In the midst of adversity, Hannah and Adriana’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. Together, they co-founded She Rises Studios, a multi-million dollar company that defied the odds and thrived during the pandemic, all while Hannah was battling cancer. Their story is a testament to resilience, unwavering determination, and the unbreakable bond between two women who share a vision.
Through countless networking efforts and tireless dedication, Hannah and Adriana navigated the challenging landscape of global business, all while facing the demands of medical treatments and doctor’s appointments. Their commitment to empowering women around the world shines through as they simultaneously built their own remarkable company.
In this interview, we delve into their leadership philosophy, the challenges they’ve overcome, and their plans for the future of She Rises Studios. Moreover, Hannah’s personal battle with cancer has profoundly influenced her outlook on life, adding a unique dimension to her role as an entrepreneur and leader.
Their story also highlights the power of family reunification, as Hannah and her daughter Adriana found each other again and embarked on this incredible journey together. Balancing the demands of business and personal life is no small feat, but Hannah and Adriana have found a way to prioritize both.
Join us as we explore their remarkable journey, delve into their advocacy work, and uncover the wisdom they have to share with aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals facing adversity. Hannah and Adriana’s story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to dream, even in the face of the most daunting challenges.
- Can you share with us the story of how She Rises Studios came to be and how you grew it into a multi-million dollar company during the pandemic while battling cancer?
It was a duo effort between Adriana and I. We have spent almost the entire first year in business networking and connecting with women all over the world. Some days we would work all day and all night in between doctors’ appointments and treatments. We learned a lot about global business and the different ways people do business in different cultures. Her and I worked side by side for a year straight networking, support, and educating other women while we built our own company.
- How do you approach leadership and management within your team at She Rises Studios?
We lay out our expectations and goals so that anyone on our team will know where the company is going. We really try to have a good work culture. We do weekly team meetings to stay in communication. We try to make our team understand that they each our in an important role within our company. We make everyone feel as though they’re truly valued.
- What are some of the biggest challenges you faced in building your business, and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges was hiring our team members because we had to trust other people with our vision and our business and what was required to grow. We knew we couldn’t grow anymore without bringing on other team members in assisting us within the growth of the company.
- How do you stay innovative and ahead of the curve in a constantly evolving industry?
Our #1 is knowledge is key. We have to stay knowledgeable in the niches that we are in and make sure we’re connecting to the innovators.
- Can you discuss your plans for the future of She Rises Studios and where you see the company going?
We will become that household brand name for women globally. This company will be just like hearing the names “Netflix” or “The Oprah Network.” We will continue to expand our publishing, public relations, Fenix TV, and all of our divisions currently in place. We will also implement a Web 3 division and Real Estate. We have a plan to open co-op spaces for women to work in all over the world. We also hope to have a television production studio. We really want to be the top leader in the industry for multi-media digital agencies for women.
- How has your experience as a cancer warrior influenced your approach to business and leadership?
Being a warrior and an advocator for myself, not just on a personal level for my own health and wellness but on the business level. I have to have a mindset that we are warriors for good. I don’t like the word survive because that means you’re barely getting by, warrior means you’re moving forward.
- Can you share a time when you had to make a tough decision in your business and how you handled it?
We recently had to reschedule our Dream Big, Do Bigger Summit and that decision was one of the biggest we had to make. Yet, we had to make an executive decision and we handled it together as a team.
- What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women facing difficult situations, who are looking to start their own business?
If they’re facing a difficult life situation but still have the desire to own business, my solution is always there is no perfect opportunity. You just have to do it and go all in. As long as you know your way, your purpose, and your passion, it doesn’t matter your circumstances. Your circumstance should fuel you, not deter you. If I would have waited until after my first round of chemo to start my business, I never would have opened it.
- How has your faith and spirituality played a role in your journey as an entrepreneur?
It’s the biggest of all. I’m very faith-led and very spiritual. I believe it is a necessity as an entrepreneur to have faith that it will work out. There are no coincidences. You have to know what’s good in business and what isn’t, but you always have to have the faith that you’re worthy and there will be a good outcome.
- Can you share a success story of a client or author you have worked with through She Rises Studios?
Definitely Angela Bell, her books have been a tremendous success. Denise Clifford, wrote a book about the art of decluttering that has attracted great feedback. Typically all projects find success and that’s because each author gets exponential treatment. We simplify the process and do most of the footwork for them by using our internal method.
- Can you tell us more about your journey of reuniting with your daughter and founding She Rises Studios together?
