We had the good fortune of connecting with Yoana Obregon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yoana, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk-taking is something I’ve gotten very comfortable with over the years and come to think of it, risk is something I’ve never really feared. Growing up I was an adrenaline junkie – I’ve skydived, raced cars, rappelled and jumped off buildings, I’ve even done ladder climbs off flying helicopters, and most recently I flew a plane. As an entrepreneur, fearlessness and risk are one in the same and they are both essential, in my book. Being someone that has been exposed to or even sought out such risks, has been a huge asset in becoming an entrepreneur. There is a big unknown when you decide to take that initial leap – a huge risk; financially, mentally, emotionally and socially, but you have to be able to trust yourself and trust your abilities. I strongly believe the most important part of any risk is trust, within yourself.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My entrepreneurial story starts at the ripe age of 23; when I started my first business: Think Red, Inc. Think Red was a boutique events management company based in Miami, and was the OG; my mentor, teacher, parent and child. It was also the child to a lot of other people in my life – I had cheerleaders on every corner supporting me every step of the way. There were so many souls that touched Think Red and vice versa – it truly holds such a special place in all our lives. I owned and operated Think Red for seven years before starting Secret Sauce and that love, sweat and tears is what served as the foundation to what would end up becoming my second agency. I’ve always felt that I’ve had luck on my side – although I firmly stand by the saying “luck favors the prepared,” the start of Secret Sauce was due to equal parts chance and timing. What first started as the leaseholder name for two creatives seeking a shared office space – quickly became what it’s known for today: a women-owned and women-run creative marketing agency with a niche focus in the world of hospitality, food and beverage. As the CEO of Secret Sauce, we’ve been faced with many challenges; most recently our entire industry came to a halt because of the pandemic that we’re still navigating. However, I am so proud of our team for taking on the challenge and being able to pivot our agency from an event-driven experiential agency to a creative, digital and marketing agency. We’ve been able to shift our strategy to allow us to remain active and expand the services we offer to continue creating experience-forward campaigns that our clients and our team can be proud of. In the last few months, we’ve launched multiple influencer marketing campaigns with our carefully curated cocktail kits, we launched In Chef We Trust, an exclusive Omakase-style pop-up which featured the renowned Chef Makoto, and we’ve also had the opportunity to continue producing events such as our coveted annual International Women’s Day Maker’s Mark Brunch by adapting our production to adhere to all the CDC guidelines to ensure a safe and responsible event environment. We are so lucky to be where we are today, in the midst of many others still suffering the loss of their businesses and navigating their states’ lockdowns – we are so grateful to have these opportunities and the support from so many in our community to keep thriving.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Miami is a hustling and bustling gem of a city with amazing and unique experiences around every corner. If I had friends visiting for the first time, some of my favorite go-to spots would include some beach time at the new 1 Hotel Beach Club, brunch at Cecconi’s at Soho Beach House, live music or performance at the Faena theatre, catching a sunset at The Standard Hotel, grabbing a nice dinner at KYU or Uchi, or for a more casual dinner I would recommend The Citadel. For the most unique dining experience that is great for lunch or dinner, I would recommend my new favorite spot, Leku, tucked away in the middle of the new Rubbell Art Museum.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am a firm believer that there are people that are placed in our lives, even momentarily, whose sole purpose is to guide you or redirect you, support you, love you and encourage you. These people might come at different times, different phases in your life – they might make a huge impact, or a small one that you don’t even notice in the moment. People will come and go, but their lessons will remain. There is so much truth in the saying “it takes a village” – because it literally does take a village. From my previous employers, to my family, my husband, my business partner, clients, employees and even vendors have all played a huge role in my success. I would never be where I am today without my village and I am eternally grateful for the number of times I’ve been challenged, supported, trusted and encouraged throughout my professional career. To call someone specific out, I would have to recognize my two partners in life: Max Mendez, my husband, and Katya Bravo, my business partner. These two individuals have influenced me the most in my life and I owe so much of my story to them.
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