the better.
Noozhawk published a great account of the award ceremony - please check out their account for more information about the event and the group of women honored. Noozhawk also has a gallery of wonderful photos from the event. As Noozhawk reports, the BRAVO awards celebrate not only honor rising stars and women of influence, but they also celebrate 40 years of NAWBO and lasting achievements by women in Santa Barbara.
Ana responded to some questions from NAWBO about her journey so far as a youth leader. Read her responses here, and learn more about NAWBO-SB at www.nawbo-sb.org.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment?
A: One of the most difficult challenges I have faced is learning English as a second language. I started learning English only 6 years ago at age 12. It is important because I live here and English is the language of business all over the world. Being named President of Team Biscotti is therefore a big accomplishment because it is really important to me.
Q: What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started your project?
A: The Biscotti Project had many obstacles to overcome. First, the team is composed of teens who volunteer to participate 2 afternoons a week. Many are on probation, behind in school, and have to work at other jobs. Therefore we have less than ideal committed workforce.
Our product is handmade and is time consuming. We have had to learn a hard lesson that a premium product has to get a premium price. We also had difficulties with finding a dependable commercial kitchen. After many trials and errors we solved these problems, but I learned that a reliable core work force and a dependable work facility come first. Branding and marketing have to be built on a solid foundation.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Owning a successful restaurant and bakery in partnership with my family.
Q: What is your favorite way to unwind?
A: I find baking, cooking, volunteer work, and helping other people refreshes me rather than draining my energy - I don’t have anything to unwind from!