An abusive relationship drove us apart and we lived separate lives up until her graduation and her preparing to go to UCLA for college. She was hesitant to a relationship at first and when my diagnosis came in, it brought us together.
I remember the day she called me, she asked me if I was sick and I told her I was. She got in her car and drove down to see me and we hashed out years of intense baggage. She left then but kept in touch. I later told her I was opening a new nonprofit and asked if she wanted to be a part of it. She packed up and her and her husband moved here.
It all grew so quickly and then the pandemic hit. We sat in her office with a white board and She Rises was born. We always talked about sharing our story of being pulled apart. Now our relationship is so close, we probably talk 20 times a day. We travel together, we work together. We now try to really value our time.
- How do you find balance between running a successful business and prioritizing your family and personal life?
Adrianna and I both set a clear boundary and priority once things started really skyrocketing. We both have our individual family lives and personal lives. We really emphasize working the M-F schedule. We also are very transparent on mental health days, we make our down time a priority and we know not to burn the candle at both ends. We have both seen the repercussions of overworking ourselves, it shows up in physical ways.
- How has your battle with cancer impacted your perspective on life and what you value most?
It has really helped me appreciate all of my life – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. Whatever it is, I want to appreciate it all. It’s made me really value my journey with my kids. I absolutely love being a grandmother. It’s one of the biggest blessings ever. I feel like my perspective has changed because I don’t want to live in fear or regret so I try to take it all in. I never want to live within the limits that the doctors put on me.
- Can you discuss your advocacy for the right to die and how it has influenced your personal and professional life?
There has been a definite negative response on this right-to-die advocacy. For example, my husband strongly believes this opinion is taking the easy way out. For me, I don’t want my family to see me deteriorating or have to live with that responsibility. My husband’s belief is that there can always be a miracle and of course, that’s possible. I have advocated this since 2017 and it does help people who are terminal know that there is an option should they choose it. My husband supports me, although this isn’t his personal belief system. Then, sometimes you see someone who really could use that option.
It’s also an opinion that can get political. Many believe it is suicide. I think people have to really understand what the bill means. For the media, it’s just another story, but I advocate for the people who really do want this bill to pass because they really should have the choice.
- What does resilience mean to you, and how have you embodied it in your own life?
Resilience for me is a daily act. It’s a lifestyle. For me it means no matter what’s happening, I have to bounce back. No matter what, we have to get back up and keep going.
The best example of embodying resilience is since 2017, I have had over 300 cancer treatments, over 400 blood draws, I’ve had a port put in and taken out, and every time I have a treatment or procedure, it takes a part of me. I have to really find a way to push through to do the day-to-day things that don’t have to do with my diagnosis.
- How has your cultural background and identity influenced your approach to business and leadership?
Latinas and Latinos do business differently. Ours is based over an honor and a handshake. We have coffee and pandulce and we don’t have boundaries! We greet business associates with a kiss on the cheek! We’ve had to learn the balance in that not everyone wants to hug us and have coffee and meet our kids! In the real business world, business is business. We have our culture, but we’ve definitely had to adapt to the norm while still keeping our culture.
- Can you share a specific moment or experience that has been a turning point in your life?
All of my life, I’ve always been a fighter. I was exposed to abuse, rape, sexual assault that’s imbedded the fighter. I always say, as soon as I was born, I was fighting for my life. I never had time to slow down and try to heal the pieces and mend the trauma and it finally created a big ball of mental and emotional issues.
Anxiety sneaks up on you and as soon as I admitted it was the most freeing moment. I was so ashamed originally to say I had anxiety because we advocate for “The Unstoppable Women” and we advocate for strong women and this illness made me feel weak.
I’m really invested in my mental health and healing and now I stand for women going through the same and know that this illness is not a sign of weakness.
- How do you maintain a positive mindset and sense of hope during challenging times?
Prayer and coffee. I became spiritual in my mid-twenties and really took a deeper dive in my early thirties. I also believe in the importance of a great support system.
- Can you discuss a personal passion or hobby that brings you joy outside of your work at She Rises Studios?
I love to do two things: I’m a huge karaoke fanatic, I love to sing and I really like to do wine tasting.
- What message would you like to share with other women facing difficult situations and hardships in their lives?
If I can do it, anyone can do it. I didn’t come from a prestigious background. I didn’t graduate college or high school with honors. I came from just above poverty in my childhood. I didn’t have connections. I fought for everything that I have. Putting in that grit, tenacity, and perseverance and never taking no for an answer.
If women actively look for the solution and don’t focus on the problem, they’re going to find the solution. It’s through the grit and perseverance that we shine.