Here is the latest in Women in Business Interviews with Neisha Hernandez
What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place? What was the inspiration for your company/project?
The aspect of Neisha’s Dance & Music Academy that I most enjoy is working directly with the children. They are perfect little sponges who love the arts as much as I do. Helping them to set their artistic goals and then step by step (no pun intended) strive to reach their goals is a beautiful and rewarding thing. When the children exit the stage after a performance, the look of pride, pleasure, and success on their faces is priceless. It reinforces again and again why I dedicate my life to dance and music education.
I chose to open Neisha’s Dance & Music Academy in Chula Vista because there was a need in our community for children’s activities and I felt confident the residents would embrace the artistic option. My longtime passion for dance & music, coupled with an obvious need in the community made a great recipe for business success.
Tell us about any new projects you have coming up (or recently completed).
One important project that I am working on with The Chula Vista Ballet, a non profit division of Neisha’s Dance & Music Academy is Peter and the Wolf, a children’s ballet story set to perform June 15, 2013. We are staging the production with a live orchestra and several guest artists from around the country. Local children will get to participate in the production as well.
What is a typical day like for you?
I am a typical mama in the morning- a crazy flurry of breakfast and prepping for the day. Once the school aged kids are out the door, I take time to focus by walking or practicing yoga. I check in with our office manager who handles our day to day operations at the Dance & Music Academy. Then I focus on planning the big picture: ongoing and ever evolving artistic endeavors, advertising, training staff, programming, community events, and more.
Tell us about your community involvement – what you are passionate about outside of work and home and why/how you participate?
My work IS my passion. I am passionate about learning, presenting, performing, discussing, and attending arts events. Even our volunteer work in is the arts- our company visits local elementary schools, bringing weekly dance classes to children in our community.
What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
My biggest risk was purchasing the building that I operate out of. It took every penny I had, and then some. The purchase was 7 years ago. Since then the market has turned and many of my neighbors sold their property in a short sale or foreclosure. We have been fortunate to have a solid customer base that has allowed us to continue to build our business.
From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?
My inspiration first came in form of love for the arts. Now that this love has grown into a thriving business, I have the responsibility to ensure it thrives. My business mentor is Sam Beckford. He operates several successful dance and music school in Canada and has authored many business books. Artistically, our role model is Kirov Academy of Ballet (Martin Freedman, Artistic Director).
What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?
To keep myself sharp, I belong to a mastermind group of respected, highly successful individuals who among other things also own dance & music schools. We meet to discuss business and the arts several times a year.
What one thing would you like to learn this year?
I have a friend who owns a dance studio and travels to Belize to teach dance as a humanitarian outreach. I would love to learn her process and join her for one of her trips!!!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Over the next five years, I plan to grow the non-profit and charitable divisions of Neisha’s Dance & Music Academy. The Chula Vista Ballet Company, our 501c3 has great momentum for expansion right now. Focusing on these divisions is mutually beneficial to our company’s mission and our greater San Diego artistic and cultural community.
What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
Yoga is my favorite activity to regain my daily focus and inner peace. When it comes to having fun in my hometown of San Diego, our family loves kayaking & jet skiing. For entertainment you can’t beat dinner in downtown San Diego followed by a Padres Baseball game or a Broadway show.
For more information visit: Neishas.com