We had the good fortune of connecting with Yurilka Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yurilka, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I graduated from New York University with my master in 2015 and immediately register my business the same year with the IRS. back then, I was very young and only thing I knew was that I want to be my own boss. You see it all the time people starting business and being successful however I am from the Bronx, and you can be a product of your surroundings. The Hispanic small business owner I knew, own Bodegas, food stands and small bakeries. I did not know anyone who was Hispanic and own a Psychotherapy clinic as a small corporation, on big non-for profits organizations. It wasn’t the 2020 Pandemic happened that I started to see the need for Spanish speaking services across. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough people in the field to fill the gap in services and that’s when my practice blossom into a successful business it is today.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My company provide mental health & substance misuse services to underserved communities who can’t pay cash for good quality metal health services. The single most important driver was the need of presentation in the Hispanic community. During the pandemic like the rest of the world I felt the collective trauma we all experience and when I started looking for a therapist, my prefer was a person of color or someone with similar background as me. Someone culturally inclines to understand my uprising and my values. It was extremely difficult to find someone. It was there when I started looking into the gap on services the Hispanic community was experiencing and I wanted to contribute to people like, I am a practitioner before anything.
One of the most difficult decisions I must make was to branch out on my own and define the expectations that my family and society had decide for me. As a Hispanic woman who grew up in the Dominican Republic all roads were leading to housewife and be a homemaker. Not that something wrong with that if that’s what you want, but me I wanted to fly on the open sky. I wanted to come and go as I please. I never wanted to be ordinary and just be another woman who fit into the society box that was create for me. When I was in New York University completing my master’s degree I sat in a room full of people who did not look like me and although I was uncomfortable with the thoughts of being the only Hispanic person, I was very comfortable voicing my opinions and views. I knew I could be powerful I just did not know yet how to tab into that power.
Everyone who thinks owing a business means more work, well, let me just say how wrong we all are. Owing a business means sacrifice for the first two years and then fighting to maintain your craft. The first year all I did was work 24 hours. I when I was sleeping, I was dreaming of ideas of how to fix or improve my business. It consumes me to the point that family, friends, and any other relationship became absolute for me. I have a very good support system that was able to accept my absent from their lives and love me still. After the first year, I was able to create a more stable business and my mission was taking off. I have been able to hire people to help me serve my community and drive the business with me. I set very strong boundaries around my schedule, cut off time, emails. I ensure that dinner time is dinner time that when I’m in the present of my loved ones my attention is on them only. I am still working on my business with the same passion but with better balance.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a foodie and food are the way to the heart. I enjoy bar hopping in Queens and east side of New York, Queen offers a ton of incredible restaurants who usually are small business own and the food is always amazing. Any giving Friday night or Sunday, my friends and I will start brunch at one restaurant and end up visiting 2-3 more places. We usually end our night at some live music bar and karaoke even when the place isn’t KARAOKE. You can pick any place in Queen like Jackson Heights and you will find a restaurant from any part of the world.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mentor is a brilliant Dominican woman Yaberci Perez Cubillan whom has encouraged me, grown me and supportive me on all my professional journeys. She has been a true leader and a fearless advocate for Hispanic women. Of course, my mother Yury Hernandez who continues to feed me and ensures that I connect with my loved ones every time I feel loss or defeat it.